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. I'm BACK after a couple weeks of no chatting through the holidays. I'm rested and fresh with new resolutions that I have already started breaking. Can anyone relate? Plenty to discuss, as always. Blues are hot and healthy. MLB lockout has entered month No. 2. COVID is scrambling college scene but first let me offer a big congratulations to the Missouri women's basketball team for toppling No. 1 South Carolina despite a COVID-protocol-thinned roster. That was amazing to watch. Let's roll.
    Very excited about football program my biggest concern are we good enough at QB. It is very rare a freshman QB in the SEC has a lot of success. We had no deep passing game last year with Burden he can stretch the field but if we can't get him the ball he will be super frustrated. Am I way of base with my concerns
    No, you are very on-base with your concerns. Eli Drinkwitz is not just the Tigers' head coach. He is the offensive coordinator, the play-caller and the quarterbacks coach. His bread and butter is offense, and the bread and butter is stale and melted without a plus player at the most important position on the field. Connor Bazelak transferring out leaves two options who didn't play much last season, and just one (Brady Cook) who looked like he should have played more than he did. Sam Horn is highly touted as an incoming freshman but remember the baseball what-if there and the fact you mentioned -- it's not easy going from your senior year of high school ball to starting in the SEC. Drinkwitz has shown some interest in the transfer QB market and I imagine he will still look at that, but those guys are transferring for a reason -- they are either hunting NIL money or they lost their job. So, in short, yes, Drinkwitz finding an answer at QB is a must. His ceiling will be limited until he does.
    Happy New Year, Ben. And, thanks for the chat.
    As a Mizzou alum living out of state, I seldom get to see Tigers basketball on TV. I did get to see the Utah game, though, and the sight of all those empty seats was disappointing. I understand the students had just left for Thanksgiving break, but still, all those empty seats was embarrassing. Coach Martin's reported $6 million buyout has Mizzou between a rock and a hard place. It really can't afford the buyout (and I don't see any rich Mizzou fans stepping forward to foot that bill) and the school can't afford another season of poor attendance like this one. Maybe Mizzou should adopt the plan that Bill Snyder used to revitalize K-State football years ago: fill the schedule as much as possible with easy-to-beat opponents. Fans want to see their team win more than they care about the quality of the opponent. I hope 2022 brings much health and happiness to you and your family.
    There are at least two problems with that plan. Many fans do care about the opponent and its perceived quality. When I pointed out how disappointing the crowd was for the season opener, for example, I got a lot of, well, it was against Central Michigan. And then there's conference play, which can't be avoided. The SEC has gotten A LOT better and deeper over the years. It's become one of the tougher basketball leagues around. No hiding from conference foes, no matter the coach or the scheduling philosophy.
    Some disappointing but predictable news for Cardinals fans: This year's Winter Warm-Up event and caravan stops have been canceled due to the lockout.
    What role do you suppose Alex Reyes is penciled in by the Cardinals right now to open the season?
    One of the guys who gets to show up to spring training and prove with his performance there that he should stay in the rotation conversation. The sour ending to last season might deter the team from nudging him toward closer, but there is gravitational pull toward the bullpen that has been established. He has to break it. The Cardinals, at least before they bunkered, seemed willing to give him that shot.
  • I think we give Martin another year no matter what. If booster wants to pay 6 million I hope the AD can convince him to use it to give to recruits in football so we can compete with big dollar school. I see zero reason to strap the athletic department having to pay buy out pay new coach. I really don't think there is a whole lot of concern about the basketball program right now one way or another.
    Giving some of the money to basketball players would help the product. Mizzou football is out ahead of Mizzou basketball in terms of NIL. It's not on Martin as much as some of his detractors like to make it seem, either. He's all for NIL. He is a clean coach who believes it finally gives a level playing field. But the money is missing at the moment.
    After reading the Ken Rosenthal news, I find myself asking the same question for what I scientifically estimate is the 1,000th time - what has Rob Manfred done that is good for MLBaseball and baseball?
    The best thing Rob Manfred had going for him, from my view, is that he had avoided a work stoppage during his run as commissioner. And now he no longer has that going for him, either. He comes across as incredibly sensitive and think-skinned, and I think that's beginning to show more and more during this lockout. It's optics more than anything, but MLB Network reportedly pushing Rosenthal out due to critical reporting about Manfred, and that story coming out on the beginning of the second month of the lockout, raises questions about the commissioner's priorities, whether that's fair or not. Manfred works for the owners, and they are happy with their revenue growth under his leadership, but if this work stoppage blows up on baseball, those owners will regret not caring a little bit more about having a commissioner who remembered part of his job was looking out for the good of the game, not just the bottom line.
    We’ve been told for months that the reasonable date to start being concerned about the lockout ending is February 1. But with no real progress being made and not even any meetings scheduled (that I know of), is it reasonable for me to be concerned now? I was very optimistic about the season starting on time when the lockout first started but my optimism has waned.
    I don't think either side, players or owners, wants to lose the kind of money that starts getting lost if the regular season does not start on time. That said, more or less wasting a month of what could have been valuable time for discussions is irresponsible and discouraging. It will lead to rushed decisions instead of collaboration, and more animosity instead of less.
    The last few years the Mizzou backfield has mostly been handled by 1 primary back. Do you think that next season will be more of a committee or do you think someone will likely pull ahead and take the job away from everyone else?
    This season was supposed to be the one where there was more of a committee approach -- or so we thought. Tyler Badie took off with it and no one else could keep up. Drinkwitz has shown he will ride the hot hand, and that will be the case moving forward I imagine. Spread the love around unless someone makes it clear they deserve the lion's share of the reps. Respond to what happens on the field, in each game. Badie was the guy Mizzou wanted to have the ball, every game. Until Drinkwitz seemed to talk him out of playing in the bowl game, that is.

