Posted tagged ‘St. Louis Cardinals’

St. Louis Cardinals World Series ring features “Rally Squirrel”

April 16, 2012

The Cardinals received their World Series rings before Saturday’s game, and each ring includes the player’s name, number and the years of the Cardinals’ 10 previous championships.

They also include a tiny squirrel running across home plate.

In Game 4 of last year’s NL Division Series, a squirrel darted across home plate during Skip Schumaker‘s at-bat — and the Busch Stadium crowd went wild.

Cardinals fans adopted the critter’s image throughout the playoffs, when it was seen on T-shirts, memorabilia and images on stadium screens.

Earlier this year, a short-printed variant of Schumaker’s Topps baseball card focused on the squirrel.

The rings, designed and produced by Jostens, feature faceted rubies, a 14 karat yellow gold frame and 103 round diamonds.

The underside lists the three playoff series scores and the words “Happy Flight,” the Cardinals’ clubhouse rallying cry last season.

“We are excited to present the 2011 team with their rings,” owner Bill DeWitt III said in a statement. “We worked hard to design a ring that would tell the epic story of 2011, and also pay tribute to the great history of the franchise.”

These rings are really cool because of the personalization. Having the writing “Happy Flight” on the inside and the rally squirrel on the outside gives the team an identity and makes the ring special. Besides being World Champions, they are known for these stories. I think more teams need to use this type of thinking when making rings because it could make them more personal and fun so people like Brandon Jacobs don’t sell their ring for extra cash. I think the Cardinals run in 2011 was so memorable that it garnished this type of ring. If it weren’t for the squirrel, where would they be…

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Cardinals Kolb is hurt, John Skelton gets another chance to prove he’s the future

November 6, 2011

Via Azcardinals.com:

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images North America)

John Skelton, as the backup quarterback, insists he gets ready to start every game even if he knows he won’t.

That’s easy to have said, for instance, two weeks ago when Kevin Kolb was healthy. It means something different when Kolb is limping around with a turf toe.

“It’s more of a sense of urgency, it’s more of ‘You might play’ to now ‘You may play,’ ” Skelton said Thursday. “You prepare as best you can for the situation you find yourself in.”

That situation is that Kolb didn’t practice for a second straight day and that Skelton seems likely to find himself under center Sunday against the Rams. It’s nothing he wasn’t already thinking. Coach Ken Whisenhunt said if Kolb doesn’t practice Friday he’d still “consider” playing Kolb, although it sounded anything but a certainty.

Skelton missed a chunk of the preseason after suffering a high ankle sprain, the reason he fell behind Rich Bartel on the depth chart through the first five games of the season. Then came the bye week, which “let him get back in the flow,” Whisenhunt said. Following the bye, Skelton was back to his backup role.

If Skelton does play, Whisenhunt is much more comfortable than he was last year, when the intent was to have Skelton ride the bench all season and just watch. Even without an offseason, Skelton is in a much better place — “It was hard enough for him to call a play in the huddle last year,” Whisenhunt said – after starting the final four games of 2010.

That highlighted one of Skelton’s strengths, which was that rarely does he get flustered. Skelton said he isn’t the type of guy to throw a helmet when things go haywire and, despite his youth, he has already developed a reputation of an even-tempered demeanor, impervious to emotional derailment.

He also has a dry sense of humor, which he showed off when a reporter asked if Skelton at least had a dog to kick around.

“I do, and he gets kicked quite a bit,” Skelton joked. “It’s mostly his fault though.”

I love that this kid gets another chance to start. I think he is the future of the Cardinals and Kolb is not the answer. I think Skelton is more mobile and has more arm strength. True, he went to Fordham but he has shown that he can win games. I still remember the 4th and 17 on Christmas Day against the Cowboys when he completed a 20 yard pass which lead to a great game winning drive. He can be a star and I think he doesn’t get credit because Kolb went to Houston and played at a bigger program. I think that’s poppy-cock and you’ll see a happy Fitzgerald today against St. Louis…

Time to rally in St. Louis! The Rally Squirrel comes to life

October 12, 2011

Via ESPN:

Tony La Russa and the St. Louis Cardinals are going nuts for the Rally Squirrel.

