Are you ready for the Kevin Chattenkirk? Please send in your Qs about the Winter Classic, Blues, Mizzou, Cards, SLU, Hamilton, Seinfeld, etc
I'm super-excited about the weekend, and I will definitely be in the the stadium, watching the games on Busch's Pond. Incidentally, my efforts to make "Busch's Pond" happen have been accelerated. Now, followers of mine on twitter (@hochman) are aware of the ill-fated poll, in which 84 percent of voters said that "Busch's Pond" is not a good nickname. However, today on The Writers' Block, we had on Doc Emrick, who is broadcasting the Winter Classic. I asked him and he said he liked "Busch's Pond" and said he'll "consider" using it on the broadcast. SO HERE WE GO! As for the festivities, I'll try to make it to Nelly concert and obviously the alumni game (Hull and Oates!)
I'm goin with Carlos Martinez, though I think a dark-horse candidate would be Lance Lynn -- he's had a lot of time off, he's hungry, he's in a contract year, and is an inning-eater.
I'm angling to play Lafayette in it, so....
Obviously we're a ways away from all of that, but yea, if the Cards crack the postseason, surely you can consider him for the award. Here's the thing -- he needs to improve his bullpen management, something we talk about and write about ad naseum.
I love watching Shattenkirk, he's a fantastic offensive-minded defensemen. I was at the game last night, and he was a big part of numerous key offensive plays, including the potential "buzzer-beating" goal that he couldn't direct properly. The reality is -- it makes good business sense to trade Kevin Shattenkirk. You didn't get anything for Backes and some of the other big name dudes that left. Shatty is likely going to leave after this year, so it would make sense to get the aforementioned center and perhaps a young prospect (speaking of prospects, did you see Tage Thompson's goal last night? Holy moly. He is a stud. He could be wearing the blue note next season). The flip side to the Shatty argument could be: if you're contending for a cup, what would you be willing to give up to get a player like Shatty? Is it worth just keeping him? I think the reality is -- how much difference could Shatty make in the postseason? Can he win you a series? Tough to see him being the fulcrum
I suppose the fair way to put it is this: it's the most-anticipated non-playoff Blues game in history (perhaps rivaling the first Blues game ever). It's going to be so special for our city. I love St. Louis, my hometown, and for a city that's taken some hits in recent years, it's cool that this fun, positive event will happen in our downtown. As for the weather, I'm a little fearful of the rain. Some rain makes a cool visual; a lot of rain could ruin the danged game. Also, funny enough, sun is bad, because it leads to a glare on the ice (sometimes, they have the teams switch sides mid-period to make it fair due to the glare). I don't think it'll be sunny on Mon but I am worried about rain.
Very, very true -- someone'll have to go. A storyline that is potentially even juicier is the fact that Panarin signed for only two years. This could've been the gentleman's big pay day, but instead he signed for the two years. One wonders how much he's thought about playing with his good friend Vladimir Tarasenko in St. Louis? No. 91 will still have I believe four years on his deal at that point. Add him in with a budding Schwartz and Fabbri and the fellas, and this could be a really good team ... in three danged years from now.
Let's talk this out. Now right away, the Cardinals wouldn't have spent more than $110 million on free agents if they were just conceding to the Cubs. Yes, you could've made an argument for why STL should've signed Edwin Encarnacion, but look -- this guy turns 34 year old on Jan. 7, and he signed for three years (and $60 mil total). You cannot (cannot!) look at a baseball team in the vacuum of one season, because that's how you become the Padres or something, shooting yourself in the foot for following seasons. Encarnacion would've hurt STL's defense and even if he hit 40 homers in 2017, he would've been a huge problem in later years. And -- the team is trying to get more athletic and better at defense. So I'm fine with them not signing him. Should they get someone else? Sure, if they can get a guy for a one-year pillow deal, and maybe platoon him, that's something. But you don't just spend in 2017 and not consider the effects on 2019
I'll have to give the assist to BenFred on this, but I'm rather curious about Cuonzo Martin. He's the head coach at Cal right now, and he had some success in the SEC at Tennessee earlier this decade. He's from East St. Louis (so many, if anything, he can help with football recruiting ha), and he is proud of the area. His mother and some family still live in the area. He's enticing, but it'll cost Mizzou, and Mizzou doesn't pay head coaches well, compared to the rest of the SEC
A good question indeed. This team has been weird. When the season began, things weren't great in that locker room and the guys weren't scoring (and the team was making dumb penalties). As the story goes, they have a big letting-it-all-out discussion right after the Columbus debacle (and I'd written that piece about, at least, posing the question that it was Yeo time). The team turned it up. But they've still struggled so much on the road. That Tampa game was awful. It was nice to see STL bounce back and play fluid hockey in the win last evening, notably with the Blues keeping Philly from creating a barrage of opportunities. And it was nice to see those deflected goals too. But for this team to get a stranglehold on the west: 1. They must improve their play on the road 2. Which means Jake Allen must improve his play on the road 3. They must take advantage of home power plays 4. They must stop trying to play what Hitch calls "home-run" hockey.
