collage no names

Two Words: “Uh” and “Oh”

 

Written by – KMFP  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/the-kmfp/)

Well shit…

Let me preface the rest of this column by saying that I sincerely hope that I’m wrong and that all of you who are somewhat hating me after reading it will be further cursing my name in a week… but I’m VERY afraid – and you should be too.

UO1Sure, it’ll be absolutely electric over at Busch Number Three for at least two games, and the pure beauty of these lifelong rivals finally meeting with something on the line is as satisfying in that respect as ultimately bedding that high school crush a few years after graduation, but did this Cubs team have to be SO good… SO young… SO hungry?

I don’t even like typing it, but this has a similarly frightening “feel” as those 2004 Red Sox, and how annoying is it that Theo Epstein could potentially have a hand in ending both historic droughts?

Should the Baby Bears run the table like their Northeastern predecessors of over a decade ago, Mr. Epstein may just deserve a bronze tribute in front of two of the most archaic, overrated shit-heaps to ever host a professional sporting event… but I digress.

The Cubbies are coming, my KMFP-eople, and make no mistake about it – they are NOT scared.

They are young enough not to give a fat fu-you-know-what about the “big bad Cardinals”, but well managed and perhaps just mature enough not to disrespect the notion.

Sure they know the history, the tradition, the “Sea of Red”, “Cardinal Nation”, and – undoubtedly the most obnoxious, self-anointed label of them all – the “Best Fans in Baseball”.  They’re professional baseball players, and you can bet my sweet ass that they’ve followed it from youth.

However – in the most respectful sense of what I’m about to write (or maybe not?) – they just… don’t… care.

They won’t come here tipping caps to tradition on their way to mere contentment with being deferential bit players in yet another St. Louis postseason script, and a footnote to an additional flag in the outfield.

They have every intention of clearing a road-bump… not being one.

And – as ridiculously taboo to say as it’s often considered by these “Best Fans” who I live amongst– they are the better team right now.

I know, I know, “but look at the standings”.  I know, I know, I’m just a “fair-weather fan”, I’m “not loyal”, and I should probably “just move”, lest I speak analytically, honestly, and yes – even emotionally and NOT on the side of our – yes “our” hometown team.

You see, I AM a fan of not only the team, but the game, the season, and the realities that usually govern it, and not the “idea” of showing up in October to be seen at an event after watching these guys pop corks on the ten o’clock news before even realizing that we’d get that chance again.

UO2And any true fan of this game, its 162-game structure, and the very realistic elements of momentum and “peaking”, will look right past the numbers under “W” in the paper, the avenue by which they punched their playoff ticket, or some inherited arrogance of “our team” always being the deserving one when attempting a rational assessment of what could transpire – regardless of which side that lands you on.

My own assessment unfortunately sees a team of the aforementioned “peaking” variety, who is playing fearless, and with that overhyped, proverbial “nothing to lose” designation that so often accompanies major sporting events.

But – at the risk of writer’s hyperbole – has there ever been a more suitable target for such a label than a rookie-laden squad of a historically futile franchise, with a new manager and an appointment with its fiercest rival and pretty much the exact opposite of a lot of those adjectives?

(for the record, I just vomited after typing that… but I may be getting newspaper offers now)

And let’s be careful not to forget St. Louis’s own most recent 2006 and 2011 World Series runs when already crowning the home team on statistics and swagger alone.  These two Champions won 83 and 90 games respectively… but “peaked” (that word again) at the right time.

Well this is looking like “the right time” again – just not for the Cardinals.

On top of that, it’s not like Chicago fields some “lucky to be here” group of Wild Card beneficiaries, hoping to ride a magical wave into the sunset shores.

This team won only three fewer games than our beloved boys of summer, being gifted the dreaded “play-on” game by virtue of being in the best division in baseball alone.  Most other seasons AND most other divisions, and both the Cubs – and those Pirates who they just dispatched – could’ve been waiting for the winner of that matchup as well.

Furthermore, they’ve got the best pitcher on the planet in Jake Arrieta right now, a downright terrifying lineup, and a Manager who – despite his current tenure – has some postseason experience, two-time Manager of the Year accolades on his resume (soon to be three)… and a sack full of nuggets in his trousers.

I like this guy, and it’s very hard not to.  He’s not “by the book”, he loosens things up and he takes some chances.  He truly believed, he made these kids believe, and a city does as well – possibly not in jest for once.

UO3I could never discount the injuries and adversity of their own that this Cardinal bunch had to overcome in this incredible season, and I wholeheartedly believe that Mike Matheny’s steady hand and presence in that clubhouse was most definitely the guiding force behind it, as well as making him deserving of MOTY honors himself.

But one – his playoff decisions scare me; and two – I’m just being honest.