The team plans to distribute 40,000 rally towels with a squirrel motif for Game 3 of the NL Championship Series Wednesday night against Milwaukee. In addition, stuffed Rally Squirrels are available for $5 at the Busch Stadium team store, along with “Got Squirrel” T-shirts and additional rally towels.

“I think it’s good. The fans are having fun,” said La Russa, the Cardinals’ buttoned-up manager. “And I really believe that. This is not old-school, and I know I am in many ways, but I think there’s so much attention and pressure on the players that sometimes they don’t show their happiness.”

La Russa is as serious as they come on game day. Yet he’s enjoying all the fuss over the Rally Squirrel.

“I’ve really gotten over getting upset over it. Sometimes I think it’s a release. So I think it’s fun,” he said.

It all started during the division series against Philadelphia when a squirrel, or squirrels, was seen scampering around the field — in both cities.

Twice, with a twinkle in his eye, La Russa has suggested that the squirrel or squirrels was dating utility man Allen Craig‘s pet tortoise, Torty, and that the squirrel was looking for Torty when it scooted past home plate just as Phillies right-hander Roy Oswalt made a pitch to Skip Schumaker.

“As far as the squirrel and the tortoise is concerned, they had this relationship, so I think it first came out there because Craig wasn’t playing, and his boyfriend told him or girlfriend or whatever it was,” La Russa said. “And this squirrel was looking for Craig, ran all over, finally found him.”

There’s also a prolific Torty Twitter feed, accompanied by a photo of a turtle wearing a Cardinals cap on a rock. Craig denies any involvement.

“I have no idea, I swear,” Craig said. “Somebody started a Torty account and that’s that.”

There were no squirrel sightings at Busch Stadium on Tuesday as the Cardinals and Brewers prepared for Game 3.

Cardinals officials said they had nabbed four of the critters in humane cages since the team went on the road — one of them on the walkway in center field beyond the pasture and another near the Brewers’ dugout.

I am not gonna lie, this is pretty awesome! I like how they are selling the shirts and towels for 5 dollars. That is very reasonable and I think fans will certainly run to get those when the gates open. But one thing that bothers me about this whole situation is it reminds me a lot of the 2002 Anaheim Angels and their Rally Monkey. Granted, yes it did win them a World Series but on the other hand, it really got annoying for other fans watching the games. While I think this is a great idea for the fans, the team, and the playoffs, I don’t think that it would be good to overhaul the viewers on television and Brewers fans about this big deal. Yes, its great entertainment. But no, you can’t take it over the edge. The reason for that is you will never know when “Beast Mode” might come in and ruin the parade…

The Sports Cycle Video: MLB Playoff Race with special guest Mark Freund

September 21, 2011

Donnie Dwyer talks to MUTV Assistant Sports Director Mark Freund about the playoff race in the month of September and about the great career of Mariano Rivera. Check it out…

Sweet Spot Blog: NL Central has got some upgrades on the mound

February 28, 2011

Via Sweet Spot Blog:

In 2010, the NL Central finished the season with only six of the top 40 starting pitchers based on ERA. Three of those pitchers belonged to one team, the St. Louis Cardinals (Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter, Jaime Garcia.) The other three were Brett Myers, Wandy Rodriguez (Houston Astros) and Johnny Cueto (Reds). This means the Cubs, Pirates and Brewers were without a starter in the top 40 ERA’s in the league by the end of 2010. The potential was there, but it was never realized. Fast forward to 2011 …

The Brewers made the first move this offseason when they picked up Zack Greinke in a trade with the Royals. They gave up little for what will be their staff ace. FanGraphs projects Greinke’s 2011 stats to be about 14-15 wins and an ERA in the mid 3.00’s. The Brew Crew did not stop there, acquiring Shawn Marcum, who cobbled together a nice 2010 for Toronto in the tough AL East after missing all of 2009. These two additions, along with future Cy Young candidate Yovani Gallardo make the Brewers a contender for the NL Central crown in 2011.

