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.




  • is it me you're looking for?
  • What is the holdup for signing Nicasio? Do you think he wants to wait till the WS is over so he can field offers from other teams first? He certainly looks like a keeper to me, and you, too?
  • I sensed that Juan liked the Cardinals culture and clubhouse - he seems to be fitting in nicely with the guys, and the few times I talked to him, I sensed he enjoyed pitching meaningful important September innings. Here's a guy who pitched in like 70-plus games this year and finished w a 2.60 ERA and a minuscule WHIP. I want him back -- but I also think St Louis needs a veteran closer. A Holland. A Davis. Can you get one of these guys, also have Nicasio as a key bullpen arm and then Rosey will be back too. The key is getting the Davis or Holland on a shorter deal, and I fear some team will "Melancon" them and overspend.
  • Are you buying what Odom is selling about Mizzou being a total rebuild when he took over? I mean, the team was one year removed from back-to-back SEC East championships. It seems like Odom is just trying to save face. But he's also disparaging the program in the process, which will make his supposed rebuild even more difficult. What recruit wants to go to a program where the second-year coach is talking about a total rebuild?
  • I think that's very well-said Mister..Yes, we can look down the roster and say Pinkel's final recruiting class wasn't sterling -- hey but you still got the dang QB out of it -- and that Pinkel was a master at turning two stars into four and such. But no, this was not a tear it down rebuild. I mean, shoot, look at it this way. In Odom's first season, he had Lock, Crockett and Moore all with HUGE statistical seasons. We were gushing about the offense coming into this season. And about the offensive line too. And the fellas have one win. Against Missouri State. Odom will say his speeches and show his passion but the reality is, Missouri is at a crossroads and Sterk didn't hire him... As I wrote in my Sunday column, it's pretty clear that Jim Sterk needs a counterpart as the football coach, not someone counterproductive to Sterk's amazing fundraising.
  • Benjamin - Empty NFL stadiums are everywhere. How would you assess the level of panic by the owners and is there really anything they can do?
  • Hello Jock Ewing, I hope everything is going well at the Southfork Ranch. Please give my best to Miss Ellie and Mandy Winger. Yeah I think there are numerous reasons for this. Really it comes down to -- the gameday experience is no longer waaaay better than the home viewing experience. Instead of the "I get to go to the game" it's "I have to go to the game" ... And of course, we hear about the anthem protests affecting the fans in a negative way. The Post-Dispatch had a story about a VFW that agreed to stop showing NFL games because of the protests. Also, by the way, I wish that every person mad about the kneeling would at least take 17 seconds to also acknowledge WHY the guys are protesting. Everyone gets so mad about the protest itself, that people push to the side why the players are protesting, risking so much financially and socially to take this public stance (even if it's deemed super disrespectful by some)
  • MIZZOU-KANSAS! Your thoughts Hochsy?
  • Well besides my wedding and the day the Godfather first came out on DVD, I can't remember being more excited for a day than Sunday. The Border War! Well, The Border Skirmish. The Border Scrimmage. Whatever, it's going to be awesome. Look, of course it's easy to jump to the conclusion (like the Jump To Conclusions Mat in “Office Space”) that this means MU-KU is back. I won't go that far. Apparently Bitter Bill Self won't let bygones by bygones (or, he was just worried that playing Kim Anderson Mizzou teams would've hurt KU's RPI). But look, here's what's going to happen, right? Amazing atmosphere. Antlers. Pumping music. Pumping hearts. Famous faces from the rivalry in the crowd. And a good feeling throughout – since it's for a good cause. Maybe the whole thing is psychological, and the powerful Bill Self lets down his guard a little. And maybe, a couple weeks later, Jim Sterk makes his move and tries to get it going again for next year in some capacity.
  • Hi Ben. Mizzou basketball, both men and women, are about to tip off and wash away the nightmare that is Barry Odom. What are your expectations for each team? Thanks.
  • Mizzou's women's team were picked third in the SEC. I hope that everyone can appreciate what coach Robin Pingeton has done with the MU women (even though, of course, her greatest Mizzou contribution might be hiring her brother in law as the director of basketball ops all those years ago). Sophie Cunningham is one of the coolest athletes around, and she is a role model not only to young women but young men too -- she plays so hard, she cares so much about her school and community, she's humble, she's hungry and she's very comfortable in her own skin, a fantastic personality. Mizzou men? The only binary expectation for me is tourney or no tourney. The must make the tourney. Look, there are so many exciting things about the team. And it's also a new coach and new players and a new system melding with old players. There might be some frustration and growing pains and all that. With Bama and Kentucky and FLA there are some talented basketball teams in the conference. Mizzou should be in the mix -- but the key is just making that tournament.
  • Why does it seem like the Cardinals are being shaped around Matheny? Last off-season it was about limiting Mike's decisions by signing an obvious 8 starters. This year it is about bringing in a pitching coach that can embrace advanced metrics. Is Matheny really worth all this trouble?
  • I see what you're saying, and a lot has been made about Mo making decisions "for" Matheny, a la trading Allen Craig so Matheny could no longer play Allen Craig. But I think it's also, like -- the Cards are making decisions to just have a really good team, whether it's Mike Matheny or Jimmy Duggan as the manager. They needed a sturdy centerfielder last year, and they got a sturdy OFFENSIVE centerfielder in Dexter Fowler (some of those defensive plays, or misplays, were hard to watch. Yes, he was playing hurt and I acknowledge that, but still, man.) And clearly the bullpen stuff could be better. And clearly a fresh new face and mindset from the pitching program could help elevate these young starters.
  • Are you worried at all that something bad could happen in the game?
  • I joked in a story last week that the most-Mizzou thing ever would be if Michael Porter Jr. hurt himself during this game that wasn't even supposed to exist. Like, for the school that suffered through the fifth-down and the flea-kicker and all that, of course that happens. But look, guys play hard in practice too. It's not like they're just playing H O R S E at practice – they play tough defense and drive to the hoop and all that. So, let's say there is a crazy injury in the scrimmage on Sunday. It's fair to say the injury could've also happened at a practice on Sunday. Sill, no one will actually make that point hahaha
  • I work in Ste Gen and the football culture is pretty crazy down here. Thanks for that article, it really showed how big of a deal it is down here. That team is silly good and has been for a long time.
  • Thank you Steve. Yeah, shameless self promotion but I really enjoyed writing this story you all might not have read -- it's about this football field nestled between woodlands and a cemetery. -