Here’s to hoping that I’m equally dead wrong… KMFP-out!

 

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The Hypocritical Hall

 

Written by – The Pad

As I sit here and reflect upon this year’s Hall of Fame ballot and inductees, I’m not going to discuss players, stats, or careers. It would be like comparing apples to oranges.

What I am here to say is that there is a 30-year period where Major League Baseball knew and accepted steroid use to fill the seats and make money.

HH1You can’t have it both ways! You cannot allow Major League Baseball and baseball owners to reap rewards from filling seats because of steroid use and punish the very players who use the steroids and fill those seats.

Personally I am a man of integrity when it comes to competing in ANYTHING. I would rather lose honestly – with integrity – than cheat to win at anything. But the facts… are the facts… are the facts… steroids were used, were known, and were allowed!

The reason we even have this discussion or debate is because of a little weasel-dick named John McCain, who – with the senator of North Dakota, Byron Dorgan (who the fuck names their kid Byron Dorgan? I’d be mad at anything and everything too if that was my name) at a Senate Commerce Committee hearing On June 18th, 2002.

Let me define that: a Senate money committee forced a drug testing program at the major league level without probable cause.

What a joke! Mind you – baseball already has a governing committee; what was their real purpose here? I would have to say envy.

It makes absolutely no sense to me. Let’s look at this on a smaller level. I had seven starts against Matthews Dickey in my baseball career, and I never lost a game… and we all knew that they were sometimes three to five years older than we were – but we played and we won.

Now there was no money involved there – they just cheated to win, the reason everyone cheats; which is in my mind a bigger travesty than for money.

It comes down to this people: There is not a cheater if there is NO RULE broken, just as there is nothing illegal done if there is no law broken. It is the Hall of Fame Museum, so all years and generations need to be recognized.

I hope people can understand this, because – without it – we won’t have the “best of the best” involved ever.

 

(The Pad ARCHIVES: http://www.thekmfp.com/author/the-pad/)

HELP WANTED:

 

Written by – KMFP  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/the-kmfp/)

POSITION:

*Manager of historical, world class, consistently-competitive baseball franchise – fresh off of FOUR straight National League Championship Series, two World Series appearances and one title… under the direction of previous boss.

HW1EXPERIENCE:

*Preferred playing and/or coaching experience at the higher levels of Minor League Baseball – at the very least – however, any sap with the common knowledge to keep two of your biggest “one-shot” power threats available in a close, late-inning, elimination game, AND not be on the receiving end of apparent Randy Choate blackmail photos involving himself and Becky The Queen of Carpet will at least get you an interview.

SPECIFIC REQUIREMENTS:

*A stomach capable of withstanding annoyingly self-appointed phrases such as “best fans in baseball”, “the Cardinal way”, “hunt for ‘Red October’” and Kolten Wong puns ad-FUCKING-nauseam – with the added bonus of everybody speaking them with that bullshit arrogance of personally coining each one themselves.

*The ability to accurately assess when a pitcher cruising along on 79-pitches and mowing down the opposition can/should be left in a game, that the switching of effective relievers is not necessitated simply by the start of a new inning – especially when less than 10-pitches are involved in completion of the previous one, and the REMOVAL of a few others (see above) who couldn’t get Tom Cruise out if he were in a straight bar and being honest with himself… or had “Rosenthal” printed across their back after mid-September.

 

Okay, I realize that we’re all still a bit emotional and I surely don’t aim to just pile on – but see the Mike Martz personal ruining of the early millennium Rams for reference here, folks.

(M.M. initials… coincidence???)

And while it’s only fair to give Mike Matheny his due for the accomplishment of reaching the pinnacle of his respective league in his first three years at the helm, it is therefore equally fair to question his abilities beyond that.

The Buffalo Bills once went to four straight Super Bowls… the Buffalo Bills once LOST four straight Super Bowls.

Guess what that makes them?

HW2Let me honestly say that I was originally onboard with Matheny’s hiring, and have been largely a big proponent of his for most of his tenure.  But for all of his regular season success, he only seems to choke in October, and get in his own way more often than not.

The fact remains that at the very same time he is padding his resume with playoff appearances, he is possibly costing this franchise a dynasty with every eventual exit and added year of player age advancement. (see “Mike Martz” again)

The mistakes that we toss around the barroom and bitch about in June… are FAR more magnified in the swing game of a postseason elimination series.

And that is where he’s failed miserably in my less than humble opinion.

Defenders can scream dutifully and loudly about “three straight NLCS’s and one pennant”, but they also have to be willing to sit back and eat the shit sandwich composed of a blown 3-1 series lead, unused players on playoff rosters and more perplexing strategical decisions than a week of Obama foreign policy, that comes along with that.

