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My 2015 National League East Predictions

Continuing with my March assignment for the United Cardinals Bloggers, it’s my National League East Predictions blog. This is the first time I’ve done a division at a time predictions. The team at the top of the NL East seems to be a unanimous choice but after that it gets all messy 

1.  Washington Nationals – The Nationals had five pretty good starters last year before adding Max Scherzer into the mix this offseason. He makes their rotation go from really good to great. I have always been a big Gio Gonzalez and Jordan Zimmermann fan so this rotation will be exciting to watch. I think Bryce Harper will have a better offensive year and Ryan Zimmerman will calm down and do much better at first base. Adam Laroche’s leadership on this team will need to be replaced, but they should be just fine. I believe they may acquire a better second baseman at some point before the trade deadline to make a postseason push. 

2.  Miami Marlins – The Marlins will finish in second place by a wide margin, probably double digit games back. They should stay a bit above .500 though. Mat Latos and Dan Haren need to have pretty good seasons for this to happen, so nothing is guaranteed here. A really good outfield of Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, and Marcell Ozuna will help their cause. I think the addition of Dee Gordon to bat leadoff and play second base was brilliant. He should fit in well and could fill a good leadership role. The Marlins will not be good enough to make the Wild Card.

3.  New York Mets – I had the Mets in 2nd in this division and fighting for a Wild Card until Zack Wheeler was lost for the season. Now, they should be right at .500. One of my favorite non-Cardinals, Captain America David Wright, should be better this year. I think Michael Cuddyer should help this team a bunch. Matt Harvey does look like he is back to form this spring, but with the Mets being cautious with him this year, I assume their bullpen will blow a few of his games. Give the Mets one more year.

4.  Atlanta Braves – Let the rebuilding for the new stadium begin. The good things about this Braves team are few. Freddie Freeman is one of the nice guys in baseball. Craig Kimbrel may be the best closer in the game today. I will pay attention when I see a Shelby Miller start since he is a former Cardinal. I am a huge Nick Markakis fan, but he can only do so much. This team will not be good enough to compete, yet they still won’t be at the bottom of this division. 

5.  Philadelphia Phillies – Wow, what is left of this team is old. Cliff Lee is too far too gone. Management has said they want to trade Ryan Howard. Cole Hamels and Jonathan Papelbon have been rumored to be traded to many teams. The rebuild is under way. There is not much else to say about the Phillies except that they may be the worst team in baseball in 2015.

This is not a hard division to evaluate. Sure, another pitcher could emerge in New York. Every elbow could fall apart in Washington. That is why they play the games.

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My 2015 American League Predictions 

My 2015 American League Predictions

I am really excited that baseball season is almost here. I am doing my predictions blogs this week as part of this year’s March assignment for the United Cardinals Bloggers. In an amazing five part daily blog series, today I am starting with the American League. Then I will be going thru every division in the National League, and then postseason and awards.  

I do not believe the AL East should be very good this year. The Yankees are old and still have A-Rod to deal with. As much as I love Joe Kelly, he is not the ace the Red Sox need. Tampa Bay has traded away almost everyone including a manager. Toronto made some moves. Seriously, the Red Sox will find a way and may be the only team over .500 in this division. 

AL East:

Boston Red Sox

Toronto Blue Jays

Baltimore Orioles

New York Yankees

Tampa Bay Rays

Boston has enough to win the division because no other team wants it. Toronto has made some moves that will help them but they didn’t really address their pitching needs.  New York will be bad but not as bad as Tampa Bay, who may be the worst team in baseball. 

The AL Central is going to be fun. As I have said before, I root for these teams when they aren’t playing each other and I have friends who are fans of these teams.  

AL Central:

Chicago White Sox

Detroit Tigers (WC)

Cleveland Indians 

Kansas City Royals 

Minnesota Twins

The excitement in this division is fun to me. Yes, I picked the Royals to make the playoffs last year. They hurt their team this offseason and I do not see them recovering. Age is catching up a bit with Detroit and they will squeak into the Wild Card. Very tough division this year with even the Twins being better. This might be the tightest division in baseball and a few injuries or gutsy pitching performances could make the difference.    

The AL West to me is a two team race. Both of those teams should be good enough to make the playoffs and may be the top of the charts in the American League this year.

AL West:

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Seattle Mariners (WC)

Houston Astros

Oakland Athletics 

Texas Rangers

Mike Trout of the Angels will be better this year than last year and last year he was the AL MVP. The top two teams in this division will score a lot of runs unless they play each other. I give the Angels the edge because of a little more of experience and discipline. I think Houston is going to cause lots of teams fits and will be better than the sinking Rangers and no chemistry A’s. 

Thanks for reading blog one in this five blog prediction series.

