Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Join columnist Ben Frederickson for a live STL sports chat at 11 a.m. Tuesday

Ben Frederickson answers your Cardinals, Blues, St. Louis City, Mizzou and SLU questions in Tuesday's 11 a.m. live chat.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope your tree is up, decorated and adequately watered, and all of that jazz. Baseball lockout. Covid Blues. Mizzou hoops (argh) and bowl-game drama. Whatever you're into, we'll go there. Fire away.
    Since martin probably misjudged talent more than anytime is his coaching career this season, and the athletic department doesn't have the funds to pay out his contract I just dont see a path forward until the end of next year. This team has so many flaws it is hard seeing them win 3 sec games. Anderson went 8 and 23 his worst season and this team might see 8 wins but i just dont see it. With you great knowledge were do we go from here.
    I'm disappointed with the team so far this season. Most of you all know my feelings about Cuonzo Martin. I thought he was the right coach for the job, and what he did in the immediate aftermath of inheriting a non-competitive program was impressive, considering the shape things were in at the start. That said, in year five you would like to see proof things are moving in the direction beyond first-round NCAA Tournament exits, and instead this team looks like one that has zero chance of making the NCAA Tournament at this time. This season does look like a Kim Anderson era team, which makes the claims from some -- not saying this is you -- that those seasons were better than this one laughable. There is some real revisionist history going on there. I'm old enough to remember when the team was ranked No. 10 in the nation briefly last season! But the biggest feather in Zo's cap so far was that he turned the page from that rock bottom to something much better, with the hope even better was to come. Now things look like they are trending in the wrong direction, and most of the guys who are not getting it done on the court this season are guys who are going to be back next season. So, you would really, really like to see signs that those guys are getting better over the course of the season. And I do think Desiree Reed-Francois will wait to see if that happens. She kind of has to with the $6 million buyout. A buyout can be handled by the right booster or three if someone wants to fund a change, though. College sports teaches us that all the time. Someone else is going to have to call for Martin's firing. It won't be me. I think Mizzou supporters and fans need to figure out what exactly it wants from its basketball program. Support and attendance seems to disappear at the first sign of trouble, and expectations are hard to define. A new coach is going to lose some games and have some down seasons too. Especially the one who would be in Mizzou's price range, after buying out Martin's remaining contract. If it's broken, though, it's broken. We'll probably know by the end of the season if not sooner. This could be a rough month with Illinois, Kansas and Kentucky. Those who love to wallow in the angst are going to get their fill and then some.
    So should Mizzou fans be disappointed they aren’t in an SEC affiliated bowl?
    They can be, if they like. It won't change the truth. A 6-6 football team doesn't get to leverage the league for its pick of bowl games. That's the first truth of this situation. Win more, and you get better treatment from the league. But something that would have helped Mizzou's case would be a better reputation of support through season ticket sales and attendance. LSU and Florida get priority because they travel and sell bowl game tickets, even in down seasons, compared to Mizzou. This is not a knock on Mizzou fans. It's just a fact-based observation. Part of the reason things played out the way they did. Win more, and more fan interest. A .500 team that doesn't bring an attractive bowl boost to the table is likely to get the short end of the SEC stick, and that's what happened here.
    Ben, does anyone honestly believe any serious baseball talks will take place before March? Until then, I’d be surprised if they agree on anything beyond when to schedule the next meeting.
    My P-D colleague Derrick Goold has made a great point on timing. Real money starts being lost when regular season gets threatened. We know players need about three weeks to get ready. So, I'm kind of figuring that's the unsaid deadline until I hear differently, with lots of bluster taking place in the leading up to talks getting serious. I don't think there's much of anything substantial at all until after the holidays.
    Stanks legacy Hated in Missouri just a guy in LA?
  • Who isn't just a guy in LA? He'll never be Magic Johnson, if that's what you are asking. He's the owner who brought the NFL back to Los Angeles. He'll have that going for him. But until the Rams win a Super Bowl there, he won't really be celebrated. LA loves champions. It doesn't yet appear to love the Rams again, as a city. The first part doesn't need much confirmation or explanation. I'm looking forward to mostly letting go of Kroenke coverage. I don't think it has been good for my health. I should probably take down my dartboard. Maybe.
