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 11 a.m. Tuesday.




  • So Leake wants to fight being skipped in the rotation? Does he not see what we see?
  • Hello! Good, topical question to start the chat. Mike Leake, man, what an interesting turn of events, considering that he looked like an All-Star in the first couple months. Ol' Leaker has an ERA of 9.26 in his past five starts. And even though some of the groundballs he gets are just hardluck singles (grounders he would've been fine with getting again), there have clearly been some hard hit balls on him. Jesus Ortiz of our newspaper made a good recent comparison to Leake's issues and Jaime Garcia of last season. The manager had this trust that the veteran Garcia could veteran his way out of some troubles. But Brandon Moss had a better chance of homering in September than Garcia pitching a quality start. So here we are with Leake. I'm totally fine with skipping him once or twice, letting Gant or Jack Flaherty make a start. But clearly the question is -- how serious is Leake's issue? Is is fatigue? Physical? Or is he suddenly just not as good at baseball as he was 60 days ago? At some point, a rested Leake deserves another start this season. I'm fine with that. But I also admit that's a gamble. As for Leake's diligence to stay in the rotation, that's how these dudes are wired. Waino, Lynn, Carlos, Wacha, none of them want to skip a start, even if their pinkie finger is broken and dangling. What's Leake supposed to say: "I am pitching like one of those Little Leaguers I met on Sunday?" Of course not. But I think we can all agree that skipping a Leake start might be beneficial for everyone involved.
  • Ben, do you think the Chiefs are the de facto NFL team for St. Louis? If so, when we can we expect training camp or preseason games to happen in St. Louis?
  • An interesting question indeed. Obviously KMOX worked out a deal to air Chiefs games last season, so that was a cool connection for locals and the NFL. But I don't think St. Louis will ever have a "de facto" NFL team. Not the way technology is these days. Growing up, there was something to be said about rooting for the team closest to your home. But these days, you can follow any team as thoroughly from any city. Consider this chat alone -- where is everyone from? Lemme know! I bet many will be from outside of St. Louis, yet they follow the Cards (and other STL teams) so closely, that they're participating in the weekly Benjamin Hochman chat. So I think St. Louisans will adopt a smorgasbord of teams (fun fact -- I spelled smorgasbord right on my first try!). Fans choose teams for certain reasons, from cool colors to having players from their alma mater to players from their fantasy team. And really, that's the line I've always said -- St. Louis' new favorite football team is each St. Louisans' fantasty team.
  • Hoch! What's the 4-1-1 on Sara Dayley? My brother wants to know.
  • Ha! Well, she is super-awesome on the Fox Sports Midwest postgame show. She is the daughter of the great reliever Ken Daley. And I believe she's married (if that's what Snot Nosed Billy's brother is asking).
  • Growing up in late 80's-early 90's it always felt like STL would get another NFL team. My generation had no real attachment to the Football Cards, and the bitterness they caused my hometown. How long do you think the bitterness will last towards NFL, or do you think we're stuck being a 2 sport town. I'm not sure I can get past it, but maybe another generation can?
  • I've screamed it from the Arch-top -- St. Louis is big enough to be an NFL city. Our fans are fervent. The reason it didn't work the last time was two-fold. One, first of all, it DID work -- it worked just fine when the team was actually competitive. But when things got bad, it got unprecedentedly bad. Historically bad. Browns bad. So it made sense that fans gave up on a team that, seemingly, the ownership gave up on (a lot has been said about Kroenke's passion for owning the St. Louis Rams. I will say, I got to know the guy and I knew he CARED about trying to win, that he wanted to win. I just don't think he proved to be good AT IT). Second, the reason it didn't work out had nothing to do with St. Louis -- it had everything to do with this amazingly large NFL market that was vacant (well, actually, I suppose that had a lot to do with St. Louis, since the Rams moved from LA to here in the first place, but you know what I mean). ESK had this opportunity to build the biggest stadium ever and host Super Bowls and the Olympics and make billions. That's business. So as for us getting another team, I feel we could support it, I just wonder -- where would they play, who would own the team and who would choose St. Louis as a destination for relocation?)
  • Hey Ben, read derricks column this morning about Roster protection, with that in mind do you agree with his assessment that Alcantara, Oneil, Gomber, Mercado and pearce will all be added?