The Cubs’ offseason answer to their pitching staff questions came in a trade with Tampa Bay. Matt Garza was acquired in exchange for a slew of prospects. While the big question is how Garza will fair in Wrigley, it goes without saying he is an upgrade, and makes a fine middle-of-the-rotation addition. FanGraphs projects something like 11 wins and a high 3.00 to low 4.00 ERA. He gives the Cubs a very solid top three along with Ryan Dempster and a “newly cured” Carlos Zambrano. What if Randy Wells can get his 2009 form back? Any Cubs fan can tell you that 2010’s failure came from a lack of offense. If this staff gets even a hint of support, the NL Central is well within reach.

We can’t discuss the Cubs without touching on the Cardinals. Year in and year out the Cardinals seem to have pitching, or at least starting pitching. Yes, Wainwright is gone for the 2011 season, and while this is a big blow, I don’t see it being the end of their 2011 season. Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan are unbelievable at squeezing water from a stone. Duncan got production from Todd Wellemeyer for crying out loud. Every year the duo of La Russa and Duncan seems to pull a starting pitcher out of a hat. I am sure somebody will fall in place to pick up at least some of the wreckage left behind by Wainwright’s injury. They still have Carpenter and Garcia to lean on. Let’s also not forget the sinkerball pitcher, Jake Westbrook, who I am sure Duncan will turn into a Cy Young candidate before long. Oh yes, the Cardinals are still in the hunt … even when they lose their best pitcher.

The sneakiest staff might be Houston’s. Rodriguez and Myers will once again anchor this staff. Don’t count out J.A. Happ, as he fit in nicely coming over from the Phillies in a trade last season. While I don’t see the Astros contending this year, mostly because of their offensive woes and bullpen, these three guys make for a nice base to a starting staff. Rodriguez and Myers were both in the top 40 ERA’s for starting pitchers last year, and Happ has the stuff to be included in that conversation someday, too.

Alongside these teams sit the Cincinnati Reds. Youth would be the operative word here. The potential in this starting rotation is enormous for 2011 and beyond. Yes, Bronson Arroyo is 33, but after that you have Edison Volquez (28), Cueto (25) , Homer Bailey (25) and a fifth starter in Travis Wood (24) or Mike Leake (23). There is also the tease that Cuban fireballer Aroldis Chapman (22) might one day become a starter. With the exception of Chapman and possibly Wood, all of these pitchers have seen significant success at the major league level in a starting role. The only thing keeping the Reds from a return to the playoffs is the fact that every team in the division upgraded with exception to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The NL Central has always had a few good pitchers sprinkled about its rosters. What’s new to the past decade is the depth of each team’s starting staff, not to mention the potential for more in the future. While the Astros, and more so the Pirates, have some ground to make up in this category, the remaining four teams are finding strength and depth from their starters.

…This division will be very interesting because there will be three teams in the race for first and then the Astros will be competitive and then the Pirates will try to ruin teams playoff chances. But overall, the pitching in this division is sick. I think right now the Brewers have a one up because of their three #1 starters in Gallardo, Grienke, and Marcum. Second is the Reds with their young core listed above and then Third is the Cardinals who recently lost Wainwright for the year. But fans, do not give up on the Cardinals. They always find a way to win. They might find another Jeff Weaver, Joel Pineiro, or even a Jeff Suppan. You don’t know. Maybe for the Cubs, Zambrano and Garza can win 20 each and become super stars. You can never just predict what can happen in any given major league season. Look at the Padres last year. You know? That is why it is so interesting to see how it will be. I am excited to watch the Brewers and Reds this year because I know they basically have the same team and strategy over the past few years. Hey, we might even have a Dontrelle Willis sighting in Cincinnati…