  • Cots contracts and fan graph both have Cards 40 man roster at approximately 160 million. Except for adding a reliever could the Cards go into the season with what they have and add Yepez and Gorman as DH to see what they have in them. FO have all season to make moves and will have the money to do so.
    The Cardinals, as constructed at the moment, are more or less set to have close to the same payroll in 2022 as they did in 2021. The front office has suggested an uptick in payroll is to be expected. How much and in what ways are the big questions. Relief help has been named as a need. There has been some mention of some bat shopping. The Cardinals have tried to distance themselves from shortstop speculation but the chance to upgrade is there. They have left themselves some money and opportunities to be advantageous and nimble when business resumes post-lockout. Hopefully they act in that way. They should.
    Hi, Ben. Can you please explain why the MLBPA is against a salary floor? I'd think they'd want a requirement that teams spend "x" amount on player salaries. Thank you.
    Sure. Devil is in the details. The proposal the league offered about a $100 million salary floor reportedly included language about lowering the CBT threshold and increasing overage penalties, which increase limitations on free-agent contracts. A salary floor is going to invite a salary cap -- or something very close to it -- and players don't want that. I think Sports Illustrated's Stephanie Apstein said it well. The league is willing to redistribute the money players make. The players want to increase the amount of money players make.
    I'm all for college athletes making a buck, but the Quinn Ewers situation amuses me to no end. So does Texas' latest attempts to buy the best players they can. How do you see this playing out from the perspective of the donors and the coaching staffs? Money comes with expectations and the combination of institutional and booster greed with easier transfer rules is going to make college football quite interesting.
    Money and greed has been making college football interesting long before name, image and likeness deals became allowed. Now we're just more likely to see it playing out in public. How many times in the past has a player who got an under-the-table cash payment to go to School A transferred to School B before he played much if at all? It's not a first. Now it's just allowed. There are going to be some crazy headlines, for sure. Most important, those throwing money at NIL deals better a) have a good idea of the player they're supporting or b) know the money comes with zero strings attached. It's not exactly a sound investment, paying college players to play at  your favorite school. That's not going to stop the money from moving.
    Hey Ben,
    Thank you for the chat and your great coverage of the relocation hearings! Just wondering, did you have any knowledge/experience in the legal field and courtroom proceedings? What were some of the things that you did to get up to speed? I believe, at the very least, you are now qualified to be a character in a John Grisham novel, and at most, how about writing us a book. Here’s your title:
    STL v NFL
    From Bidwill to Orthwein to Kroenke, the rise and fall of football in St. Louis
    When you cover sports, you tend to get a crash course in the legal side of things whether you want to or not.
    The worst sports reporters are the ones who hand stories off to the news side when a story leaves the field for the courtroom.
    We are reporters first and foremost and should be expected to follow the story wherever it goes.
    Most of the previous courtroom stuff I've been involved in in sports came from athletes behaving poorly.
    This was a different can of worms and I tried to read as much as I could and tap into the expertise of some trusted friends who have a better idea of that realm.
    Working with Joel Currier and now Jacob Barker has been a blessing.
    It's been a great display of teamwork from the start, when Jim Thomas broke the news of the lawsuit.
    I wasn't around for the start of Big Red or the Rams return, so I'm probably only qualified to write a chapter or two of that book, but I do think there's probably a good book to be written about the St. Louis legal team that went toe to toe with the league and took nearly $800 million.
    The lawyers in Oakland would have loved that outcome.
    Their lawsuit just got tossed on appeal, with one judge saying it was a "Hail Mary of speculation."
    Maybe the settlement wasn't so bad now?
  • Maybe you guys at the paper should set up a pool or something for correctly picking when this lockout will be lifted. My guess is March 15th. How about you?
    That's the spirit. MLB could create a nationwide campaign to fully embrace sports betting. It should be fair game. It doesn't include any reference to current players, right? Distasteful, sure. But who cares!?