  • I liked that piece, made you think, didn't it? The Cards let two super-young dudes go, because the Cards felt 1. no one would risk keeping them on a big-league roster 2. the Cards wanted to focus on keeping older youngsters (if that's not an oxy moron). So the Padres scooped up both players, and both players will be in town this week -- Perdomo is improving an a part of that rotation for years to come, while Cordoba, age 21, is playing like an age-21-Rule-5 guy. His on-base percentage isn't even over .300 (.293). I was most intrigued by the quote that our paper's great beat writer got from Mo -- that Mo admitted the Cards might need to rethink approaches to Rule 5. Is potential more important than depth? That said, of course Alcantara (Mr. 100) and O'Neill and Mercado should be on the 40.
  • I'm getting back into fantasy football after taking a hiatus post Rams move. My old team name was Meet The Brockers. I need a new one that's not associated with the Rams... Something either more universal or has direct St. Louis ties. Any suggestions?
  • How about this homage to a former STL QB: "Total Eclipse of Jim Hart"
  • Thanks for always doing these chats! And for your sometimes clever, sometimes awful (which makes them even better) puns on twitter...my question: What are the chances Mike Leake makes the start this weekend? And if the chances are low, who takes the mound?
  • Ha! thanks man. We will know more when we get to Busch Stadium this afternoon for media availability, but my guess is the chances are bad that Leake gets a start. You look at how they are handling other situations, notably Waino, and you'd think they'd skip a start and look at Gant or Flaherty but NOT Michael Mayers good lord.
  • Hey, Ben -- took your advice on a recent trip to Coors Field (my first) and sat on the right field side -- the sunset over those mountains? Wow. I was also reminded, though, that the sparse crowd for a legitimate contender there is a far cry from the ferocious loyalty we have for our Birds here! Thanks for the tip!
  • Glad you made it! And yes, I always use Colorado as a comparison. We in STL sometimes forget how good we have it. The team says it'll be a contender and the fans demand one, and all that is fun, make it makes for so much micromanaging of the manager and the management. For better or worse, we break down every inning meticulously on Twitter and in our coverage for the newspaper. So an 86-win season that barely missed the playoffs IS an utter failure of a season here. If that had happened in Colorado though, holy moly, it wou'dve been still pretty cool ("we're actually a somebody!"). I do feel Rockies fans get a bad rap, since they've only had a team since 1993, but there are definitely some passionate and sabermetrically minded fans out there in the mountains. But yes, as I ramble, my point is that STL is fortunate to be STL -- fervent fans for a team that's generally in the mix... but that also means, more emotional ups-and-downs than what Rockies fans go through.
  • Is the Cards getting beat down in Boston the equivalent of the Miracle on Ice team getting beat down at MSG before the Olympics? If so, then...
  • Ha! I hope you're right. And yes, as I wrote in the Post-Dispatch last Thursday, that bottom-of-the-ninth loss to the Red Sox will be the one we talk about, if the Cards miss the playoffs by a game. That was such a dang roller-coaster of a game. And I loved the headline on the Jeff Gordon piece: "Cardinals' 10 lousiest losses of 2017." Because there are so many worthy, so much lousy. Your comparison is fun, but I don't know if the MSG beatdown is completely apples-to-apples, because the 1980 USA team was supposed to be bad, while the Cards were supposed to be, at least, contending. But I see where you're going. And the reality is this -- the St. Louis Cardinals are not a great team, they have redundancies and injury issues. But they have a VERY easy schedule the rest of the way. And when it gets hard, at least the opponent is either Chicago or Milwaukee, so the Cards could really affect the standings with wins there. I mean, the next six games are against the Padres and Rays -- IN ST. LOUIS. So there is still, say, a 25 percent chance of the Cards making the postseason. And I forever remember a tweet sent by former Cards writer Matthew Leach, the famous night in 2011 that they won the Wild Card. He said "they're in the tournament." They're in. And anything can happen in the postseason. This isn't the NBA. So yeah, maybe STL will face Boston again in the World Series. And then the 1980 reference could work! Though, since '46 and '67, the Cards have had their struggles against those red socked Sox.
  • Cards world series, Blues Stanley cup, STL gets a MLS team, STL gets an NBA team.
    Can you rank them 1-4 for which happen first?
  • 1. Cards World Series 2. MLS (I still have some faith) 3. Blues Stanley Cup (though it very well could be the greatest moment in STL history if it happens. Imagine the partying. My buddy the other day said: "I'm 38 years old. And if the Blues win the Stanley Cup, I might get arrested at that parade.") 4. National Basketball Association
  • B Hoch,

