Tony LaRussa dropped the mic after the 2011 Cardinals won the World Series and retired from baseball.
773 days later, he's a Major League Baseball Hall of Fame member, elected by the Expansion Era Committee. He will be enshrined in Cooperstown on July 27th 2014.
He spent 16 seasons as the Cardinals skip, winning 1,408 games, 3 National League Pennants, 2 World Series Championships and 1 NL Manager of the Year award.
Also, he loved kittens and puppies.
It's hard to quantify what LaRussa meant for baseball in St. Louis.
Before he arrived in 1996, the Cardinals hadn't been to the playoffs since 1987, had posted 62 and 53 win seasons in 1995 and 1994 respectively and was the face of a new ownership group lead by Bill DeWitt Jr.
In one short season, the Cardinals were NL Central champs and losing the NLCS in dramatic fashion to the Braves in 7.
No mind, the Cardinals were winners again. And truth be told, they really haven't stopped. TLR's teams made the playoffs in 9 of his 16 seasons. And the winning ways he instilled have made sure the Cardinals haven't sat our October since 2010.
Chances are they will be back again in 2014.
Opinions on the man vary. He wasn't warm and fuzzy. He didn't care what you thought of his decisions. He wasn't here to entertain. If something blocked the path to winning... it was eliminated.
Some people like the soft sell. LaRussa was tougher than the shingles that he caught in 2011.
But it's undeniable that he was successful. So much so that you can make a strong argument that the Cardinals best "golden age" began with LaRussa in 1996 and is still ongoing... better than ever, perhaps, in 2014.
If that isn't a Hall of Famer, then we shouldn't have a Hall of Fame. Congratulations to #10.no comments
The 2013 'Winter Meetings' started today.
For Cardinals GM John Mozeliak it's going to a lot like Taylor Swift going to a record selling convention - all smiles and back pats from his industry buddies, while a seething hatred bubbles just below the surface.
You fellers are having trouble with your teams?
Holler at me down at the cabana bar when you're done with work, cool?
The only objective left for the Cardinals is trying to get a right handed backup hitting infielder. You know, just in case Kolten Wong doesn't light the world on fire the first couple of months. Other than that?
I'm honestly not sure that a GM has ever gone to the Winter Meetings with less to do than Mr. Mozeliak. Kudos to him for locking up a SS and CF before Thanksgiving. That's what the Cardinals needed and that's what they've got. So beyond putting some feelers out there for the hell of it... it's going to be a relaxing next few days.
I did kind of find it amusing that the rates for the conventions are posted on the official Winter Meetings site. Did you know that the Cardinals had to pay $325 for Mr. Mozeliak's badge? Well, that's assuming the Cardinals paid in advance. Otherwise it's $475 at the door.
We'll be keeping an eye on any comings or goings that effect the Cardinals (or Pirates or Cubs or Reds) over the next couple of days.
But for now, we'll picture Johnny Mo straight kickin' it by the pool.no comments
Looks like like the Cardinals and FSN are sniffing around the idea of bringing in former FOX MLB lead TV analyst Tim McCarver into the mix on broadcasts next season.
Yes, the same Tim McCarver that inspired the Tumblr 'Shit Tim McCarver Says'.
He is a former Cardinal. And according to that STLToday article above, he's also beloved by The Nation. I can't testify to the beloved part, but he was a former Cardinal and the stats indicate a pretty good one at that.
Nothing has been finalized as of this posting... so we got to ask. You want Tim McCarver in your life this upcoming summer?
It's so far, the most interesting development in the off-season for the Cardinals. Let's see how The Nation reacts.
Maybe you don't like Kanye West.
But he's a genius.
And yes, you can be reductive. And disagree because you've never taken the time to dig deeper on Mr. West. He's made it easy from time to time.
But yesterday during an interview on the Rickey Smiley Show, Ye said that lots of people think he's crazy. He's not. He's "learning out loud". And the people that choose this path are going to have negativity put on them from people that have stopped discovering things for and about themselves.
Isn't that the TRUTH? Think about the people in your life that are negative forces. They're never the explorers. They're never the doers. They just like the bring the ones outside of the pack back in line.
So you know what, maybe this guy really loved Pujols and doesn't care that he left St. Louis. He obviously cares deeply for the Rams, as anyone that's had tattoos on sensitive parts can attest... and hell, they might leave him too.