    Feliz Ano Nuevo,

    With most all players back and a positive (to say the least) showing by the AHL call-ups I'm really hyped about the local skaters. The 'Note should finish the regular season in fine fashion, may well even get home ice first round. I don't see them getting very deep without an upgrade to the d-corp. Put yourself in the g.m. seat and give us your thoughts on who to target and who would be gonig back in return.

    If my name was Doug Armstrong I'd capitalize on the showing of the call-ups and package one/two along with an NHLer for a d-man that would at least improve the back end enough to be a threat to get to round three/four of the playoffs. There are a few (Eastern Conference) teams whose records are quite surprisingly bad in contrast with their pre-season forecast (Montreal and The Islanders for example) which leads me to believe we can find someone there to obtain.

    The caveat is the salary cap and how close we are to it. Maybe Buffalo will still take another call.

  • For good reason. We saw the Blues sprint out of the gates to start the season, and now that they are nearing full health from injuries and COVID, with a lengthy time for most players until they have to be tested again, there's a real chance they could make another push now. Doug Armstrong is going to be able to deal from a position of strength after showcasing the team's depth. I wonder if he would entertain the idea of moving a goalie not named Jordan Binnington? The deadline is not until March 21, so it's a bit early to start tossing out names, but there is some cautionary news to consider. The market for buyers is not expected to be great, between the amount of interim front office leaders and lack of impact rentals on struggling teams. That means lots of competition for what could normally be average upgrades. Before Armstrong makes any decisions, he's going to want to see this team's capabilities at full strength. He hasn't gotten a real chance to do that just yet.

    Great article this morning!

    Rob Manfred should have been fired by the owners within 24 hours after moving the All-Star game out of Atlanta. Regardless of your personal political position, leaders should never alienate half of their fan base.

    The Ken Rosenthal dismissal is another example of ego mismanagement. Firing Ken Rosenthal is like pushing Tiny Tim down in the snow and stealing his crutch. Manfred needs some PR help and perhaps some psychological help.

