Thursday, June 01, 2006


Brian writes...
So tell me Jim, what's your assessment of the Cardinal's season so far? Some blogs are giving out "grade reports" for each player. Feel free to do something like that. Or, feel free to completely ignore that idea.

And Adam writes...
Yeah, Jim. Tell us something for Christ sake. I hear you've been farting around for the last week. Let's hop back on the BLOG trolley and take it for a ride down to rant town.

Then Brian writes again...
Hey did that guy who hosted that one trivia night ever win his election?

So what do I think of the Cardinals so far? Quite honestly, not much has changed since the beginning of the season. The same questions that were there at the beginning are still there now. The only difference is Edmonds health is more questionable the Rolen's health.

They keep on winning series after series, even though they often look bad doing it. I still think they WILL contend for the division title but not for the World Series and maybe not for the Pennant. The bigger surprise than what the Cardinals are doing this year is what the other teams, especially in the Central Division, are not doing.

The Cubs have fallen apart, the Reds realized that they are not the team they thought they were, Milwaukee is playing close to .500 ball, which is respectable for them, and Pittsburgh is getting very comfortable in the basement where they belong. The 'Stros are getting off to a slow start but not as slow as last year, and with the re-signing of Clemens, they will be poised to make a run for it again.

In the National League, the only other team that is looking really good is the Mets. Again, no surprise there. When it comes to Divisions and the Wild Card races, the west is looking the best, with all teams playing above .500. This could be the first time in 11 years that the Braves don't make it to the playoffs.

My biggest concerns are... Can Rolen stay healthy? What's going on with Edmonds? What's going on with Carpenter? and Which Izzy will show up to close the game? One thing I can't seem to comprehend is how the bullpen can have a league-leading ERA when they seem to let at least 50% of the inherited runners score. I realize that some of that ERA is tagged to the starters, but some of it has to be rubbing off on each other. I don't understand it, and it makes me nervous.

To change the subject slightly, for those who enjoy baseball but find it hard or too expensive to get good tickets, let me suggest several alternatives. One is the independent Frontier League. The two local teams are the Gateway Grizzlies who play in Sauget, Illinois and the River City Rascals who play in O'Fallon, MO. We went to see those teams battle each other over at the O'Fallon facility and found it quite enjoyable. For $10, you can buy field box tickets, which we did. We walked up to the gate 1/2 hour before first pitch and got six seats in the second row between home plate and the home dugout. The only glitch is you can't bring in ANY food or drink. Bonny had a bottle of water when she entered and was stopped. They let her take it in, but they let her know you weren't supposed to. Of course, you won't see the talent that you would expect from Major League baseball, but you see the heart that can be lacking in the big leagues.

The other baseball that we have seen and enjoyed is the Vintage Base Ball League. Our local teams include the Unions, whose home field is in Florrisant, and the Perfectos, whose home field is Lafayette Park. They are teams that play by the rules of 1862. The main differences are no gloves, no balls called, no called strikes (if you swing and miss it's a strike but if you don't swing it's not), the ball is fair if it touches the ground in fair territory, even if it rolls foul before reaching one of the bases, and the batter is out if the ball is caught on either the fly or the first bound (the difference is any runner on base must tag up if caught on the fly but not if caught on the bound). These teams are played by regular folk like you and me so the level of talent is very unremarkable, but you are watching a game that is based on baseball (base ball as it was known back then) that was a gentlemen's game, having teams made up of social clubs rather than athletes. It all becomes very obvious when you see the umpire ,who is in a poor position to make a call, ask a runner if he got to the base before the ball. The runner is obligated to tell the truth and once answered, there is no argument. There is a VBBL tournament this weekend at Lafayette Park that we plan to attend.

As far as the "guy who hosted that one trivia night", he lost, which I take full responsibility for. I always support the losing cause or candidate, and Jack was no exception.