And while we’re on it, my opinion doesn’t make me a “hater” (juvenile word), “basher”, or “fair-weather fan” either.  It makes me one – a fan; and two – goddamned RIGHT!

True fandom is not simply accepting every loss and backing every decision of the Skipper just because he obviously “knows more than me”, wears the “birds-on-the-bat” and isn’t “sitting at home watching on TEE-v” – but exactly the opposite of that.

And “fair-weather” is possibly the most misused term in all of sports, not at all describing someone who cares enough to criticize decisions affecting the outcome of something they thoroughly enjoy.

Again, “fair-weather” is exactly the opposite.  Actual “fair-weather” fans fail to realize that there IS a season prior to September, emotionally checkout once a parade and copious amounts of alcohol and attention are not involved, and – by that very relationship – could give two shits less about taking the time to second-guess anything beyond their choice of face paint and how many quarters are in a baseball game.

They can also be seen occupying over half of the stadium in October and “Bragbooking” about such until you’re impelled to punch them in the gunt… but I digress.

Name-calling aside, for as much as Mike Matheny has succeeded – he has failed.

While succeeding in maintaining poise through an up-and-down season and meshing the pieces necessary to compete for the games “that matter”, he has failed to learn from his blatant mistakes and utilize those pieces properly once there.

I hate to use that shitty, “go-to”, Little League Coach attack when it comes to Double-M, but he honestly had that quality at times this week.

HW3Instead of playing to win – on at least two occasions – he literally looked more intent on “teaching a lesson” to those prying parents who every coach knows so well.

Only WE were the parents.

You could first see it in that smug fucking look of pride that he welcomed the aforementioned Choate to the dugout with in Game Four, after the comebacker he fielded when being inexplicably positioned for failure on a second straight night, only to be thankful to have dodged it.

I shouldn’t have used Randy last night in that situation, eh?  Well fuck you – watch this… TOLD YOU SO!

That’s exactly what that was and you won’t convince me otherwise.

And even the staunchest of self-proclaimed “gurus” and “he’s soooo hot”, split-tailed fans must’ve been screaming “what the absolute fuck!” in Game Five’s 9th inning – if only under their hypocritical breaths.

There he was again – the stubborn-ass, overweight “has-been” from your local ball field, so pissed off about the previous game’s emails (questions) from parents (reporters/fans) that he’d rather prove a point by playing the kid who’d been rotting on the bench for 20+ games in the most critical of situations, than look out for what’s best for the remainder of the team (franchise/city/fan-base).

… all while setting a young man up for inevitable failure and possible emotional concern.

But he “showed us” and we “got what we wanted” I guess.  Well, way to go, big fella’.

Here’s the deal:  First – when fans and media are innocently questioning the use, or lack thereof, of an apparently-buried player on the depth chart, this is done out of legitimate wonder and not animosity; and Second – with your season evidently over, if only in your own mind, it’s not necessary that “everyone gets a turn”.

Sure – I keep an equal playing rotation in my coaching endeavors, but I’m both dealing with twelve year old girls who are the opposite of getting paid to play… and I am not an asshole.

If pompous “Coach Tiny-Dick” has no problem disregarding the feelings of pee-wee players whose parents curiously pay HIM to do so down at the sandlot; then Mike Matheny should be able to do the same for those (read “Trevor Rosenthal/Randy Choate”) who his bosses PAY to play in the national spotlight – and fans as well.

For all of my thousand-plus words of bitching, the best thing he could’ve done over the last two nights was give a shit less what “we” thought.  Don’t prove a point… win a goddamned game.

As taken from the best movie in history:  “It’s not personal, it’s business” – and too often Matheny’s decisions leaned heavier on the former.

HW4The ridiculous hatred for Tony La Russa around these parts often spawned from questionable tactics, but the proverbial “strings” which he “pulled” in October, were far more successful than not.  The same cannot be said of his successor, and we’ve now had a big enough sample.

You see, second-guessing and bitching is great, but time reveals the truest of measurement.  The biggest of TLR bashers cannot dispute his track record, regardless of how much they yell about steroids, talent level, and bullpen management… because he won.

And the biggest of MM supporters cannot discount his either, regardless of two of the same – and possibly still the third… because he lost………………………………………again.

Update your resume… KMFP-out!

 

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Smoke and Mirrors

 

Written by – KMFP  (Profile/Bio: http://www.thekmfp.com/team/the-kmfp/)

Congratulations, fans.  You’ve woke up to a team that is thirteen games over .500, at 76 – 63, and currently in first place in the Central Division – with a 3-game buffer, and after rolling off five impressive wins in a row, including a sweep of the Pittsburgh Pirates and their whiny-ass catcher.

