Rich Hill's Sinking Ship

Categories: Cardinals
What? Oh, come on. That's a funny picture and you know it.
It's looking more and more as if the Rich Hill Era is probably going to end before it begins here in St. Louis. 

Since Hill joined the team, I've been rooting for him to win the vacant fifth spot in the Cardinals' rotation. I've long admired his stuff, and the spectre of Kyle McClellan taking the mound every fifth day is just too terrifying for me to consider and still sleep well at night. So I've hoped against my logical self to see Hill turn his control issues around and regain some of the magic he showed back in the early days of his MLB career. 

Sadly, after watching Rich Hill this spring, I just don't think it's going to happen. 

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Morgan Ensberg and The Night the Lights Went Out for Lidge

Categories: Cardinals
From the Twitter of Rob Neyer by way of Matthew Leach, we have a real blast from the past: Morgan Ensberg, former Houston Astros' third baseman, discussing Albert Pujols' shot in the 2005 NLCS. Apparently Ensberg was positioned wrong all those years ago, and it was that poor positioning that allowed the rally which culminated in Albert's home run to get off the ground in the first place. 

First off, I wasn't aware Morgan Ensberg had a blog, but I'm all kinds of excited now to read it. And second, I had no idea anyone who played for the Astros could possibly be that intelligent. Hell, I'm honestly surprised any of their players can read. (Okay, before anyone gets all upset at me for calling the Houston players illiterate, I don't really mean that. I'm sure plenty of Astros players can read. Coloring books are still considered books, right?) 

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The Tigers' Draw: The Tigers

Categories: College
So the verdict is in, and the Missouri Tigers ended up a 10 seed, much as I had feared they would following their ignominious defeat at the hands of Nebraska in the opening round of the Big 12 Tournament

Unfortunate, too, as Mizzou will now head to possibly the toughest bracket of the four, the East, and be forced to play a very good Clemson team in the opening round. Still, it's tough to be all that upset, as the Tigers made the NCAA Tournament in what was very much an in-between year for the program following the departures of Leo Lyons, DeMarre Carroll, and Matt Lawrence. Sure, that 10 seed isn't ideal, especially as the Tigers could have done so much better, but they're back on the dance floor, and anything can happen as long as you get in. 

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Pushing the Panic Down, For Now

Categories: Cardinals
I'll admit it: I thought this Cardinal team was going to be an absolute juggernaut from the very beginning. First day of spring training, I thought they would be making opposing teams cry with their overwhelming superiority. 

Thus, you can imagine my feelings of discontent when this team not only failed to make anyone cry, but actually started out with a big fat ofer in the win column. In fact, not only was I discontented, I started feeling the familiar squeezing sensation I get every year when I suddenly realise the Cardinals probably aren't going to go 162-0 and have a run differential of +600. I started to panic. 

"What is wrong with this team?" I thought to myself. "How can a team with Matt Holliday and Albert Pujols and Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainwright possibly be this bad?" (Ignoring, of course, the fact none of those guys have actually seen much on-field time.) 

Fortunately for me and my peace of mind, these games don't count. They literally mean absolutely nothing. In fact, you could classify these games as nothing more than practice, if you wanted. And we all know how much practice matters, right? Hell, I'll let the recently-retired legend himself, Allen Iverson, tell you all about practice. 

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The Tigers Lay a Tournament Egg

Categories: College
Thumbnail image for PictureofSculptureTigerMedium.jpg
The Missouri Tigers certainly didn't do themselves any favours in the Big 12 Tournament. Going in to the tournament, they were seen as a team playing their best basketball at the right time of the year. Now, after dropping their opening round game to Nebraska, 75-60, the Tigers aren't looking nearly so strong. 

It's really unfortunate, too, considering how much ground the Tigers had gained in recent weeks. Just how much of that ground they gave back is up for debate, of course, but it's clear their standing will take a hit. 

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The Cards' Two-Man Race By the Numbers

Categories: Cardinals
I should feel bad about using such a goofy picture of Rich Hill. However, I do not.
Going into spring training, I was really excited to see how the battle for the fifth and final spot in the Cardinals' rotation was going to shake out. Jaime Garcia, Rich Hill, Blake Hawksworth, Mitchell Boggs, even Kyle McClellan was going to get a shot. It was going to be really exciting checking the box scores every day to see which hurler had finagled himself a knife's edge advantage. 

Of course, the reality of spring training competitions then set in, and the whole thing suddenly became much, much less interesting. Garcia needs to have his workload monitored, so he'll start out in Memphis. Boggs is probably better in the bullpen (which I wholeheartedly agree with, but still), and Blake Hawksworth gave Dave Duncan the wam fuzzies last year working in relief. Both of them will either make the club out of the 'pen or not at all, it appears. So it's a two man race between Kyle "Duncan Loves Me" McClellan, aka K-Mac, aka Kylie MacNogue, aka Big Daddy French Toast, and Rich "Don't Call me Blass" Hill. Sure, they're probably the two best choices anyway, but it takes so much of the fun out of things. 

A bit of fifth starter numerical masturbation for your reading pleasure. 

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Game Notes: Metropolitans 17, Cardinals 11 - 4th March 2010

Categories: Cardinals
Springtime, bitches!!!
Ah, the first Cardinal game notes of the year. It can only mean one thing. 

Baseball is back. 

Sure, it was sloppy, ugly, and at times nearly unwatchable. Sure, the Cards got their asses handed to them, mostly by their own relief pitchers' inability to throw a ball over the plate. And sure, Albert didn't play and Holliday didn't play and Yadi didn't play and Evan MacLane got the start. So what? I sat down on my sofa, turned on the television, and there was a baseball game on. To me, that's more than enough cause for celebration. 

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The Blues Begin the Stretch Run Standing Pat

Categories: Blues
The NHL's trade deadline came and went yesterday without the Blues making an major moves. They had Brad Boyes out there on the market, but found no offers to take. They did make a couple small moves, but when Matt D'Agostini is the only player traded for who's expected to join the big club, it's fair to say it was a quiet deadline. 

And really, that's probably okay. There are two ways you can go at the deadline; you can buy or you can sell. Honestly, though, I'm not sure either one of those was the right way for the Blues to go. No matter how much you might like to see them make a move just for the sake of the movement, standing pat might have been the only option that made sense. 

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In Which the Author is Forced to Defend Tony La Russa Against His Will

Categories: Cardinals, Media
Well, it was inevitable, I suppose. Finally, after years of little passive-aggressive asides and snarky jabs being tossed surreptitiously toward Tony La Russa, someone came out and said it straight up: La Russa doesn't belong in the Hall of Fame

Thom Loverro, of ESPN 980 in Washington, D.C., is the author of the piece in question, which claims Tony La Russa is not worthy to go into the Hall of Fame because of the myriad steroid users he has coached over the years, as well as his claims of ignorance as to the situation. 

Sigh. You guys do know just how much it rankles me to defend Tony La Russa, don't you? 

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The NHL's Momentum: Can They Keep it Going?

Yesterday we saw what has to go down as one of the single greatest sporting contests in recent history. Today, the NHL starts back up. 

The question, of course, is whether the NHL, after receiving the ultimate advertisement, can find some way to carry that momentum forward. Given their recent (and not so recent, come to think of it), history, you have to be a bit skeptical. 

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