Benjamin Hochman Live

Bring your Cardinals, Blues, Mizzou and STL sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Benjamin Hochman in a live chat starting at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday.

    Let's do the Kevin Chattenkirk...
    I enjoyed your article on Kim Anderson from a couple weeks ago. I was rooting for the guy, as he seems to really care about Mizzou. But he’s in year 3 and there’s been no improvement and the players he brought in are just not very good. The Anderson apologists will say “his team is so young” and while that’s true, a lot of teams have young players contributing right away and have success. (And I’m not just talking about the “blue blood” programs). No, I didn’t expect this team to beat Kentucky or Arizona, but if you can’t beat North Carolina Central and Eastern Illinois, that’s pretty sad. I didn’t expect this team to make the Ncaa tournament or even get to the NIT, but thought getting to a .500 record was a realistic expectation. Frankly, this team would be lucky to win double digit games at this point. Bad coaching and bad players is a terrible combination. The question is not if you fire him, but when you fire him. Do you wait until after the season or just do the inevitable right now?
    Good points Jeff W, yeah the Kim Anderson experiment has been like one of those 10th-grade chemistry experiment when you put some in the wrong chemical and all of a sudden some weird-colored, bubbly-ness is spilling onto the floor. Kim is a smart coach and a True Son and cares so much about Mizzou, but this just isn't working. And the fact that SLU is collecting NUMEROUS key local players is another frustrating pendulum swing for Mizzou alums in this whole thing. The next question is -- how much better can the next coach even be in the next year or two? That's the thing -- it's kind of like Travis Ford at SLU. The team stinks, but at least there are some signs of hope in the future. That's what new blood could do for Mizzou, because right now, there's no optimism, no good recruits and little winning. Enjoy the Braggin' Rights Game!!
    The Cards lineup might compete for the WC again, but doesn't compare in talent to the Cubs. And pitching is even a bigger disparity between the two clubs. Surely the GM has more tricks up his sleeves?
    Jack, you bring up a key issue with the St. Louis Cardinals. The lineup should be thrilling this year. I'm still trying to come up with a nickname for the "OBP Boys" (or, I suppose, a better nickname) in Dexter Fowler, Aledmys Diaz and Matt Carpenter, three fellows who get on base often, and will likely be your 1-2-3. Even if STL doesn't nab an Encarnacion - and honestly, I wouldn't rule that out - there are still some RBI bats in the middle there, with Randal (who should have a better year this year), Piscotty, Yadi and, dare I suggest, even Jhonny Peralta (though I'm not as high on him as other people are). But the way the St. Louis Cardinals will surge (could surge) this season is with the pitching that you bring up. And I think (cautiously optimistic) the pitchers will be stronger this year. Let's quickly break this down -- Carlos (Cy candidate), Wainwright (back after a regular offseason), Leake (if the defense is better, perhaps he'll be better), Lynn (I'll take a standard Lance Lynn season, great stats) and Reyes (a full season of Reyes??)... The Cubs have a few Qs with their 4 and 5 guys in the rotation.
    Will Eugene Koo be signing autographs at the cardinals winter warmups?
    If he does, I'll be first in line. Shoot, I'll get a tent and sleep outside the night before. BTIB (Best Translator In Baseball)
    Is there a scenario where Reyes would split starts with perhaps Tyler Lyons to save some wear and tear on Reyes's arm? Maybe after the All star break?
    A very savvy question. Yes, we refer to a "full" season of Reyes, but yes, I suppose the reality is that he'll be on some kind of innings count. Now, let's keep in mind that Tyler Lyons, the lefty, is returning from surgery and probably wont be ready until the middle of the season. But yes, the Cards will likely get creative with Reyes to make sure he's available in October (or even December). I think that's where Trevor Rosenthal and Michael Wacha come into play, getting some spot starts. And the Cards actually do have some pretty good depth (at least on paper) considering that Luke Weaver is around (though half the fan base has suggested trading Weaver and Adams for ANY NAME OUT THERE) and even Mike Mayers, he of the ill-fated ESPN start, who is still a quality prospect. But the key, to me, is making sure Alex Reyes is still pitching strong when it matters most.
    Yo Hochman I made a homemade Pecan Pie from scratch! I also made a bourbon maple whip cream to go with it. What's your favorite pie around the holiday season?
    Congrats on the PP! For me, it's Pumpkin Pie. Others are good -- Key Lime, for instance -- but the feeling of Pumpkin Pie, dancing upon my esophagus, it's like Gene Kelly in the rain, John Travolta on the dance floor, *NSYNC doing "Bye Bye Bye" at the Savvis Center.
