The trouble with contending every year is that you don't get good draft picks year after year. So you don't get to draft an Andrew Luck or Kris Bryant. Maybe you can find another Brady deep in a draft, but that is an extreme longshot. The Cardinals plan: Business as usual, try to contend every year with a good organization. The Patriots Plan: Ride Belichick and Brady as long as possible, then prepare to start over from scratch know that life will never be the same.
That would be way, way, way down the list of surprises. There didn't seem to be much tread left on that tire. I am not sure what Luke could have done to remedy that over the winter. On the other hand, maybe fellow reliever Dominic Leone can stay healthy and look more like high-leverage reliever he was back in '17 for the Blue Jays.
Easy answer: The Cardinals go with him until he lands on the disabled list this season. If he makes every start, then the team considers re-upping him to a new deal. That may be feasible, giving the plunging value of free agents. Fewer pitchers are getting crazy long -term deals and Wacha's injury history will give other teams pause as well.
Pricing factors into that, but so does the ever-expanding entertainment options. For instance, younger people may not see the value of college football tailgating when they can throw a party in front of their wall-sized HD TV and do their whooping and hollering in climate controlled conditions. Colleges are actually taking steps to make their stadium experiences more like the in-home experience. That speaks volumes about where all of this is headed.
Well, that team did a nice reclamation job with Robin Lehner. Also, Barry Trotz's defensive system tends to make goaltenders look very, very good. He is the polar opposite of former coach Doug Weight, who turned his teams loose on offense with little regard for defensive structure.
I'll drink the Kool Aid and go for the over on this bet. But we're probably talking just 9 or 10 victories before the wear and tear catches up to him again. There are so many miles on that arm. It's amazing has wrung as many victories out of that arm as he has.
Once you move from fan to reporter, you see that a lot of things aren't what you expect. That can be jarring. Behind the scenes, these athletes are a mix like the mix in any other workplace. For me, it's not so much that some guys aren't who I thought they were, but rather some guys do an especially good job presenting a great public image. That takes work. Some guys put in that work and others couldn't care less.
Sure, right now you would take Bishop over Allen. He's a good guy by all accounts and I did spend a decent draft pick to add him to my fantasy team this season. He had two great seasons with Tampa Bay blended in to his career pile. But, again, we're talking about a guy who bounced from St. Louis to Ottawa, Tampa Bay, Los Angeles and then Dallas. His save percentage since exiting the Lightning during the 2016-17 season is around the league average. It's not like the Blues ran off Patrick Roy.
The Cardinals made a modest bet that Gregerson could bounce back from his last season in Houston, when he did work 65 games, and fit into the middle of their bullpen. Obviously that modest bet did not pay off. If he can't turn back the clock this spring, then that will be that. The Cardinals have myriad relief options for the '19 season and there will be no reason to keep somebody around just because they have a contract year left.
Baseball has some obvious issues to address: Too many teams tanking for years at a time, too many strikeouts, too little action on the bases, too much time between pitches . . . you can probably add several complaints of your own. I'll add this as an old fart: Do any kids anywhere in America go out and assemble a pick-up game? For old guys like myself, baseball was a big part of our childhood even if we were less than amazing in our Little League years.
That would be the best case, sure. There is about the same chance of that happening as space aliens landing at your next lawn party and sharing all the secrets to the universe over bratwurst.
Default answer: If Harold Baines is a Hall of Famer, then (fill in the blank) is a Hall of Famer. Keith checked a lot of boxes, citizenship aside.
I'll go Nebraska. That program still commands massive fan support up in Lincoln. Mizzou in Boone County? Not so much. Also, playing in the Big Ten is a more manageable ride for the Cornhuskers than that Tigers playing in the vicious SEC. Finally, Frost came to Nebraska with excellent head coaching experience while Odom has had to learn on the fly. Nebraska came on late last season and the good times are coming back.
Jack Flaherty is capable of having the sort of season Mikolas did. I am not promising that, of course, but he climbed quickly in the organization because of his pitch assortment and command. Like Mikolas, Flaherty can really pitch. He is way more polished than most starters his age.
That is an interested thought to reorient fans, but I figure people will adapt soon enough. With the evolution of baseball toward heavier bullpen usage, I don't know that the DH will have as big an impact on strategy as we all fear. Starting pitchers are coming out of games earlier and earlier under current NL rules. More relievers are coming in and out of game due to matchups and game scenarios rather than when the pitcher is due to hit. The best pinch-hitters are typically saved for really critical scenarios these days since NL teams carry more pitchers and fewer bench guys. That wouldn't change with the DH. And can we life with fewer sacrifice bunts? Even I'll admit that, despite all those seasons of watching the small ball played in girls fast-pitch softball.
Relative to salary, he is not a great producer. But the fans who want to paint him as the root of all Blues evil really overreach. The guy does a lot of dirty work out there and he is missed when injured. Taking him out of the lineup does not make the team better.
Last year he was at that level. Lately he has been closer to that level again. I believe he is still an elite two-way defenseman, somewhere in the NHL's Top 10. Trading him without getting a massive return would be a huge mistake.
The best stadium is whatever they are calling the San Francisco stadium these days. Great design and arguably the best stadium setting in any sport.
Alien Bratwurst . . . Didn't they open for Social Distortion last year at Pops?
That seems high. I don't that many fans actually go into permanent boycotts over anything. I mean, how many people would be truly outraged if John Gant never got another chance to bunt for the Cardinals?