Join columnist Jeff Gordon for his live STL sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Join columnist Jeff Gordon for his live STL sports chat at 1 p.m. Friday

Bring your Cards, Blues, Mizzou, SLU and MLS questions and comments, and talk to columnist Jeff Gordon in his weekly live chat.

    Bobo's back. And he sees that we have a few guests arriving early. So let's wade into this.
    Deyong now batting 114 . Wonder how long his playing time goes on.
    If Edmundo Sosa had stayed healthy, he would have gotten some more at-bats for sure. He did fine as the Plan B shortstop last season. DeJong's only homer came back on April 9. After starting the season 3-for-13, the has gone 5-for-54. If .200 is the Mendoza Line, what is .100?
    Is there a reason to have the ncaa anymore but to set up the national tourney. Let the athletes become a union and be paid as college employees. They make colleges million of dollars. Have collective bargaining between all div. 1 schools and the players union. Rules can be set that both sides agree on and this way all schools play by the same rules. The great players just like pro sports will make the most and your good players will make less. Players sign contracts. The big revenue sports players will make more . Scholarships can be part of the contract. This way players can sign 1 year up to 4 year contracts.
    This makes more sense than the current system, which is not a system at all. Name, imagine and likeness has turned into a free-for-all that schools can encourage but not control. Just wait until boosters invest big coin in players who play their way out of the lineup, get booted off the team for "violating team rules," or run off to another school paying more money. All three of those things will happen again and again.
    Right now the Reds are on pace to win 19 games this season. That's beyond embarrassing. Is there any shame or pressure within the League to address such an epic failure? Or do any of of the other owners really care.... The Reds problem is my gain. Relegation is a great feature in international soccer, btw.
    I have promoted the relegation concept from time to time. Like you say, it's quite the motivator in European sports. Baseball's new collective bargaining agreement paid a bit more lip service to the tanking issue with some draft tweaks.
    As ESPN.com noted:

    The most significant addition is a new draft lottery system directed at making sure that clubs starting over do so in a timely manner. Guardrails were put in place so a "race to the bottom," as agent Scott Boras put it last November, is no longer a yearly occurrence.

    For the next five years, the first six picks in the draft will be decided by a lottery system that will give the three teams with the worst record the same odds of drafting No. 1.Additionally, revenue sharing recipients (small-market teams) will not be able to receive a lottery pick more than two years in a row, and teams that pay revenue sharing (big-market teams) will not receive a lottery pick in consecutive years.