    Hochman: You can feel the tradition at Valle Catholic

    stltoday.comSTE. GENEVIEVE • Behind the crossbar, there are crosses. They sprout up from the tops of tombstones in the cemetery, which sits on a hill behind the south end zone,
  • Do you believe MO will finally make an impact trade this offseason? If so, who would you like to see in STL next year?
  • I think it's understood that if the Cardinals don't have at least two new marquee players, that the offseason was a failure. They must do SOMETHING to try to elevate this mid-80s team into a 90-win team. It's almost ideal that in the very same offseason that Cards need to reload, a team with multiple All-Stars is looking to reboot. I mean, the odds on this! It's crazy and it's awesome. Derek Jeter and his friends in Miami will likely knock it down to build it back up bigger and stronger. And the Cardinals, as we all know, have numerous enticing young players. So this is the offseason to try to pry. Obviously Stanton would be so much fun here, but I just wonder if a more realistic get is Yelich or Ozuna? Again, something must happen. There must be an uncomfortable gamble made by the Cardinals. It's tough to stay competitive every year and not do a rebuild. The Astros and Cubs, two teams that dramatically and famously rebuilt, could very well be in the World Series this month. But as long as the Cards have agreed to their way of keeping the team annually competitive, then this is the offseason so make a big gamble on a big bat or name (or two).
  • We've all heard the possible names for the middle of the order bat. What is your prediction for who the Cards add? I'd guess Ozuna. Thanks.
  • I am definitely fascinated by Ozuna. And, this is a minor thing in the grand scheme of things, but he and Carlos Martinez seemed to be very close at the All-Star Game, positing social media videos of each other hanging out and having fun. Ozuna turns 27 on November 12, and by now you're probably aware of his slash line of .312/.376/.548. You're probably also aware that in the four previous seasons, the highest he hit was .269, so not that nice. He finished fifth in the league in adjusted OPS+ via baseballreference.com. That is good. He also finished ninth in offensive WAR and third with his 37 homers. Look, it's fun to get excited about the Patrick Wisdoms and Maggie Sierras and all that. But there is a proven masher available. Go get him (or someone like him).
  • Will the MU-KU scrimmage be on TV have you heard?
  • Unfortunately, I don't believe the thing will be on TV. HOWEVER, the Post-Dispatch will be all over it, so be sure to come to our site on Sunday and Monday for coverage from myself, Dave Matter and Ben Frederickson, all sitting courtside at the Border Scrimmage Skirmish.
  • The Cards have too many holes to fill in one offseason. Plus every other team will be trying to improve with Stanton, Donaldson, etc. Too many fans here are talking like it is guaranteed STL will bring in any big name they wish for. They may make playoffs next season but I don't believe they will be a power in the league for another couple years until the younger stars hit their stride.
  • An interesting take, however the other aspect to this is starting pitching. The Cards pitching situation is super-fascinating right now. It's almost like on of those painting that if you look at it one way, it's a pretty lady, and if you look at it a different way, it's a wrinkled elderly person. Like -- it's exciting to have Carlos and Reyes and Weaver and even Flaherty and Alcantara. But how many innings, truly, can all those fellas eat up? And there are question marks with Waino. You probably need a short-term veteran starter. I'm all for that. But who? I'll tell you, I'd be cool if they could work out a deal to get Jeff Samardzija.
  • All of the people always criticize Mike Matheny and say the Cards need a new coach, a la Bochy. Well, how did that work out? I understand that the team was decimated by injuries, but if the coach is the magic wand they should have at least been .500, right?
  • A true point, especially in a week in which the never-blemished Joe Maddon made a seemingly bad call by going with "reliever" John Lackey instead of Wade Davis in Game 2. Managers make mistakes. And one thing that we can never truly know is -- what does the manager know about a pitcher that we don't. Like, we can look at all the stats, we can do a lot of reporting from a media standpoint and interview people around the team to get a gauge on everything, but we don't 100 percent know what the manager knows. Maybe the player is pitching through pain. Or is unavailable because of pain. Like, Lance Lynn was hurt toward the end of 2015. Every year we hear about something after-the-fact, something that if we knew at the time, it could've swayed opinion. And there's the human element to everything. I wrote a book about the Cardinals and sat down with Al Hrabosky. He talked about one of the worst years of his career -- he was going through marital issues. He was thinking about that stuff on the mound. It affected performance. Anyway, yes, I criticize Matheny. Other folks hammer him even harder than I do. But yes, even HOF managers like the gentleman in San Fran have bad years or can't do it all annually.
  • If the Cardinals really do deploy the bullpen earlier and more aggressively in 2018, do you think Wacha can make a big jump in production? Most of his problems arose during the third time through the order, so he stands to benefit more than anyone else if this new bullpen strategy is a real thing.
  • Very astute point -- and I think yes!
  • OK, the diehard chatters aren't gonna like this, but I've got to run -- important speaking engagement. As always, I enjoy our Tuesday chats, and definitely check out all the other chats and podcasts my colleagues do here on stltoday.com !
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