    Manfred and Clark would be wise to use binding arbitration with a January 31 deadline to solve Baseball's issues and save their respective back-sides.
    He's a shield for the owners and there is value in that. And he has been good for revenues, which means a lot to owners. His crawfishing away from the All-Star change was bad. He felt compelled to make the change and then backed away from why he did it, muddying the message baseball said it was trying to deliver. Whether you agreed with it or disagreed with it matters not. If you make a polarizing decision, explain it and stand by it -- or express why you changed your mind and regretted the call. Simply hoping it goes away is weak, and that's how baseball came across as the Braves surged to the World Series. Here's my take on the Rosenthal thing, and we will move on. Rosenthal knew what he was signing up for when he worked for MLB Network. The league owns the network. It can decide who it hires and does not renew. That said, MLB has tried to suggest MLB Network is where fair, objective coverage of the league is allowed. A decision like this nukes that claim. Same for the fact no lockout coverage is found on and good reporters for the site are being told they can't write certain things. That's not independence, so MLB does not get to say it promotes that in its in-house coverage. Period. Rosenthal, because he's very good at his job and has multiple jobs, does not need MLB Network to do good work for other platforms. Meanwhile Manfred is getting crushed for an unforced error.
    The next time the Cardinals bristle at you pointing out that its been a decade since they've won a Championship, they should think of this: My son was in first grade when they last won the WS. If the Cardinals happen to win again next fall, he will be a Senior in High School. And they are not what most would consider to be a first tier contender. That means an entire generation of young fans don't have that emotional connection to the team that the Whitey and Tony eras did for previous generations. Sure 10 years flies by for 50 year old's, but for a 16 year old that's their entire memorable life. Nobody really cares about winning 80-something games a year, just like the Blues 25 year playoff streak is only a footnote to a bygone era.
    I think Pirates fans would love to win 80 games.
    It's all relative, and the Cardinals' problems are almost always what we would call first-world problems, but the Cardinals have a higher bar, and they benefit from it in support and ticket sales and merchandise and everything else.
    So, yes, 10 years is something.
    And perhaps even more than that is this. The Cardinals have one first-place National League Central finish since 2016, and one National League Championship Series game -- not series -- won since 2014.
    It's OK to want more from the team.
    Good morning, BenFred! Hope you're doing well. Thank you for the article today - you hit the nail on the head. I've never been a Manfred basher - but c'mon - firing Ken Rosenthal over what is apparently a 6 month old grudge? The epitome of petty.
    Nothing to see here. Please direct your attention to the next rerun of the Ken Burns baseball doc.
    Wasn't Trajan Jeffcoat ALL-SEC last year? He seemed like the invisible man this year. What happened to him? Thanks, Ben.
  • He had a crummy first half, like the entire defense. Got better in the second. I think the coaching change on the defensive line helped all of the Tigers up front. I have not heard one single good thing about Jethro Franklin, the guy Steve Wilks wanted and Eli Drinwkitz fired. Al Davis, who was promoted and will keep the job, got a lot better play out of the same players, Jeffcoat included. He's coming back next season, so he (and the NFL) thought he had work left to do.
  • During Kim Anderson’s tenure and to a lesser extent under Coach Martin there has been a continuing problem getting recruits to stay in the program. What’s your view of the explanation(s)? Thank you.
    It's a college sports issue, in general.
    Check out the transfer portal annually in both men's basketball and football.
    The grass has never been greener. The poaching has never been more prevalent. The transfer restrictions have been scaled back significantly from previous years, when guys had to sit out a season if they changed programs. And now NIL money is compounding things.
    If guys are not happy with their playing time, with their team's success, with their experience on or off the court, they bounce.
    It's happening everywhere.
    Best way to stop it? Win. Have a program players don't want to leave. That's on the coaching, for sure. Also on fans, now more than ever before because of NIL deals.
    The Cuonzo Martin, Porter brothers fiasco needs to end. CM might be a great guy but MU thought they were slick with the hiring of him and the Porter dad as a coach. Recruiting ended with the Porters.