    That language is better than  nothing, but new CBA does nothing about teams from trading proven talent for prospects over and over and over. 
    Could you please explain Jeff Albert's approach to hitting. What is it, and how is it different from other hitting coaches?
    Rather than paraphrase Derrick Goold's reporting on this issue, I will offer two excerpts from last year:
    For Albert, this successful offense can be summarized with three pillars: swing at strikes, hit line drives, and hit the ball hard. Contact rate does not ignite an offense. Quality contact does. Lineups that “are doing a good job of swinging at strikes and hitting the ball hard are having a better chance to produce runs” in any situation, in any ballpark, and against the best pitchers, Albert explained. And, with any baseball, as a new one will be used to subdue power. At his peak, Arenado personified these traits with an elite strikeout rate, pull-side power, liners to all fields, and a solid hard-hit rate.
    Albert likened these skills to tools hitters use to then follow the blueprint for that game, that opposing pitcher, or even that situation, such as moving a runner over . . .
    “The perception of the hitting coach (as) this one singular method from one singular person — I am not big on that perception,” Albert said. “To think some savior hitting coach is going to come in and say all the right things to all the right people and then magically produce runs — I’m out on that. What I think is getting better is the relationships. Let’s be clear organizationally on what we value for offense, what we think produces runs.”
    The Cardinals have expanded the tech available to hitters tenfold since Albert’s hiring, and this spring that included virtual reality headsets to train pitch identification. 
    Then there was this when frustration boiled over midway through last season:
    The Cardinals had situational hitting drills as part of their batting practice Friday, as they would in spring training. They’ve talked about body language and the importance of not “getting sideways” by reaching for the big hit that shatters a slump. They are reviewing how they prepare for individual pitchers, and the information is relayed to hitters about how their best swing lines up with the approach that pitcher will take.
    Following the Cardinals’ 8-2 loss to Pittsburgh on Thursday, infielder Tommy Edman detailed how the team needed changes to its preparation for that game’s pitcher and in-game updates. A concern for the Cardinals has been how pull-happy they’ve become in their hunt for greater slugging numbers and how that has pulled them away from getting consistently on base.
    “I think it’s kind of getting back to consistently covering all the details and the small things and reminding ourselves not to overlook any of those areas,” Albert said. “You’ve got to get on base. You’ve got to hit line drives. You’ve got to hit the ball hard and not get too focused on (one aspect). They’re all important. I think, collectively, making sure we’re continuing to touch all of those areas consistently and not get our mindset too one-dimensional.”
    Game 2 is completely different if the stick doesn't break on the defensive clearance, leading to their first goal and the momentum change. Looked like Jeff Albert was running their offense up to that point... (Hi - Yo!). Maybe some defensemen would benefit from an old KoHo or Victoriaville twig from the 70s.
    Not only do these sticks break like Hollywood props, they are crazy expensive too. There must be a better way.
    Jeff, was at Cardinals game last night in the Bay. Announced attendance was only 22,000 which likely included 1-2 thousand Cardinals fans. Seems like attendance is down most everywhere other than the bedrock franchises like LAD and Stl. Oakland is getting 2-3 thousand. Curious what you’re hearing or seeing on attendance.
    Oakland is a special case because that stadium is a landfill with seats -- yet the franchise jacked up prices to an insane level. Oh, and the team is headed into a tank-and-rebuild period.
    Overall, baseball is dealing with post-pandemic spending habits, the stupid lockout as well as some typically bad spring weather. There are 13 teams averaging better than 30,000 average attendance. We'll need to get deeper into the season to see if there is a major trend here.
    Good afternoon, Mr. Gordon. Thank you for the chat and your time. Hope the Blues get their game straightened out tonight. My dislike for Minnesota goes back to the ol' Gump Worsley days (though it's not nearly as much as I hated the Bruins and Phil Esposito).
    I have a couple baseball questions, please.
    1.) Are the Cincinnati Reds headed for "historically bad" waters this season -- like, the Astros in the worst of their tanking days?
    2.) I understand that starting pitchers all follow a routine where they throw some during days in between starts. If that's the case, why can't a starting pitcher pitch an inning or so on one day between his starts, to help out the bullpen? The starting pitcher is throwing anyway, why not put him to use.
    Thanks for your time.
    Yes, the Reds face a long road just to reach 50 victories this season. They have a real chance to be one of the worst teams of modern times. Will they add short-term talent to avoid that disaster? We'll see.
    On the pitching issue, teams will occasionally use a starter in relief on his "throw day" between starts. This is more common in the postseason when teams pull out the stops. Also, when a starter moves in and out of the rotation, he is often eligible to pitch relief on what would have been his throwing day between scheduled starts.
    Pitching relief between starts is not common, though, because game pitching is more intense than bullpen session pitching. And that creates more injury risk.
    The Blues PK that has been so good is suspect w the loss of Borts, Scandella and Leddy. And the mediocre Wild PP all of a sudden is playing aggressive and confident. Will any of the three D be returning? Paranko, Mikkola and Faulk are steady so them staying out of the box is important. Krug seems too small to be effective and in fact got probably his first time(30 seconds) on the PK the other night. Was Rosen a top PK before being called up and how do you think he looked the other night? And what can we expect from Santini if he plays on the PK? Will this unit be the key along w Husso if the Blues want to win this series?
    Robert Bortuzzo and Nick Leddy are out for Game 3 and Marco Scandella is a "game time decision" that seems a likely no. Both Calle Rosen and Steven Santini have played limited roles during their NHL opportunities, so expecting either to excel on the penalty kill is asking a lot. Craig Berube will shelter them as much as possible, which means that Colton Parayko, Justin Faulk and Torey Krug will play massive minutes and Niko Mikkola will do more penalty killing that The Chief would like.
    Glad to see you're doing the chat today. It should be fun right? Anyway how do you like the playoff officiating? The league is trying very hard to limit the cheap stuff usually in the playoffs. Calling a lot of penalties and giving out game misconducts pretty quickly. Still calling cross checking etc. I think it's good but the players have not quite adjusted yet.
    Cracking down on the post-whistle silliness is fine, since most of that is just time-wasting posturing. But what's with all the calls on what they call "tough fouls" in basketball? Playoff hockey is much more robust and the officials should let these guys play.
    Not the most relevant question but I noticed during the Calgary Game that when Calgary scored, all kind of lights came on around the periphery of the ring, besides the normal goal scoring lights behind the nets.

    The question is why can't the Blues get creative with some high-tech goal presentations imbedded in the plexiglass to spice up the boring red lights behind the goal?

    Yes, I know we have the foghorn but having some high-tech, LED-lighting display only at the goal-scoring end (alternating between periods) would add to the excitement.

