What Are We Supposed To Do All Winter?

Written by athooks on .

Well. 

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. 

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Happy Thanksgiving

Written by athooks on .

It's Thanksgiving.

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. 

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Happy Skanksgiving Everybody!

Written by Mountain Fresh on .

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. 

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The Pros & Cons Of Jhonny Peralta

Written by athooks on .

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:

PROS -

+ 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

CONS -

- 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. 

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David Freese: The Human Ecstasy Hit

Written by athooks on .

So we called our shot. 

Sort of.

On September 27th, "Saying Goodbye To David Freese" was posted on Cards Diaspora.

The theory nearly 2 months ago was that the Cardinals wouldn't want to go to arbitration again with Freese and that dealing him would be not only fiscally prudent, but allow for better on-field production as well.

Fans were encouraged to send Freese off with gusto.

Funny the things you forget on the way to a World Series run. Because yesterday the Cardinals dealt the third baseman to the Angels for Peter Bourjos and Randal Grichuk. Fernando Salas was also sent to the Angels in the package. 

Unfortunately, the Angels might not be playing in Busch Stadium for quite some time. There will be no curtain calls; no Sign Guy puns. So all we're left with is the web to pay tribute to the man that will go down as the human ecstasy hit... invocation of his name takes us to a happy place.

It's true. We'll always have 2011. 

Let's watch together...

You in a better mood?

You're damn right you're in a better mood. That clip LITERALLY never gets old. 

Hell, even Cards Diaspora has gotten it's fair share of run from David Freese related material. Like the time we had a story about the 2011 World Series that no one had ever heard before

He came home to St. Louis on December 14th 2007 via trade with the San Diego Padres for Jim Edmonds. At the time it looked like a cheap PR stunt from the Cardinals. Sure he's a minor leaguer... and yes, Jimmy Baseball is one of the all-time fan favorites... but he's from STL!

Turns out the salary dump was the start of the John Mozeliak era - an era that has had very few missteps. This happened to be the fulcrum for successes that the Cardinals appear to just beginning to reap the benefits from as it pertains to personnel. 

Freese has never played a major league game without the Birds on the Bat across his chest. He not only represented the Cardinals well after vaulting into the national limelight post 2011, he was living out many of our dreams:

Grow up in St. Louis, play baseball for the Cardinals, become a World Series hero.

We did that too. We did it in our backyard.

Don't know about you guys, but I think everyone is kind of onboard with this trade. Freese gets a new start and a chance to get paid. The Cardinals get some pretty solid prospects that can help ASAP and in the long term as well.

If you'd have told us that the David Freese era was going to end in 2 NL pennants, a World Series and him starring in the single best baseball game that we'd ever get to see... would you have made that trade?

We all know the answer. 

Best of luck to Mr. Freese in Anaheim. Unlike Albert's departure to SoCal, there will be absolutely no hard feelings. Everyone will be pulling for the guy to be better than ever as an Angel. 

Fitting, seeing as he was kind of ours for the past few years. 

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Peoria Chiefs Auction For Tornado Relief

Written by athooks on .

About 11 miles to the east of Peoria, is Washington IL. 

As you read this, over 400 people in that community are without a home... having it destroyed by tornadoes last weekend. Don't take my word for it, though - look at the pictures here

It's going to be a long road back for many of these families. We're wishing them nothing but good thoughts. 

As with many natural disasters, communities are pulling together to try and help in any way that they can. The St. Louis Cardinals Class A affiliate, the Peoria Chiefs, are having an action to raise relief funds.

LINK TO AUCTION HERE

Unlike those charity events where you have to spend roughly a million dollars and three fingers to have a chance of winning an item, the Chiefs have a wide array of things to bid on for every price range. Plus you can do it all online from wherever you're reading. 

A quick perusal of the items shows some pretty good deals. The holiday season is almost here... might be a good shopping value?  So, you know, now you're a rockstar to even MORE people.

Win - Win. 

If you've thought about helping out, but haven't been motivated to do so yet... this could be a way to get involved. 

The Central Illinois chapter of the Red Cross is also accepting donations if you care to help that way in addition to or instead of the auction.

Either way, we figured we'd share and let you know how you could help if you're so in inclined. 

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Chris Carpenter Retires From Baseball

Written by athooks on .

Over 5 different seasons, Christopher Carpenter made 7 starts. 

Not 7 starts per season. In 2003, 2007, 2008, 2012 and 2013 he was able to take the ball to start a professional baseball game for a Cardinals, a team that had playoff aspirations, a TOTAL of 7 times.

Yes, I'm aware that Mr. Carpenter retired this week; not trying to be a dick. 

But for other teams, having their ace shelved for a half a decade would spell doom - the Cardinals had their best decade ever from 2003-2013.

