It’s time once again for that wild and wooly group from the United Cardinal Bloggers to ambush the air waves! If you haven’t listened to the UCB Radio Hour from last night, CLICK HERE. Otherwise, let’s get into it…
Wow…she said “Yes”???? Maybe I should just end the post there and say, “What was she thinking?!” No, no…in all seriousness, congratulations, Dathan! You da’ man…and you deserve it.
Matheny’s performance has been good…perhaps a B+ so far. Yes, Mike Matheny has made a few bullpen decisions here and there that may have cost us the game…but all in all, this guy has gotten this team off to a 20-11 start. That’s amazing, all things considered. Honestly, it’s tough to evaluate Matheny at this point – and not for the obvious reasons. After 16 seasons of Tony La Russa, Cardinals fans have grown accustomed to a cerebral, intellectual manager. Not to sell Mike short, but it’s looking more and more like Matheny is a “feel” and “trust” manager rather than a “think” and “meddle” guy. That means that Cards fans have to break old habits and shift our thinking in order to give the new manager a fair shake. He’s not Tony La Russa…but he’s lookin’ pretty darned good so far.
For the most part, I support Matheny’s “keep players fresh” approach…but not when he deployed it in April. The Cardinals had more off days in April than I can remember them ever having…about one per week…during the first month of the season! As Tony La Russa was fond of saying, April is a great time to push while other teams are still trying to figure out what they have. The Cardinals had a good season…but it could have been great. And perhaps the only missing piece to a “Great” April was Matheny’s willingness to truly push with fresh, early season legs on his veteran bodies. He was almost religious in his desire to get players off days for the last game of a series…despite the fact that many of those final games came immediately before scheduled off days for the entire team. Nah…I will always believe Matheny was too cautious in April…and now the Reds are much closer than they appear.
Dathan made a statement about Jon Jay that I found interesting. I believe he said he wasn’t yet convinced that Jay could be the offensive producer that the Cardinals need in center field every day. I will say that I understand the position. For quite a while, I was a doubter. Jay doesn’t exactly knock down the outfield walls with his bat…and he’s certainly shown an ability to sink into some ugly slumps (see: post Ludwick trade)…but his swing has finally convinced me. He looks to have figured something out in the way of consistency with that line drive bat of his. But all of that is guess-work at best. What seems to be a sure thing, however, is the Cardinals’ reliance on other positions for power and RBI potential. With such a successful run by Jim Edmonds in CF – and then with the highly anticipated Colby Rasmus – Cardinals fans became accustomed to power hitting, RBI machines in the middle of the Busch Stadium outfield. Now, it seems the Cards are beginning to rely on players like Holliday, Beltran, Craig, Freese, and potentially Matt Adams to supply that RBI ability and less and less on guys like Jay. In other words, Jay doesn’t have to be an “offensive force.” If he just continues to consistently hit and get on base…and roam center field like he has been…he’ll hold onto that position for quite a while.
To join the heap…I’ll throw in my rant. I checked USA Today.com’s sports section today…and wouldn’t you know it, on May 9th – right in the midst of a baseball season just starting to heat up – seven of the top ten stories are about football!!! I used to love watching the NFL, but over the last few seasons, I’ve just lost much of my interest. Really, if it wasn’t for my Fantasy Football league, I’m not even sure I would watch anymore. But, as Dathan said, “What really grinds my gears!” is the obsession – all season long – of Americans with professional football. When compared to MLB, the NFL has relatively little history, integrity, and/or substantial value.
Alright, all…that’ll do it for today. Enjoy the off day after a sweep…and…