SM1On a side-note, how is that 13-games over .500 anyway?  If you’re 40 – 20, that’s considered 20-games over.  However, if you had lost only TEN more games… then you would be 30 – 30; also known as “.500”

I digress, but it does lead me to the point of this argument: statistics in baseball are both its beauty… and its bane.

While a columnist for the local paper jerks off to seven different “sabermetric” bibles, and has spent the last five years building EVERY article he writes from the cherry-picked, sample sizes that best drive his narrative at a particular point of the season, real people go on playing the games.

I can only read his “work” for as long as it takes him to type “according to ­­­­­­­­­­­­__________ (<– insert statistical geek site here)”… which is roughly two sentences for much of the last half-decade.

Numbers are great for building or destroying an argument, however – over the course of a 162-game season – are hardly an accurate reflection of actual, overall (read “team”) success.  Sportswriters love to grab whatever “from this date to that date” segment most fittingly “proves” how good or bad they are currently hoping to portray a player.

Let’s grab “the last 9-games” because adding that fucking tenth may just jump – or drop – those numbers outside of my argument range!

… 2014 journalism at its pencil-bending finest.  But what happened to watching the games?

Well if you’re watching the St. Louis Cardinals, you’ll see that they’re feeding this ever-growing assemblage of saber-dorks a big ole’ shit-sandwich, while true baseball enthusiasts collectively enjoy their puckered reaction to its taste.

Pull up these “all-telling” statistical scriptures and you’ll see a first place team that features only one hitter above .300 (Jon Jay), a few others a bit behind that, and the rest toiling around the .250 – .270 range.

This means that a majority of their everyday lineup “successfully” hits the ball in only one out of every four trips to the plate, or just over that.  Furthermore, the top-3 homerun hitters only have 47-combined, and beyond Matt Holliday’s 81-RBI, NOBODY is over sixty-two.

SM2Add to this the fact that the Cardinals are upside-down in run differential for the year, and a nation full of overweight hacks who have never laced up a single cleat (look it up) are at a loss for what to peck out on their cheddar-stained keyboards, that could possibly explain away such a glaring anomaly!

Allow me to help…

Your opponents can outscore you for the total season, and other teams’ hitters can “outperform” you on paper, until their contract-negotiating agents and stat-spewing scribes pop dueling boners that rival my Boy Scout tent in 1984.

But none of that means shit compared to one of the only statistics that matters… WINS.

If you’re gonna’ hit the ball in one of four at-bats, it sure as hell helps when it’s the game-winning one, which is what we are witnessing.

It’s not the number of hits, number of homeruns, or number of RBI – it’s the timing of them.

I don’t give two fat shits if St. Louis loses three games in ten days by a combined score of 30 – 0, while winning the other seven by a total of 10 – 2, thereby leaving their “run differential” for that stretch at 32-“against” and only 10-“for”… because what actually MEANS anything… is that they WON seven out of ten.

You see how that works, pencil-necks?

It’s the same reason that the aforementioned Jay has been such an asset, Holliday is a key piece to this lineup – despite half of the town unintelligibly arguing the contrary – and Lance Lynn is a success.  Jay not only leads the team in batting average, but – more importantly – the timing of his hits have been instrumental, if not always the type that show up in bold print on the box score.

Those of us who watch have seen how key he’s been to moving a runner, continuing a 2-out inning, setting up a go-ahead run, or even knocking in the same… and all while playing above average defense, despite what your goddamned “zone ratings” may display – because I rank with MY EYES.

SM3It’s what separates “knowledgeable fans”… from simply “fans”.

A “fan” does nothing but bitch about it, while a “knowledgeable fan” knows that Matt Holliday hits into a lot of double plays because – given the nature of how HARD he hits the ball – when those balls don’t find holes, they are easy opportunities for such.

But the “knowledgeable” fan also recognizes his “big-moment” RBI tendency, as well as his hustle on the base paths, and EVEN in those double play situations… something previous sluggers have certainly lacked.

The “fan” makes fat jokes and ERA arguments about Lynn, while the “knowledgeable fan” sees three seasons worth of inarguable win totals – a stat that can’t be finagled with.  I don’t care if they score a touchdown every time he pitches, a winner is a winner, and perhaps that teammate recognition is reflected in how they perform with him on the mound.

Half of the same city who continually fingered their own balloon-knot to Game-6 highlights, while inexplicably defending David Freese for two awful seasons beyond those “flash-in-the-pan” heroics, will destroy Matt Holliday for nothing but consistency AND numbers that David would give a hand-job for in the clubhouse, in return for a mere fraction of in his lackluster career.

And if salaries continue to be your “go-to” argument in this day and age, then not only do I not care to waste the time of my life necessary to engage you, but I suggest you just stop watching sports altogether.