    With $6 million, you can make it happen.
    Aidan Shaw is an incoming four-star forward, but sounds like your mind is made up.
    I asked this to the commish yesterday and he disagreed. I think the cards need more OBP in front of their big bats this season in the lead off role. I like Tommy edman as a player a lot but not sure he’s an everyday 650 PA lead off hitter. Below avg walk rates. Below avg OBP. Even with 40 DBLs his OPS is below average. Again I think he’s a good important player (above average overall with potential be all-star) but not sure his skills align best at lead off IMO. Thoughts?
    I agree with you that the Cardinals need more on-base percentage at leadoff. They filed a .313 OBP there last season, which tied the Marlins for second-lowest in the National League and 27th-lowest in MLB. That's not where you want to be, to put it nicely. But I'm not ready to say Edman can't be part of the leadoff solution just yet. One thing Oli Marmol has predicted is a more fluid lineup based on the game and matchup. Edman can be part of the mix there. He's a doubles-hitting machine with speed who can switch hit. You don't chase that out of the leadoff conversation. You try to use it the best way you can. That could be leadoff some games. It could be down the lineup other games. Maybe he's not the leadoff answer, but he could sure be a part of it.
    Who replaces Badie? Drinkwitz, even back to his year at App St., loves ride one back hard.
    I thought Elijah Young would make more of an impact this season.
    Michael Cox should be used more. Runs hard and heavy. Nice element to the ground game.
    Tavorus Jones was putting up big numbers against top competition in Texas high school ball as a senior. Maybe he climbs fast?
  • I posed this tin foil hat conspiracy theory to Hummel yesterday and I am curious about your take: did DeWitt/Mo intentionally overpay both Yadi and Waino, who they knew would be on 1-year deals, to take $10.5m of free agency money off the table to avoid having to spend it on a multi-year deal for another free agent? Let’s be honest, did Yadi really deserve a $1m raise just so he’d sign sooner? And while Waino was awesome last year, do you give a 40-year-old $17.5m in guaranteed money, which is 155% of his ’21 salary? Those were sentimental signings in terms of the dollars, so don’t tell fans there isn’t enough money left for an impact bat.
    I don't think I've ever told you all the Cardinal don't have enough money for a signing.
    What Molina and Wainwright made won't stop the Cardinals from making any other deals they want to make.
    The deals they want to make and the deals fans want them to make are not always aligned, though.
    It's not news that the Cardinals factor in some feelings when it comes to lifelong Cardinals.
    It burned them with Matt Carpenter.
    It has not, at least not yet, with either Adam Wainwright or Yadier Molina.
    Wainwright, specifically, had earned a raise. He has been one of if not the most reliable starter in baseball since the pandemic. Not among peers his age. Among starters in general.
    The BattleHawks seemed like an outlet for St. Louisans to give the middle finger to the NFL while also showing it's still a great football market. Now with the settlement, a safe assumption the NFL will never be returning, and the arrival of City next year, will there still be an appetite for the XFL?
    I think so. The XFL is starting to formalize the path toward its return and I think St. Louis is very much a part of the plan. It would be crazy for it not to be. It crushed the competition in any category, from ticket sales to merchandise, attendance and so on. It's not for everybody, but it doesn't have to be. It's fun. It's football. It found a following here that wants it back. The league should really study the success of that team here and use it to create other examples elsewhere. It never, ever made sense to put an XFL team in a city that had an NFL team. Go where the NFL is not. Go to the places The Shield has scorned, left behind or too often teased with teams. That's the ticket.
    Hi, Ben. Thought I respect your opinion and admire your work, I disagree about the quality of opponent mattering. I realize nothing can be done about conference play, but I think a majority of fans would rather see their team beat Southeast Missouri State by 15 than lose to Villanova by 20. Study after study has shown that fans' happiness and self-esteem increases when the team they support wins.
    All good. I just hear it from both sides, so was sharing that. I appreciate teams that schedule games people want to see. No, Mizzou fans should not like or enjoy the Tigers getting trounced by Illinois and Kansas. But better to play those games and lose than avoid them for fear of losing. That's how I see it.
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