He's learning out loud. We at Cards Diaspora salute him. And hope that Stan Kroenke can figure out something with the dome so we can get you the pub you deserve when the Rams finally make the playoffs again.no comments
Shelby Miller, he of 15 wins and a third place medal for NL Rookie of the Year, has finally (sort of) opened up about his benching in the postseason.
Of course, it's in the NY Times 'Weddings & Celebrations' section from this past weekend.
"She [Amy Peters] would remind me that I was good and there was some reason unknown to us why I wasn't pitching," Miller told the paper of record.
So OK it's not earth shattering - you'd expect a Major League baseball player to want to play in the biggest games. But when it's the lede graph in a huge spread in one of the nation's most prestigious news organizations?
Well, I guess it's just weird. Like we said yesterday, we're having to work for material here.
Other notes from the article:
+ The bride wore pink cowboy boots, to match the bridesmaids' bright pink, above-the-knee strapless dresses.
+ Drink of choice for Shelby? 'Shelby's Strike Out' - a lime margarita.
+ Joe Kelly was a groomsman. Lance Lynn was in attendance. And it was officiated by the Cardinals' Chaplin, but coach Matheny did say a prayer before the meal.
+ Both were involved with other people (albeit casually) when they started a text based relationship. But he won her over with his sense of humor.
+ Miller did ask to formally be a boyfriend to Ms. Peters four months after they met.
Good for the Miller's. Looks like they had a big time at their wedding. And have somehow basked in the national wedding spotlight that only the Times can shine on newly ringed couples.no comments
On one hand it's pretty nice to be rooting for a team that filled pretty much every need they had by Thanksgiving. On the other... what the hell are we going to talk about until Spring Traning?
I mean, we've already parsed out the Jhonny Peralta contract every which way and we've still got 71 days left until camps open up. Does someone have a live feed of Oscar Taveras' off-season workouts we can embed? Maybe we should all just pick another team and follow their off-season just to mix it up?
Here's a video celebrating 'A Century Of Success' (1892 -1992):
So we'll spend the winter just kind of sitting on our hands. Waiting for the 2014 season to start.
Turns out that when we all get old, those highlights up there might not be the golden years. We might just be in the midst of them right now.
Be warned. We might have to get real creative around these parts. Don't hold it against us.no comments
Thanks for making us a part of your daily, weekly, monthly or yearly online routine. All 5 of you are the BEST, doesn't matter what everyone else is saying about you.
Ed Note: This article was originally published in 2008 on Cards Diaspora by Mountain Fresh (nee Fresh WC) after the devastating news that Rusty’s, an Edwardsville IL ‘Skanksgiving’ tradition was shuttered.
For whatever reason, this article got put up in 2009, 2010, 2011 & 2012 and by giving it some run again, we've created a monster. As long as this site is in operation, the day prior to Thanksgiving will have this post up...
The vast majority of you will not find this post amusing/entertaining in the least. But it’s become something a select few people look forward to reading every year on this day.
So I hope you’ll indulge us posting this again…
Skanksgiving: a time to share joy, cocktails, and inflated stories of success with the majority of your graduating high school class.
“People who get excited about NYE are d-bags. Skanksgiving is where it’s at,” offered loyal CD reader and problem drinker John Bucher. “If every day was Skanksgiving, you could say goodbye to the Taliban and hello to world peace.”
But it won’t be all fun and games for one quiet St. Louis suburb this year.
This brimming hamlet’s 28,000+ residents began their 2009 Skanksgiving with a burning and all important question: “ Where the hell am I supposed to go tonight now that Rusty’s is closed?
Edwardsville, Illinois: Baseball Town, USA. – once the home to Rusty’s Restaurant, a place thousands of proud Edwardsville Tigers felt was the Skanksgiving capital of the world. One of Edwardsville’s first victims of the recent economic downturn, Rusty’s had their final last call June 4, 2008- and closed their doors forever.
Current dentist and future rehab visitor Beau Moody offered the CD his take:
“I mean…I’m never going to go to a class reunion- Skanksgiving at Rusty’s was as close as it’s ever going to get for me. I love Laurie’s, but it’s just not the same. Quite frankly, I’m not sure I’m ready to deal with this tragedy.”