I could go on and on, but most of you probably quit reading 300-words ago, and the others couldn’t be reasoned with if you hit them in the dick with 18-years of unmatched organizational success, and a potion that lets them experience what team sports even feel like for a day – as opposed to just scrutinizing them.

Don’t get me wrong; critique is part of fandom – and definitely part of sports-writing.  But intelligent critique, and from an angle of somewhat “knowing”, is an entirely different animal.

SM4It’s the reason that slow-pitch softball exists, and why Carpe Douchebag continues to be recycled on the AM-radio airwaves, regardless of how many people actually realize it… or care.

Two things matter:  outscoring the opponent on a given day, and “out-winning” them in a given season.

The Cardinals are again doing both… KMFP-out!

 

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Almost… a Good Trade

Almost everything went right.

I would’ve rather parted with Shelby Miller than Joe Kelly, but my guess is that Boston wouldn’t do that deal – and who could really blame them?  One former St. Louis crybaby (J.D. Drew) in a 20-year spell is likely plenty for any city.

That being said, Kelly – aside from a likable guy – is simply a .500 pitcher who doesn’t go deep into games.

AT1And while I’m thankful for the Allen Craig that was – this is business; and the Allen Craig that IS… just had to go.

Oscar Taveras WILL hit now, given time and opportunity.  A sampling of 100-sporadic AB’s provides ZERO accuracy as a gauge for a young player straight up from the AAA-level, and I don’t care if they’re flat out raking, or whiffing like a shitty, 37-year old actor swinging at some “she-boy”, 20-year old pop star.

Young players MUST be exposed to professional pitching – and on a consistent basis – to truly display their talents.  If he now proves far more Brett Wallace than Matt Carpenter with considerably more pop… well at least we’ve been given an accurate sampling.

Taveras should’ve been getting the at-bats two out of every three games in a series for the last two months, as opposed to Craig, , but that ridiculous “loyalty” factor came into play, losing games in the process.

Furthermore, aside from stunting Oscar’s growth at the plate at the Major League level, Mike Matheny further diminished Craig’s trade value, day by painful day.

The moves of the past two days were good for many reasons… but bad for one, very glaring other one.

Yes, the Cardinals unloaded a AA-player with a potentially strong upside, but those are huge “what-if’s” in this league, and they received a solid back end starter – AND innings-eater – in return, for a rotation that has been mostly searching beyond the two main stalwarts of Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn, especially given the lingering Michael Wacha “situation”, and the failure of Carlos Martinez to “rise to” the proverbial “occasion” in his absence.

Next, they moved a LONG-struggling, obviously injured – or just plain ineffective and declining – Allen Craig for another veteran arm, tossing in the aforementioned Kelly to make room as well.

So a lot was accomplished:

The innings load on the bullpen should be greatly reduced, a virtual hole in the lineup – along with his salary – are gone, and they’ve finally opened up an opportunity for a perceived “star in waiting” to possibly induce some life into this listless offense.

AT2An already good rotation was theoretically made better, and this offense – not unlike a Sons of Anarchy episode – damned sure can’t get any worse… right?

… and therein lies the problem – BRING ME A BAT!

If you’re gonna’ move Craig and Kelly, sweeten the deal a tad bit more and bring me back a goddamned hitter.  Shit – toss in Miller and I would’ve accepted matching team jockstraps for that hardheaded whiner, had an established stick came back as compensation for the rest of the package.

It’s often clichéd in this sport that “pitching wins championships”.

But this thankfully isn’t soccer, and you can’t win 0 – 0… KMFP-out!

 

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Holliday Pay

After winning yesterday’s Cubs finale with a solo homerun in the first, I’m getting pretty sick of hearing so often about how much Matt Holliday is “overpaid” and/or “not good enough”.  There is nobody ever on base for him and he will still go .300/30/100 – at least in my opinion.

HP1For those of you constantly harping on his numbers, what are the numbers for his career?

His career stats speak for themselves, not to mention, who hits around him to protect him that plays EVERY DAY?  Even without having a professional ballplayer hitting in the two-hole, and someone with more than a small cup of coffee hitting behind him, he still puts the numbers up – PERIOD.

He has over 50-RBI and no one on base. Opposing teams simply don’t have to pitch to him.

And I don’t care for most prospectus or “sabermetrics” – or any of that shit – but he was the number one leftfielder after last season in all of baseball, according to the numbers.

And there is no one else…..Oscar Taveras?  Very mediocre.

I do agree that being in Colorado somewhat skewed those career numbers, but bottom line remains that he needs help.

Again – as it currently stands, there is NO REASON to pitch to him.

The Cardinals haven’t done what they need to do in that regard, and that is give up two arms, along with Allen Craig – or Tavares (or BOTH) – for Troy Tulowitzki.

That said; big addition with A.J. Pierzynski.  Love him or hate him, often depending on the team, he is durable, AND – more importantly – a proven winner.  Good overall pick-up there.