For other players, having to go through 5 different grueling rehab assignments would be inhumane - Carp... well, are we sure he's for REAL real this time? Maybe we just rushed number 5  a bit?

It's a testament to what a beloved player we bore witness to in St. Louis.

Getting almost 40 million dollars in paychecks for 7 games started is something that athletes not named Chris Carpenter wouldn't get away with. They'd be blasted on sports talk radio and blogs for 'putting the team in a bad situation'. But in some odd way, it seemed worth it. 

Almost a value, even?

His presence made the Cardinals believe. His grit was contagious. He was Bob Gibson for a different generation. 

Guys, he had a rib removed so he could play baseball. A fucking rib. He put it in a mason jar and gave it to his daughter. And the Cardinals should go ahead and sign her right this very second. 

It's probably en vogue to mention 'the duel' with Roy Halladay in the NLDS GM5 circa 2011 yesterday and today. Maybe it's just faulty memory. Maybe it's just nostalgia. But damn, if that wasn't one of the most intense baseball games I've ever seen. 

Chris Carpenter took on the toughest city in America and didn't flinch. And if that primal roar at the end of his signature win didn't say it all about Carp, I don't know what does.

I'll always have this moment:

He's called it a career now. Let's hope the Cardinals do the smart thing and give him even more money. Because having Chris Carpenter around is kind of like keeping a bottle of Maker's in your house... never a bad idea. 

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Things Seen @ Bosnia Vs Argentina Game

Written by athooks on .

Busch Stadium was once again home to international soccer on Monday night. 

This was not Chelsea v Manchester City. This was Bosnia v Argentina. And with the best player in the world on the disabled list (Messi), the casual sporting fan opted to not show up for the match. Estimates vary, but the general consensus is that a little over 30K were in attendance. 

Things were seen.

Maybe it's the more subdued main usage of the facility that had trained me so well. Maybe it's true that American sports fans don't share the same passion for sports as other countries. Maybe I'm just not that observant, but things were definitely seen last night.

Like flares:

Or all of St. Louis' police in the bullpen:

Or people getting caged out:

Or advertisements for things not available in St. Louis:

Heck, we even saw a ton of cigs being smoked in the stands, and at one point, an empty beer bottle got taken and thrown out on the pitch during a controversial call during the second half. 

A memorable night at Busch Stadium. 

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Cardinals Are MVP Homers

Written by athooks on .

From Regressing:

We've long had the belief at Cards Diaspora that awards for individual players aren't worth having arguments about.

Good on Molina and Carpenter and any other Cardinal that gets an award or consideration for one. Generally that means they helped contribute to wins during gameplay.

But getting worked up over them? We'll pass. We used to care (a whole bunch), but that turned out to be a fool's errand

That being said... I guess I'd rather have the STL contingent of voters be homers, if nothing more than to PO division rivals. So good work Commish. Carp over McCutcheon indeed. 

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Cards Steal Brewers Groundskeeper & Friday Links

Written by athooks on .

Perspective. 

As Cardinals fans it's sometimes hard to gain. 2 NL pennants. 1 World Series championship. 6 playoff series wins (not even counting the win against Atlanta in 2012 as a 'series'.) And, that, my friend, is just the past 3 seasons. 

Go ahead and ask you favorite baseball pundit who they think will be in the NL Driver's seat come April. They're going to tell you the Cardinals. By a mile. 

So imagine being a Brewers fan. They went all in a couple seasons back to try and win it all. Gave up tons of prospects to acquire big stars like C.C. Sabathia and Zack Greinke, only to have those guys bolt Wisconsin as soon as they weren't being contractually forced to be there.

Now? Well now they can't even keep their heads groundskeeper.

Because he's coming to the Cardinals. LINK HERE

Couldn't tell you if this was a big score for the Cardinals or not. Couldn't tell you if they're planning more SIUC football games at Busch Stadium and needed some more troops to handle the divots. 

But I can tell you that you need to click on that link and read the comments. Everything from how the Cardinals are a class organization and everything that the Brewers will never be, to ruminations about how this signals the true end of the Brewers being in Milwaukee. 

It's amazing. 

Now go think about just how disappointed we all were when the Cardinals lost the World Series again. Because when you realize that other fans in our division are using their Hot Stove time to talk about the merits of a groundskeeper and what it means in the 'big picture'... well, finally, you might get a bit of perspective on 2013.

Now, The Friday Links...

Funny warning signs. LINK HERE

America. LINK HERE

Just try it. LINK HERE

Dad... DAD. LINK HERE

Run. LINK HERE

Good Vines. LINK HERE

That's it. That's the week. The Cardinals are exploring all options at SS, it looks like. According to sources we've been in touch with, everyone is still in play. Even you. You played SS for a while in Little League, right? That's why the Cardinals have been trying to get ahold of you. Nothing is off the table. Nothing. 

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