The day he was hired, I screamed that his first season would be a failure if Mizzou didn't win six games. They won four. And yes, losing HOMECOMING to Middle Tenn State and blowing the chance to win at home against GA were just two examples of "what might have been." I believe in Odom, I love how other coaches talk about him and I love Odom's passion -- I'll tell you this, no matter how frustrated you are about the team, he has even more emotion. You ask about him turning it around quickly, and I think he can get to a bowl game next season, if only because of a relatively easy non-conference schedule and avoiding LSU and Alabama
It's a huuuge debate, and there are many different ways to look at it. (For the record, I don't hit my 10-year limit to vote for another six years) The reality is -- talent-wise, he was a Hall of Fame talent. And there's the old "if he'd just retired in 1999, he woulda made the HOF." But he didn't, and there are books written about his PED usage. It's fair that a lot of voters are looking at how others will vote. I don't feel comfortable enshrining him, but I think ultimately he'll make it to Cooperstown
A fascinating question. And could the answer be both? Alas, I'm only up in a Denver bar, Don's Mixed Drinks, where the author Jonah Keri and I would host our weekly gatherings.
Hello Shepdog, thanks for writing. Well, inevitably, the Cardinals will enhance the way the practice baserunning in Jupiter. The team added some new coaches to the staff who should provide new and fresh perspectives on preparation and execution. But yeah, it was bad last year. Oddly bad. Hopefully a smarter baserunner like Fowler will help set the tone. With the OBPers of Fowler, Diaz and Marp, those guys cannot make outs on the basepaths.
Yeah, we'll have to check the Nielsons on that Seacrest show. I'll tell you this though -- holy moly, Saturday will be fun. The alumni game featuring the big names from the past: Federko, Pronger, Hull, Oates, GRETZKY, Yake. It's gonna be something -- and yes, I think there will be a lot of Busch at Busch and surely a few folks who will be ringing in the New Year asleep, awaking to a ringing head.
I don't sense the Cardinals were locked in on Dozier, like some reporting elsewhere would lead you to believe. I sense that they simply inquired about him, if only to find out what other teams were looking to get for a second baseman (considering the Cards, as The Post-Dispatch has reported, have gotten some calls about Kolten). Dozier didn't make sense for numerous reasons, the primary one being -- the Cards want to see their investment through with Wong. And like you mentioned, Dozier isn't great with the glove, and Wong is key to making the defense strong in the infield. And who would Minnesota want beyond Wong for Dozier. A haul, to be sure.
A great question and I'm not going to pretend like I have a definitive answer today, considering so many other things will have to come into play, namely -- just how well will the other starters be for STL next year? And, if they trade Lynn, are they confident that the "No. 6" starter can be the No. 5? And who is that, Wacha? Marco? Rosenthal? Weaver? A lot of questions to be answered there. But I do respect your creativity with the trade idea. One thing to wonder though -- is it possible the team they'd trade Lynn to would be a team they'd later face in October?
Trades? Probably. But I still think STL should take a look at Jose Bautista in free agency, and I'm sure they'll do their due diligence. Can they get Joey Bats for one season? Can he be a fourth outfielder/pinch hit stud? Is it worth overspending for someone such as that? Fair questions to ask. But we also know how often a fourth outfielder can play, especially if there are injuries. Right now, that man is Pham.
I love baseball, but the thing is, being a stud player doesn't guarantee you championships. I would say that being a stud in basketball would also lead to the most chances for your to control your championship destiny. So I'll go with LeBron Hochman.
OK, I've gotta run now fellas and ladies. Thanks as always!!