He has more hits in two games than Tony Cruz and has caught more games than anyone playing.  Also a couple of rings I do believe…

Besides – as talented as the Redbirds’ kids are, they need to see some attitude.  They are good and young, but a bunch of skirts… and no one has that “you aren’t going to beat us” attitude that we’ve so often seen in the past.

This is where A.J. fits best.

Additionally, I would suspect even if Yadier Molina comes back and we are in the playoffs, how do you know if he will be able to squeeze the bat in the fall?

HP2Moving on, some are already predicting this team’s demise, and to that I reply that no other team in the division knows how to win in August.  Other teams just aren’t that tough.

Pittsburgh? Last year?

The Milwaukee Brewers will be the competition from here on out, but to get to the playoffs… and then to actually play in them… is ENTIRELY different.  Once you’re there, it is pitching – and Milwaukee’s pitching is getting tired.

They are two games out. Unless you have an inside contact we don’t know about, it’s still 2-games… just relax.

 

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Like Watching… Soccer

It’s an age-old cliché in professional baseball circles, but one that generally rings true: “good pitching beats good hitting

And – as we’re witnessing around these parts of late – good pitching most DEFINITELY beats shitty hitting.

CB1Sure, my tune changes faster than that of a Christian on the short end of someone else’s “religious freedom” stick, but such is the nature of 162-game seasons, where rarely does the same team lead a division from wire-to-wire.

The NFL is nice in that regard, where –after roughly eleven quarters of football are played – you pretty much know that your Sundays will be free for the rest of the winter… or at least in the case of St. Louis.

But baseball is another story, and yet another reason why it’s tops in my book.

Sure, soccer apparently made a HUGE case recently when the U.S. National Team “captivated” us by posting a World Cup record of… uhm – ONE win, two losses and a goddamned tie… which has somehow translated to “success” in the minds and words of pundits and fans alike today, but what do I know?

I’d argue that I prefer my sports to have scoring more than once every couple of games or so, but that doesn’t hold much water this week in baseball around here either.

Moving on, this team is in trouble.

The Cardinals are slipping ever-further behind the Milwaukee Brewers in the Central Division, with Pittsburgh and the Reds now joining the “race” as well.  If the Cubs end up nipping their heels, then the “Stan Span” may be the ideal spot for my leap off of a bridge.

It’s no secret that I’m a proud pessimist and doomsday-er of the tallest order – and I’m all too aware that 6 ½-games is hardly insurmountable.  But the chances most certainly grow slimmer after the All-Star break, and – regardless of how many times you jerkoff to Game Six in your David Freese replica jersey – a 2011-like run is far more exception than norm.

Additionally, we can’t just pencil in another opposing right fielder with the shitty lack of fundamentals necessary to turn a surefire World Series victory into a misplayed (and mis-scored) “triple”, then setting the stage for 2-years of hero worship that would far extend the actual production of the guy whose bat that should’ve-been-final-out left in the first place.

… but I digress.

St. Louis needs offense and they need it YESTERDAY – or the last week to be exact.

They’re far enough into the season to abandon that “shoot we’ll fix it” mantra of their fearless leader, and realize that their power hitters of the last few seasons simply aren’t “making” the proverbial “grade” in the current one.  Add in not only an organizational climate that ignores the intricacies of manufacturing runs – but also a league wide one – and it’s really hard to imagine from where production will originate.

Hopefully the recall of Oscar Taveras will infuse both youth and power into a stagnant lineup and clubhouse, but that also assumes that Mike Matheny doesn’t rest him after every 2-for-3 performance, or whenever – CHUCK NORRIS FORBID – an… eek!… opposing right-hander is on the mound!! (THE HUMANITY!!)

Regardless, young Oscar is but one plug – in a ship with many holes.

Pitching injuries are not only a long-term concern for the organization overall, but definitely an immediate one, especially given an offense that scores less than Robert Pattinson EVER would – if “actor” wasn’t attached to his resume.

(Seriously, I’m better looking than that guy, and I’m whiter than Iowa… not to mention just wore a nightie for a dance production)

CB2But this is when that much-heralded pitching depth of the last few seasons simply MUST step up, and the focus of John Mozeliak MUST NOT stray from hitting with the trade deadline fast approaching.

I don’t care how appealing that David Price blowjob appears as a short-term fix, it’s that state-sharing Marlins outfielder in Giancarlo Stanton who you should be wooing for a long-term fucking, my bespectacled friend.

Run production is THE key ingredient that is lacking in this “attack”, and no amount of pitching will overcome it when it’s this bad – despite what my opening sentence averred.