Downtown watering holes Laurie’s Place, the Stagger Inn (Again), and Cleo’s stand ready to pick up the slack, but it won’t be enough for local attorney Tom Ludwig. “ I wouldn’t even step foot in Rusty’s any day other than Skanksgiving. Now that it’s gone, I guess I’ll just stay home this year. I’m deeply saddened by our community’s loss.”
Though many intend to move on with their lives and give the recently re-badged Big Daddy’s their business this Skanksgiving, some are unable to let go.
As early as Sunday evening, flyers were circulating the streets of Edwardsville calling for a gathering in the now vacant Rusty’s parking lot for a Candle & Natural Light vigil to mourn the legend of Rusty’s Skanksgiving. But regardless of tonight’s plans, the landscape of Edwardsville’s night-before-major-holidays-nightlife is forever changed.
Much to the dismay of moralists and lexicographers in St. Louis, Jhonny Peralta is a Cardinal.
4 years and $52 million dollars is what it took to lure the free agent most recently employed by Detroit to come south to St. Louis. He was not tendered an offer by the Tigers, so the Cardinals will not be losing any draft compensation.
Reaction (unlike the Freese trade) has been mixed:
+ He was an All Star in 2013 and has a career line of .330 (OBP) / .425 (SLG) / .755 (OPS). For comparison, Pete Kozma for his career is .232 (OBP) / .293 (SLG) / .608 (OPS). The difference is even more stark in 2013.
+ Career oWAR of 26.5 and dWAR of 4.6. In 2013 those numbers were 3.2 and 0.7, representing his value to be worth about 4 wins for the Tigers. Not to pick on the guy, but Kozma was - 0.9 oWAR and 1.3 dWAR, meaning he was pretty much the proverbial 'replacement level player'. Note that Kozma, for all the defensive talk was only a 1.3 WAR player for '13 and only a 1.7 for his career, albeit a career much shorter than Peralta.
+ He's durable. Sans his 50 game suspension (see below), he hasn't missed any time of note, playing 140+ games every other full season he's been in MLB.
+ He had 11 HRs in 2013 and 45 in the past 3 seasons. Power ABs aren't mandatory for shortstops, but to have that threat in the bottom 1/3 of the order is nice treat.
+ He didn't speak much English when he came to the US, but still managed to wife up an American.
+ He bats RH and will be in a (presumptive) infield of Adams, Wong and Carpenter that features 3 LH bats. He batted .352 against LH pitchers in '13, though, meaning that most staffs are going to have a tough time pitching around the Cardinals in late games.
+ He wanted to be in St. Louis. Other teams (most likely the Mets) had offers out to Peralta for 4 years at his asking price while the Cardinals waned to sign him for 3. Peralta asked the Cardinals to come up because he wanted to be here. He still got paid... so it's not the biggest pro. But it's worth noting.
+ Kozma or Descalso aren't doing this.
- He served a 50 game suspension for his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal. You can read his full quote on the suspension here and decide if you accept it. But there is zero doubt that he was involved in performance enhancing drugs in some capacity.
- Did you like David Freese? Of course you did. But did you like the way he moved in the infield? If not, then you might not like Peralta. He's not, shall we say, graceful. He gets the job done on defense (see above), but he's not Kozma. Or Brendan Ryan.
- The contract is about $13 million over 4 years. He's 31 now. Yes, he can move to the OF or play 3B if he becomes a liability on defense in the next few years, but the Cardinals have made a pretty substantial commitment to Peralta. Not a totally fair comparison... but Yadier Molina only makes $2 million more per year than Peralta.
- The Tigers didn't tender him. It's a curious move, since he made it clear he wanted 4 years and wouldn't take their 1 year deal. Still, the Tigers, on the very off chance that he took their offer, couldn't live with JP for 1 year 14-15 million?
BOTTOM LINE -
The Cardinals had to make a move.
Did they get a steal? Probably not. Did they overpay a bit. Probably so. Did they get a guy that is durable and much better than they had? Yes.
Yes they did.
When news of this signing was breaking all over Twitter on Saturday afternoon, I can't say I was wild about Jhonny Peralta as a Cardinal. But as the stats come out, it looks like the Cardinals have made a substantial upgrade at SS.
As always, we'll know more when he laces them up in April.no comments