    Why has the nhl not altered the salary cap requirements during the covid pandemic? It seems ridiculous that teams are forced to play short handed because of salary cap constraints
    Beats me. No league seems to have been more negatively impacted by COVID and its agreed-upon COVID policies than the NHL this season. Most every other league is more or less making the pandemic's effect on their seasons a minor story, for the most part, but it remains a steady presence in the NHL. And most of the players are vaccinated, per the league and the teams. So, change the restrictions. Update them. Do something. Or figure out why the NHL is being so victimized by breakthrough cases. It's become impossible to get a read on teams because so many are missing players for 10-day windows. A system that teams salary-cap wise for vaccinated players being held out was not thought through very well. It is resulting in a poorer product. It's bad.
    I really think football is turning a corner do you think 7 or 8 wins is possible next year.
    It would be disappointing if that win total can be reached in Drinkwitz's third season. More of his impressive recruiting should be paying dividends on the field by then. The non-conference slate includes Middle Tennessee, Kansas State, Abilene Christian and New Mexico State. Florida is rebooting with a new coach. South Carolina and Vanderbilt were wins this season. It's a manageable schedule. Tennessee, Kentucky and Arkansas are ahead of the Tigers at the moment. That wasn't for sure the case entering the season, but it appears so now.
    You think the Cardinals will try to sign Colin Moran when things get back to normal?
    Not sure. He would be relatively cheap. He's left-handed and can bounce around different positions. His bat is OK against righties if you're looking at a bench or platoon type, but is it the best that can be had? He's slashed .277/.339/.447 against righties over the past three seasons.
    Hi Ben! I always enjoy your Tuesday chats. Do you think that the legal expenses for the NFL and all of the individual owners would add up to $210 million dollars combined? Call me a sadist, but I'd like to think that the Ram's rip-job would cost the league over $1 billion when it's said and done. Do you think we'll ever hear how much Kroenke is actually on the hook for? Or now that's it's over, will the leaks from "NFL Sources" suddenly dry up?
  • ESPN's Seth Wickersham reported in late October that the league's legal fees were in the "millions" with some teams carrying bills that had run into the eight-figure territory. I don't know what we're talking about $200 million worth of legal damage, but it's steep. And it's in addition to the $6 billion Kroenke spent on the SoFi Stadium project that just kept getting more and more expensive as it went. This move has cost Kroenke a lot of cash, and he's not out of the woods yet. I don't think he wants to have a big, ugly fight with fellow owners about who pays what on the nearly $800 million settlement, but his lawyers were braced for that when they left STL after the settlement was signed off on. I do imagine we will hear some sort of the final accounting when it is all said and done. NFL owners love to gossip. They can't help themselves.
  • I believe Mizzou has offers out to DT Jeffrey M’ba and LB Jacoby Windmon. Both look like they’d be solid pickups in an area of need. Are there any other transfers Mizzou has offered or seem like would be a good fit? Any players in the transfer portal you’re keeping an eye on?
    Drinkwitz has been linked to Spencer Rattler, which is quite fascinating. He lost his job to Caleb Williams at Oklahoma this season but he's still a five-star talent who threw for more than 3,000 yards and nearly 30 touchdowns in 2020. He's got a passer rating of 165.9 in 23 college games. Connor Bazelak is at 130.9 after 24. I wonder if part of Drinkwitz making a big deal about throwing open the QB competition for the bowl game was in some ways a message to the transfer QB market. Mizzou is open to adding there, which will make it even harder to keep Bazelak, Cook and Macon. Musical chairs, anyone?
    Will the Post-Dispatch be able to access all papers filed and deposition transcripts taken in the Kroenke litigation? Will it be made available to the public?
    We'll do what we can to get what we can. I know the paper has had conversations with the paper's lawyers about what to pursue and how. Some of it is probably out of reach, by design. But there won't be a lack of effort to claim what can be claimed as public record. I'd love to get the depositions but it might not be possible.
    The current MLB Negotiation Process is not effective.

    Rob Manfred and Tony Clark are political figures. This was evident as both recently addressed baseball fans, in a manner not dissimilar to a father and mother bashing each other to their children pre-divorce.

    Manfred and Clark have had more than ample time (literally years) to resolve the current labor issues.

    It would behoove both parties to agree to Mediation on or before Jan. 1 and get Manfred and Clark out of the process. Their egos have gotten the best of them.