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If I Could Go Back to Any Game

The January United Cardinal Blogger project is a fun one. If I had a ticket and a time machine which game in Cardinal past would I attend? I went to the last regular season game at old Busch Stadium and the first at the new Busch. I got to experience the final game of the 2004 World Series. I saw Albert Pujols’ first game at Busch and Mark McGwire’s last. In my heart I had two choices left; to see Lou Brock’s last game or Game 7 of the 1982 World Series. I chose the World Series game because I actually remember that one.

In 1981 in a divided strike altered season, the St. Louis Cardinals had the best overall record. They did not make the playoffs due to the split standings that decided that year. There was lots of excitement going into the 1982 season. At one point in the offseason of 1980 the Cardinals had both stud closers Bruce Sutter and Rollie Fingers on their roster. Fate had it that Fingers would get sent to the Milwaukee Brewers along with Pete Vuckovich and Ted Simmons. The Cardinals would meet them again in the 1982 World Series. Fingers did not get to pitch in the World Series due to an injury.

I was a young boy. I listened to Cardinals games in the backyard with my Grandpa. We watched the Saturday Game of the Week on NBC. I think I got to go to one game all season in person. But the playoffs were all on TV. The World Series featured then young local St. Louis native Bob Costas doing in game reporting for the first time. This is TV back when there were only 6 channels to watch at the most. Willie McGee was leading the Cardinals as a rookie with his homeruns and jumping catches. I remember staying up through the rain delayed game 6 and John Stuper’s magnificent performance leading into game 7. He pitched a complete game despite over 2 ½ hours of rain delays. My mom let me stay up and watch every World Series game. I was 12 and in 6th grade.

Game 7 was a rematch between Joaquin Andujar and Pete Vuckovich. Andujar pitched seven strong innings and Bruce Sutter finished the rest of the game then ended in the arms of World Series MVP Darrell Porter. It was a great game with the silent leader George Hendrick giving the Cardinals the lead in the bottom of the 6th and they never looked back winning the game 6-3.

The Hug

The Hug

Why that game? The Cardinals were underdogs. The Brewers were the mighty powerful Harvey Wallbangers with their 216 homeruns while the Cardinals only had 67. Whiteyball was the Cardinals mantra. That was solid pitching, great team defense, aggressive base running, and all around manufacturing runs. This was a Midwestern city battle World Series. They referred to the series as the Suds Series since both towns were huge beer producers. The Cardinals swept America’s team, the Atlanta Braves to get to the Series. I wanted to be there in person to see the marquis on the scoreboard that made me cry as a boy. It simply said ‘WE WIN’.


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2015 Winter Warm-Up Preview

With the weather warming up here in St. Louis, I have decided to get back to this blogging thing. Let’s just say it was better for me not to blog during the month of November. Between being busy at work and not really being able to share my opinions, I silenced my own public forum of opinion. Christmas got me busy and involved with friends and family. It was a good time to step away.

This weekend marks the 19th annual Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch Saturday, January 17th through Monday, January 19th (Martin Luther King Jr. Day) with appearances from nearly 70 current and former Cardinals players. For the most complete schedule and up-to-date Winter Warm-Up information, visit cardinals.com/winterwarmup. This year I will again be working in Operations wearing the hat pictured so say hello if you see me running around. Most of my work will be behind the scenes but I frequently walk the crowds to check on things. Throughout the Winter Warm-Up, fans can stay connected by following the Cardinals on Twitter (@Cardinals), Facebook (Facebook.com/Cardinals) and Instagram (@Cardinals) for the latest news, event updates and behind-the-scenes content. Each day, the team will have Twitter Interviews with players, exclusive videos, photos and more. Fans should join the conversation, and share their own photos and experiences by using the hashtags #CardsWarmUp, and #CardsCare.

My 2015 Winter Warm-Up Hat

My 2015 Winter Warm-Up Hat

I am excited about the upcoming season already. Jason Heyward, Jordan Walden, and Mark Reynolds are enough to get me excited. My hope is that the Cardinals do not go all in for another frontline starter and let Marco Gonzales win the 5th spot in the rotation. He should beat out Carlos Martinez for the job and Martinez can stretch at Memphis or be another late inning option. I hope to never see Jaime Garcia pitch in the regular season for the Cardinals again but I am expecting to see that at some point this year or he will get dumped.

If you will be at the Warm-Up say hi. If not, follow it on social media. I will post what I am allowed to and hope to have a wrap up blog sometime next week.


Movember 2014

Last year in November I grew a mustache. It did not look good. When it came in it had grey hair, annoyed the corners of my mouth and I just looked funny with it. That doesn’t matter to me because this November I am growing it back and inviting anyone I can to do the same thing. You know October is breast cancer awareness month. Well November, or should I say Movember (1) was created to change the face of men’s health.movember The Movember Foundation has raised over $550 Million to date improving the lives of men affected by prostate cancer, testicular cancer, and mental health problems. The Movember Foundation challenges men to grow mustaches during Movember to spark conversation and raise funds for men’s health programs.