    Are there any rumor about Mike Shannon's future as Cards announcer. Is he planning to retire?
    I have not heard that rumor, and here's hoping that Mike is around for a long time! He's a staple. Just hearing his voice makes a day summer-ier (that's clearly not a word). My favorite Shannon-ism is one I never actually heard said, so part of me wonders if it indeed truly happened. But it was sweet, so I'll share it. It was during April and Passover and Easter time. The great broadcaster sat behind him KMOX mic and said, "To all you Christians out there, happy Easter! And to all you Jews, happy Hanukkah!"
    Where do the Billikens go from here? How long of a rebuilding period before we can hopefully see the Bills of old (Jordair, Dwayne, Loe, etc.)?
    PrisonMike! Arguably my favorite scene in "The Office" history. I'm extremely excited (maybe "intrigued" is the better word) to see what happens even as soon as next year. Consider that Travis Ford has two key recruits coming in, notably the kid Goodwin who I can't wait to see in a high school game sometime this winter. Not only that, SLU has three redshirting transfers. It's arguable that the best player on campus right now is Adonys Henriquez. He came from Central Florida, where he averaged 10.8 points as a sophomore. Recently, I asked Ford about the kid. The coach said Adonys is one of the best shooters he's ever coached.
    “I don't like to talk a whole lot about him, but I do get excited about him,” Ford said. “Adonys is a gifted player, a very gifted player. He has one of the better feels for the game that I've coached in a long time. That's something I did not know he had. I knew he could score and shoot – he probably shoots it a little better than I thought he did, and he ranks up there as one of the top three or four shooters I've coached – but his feel for the game, passing and making others around him better, is really, really good. We've got to get him better at defense. But he's doing well.”
    All Mizzou sports fans should go sea Manchester by the Sea because if you think we've had it bad . . .
    I went into it thinking it was a comedy!!!
    Happy Hannukah, Christmas, Festivus, etc.! I really am interested in team culture as a concept, be it in a workplace or with an athletic team. In the case of the Cardinals, they are striving to be more "fun", but it would appear that the tone is set by the manager and the veterans, who are businesslike by nature (perhaps humorless, at least to outsiders). What is the most fun and/or crazy, but successful, team you ever covered? Secondly, do you think the Cardinals are capable of changing, or do they need to? It appears to be a big deal to Mo, but I wonder if that feeling is unanimous in the organization?
    I've always been fascinated by locker room culture. Most of us have been on teams in some regards (even in high school or whatever), so even in those worlds, we understand team chemistry. Clearly, there's not a single blueprint for a winning locker room. The reality is -- there are many teams in which the players aren't all buddy-buddy, but the team still works and wins. Of those old Knicks teams of the early 70s, which won two titles, you'd read stories about "12 players, 12 cabs" postgame. The whole locker room thing is interesting -- if you've got a talented enough team, does it matter if your players get along? Or on the flip side, if you've got bad athletes but they get along, will it make them win thaaaat much more? Or, would the quirky, fun-loving Cubs have still won it all last year if they approached each day like a serious business office? To me, the most important aspects are 1. strong, likable leaders 2. no "clubhouse cancers." ... the likable leaders can bring the best out of people ... the cancers can bring the worst out of people, or at least, deflate the energy. Best team I've ever been around? I think back to the Broncos team that went to the Super Bowl but lost the Seahawks. They had Peyton and Pot Roast Knighton and Champ Bailey and a good mix of strong likeable leaders, who knew when to have fun and when to be serious.
    I can't believe the Winter Classic is almost here!!! I remember it seeming like it was soooo far away when it was announced. What big plans do you have for the game?
    Things I'm most excited for: 1. Seeing my family for the holidays 2a. The Winter Classic 2b. The Winter Classic Alumni Game 48. Bud Light Braggin' Rights ... but yes, how cool is it that the Winter Classic is coming here? I think it'll be one of those weekends we're talking about for years. Obviously inside the stadium will be this unique, breathtaking view of a sheet of ice under the toothbrush lights, with the arch and old courthouse in the backdrop. And the games will be cool and there will be all there's quirky, fun moments, to be sure. But just the climate around the stadium that weekend will be spectacular. Nelly is performing. There will be all sorts of interactive things for families and fans. And it'll be a reason to celebrate, a reason to party. And, this will sound cheesy, but at least I'm admitting it in advance: it'll be a cool "St. Louis" weekend, a weekend for us to celebrate together and to be proud of our city and proud of the cool things that make our city our city.