MLB Standings as of September 8th

September 8, 2010
MLB STANDINGS AS OF SEPTEMBER 8th 2010American League
EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
NY Yankees 87 53 .621 49-25 38-28 751 572 +179 Won 1 7-3 99.2
Tampa Bay 84 54 .609 2 43-26 41-28 693 551 +142 Won 1 6-4 97.8
Boston 77 62 .554 9.5 41-30 36-32 699 640 +59 Lost 1 3-7 1.0
Toronto 72 66 .522 14 37-27 35-39 650 609 +41 Won 3 5-5 0.1
Baltimore 53 87 .379 34 30-41 23-46 526 706 -180 Lost 1 6-4 0.0
CENTRAL W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
Minnesota 82 57 .590 47-23 35-34 681 561 +120 Won 5 8-2 90.7
Chicago Sox 77 61 .558 4.5 38-27 39-34 655 579 +76 Lost 1 7-3 11.3
Detroit 69 70 .496 13 44-26 25-44 632 634 -2 Won 1 5-5 0.1
Kansas City 57 81 .413 24.5 31-37 26-44 563 733 -170 Lost 2 3-7 0.0
Cleveland 57 82 .410 25 29-39 28-43 554 663 -109 Won 2 4-6 0.0
WEST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
Texas 75 63 .543 43-26 32-37 665 596 +69 Lost 5 2-8 95.3
Oakland 68 70 .493 7 41-29 27-41 560 535 +25 Lost 1 4-6 4.1
LA Angels 66 73 .475 9.5 34-34 32-39 595 634 -39 Lost 2 3-7 0.5
Seattle 55 84 .396 20.5 33-38 22-46 449 590 -141 Won 1 5-5 0.0
National League
EAST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
Philadelphia 80 60 .571 46-28 34-32 646 573 +73 Won 2 7-3 73.6
Atlanta 79 60 .568 .5 49-19 30-41 649 530 +119 Lost 3 5-5 82.0
Florida 70 68 .507 9 35-33 35-35 635 603 +32 Lost 2 5-5 0.8
NY Mets 69 71 .493 11 39-25 30-46 570 564 +6 Won 2 4-6 0.1
Washington 60 80 .429 20 35-33 25-47 588 649 -61 Lost 2 5-5 0.0
CENTRAL W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
Cincinnati 79 59 .572 41-27 38-32 687 594 +93 Lost 3 5-5 96.1
St. Louis 72 64 .529 6 43-24 29-40 613 529 +84 Lost 1 3-7 16.0
Houston 65 73 .471 14 35-33 30-40 523 619 -96 Won 1 7-3 0.1
Milwaukee 64 74 .464 15 34-36 30-38 649 728 -79 Won 1 4-6 0.1
Chicago Cubs 60 79 .432 19.5 33-41 27-38 607 705 -98 Lost 1 6-4 0.0
Pittsburgh 47 91 .341 32 33-38 14-53 479 746 -267 Won 2 4-6 0.0
WEST W L PCT GB HOME ROAD RS RA DIFF STRK L10 POFF
San Diego 78 59 .569 40-29 38-30 589 484 +105 Won 2 2-8 67.8
San Francisco 78 61 .561 1 42-27 36-34 611 535 +76 Won 4 7-3 54.8
Colorado 74 64 .536 4.5 45-22 29-42 649 599 +50 Won 5 7-3 8.6
LA Dodgers 69 70 .496 10 41-31 28-39 590 591 -1 Lost 4 2-8 0.1
Arizona 56 83 .403 23 34-40 22-43 632 738 -106 Lost 4 5-5 0.0

…Let me just start pointing out that the Padres were 1-9 up until there win last night against the Dodgers. They are truly holding on to the division. If they don’t make it, then it will be a happy but still very sad story. To see this team win on solely pitching and defense has been so much fun to watch. The nobody’s that have become something on that team have been great to see…