If I wanna’ be happy with .500-teams who can’t score – yet somehow preserve public adoration – I’ll trade in my pair of white, seamed balls for one, multi-colored one that doesn’t know what the back of a net feels like, and my Cardinals shirt for a “Jozy Altidore” jersey…

Whatever the fuck that is… KMFP-out!

 

(MORE Cardinal Baseball: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/cardinals-baseball/)   

Northern Composure

Well that was a nice little weekend.  It appears that the Cardinals – not unlike denim shirts and sport coats – are only good in Canada… at least for now.

NC2They absolutely shit the comforts of the home bed, but then head to the “Great White North” and “pitch” better than some cellphone-peddling sports radio executive, while hitting like the fired host that gratifyingly pounded on his head.

… too soon?

Anyway, like the rest of you, I just can’t locate an identity for this year’s squad.  I wanna’ believe that the talent is there – and there are definitely flashes – but something is lacking.

Power hitting?

“Chemistry”?

Leadership?

Or even that overrated value in a hitting coach?

All are possibilities I suppose, but there aren’t many teams that don’t go through spells featuring all of these during the course of a long season… theirs are just FAR TOO OFTEN.

I put it at the top, as much as I fight the impulse.  Mike Matheny is consistently outmaneuvered, and often by the game itself, as opposed to his “too old for uniform pants” counterpart spitting sunflower seeds from the dugout across the field.

His handling of both the starting rotation and bullpen is perplexing and inconsistent, and his justifications for certain lineups are often utter horseshit – in my less than humble opinion.

Mike reminds me of the previous Mike of a different local franchise, Martz, with that “awe shucks, we’ll fix that” demeanor that frequently accompanies him to those press conferences immediately following another obviously “I fucked up” loss.

Sure, I criticize Matheny right now, but actually DO still root for him.  I will hypocritically admit flipping opinions like a blowhard, purse-swinging, afternoon drive host should he start making the moves necessary to “right” the proverbial “ship”, and I have no interest in continually churning out slam-dunk, coach-bashing, Carpe-Douchebag material, simply for the shtick of doing so.

I respected the hell out of Mike Matheny as a player, mostly do the same for what I know of him as a man, and “I’m tryin’, Ringo – I’m tryin’ real hard to be the shepherd” here for his coaching… but he sure as shit doesn’t make it easy.

(two shots at local AM-radio and one gratuitous movie quote – I should really teach creative writing)

I do believe that the necessary “core” is in place, and I HOPE that these fellas are just underperforming.  That being said, I also believe that a trade is necessary to not only bring in a potential big bat, but relieve themselves of some spare parts in the process.

NC3It’s a nice problem to have, but there seems to be too many extras – throughout the entire organization – which can regularly cloud the day-to-day decision making.

Simple is often better.

Give some guys a chance somewhere else, while also bringing in somebody to help yourselves NOW, plugging them in on the daily, and shit-canning that platoon mentality, which seemingly infiltrates too many positions.

Awe shucks” time will eventually run out, and elimination will replace determination… usually because there’s far too little of the latter – to escape the former.

Toronto to Tampa, was Cuba not available? … KMFP-out!

 

(MORE Cardinal Baseball: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/cardinals-baseball/)   

I Was Wr… wr… WRONG!

Before we get started, I’d like you to go ahead and just click back on my column from last week – you know; the one where I so prophetically stated that the Cardinals looked to be finding their groove.

IW1What I want next is for you to print that son-of-a-bitch out and promptly burn, shred, tear to bits, or chew up and swallow (that’s right ladies) it, discarding the remnants however you see fit, so long as recycling is NOT involved.

Now – moving on…

Since penning that horribly erroneous piece of literary shit, our little ball team has again forgotten what it’s like to put in a full nine innings of effort, much less hit a goddamned ball.

Add two home shutouts in a row for the first time since Bill Clinton was placing his hand on that book of fables and apparently cryptically promising to splooge on an intern’s dress after cigar-fucking her… and things are going just peachy around these here parts.

Sure, Oscar Taveras made his much-anticipated debut and promptly impressed with a straight-up bomb in his second at-bat on Saturday, while also wowing us with a few glimpses of that powerful arm both then and Monday night, but this was merely “lipstick” on that proverbial “pig”.

You’ve all consoled yourself after a rough weekend by reiterating to your buddies just how nice the tits were on that cow you brought home from the bar.

Well… the Cardinals were that cow this weekend – Taveras was simply her tits.

I don’t even know what to say at this point.  Take away the fact that a majority of the starting rotation turns into a goddamned pumpkin after the 6th-inning and I’m still dumbfounded by how an offense with so much “on paper” potential can have so little “on field” production.

I’ll further my pissing and moaning by pointing out that Matt Carpenter’s replacement of David Freese at third base has apparently persuaded him that his play there must also mimic that of the aforementioned “flash in the pan”.