It’s simple and mostly meant for the male race but we all know that the ladies will have a lot to say about it. There are Five Rules (2) and they are: 1. Sign up on the website and join my group ‘Knights of the Mustache Table’

Unofficial Knights of the Mustache Table logo

Unofficial Knights of the Mustache Table logo

(3). I am not asking for money, I just want more people to know about the foundation. I want you to be part of the 4 million mustaches that have been grown worldwide. 2. Shave your upper lip clean November 1st and grow and groom a mustache for the whole month. 3. No fakes! No beards, no goatees, no taping fuzz to your lip. 4. Use your experience and interact with people when they ask about your mustache during the month. Raise awareness on men’s health and show them how much you care about your fellow man. 5. Conduct yourself like a gentleman. Be a model and proud Knight of the Mustache Table. 6. Share with me your experiences. Men need men to support themselves. I want to be here for you.

This shouldn’t be hard. Convince your significant other to let you shave your upper lip bare and just grow a mustache for the month. Share with others why you are doing it. Share with me your experiences. Please join me.

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Can They Beat The Royals?

Jeff’s 2014 postseason sing a long continues with a request from Kansas City. The artist is Lorde, and the song is Royals. Sing with me… Can they beat the Royals? Royals….

Apparently no one can beat the Kansas City Royals this postseason. Not the Oakland A’s in the Wild Card game. Not the Detroit Tigers and their starting pitching, Not the Baltimore Orioles and their team of injury replacement studs. So who would think the San Francisco Giants stand a chance? Not me. Well I am thinking the Giants will win a game or two, but nah, how could you pick against this team?

I mean the Giants did an outstanding job getting past my St. Louis Cardinals, but the Cardinals to me weren’t expected to be there. Who knew the Kershaw Curse would continue so like I have said before, we were in bonus time. I hoped we’d beat the Giants, but I wasn’t shocked when we didn’t. So let me explain my hope for the Royals getting past them.

Josh's Frank White Royals Shirsey

Josh’s Frank White Royals Shirsey

What other team in Major League Baseball has had a player with the last name of White (Frank White) wear the number 20 besides the Royals? None that I know of, which is why I became a distant fan of them growing up. You know you’re from Missouri when Ozzie Smith from the Cardinals and George Brett from the Royals did Vess commercials. This was brilliant marketing back in the day. Get the whole state to be a fan of both teams. It worked on me. I have been to Kauffman Stadium recently and when I was younger. It was the only way I was going to see the big bad New York Yankees as a kid. There are even a few Royals items spread around my basement.

You can argue over which city has the best food but I will take both. Nothing beats good Kansas City BBQ from Oklahoma Joe’s and Jack Stack. San Francisco has Fisherman’s Wharf and In-n-Out so debate as you wish. I won’t go into other city debates but let’s just say I have been to both and enjoy both of them.

I will be saying Go Royals for this series not only because of those fun stats that are out there but the reasons above just to name a few are even more important to me.

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It’s All About the Cards!

Sing with me: ‘It’s all about the Cards, bout the Cards, no Dodgers’

Find me an expert that predicted the Cardinals would beat the Dodgers with 10 of their 12 runs being scored on homeruns and I will show you someone who you need to take to Vegas. Find me one that would have also predicted the Nationals would give up two earned runs in their series and lose and I will show you the ocean front property my sister owns in Arizona.

Excuse me for my happiness since my St. Louis Cardinals advanced to their 14th National League Championship Series. I didn’t predict it. Didn’t think we would have enough offense. Boy was I wrong. Or at least wrong in the 7th inning against Clayton Kershaw. His Earned Run Average in the 7th inning in that series was 134.93. Clayton Kershaw is the first pitcher in Dodger history to lose 4 straight postseason starts. It’s not like the Dodger bullpen did much better.

Anyway, on to the LCS predictions. Baltimore Orioles will beat the Kansas City Royals 4-3. This should be an epic series. They are two really great teams that are playing right now with no big stars. I am hoping this will be an Adam Jones coming out party for the rest of the world that doesn’t know how good of an all round player he is. Keep an eye on the young Royals bullpen. They will either dominate or blow up.
I think there is not much that the San Francisco Giants can do to stop this Cardinals train. They will win one or two so Cardinals in six is my prediction. I think Buster Posey will become more disliked in St. Louis and there will be a walk-off win in this series.

I only have one team left (Baltimore) from my original four picks. That is why they play the games.

Sing with me again: ‘This lineup is just so perfect, from the bottom to the top’


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