    There is a reason smart lawyers hire their own counsel. Smart lawyers fully understand they will be too emotionally invested to represent their own interests.
    Manfred and Clark are the face of both sides but they are not the only ones hammering out details -- or circling one another during the standoff. For example, part of the players' union newfound willingness to negotiate with a hard edge comes from Bruce Meyer joining the effort. He's the union's lead negotiator. Dan Halem, executive vice president, is his counterpart on the league side.
    What is the takeaway from the SEC putting Missouri in a bowl game at the same time as a big non-conference basketball game? Do they need to just play better next year?
    Tigers are low on the SEC priority list. More wins, more tickets sold, more butts in seats can change it. Simple.
  • BenFred, whenever a fan complains that the Cards don’t do enough to win a championship, we get pushback from many of your colleagues at the PD along the lines of Cards fans are spoiled and don’t appreciate the success of the team over time. In some ways, they suggest the fans are the problem for not appreciating what has happened in the past, not the team. I won’t name names. Is it unreasonable for a fan(s) to hold a team accountable to reach the summit? You don’t seem to have that view and are willing to push for improvements.
    I'm not sure the P-D sports staff has enough writers for "many" colleagues to have a consensus opinion. We all come at it from different viewpoints, sure, but I do think we can all agree on a couple of things. One is an appreciation for the Cardinals being a historically great baseball team that has a passionate following nationwide. Another is understanding that such a brand can fade if not vigorously upheld. Reminding Cardinal Nation that it has it pretty good, all things considered, does not mean belittling it for wanting to win championships. Heck, the Cardinals sell championships. They built a big old replica of the Commissioner's Trophy at Ballpark Village. They did that. Not the fans. So, yes, I'm more likely than some perhaps to point out that it's been 10 years and counting since the Cardinals won that prize. I don't do it out of a misunderstanding of disrespect of the past. I do it because of that past. The Cardinals should be appreciated for taking the hard road of annual contention, but they also need to understand that every year sustained success does not produce a parade, people who buy tickets and jerseys want a parade even more. That's the reality. I do think there are a lot of fans who both appreciate the sustained success but also want to see more urgency from the front office. For example: Upgrading the team at the trade deadline. Or dialing down the hope a bit in roster construction.
    Do you think a more seasoned AD or one with a little more clout could have persuaded the SEC to not put them in a bowl that conflicts with the Braggin' Rights game? Did seem like she made it very clear to them or they didn't care (hence needing the clout).
    I don't think it was a discussion or debate. I think the SEC called and said here's your assignment. Good luck.
    I don’t live in StL, but for the life of me I don’t understand why they settled with the NFL. Their case was super strong and as much as they got dragged through the mud with Kroenke, you had to go all the way one time. That was another instance where lawyers got paid and nothing really was accomplished that we didn’t already know.
    I've heard that some, so here's my stance on that, for one final time.
    The region is getting more than $500 million from the settlement after legal fees.
    It was only really out of pocket $18 million from what turned out to be a rigged attempt to keep the team.
    It's making back more than what it spent on the Dome in the first place, even.
    The nearly $800 million was one of the biggest settlements the NFL has handed out, on a subject it has fought and won on time and time again in other places, most recently in Oakland just this week.
    The case might not have been so strong on appeal, even after a big win at trial, and the NFL would have immediately appealed. The league does better on appeals than trials.
    I can't comprehend winning more than $500 million being equated to "nothing."
    Even if you don't trust the region to spend it wisely, that's a warped read on what happened here.
    The on-the-stand stuff people so desperately wanted to see was not going to happen. You can't compel out-of-state defendants to show up and take the stand in a civil trial like this would have been. The likely outcome would have been the depositions that were already recorded getting played in front of jury members.
    Most of the smoking-gun stuff was already aired in pretrial hearings. The St. Louis side wisely made sure of that. It's all there for anyone who cares, though many don't and wont. That was not going to be made different by a trial. Those who wanted to ignore it would have.
    I can understand why those who were hopeful for an expansion team were disappointed, but the truth is they were misled by people who were either spinning for the NFL or looking for the attention that comes with telling people what they want to hear.
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