    As mentioned earlier, here's the Prison Mike scene from "The Office" -
    So the new Governor doesn't want tax dollars spent on a MLS stadium. So he kills all the jobs in construction it would bring. Plus all the concession sells jobs it would bring. Not to mention give you a place other then Busch stadium for other outdoor events.
    I was disappointed with how he dropped that bomb-like quote and then that was it, no follow-up, no in-depth explanation. Just jumping to the conclusion that there would be no way this is good for the state and city -- when, many could argue, there are numerous aspects of this that'll make it good for the state and city (and just look at the other side of the state and their successful team). I think it's classy how SC STL said, 'OK, let's slow it down for a moment and try to meet with the governor-elect and talk him through this." The governor-elect made some broad, sweeping statements in that release -- SC STL will now have to address all of them with him.
    Are you happy with Fryer being back up catcher,or is there someone else out there worth investigating that's a tad bit better?Is there room on the team for both Peralta and Adams?I think one should go,as we need a 4th outfielder.
    A fair question about Eric "They Didn't Start The" Fryer. Here's the thing -- he did just fine last year and, really, the guy isn't going to play much anyway. If the backup catcher was going to be more of a "1a," then the Cards would promote Carson Kelly to the big-league team. But unless something changes, the trends suggest that Yadier Molina will play all the time. All the time. So as long as there's a serviceable guy behind him, that's fine. And Fryer, in the smallest of sample sizes, hit extremely well for STL last year. I think the bigger question with the Cards (and one that has been asked annually) is -- is Yadi playing this much a good thing? In previous seasons, you could make the argument that it wasn't. Last season, he was really, really strong and productive. All year. Now, one must suggest that the all-star break actually being a break helped No. 4. I will say this -- if Yadi goes on the DL this coming season, then Fryer isn't the starting catcher; it's Carson Kelly.
    Benjamin - If the Turkey Drop sequence from WKRP is the defining Thanksgiving sequence in sitcom history, what is the equivalent for Christmas/Hanukah?
    A great question, and now I'm trying to decide. It's got to be something from Christmas Vacation. I'm picturing the dinner scene, when Aunt Bethany says Grace ("She died 30 years ago!!") and then the turkey falls apart and then Clark says, "Hey kids, I heard on the news that an airplane pilot spotted Santa's sled on his way in from New York!" - and Cousin Eddie says, "You serious, Clark?" And then, SQUIRREL!!!!
    Speaking of Lynn - what do you think is a realistic expectation for him this season? An average Lynn season? Less than that?
    Let's talk about this. I think LL will have a regular Lance season. He's had a loooong time to rest after his surgery. And the team actually discussed actually bringing him back for September bullpen work. So I think Lance will be Lance. The Ole Miss product has a career 3.37 ERA, and has averaged 189 innings in the past four years. He's been a hoss and an all-star and is pitching in the final season of his contract. He knows that his next five years will be based on what he shows this very season. That's a lot to put on himself, but he knows a strong bounceback season will show teams that he is healthy, strong and still a quality starter worthy of a spot in a quality rotation. As Mo said at the GM Meetings, "A lot of times, when you have somebody coming back from surgery, there's that offseason unknown. For us, we feel pretty confident he'll be able to contribute.”
    Because you asked us our top 5 Christmas songs, what are yours?
    OK let's do this. I actually have a top-15.
    1. Mariah Carey (or me in the car) — All I Want For Christmas Is You
    2. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (or me in the car) — Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
    3. Andy Williams (or me in the car) — It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
    4. Stevie Wonder (or me in the car) — What Christmas Means To Me
    5. Darlene Love (or me in the car) — Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)
    6. Kelly Clarkson (or me in the car) – Underneath The Tree
    7. Gene Autry (or me in the car) — Here Comes Santa Claus
    8. Chuck Berry (or me in the car) – Run Run Rudolph
    9. Andy Williams (or me in the car) — Happy Holidays.
    10. Beach Boys (or me in the car) — Little Saint Nick
    11. Mariah Carey (or me in the car) — Santa Claus Is Coming To Town
    12. Run DMC (or me in the car) — Christmas In Hollis
    13. Wham! (or me in the car) — Last Christmas
    14. Tom Petty (or me in the car) -- Christmas All Over Again
    15. Burl Ives (or me in the car) — Holly Jolly Christmas
    by Benjamin Hochman edited by Mike Smith 12/20/2016 5:46:41 PM
    OK, I've gotta run! Folks, thank you SO much for all your Qs and interaction. Sorry I couldn't get to everyone. Please have a fun and safe holiday season. See you in my normalchat time NEXT week -- Thurs at 2 pm (so mark your calendars! Dec. 29, 2 pm!!!!!!)
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