… though I thank Chuck Norris that his hitting hasn’t done the same.

Yes, the frustration continues.  We were teased a little bit for 10-12 days, only to return to listless, uninspired play (redundancy alert) and in-game management typical of your local high school – only Mike Matheny isn’t credentialed to teach study hall as an added benefit.

Your Minor League “star in waiting” homers in his first appearance in the bigs?  Well sit him the next day, OF COURSE!  I didn’t even listen, but I’m guessing some “don’t wanna’ overwhelm him” horseshit was spewed from the blowhole of old Double-M concerning that one.

IW2I’ve touched on my hatred for “armchair coaching” before, but some shit just seems so obvious – pencil in the nine players that give you the best chance to win – EVERY GODDAMNED DAY – barring injury or absolute fatigue.

The last time I checked, they were all big boys and paid a pretty decent salary.  And I’m pretty certain that they’re not exhausted by pregame activities that include shuffling kids all over town… though shuffling checks for kids all over country is likely another story.

Let Oscar Taveras keep playing, and I ONLY wanna’ see Jon Jay or Peter Fucking Bourjos in the lineup again if Allen Craig goes back to hitting like – well, the ghost of David Freese (I just can’t resist) – or if Oscar gets knocked down for a few days by the clap he’ll likely contract just as soon as St. Louis’ finest, “jock-sniffing” pussy contingent runs down his routine whereabouts.

See you at Harry’s… KMFP-out!

 

(MORE Cardinal Baseball: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/cardinals-baseball/)   

‘Hitting’ (ugh) their Stride?

I know, I know – that title’s pretty brutal, but I’ve been out of this baseball writing for a while now.

However – not unlike my high school sex life – it appears that I’ll be taking things into my own hands if I want this Cardinals column written… or until one of you contacts me.

TS1In spite of a painful Memorial Day loss – and after 51-games – this home team of ours looks to be finally catching a groove.  Sure, it took A LOT longer than most of us anticipated, but Al Gore and other assorted sheep are still swearing by “Global Warming” too… and that’s yet to materialize.

Just short of a third of a way into the season, and Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina have undoubtedly cemented themselves as the bookends of this team, though others are showing life, and Matt Adams, Michael Wacha – and even Lance Lynn – could easily be penciled in for honorable mention.

But as bad as the first month and a half were, could you imagine where they’d be without Wain-O on the mound and his battery mate behind – AND IN FRONT OF – the plate?

Scary…

So, at 1.5-games back in the Central Division and a 7-3 record in their last 10-games, it’s hard to be upset with the current standing.

Could it be better?  Sure – but so could anal sex.  Sometimes you enjoy what you’re given.

And what we were given with this 2014 St. Louis squad appears to be a relatively new nucleus that just took some time to “gel”, if you will.

Unfortunately… what we’ve also appeared to be given, is a Manager who looks HIGHLY outcoached at times, and quickly reverts to panic-mode when faced with anything less than a club consistently “firing” on a majority of its proverbial “cylinders”.

I’m a big Mike Matheny advocate, but this has been painfully obvious to anybody with a halfway decent baseball I.Q., and a capacity for unbiased opinion.

As I often point out in my youth coaching exploits, anybody can find the best players and somewhat orchestrate their success when things are rolling along.  But a TRUE coach’s mettle is tested by what he can get out of the less than spectacular – “coaching up”, if you will – and when playing appropriate competition.  (Insert “trophy-chasing” Little League rant here)

Sure – a bit of a tangent… but I digress.  The analogy holds plenty of water in some of its points.

A few of Coach Mike’s new pieces didn’t fly out of the gates as expected (more “hoped”), and a few more of last season’s pleasant surprises just weren’t living up to their somewhat lofty, early-established standards – in terms of their career.

This is when a Manager must be at his best, simultaneously motivating and bettering the struggling player, while resting, substituting and outright replacing them at the proper time that is more beneficial to the team… than detrimental.

It’s an extremely delicate balancing act that us armchair Skippers take completely for granted.

TS2The first two years of Matheny’s career were a bit of a fortunate “hand-me-down” in terms of organizational strength and key personnel.  I don’t fault him for this one bit, but it was a nice situation to be in.

A lot of the same parts remain, but the roles have slightly shifted, and some old mainstays are gone.  This appears to have created a few of those dreaded “growing pains”, but – like that turd held in on a three day camping trip – the head is finally emerging.

The days of Mike’s “select” squad walking over “rec-league”, outgunned competition – for the ego building reward of shiny, easily-earned hardware – appear to be over… but there I go making youth sports comparisons again.

At least Matheny had NO CHOICE in the matter… KMFP-out!

 

(MORE Cardinal Baseball: http://www.thekmfp.com/category/cardinals-baseball/)   

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