…There is a new NL East division leader in the Philadelphia Phillies. They have got all their players back healthy and they are doing a lot of damage on offense. They have taken the Braves from  the storm and have a chance to potentially kick out the Braves if they don’t keep up their winning ways and a team like the Cardinals squeaks the Wild Card. It should be interesting…

…Finally, who is going to win that AL East? The Rays or Yankees? Either way, they are both making the playoffs but on what account? The division means a lot more and it sets you up for success in the playoffs. However, over the last decade, a lot of teams have won World Series by just barely making the playoffs. It should be interesting down the stretch but I think the Yankees will take the division with the Rays close behind them…

MLB Trade Dealine Deals

August 2, 2010

The MLB Trade Deadline approached yesterday and there were many deals that improved teams and many teams that didn’t feel like they needed to make any moves by the end of 4 PM eastern time mark. This deadline comes at a time where a team notices the weaknesses they have and try to make themselves better and win more games by bringing in new players. Here were some deals that went down…

Angels get Dan Haren from the D’backs for Saunders and prospects

Hurt Tigers get Johnny Peralta’s bat from the lowly Indians

Phillies make a huge deal and get another Roy in Roy Oswalt

Padres pick up much-needed veteran bat in Miguel Tejada

Rangers get First Base help with deal for Jorge Cantu

Twins give up top hitting prospect Wilson Ramos for Nationals Closer Matt Capps

Chicago White Sox pick up pitching arm in Edwin Jackson from the D-backs

St. Louis Cards pick up needed Starting pitcher in Jake Westbrook from Indians.

Yankees get another All Star in Astros Lance Berkman for prospects

Dodgers make big deal and get Scott Podsednick, Ted Lilly, and Octavio Dotel

Braves get Royals Rick Ankiel and Kyle Farnsworth for Triple A prospects

Yankees pick up Austin Kearns and Reliever Kerry Wood for more prospects.

…Those are a lot of deals but from all of these deals there are a few things in common. The Astros are in rebuilding mode because they gave up their franchise pitcher and the final Bee of the Astros original Bee squad in Berkman. But in return they didn’t get that much. They received J.A. Happ who will pan out nicely but I don’t think he will ever become what Roy Oswalt has done for that Franchise and Berkman has always been a great bat and a great team leader that will now be missed a lot by fans. It is sad to see them go. But give kudos to the Phillies and the Yankees who got themselves great players to make deep runs in October…

…Another team that dumped a lot of players is the Indians. They have given up so much. From Lee to Sabathia to now pretty much the starting lineup and the bullpen. They must really be making a huge change and try to come with a result like the Padres have done this year. Get younger and play with more toughness and maybe that will get you wins. But there is a big mess in Cleveland counting back the days to when a guy named Lebron chose to go somewhere else. The only good part of their season is to see rookie catcher Carlos Santana destroy the ball and become hopefully the next Victor Martinez that was once on the club…

…My favorite team that really made great deals was the Texas Rangers. To get Lee, Cantu, Molina, and Guzman it makes this team so much deeper. They hit every single whole they had and made some great deals. Lee will be great and is making a difference already, Cantu is giving them a consistent hitter in the lineup for a team that didn’t have that at first base, Molina is giving them help with his bat and working with the young pitching staff, and Guzman helps on the base to help out Kinsler, Young, and mentor Elvis Andrus. They really get an A+ for this deadline and watch out everyone, the Rangers are looking to do some damage…

…Finally, The Yankees just keep adding. This is why the sports world calls them the Bankees. They just added Berkman as a DH. Like that was the biggest of their worries? Berkman is a top 10 player in the NL and now is the 6th best player on the Yankees. They also have a guy named Mark Teixeira at first base so it’s so confusing. They also get a power bat in Kearns and arm in Kerry Wood for basically nothing. It is really unfair to the game and something needs to change. This is why everyone routs for the Padres because they have the lowest payroll but are still in first place. Wins don’t come with money, the come with heart and who has got it more. But for the Yankees the dollar bill is more important and it always has…

 For more information on the MLB and the recent Trade Deadline go to ESPN.com and MLB.com