    I used to have the utmost faith in the Cardinals FO to make moves that propelled the team to annual contention. My faith and my patience are running thin. The Cardinals are the ONLY contending team to not add a SINGLE major league piece to improve the team. They also tout their pitching prospects and yet when their rotation is struggling mightily and they have injuries, they fail to call up these prospects. How do you feel about these issues?
  • I love your passion. But let's talk this through. As for not making a move, who would you have made a move for? There wasn't an available stud hitter. And now what's the current issue with the Cards -- they have three outfielders all slugging well, and now Piscotty is back too (implying they have "too many" good outfielders, at least in the present). And yes, the starting pitching has been stellar. But to answer your question, they haven't necessarily "failed" to call up the prospects -- because there still are six weeks to do just that. So let's look at that one as an incomplete for now, rather than giving it a grade. Because it's possible Flaherty could start a game here before September even starts.
  • Typical Grickuk at bat:

    Called strike, Foul ball, swing and miss on off-speed pitch, or some variation.

    Can someone teach him to lay off the off-speed stuff, especially when he is down in the count?
  • I'm with ya! He's good for a strikeout a game as I am for a bad pun on Twitter a game. And he never walks too. But Grichuk has been rather productive lately. Consider that in the past 29 games, with 26 of them starts, he's slashing: .305/.336/.581.
  • I am waiting for DeJong to hit his ceiling, a la Diaz, but he keeps going. Is he adjusting better to how they are pitching him and being more patient?
  • This is clearly an important issue to dissect both in the short-term and the long-term. Remember how excited we all were about Aledmys at this point last year? This guy was so mature, so comfortable in the bigs ... his 2017 would surely be an OBP-y season with some big slug production, too. Well, he's doing that -- for Memphis. So it's easy to compare the two, especially because of their walk rates being so low. A couple of optimistic things about DeJong -- all the people I've talked to around the Cards, notably Waino and Matheny, have gushed about DeJong's attitude and approach. Paul's always asking questions, always learning (now, obviously, a lot of people said a similar thing about Aledmys). And DeJong has been a pretty good home run hitter in previous seasons too -- it's not like he's some Brady Anderson-suddenly-on-the-scene slugger. And DeJong is younger than Diaz. But two things to consider -- DeJong has a super-high BABIP and is a good but not excellent fielder. But I still think he'll be the starting SS in 2018.
  • Edmonds has nothing to add to broadcasts that doesn't have to do with his own playing days, McCarver is NOT funny or witty despite so many efforts to be, and Al is just the same old statistics repeated over and over; When will Danny Mac get a decent analyst to work with other than Horton?
  • See I disagree! I like the broadcasts. Edmonds is honest and gives you a lot of peeks behind the curtain. His insight is strong and timely and often is personal -- he can talk about things he saw while as a teammate of the players he's broadcasting. As for Tim, I like Tim. I might be in the minority, but I think he's wonderful on there.
  • Mike Leake's jersey nickname should have been "Leaker" instead of whatever it was. Put that man on a ice cream and cake diet to get his weight back up.
  • He is looking a lot like Kelly Leak.
  • So the offense was doing pretty well with an OF of Pham, Fowler and Grichuk. Is Piscotty going to throw a big ole wrench into things?
  • That's the big debate. Now, right away, the Memphis season was going to end sooner or later. We're having this debate now about the wrench-throwing, but Piscotty would've been back with the Birds two weeks from now, meaning it's a debate we would've had anyway. It left a bad taste in my mouth to have Pham benched in that Sunday game, but Mike Matheny proved to press the right button there -- Pisco got on base three times and made that awesome catch. But this means there's even more pressure on Matheny to get the matchups right with his four outfielders, all who are seemingly currently capable of production. Decisions better be made on winning that night's ball game, not on contracts or relationships. But even if Pisco just rides the bench for the rest of the season, that's still probably better to have his bat than Luke Voit off the bench (of course, that means that Jose Martinez is your backup first baseman).
  • Did not you think it was about time that Kurt Warner got into the HOF? He actually won 3 Super Bowls, but his defense did not do their jobs in two of them.
  • I was extremely glad to see the nicest human ever get elected into the Hall of Fame -- even if he was a jerk, Kurt Warner's body of work is Canton-worthy. But it's a very slippery slope to talk about a player "actually winning X Super Bowls" because we can play the what-if game with everyone. Yes, I totally see what you're saying. Warner led the late-game, lead-taking drives for both the Rams against the Patriots and the AZ Cardinals against the Steelers. At that point, Kurt could've just started driving home, because he did his job and would have no other baring on the outcome of the game. But clearly the defenses had something to do with what the score was to begin with. Clearly the defense made stops that got Warner in the position to take the lead late in the first place. Oh, and if it wasn't for SLUH football coach Mike Jones making "the tackle," Warner might be 0-for-3 in Super Bowls.
  • I am upset with all this attention to the Rally Cat. What does he got that I don't?

    Fredbird
  • If the Cards make the playoffs, Rally Cat will be bigger than Rally Squirrel and Fredbird combined. I kid, sort of. But if they do make the playoffs, then we can all say, in a silly fun way, that he affected the Cards in a "magical" way. And he can be a rallying cry. But if they don't make the playoffs, the nine lives are gone. As for the Cards battles with the cat folks, I don't know much about animals, but could this work: Why don't the Cards build some sort of zoo-like behind-the-glass area and, for home games, have the Rally Cat hang out in there? Bunch of cat towers and toys and such would be in there. Fans can take pics with him (or, soon, it). And the Cards can put up some signage for the Feral Cat organization, a peace offering if you will.
  • What do you think of the nicknames on the players backs this weekend in MLB. I think its very cool. THanks
  • I'm very excited about the nicknames. I'm very distraught that Jedd Gyorko didn't pay homage to Seinfeld with the deep-cut reference "Gyork Store."
  • OK I gotta head downtown to do this week's 2 Bens video with Ben Frederickson. Hope you enjoyed the chat! Also, how cool was that eclipse yesterday?? I can't wait for today's!
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