    And bring back the elevated, flashing red-flashing strobes, while we're at it (I miss them)!
    That seems like a bit much. I just had a flashback to the glory days of the MISL and those crazy game presentations.
    Jeff, I don't believe Cincinnati is purposely tanking. They aren't a very good ball club and need to make a few trades. If they do not take any meaningful measures to right the ship, then the Commissioner should call Bob Castellini in for a meeting to have him present his plan for the club going forward.
    The Reds announced their rebuilding/cost-cutting plan, so they at least gave fans fair warning. When the owner's kid came out and said if fans don't like it, maybe the team could move . . . well, that didn't go over well.
    Are they trying to lose deliberately? No. Did they knowingly set themselves up for failure this season? Yes. 
    What happened to the Net Front Presence? Jimmy and TT have not been on lately. You guys had chemistry!
    We taped out latest episode yesterday. The link: 

    Net Front Presence: State of emergency declared on Blues defense - Net Front Presence - Omny.fm

    Blues beat reporters Jim Thomas and Tom Timmermann joined columnist Jeff Gordon to discuss the rash of injuries to Blues defensemen as the first-round playoff series against Minnesota continues.
    Jeff, what prevents the Cardinals from sending DeJong to Memphis to get is bat straightened out? Obviously, Jeff Albert isn't able to help him. Maybe he just needs a change of scenery and a different voice?
    That is a drastic step for a player with this much big league service time, but drastic situations require drastic action. At some point Paul DeJong may no longer get regular at bats -- and when that happens, it will be hard to improve.
    Then again, it's fair to wonder if there is any hope for improvement at this point.
    "If .200 is the Mendoza Line, what is .100?"

    Well gee, wouldn't it be the Mo line?
    With all of the craziness in Div 1 sports now, can you see a time coming where some career coaches get worn out of all of those issues and opt for Div III jobs? Look at WashU for example. They've had some long term coaches in Football, Basketball and Volleyball, have won a lot of championships, while working in a good situation. I think someone like Cuonzo Martin would thrive in similar surroundings.
    Mark Edwards coached 37 years at Washington University. He got paid well, worked in good facilities and got to coach really good basketball players who were also really good students headed toward really good careers. He had a good run Division I as an assistant coach, but he came to appreciate the sanity of Division III.
    I say stop with the fog horns and all the other bells and whistles when a team scores. It was cool and menacing at the old Chicago Stadium when the organ bellowed after a Hawk goal. But it is beyond cliché now. That said, if you are going to go full on MISL, the Phoenix Inferno activated flame throwers when they scored. That that will get your attention!
    Flamethrowers! What could go wrong if the Blues gave Louie one of those?
    Jeff, I have heard Danny Mac and Jim Edmonds say on several broadcasts over the past couple weeks that Ollie has said that DeJong's mental state has nothing to do with his current hitting woes. I call bull$&#t. All you have to do is look at DeJong when he comes to the plate, and he looks like a beaten man. Especially when he gets behind in the count right away. Yes, you can continue to work hard and try and hit your way out of it but once you dip below .100 then it becomes something else. There was a ground ball that was hit past him last night that I think he probably should have dove for, much like Crawford did later in the game. You can't tell me it has not affected his fielding even if it's not a registered error.
    Paul DeJong is a hard guy to read because he is not the most animated guy, even in the best of times. But I'm with you. He's human. He has to be feeling the weight of his slump. He worked hard preparing for the season, hoping to avoid a bad first month. Then after his 3-for-13 start, with a homer, things have gone bad, bad, bad.
    Considering the Blues may lose 3 starting defensemen tonight, who would you pick from the following list to start (in their prime):

    Pronger
    Chase
    Tony Twist
    Al McInnis
    Bob Plager
    Barclay Plager
    Ryan Reaves (if retired)
    Barret Jackman
    Rob Ramage
    Bob Gassoff
    Scott Stevens
    Garth Butcher (what a name for a defenseman, heh?)
    That's easy: Chris Pronger, Al MacInnis and Scott Stevens. But somebody would have to tell Scott that terminating opponents with crushing, head-high open-ice hits is frowned upon these days.
    I jumped up and down for Army to sign Luke Schenn or Bogosian before the season to rotate with Bortuzzo. Army did not listen! Now we pay the price. We've been thin on the right side all season. I tried to call Army but didn't get put through earlier in the season.
    I think this defensive corps was pretty good before it lost Marco Scandella, Robert Bortuzzo and Nick Leddy at the same time. I wondered about the Leddy addition -- another puck mover, as opposed to a hitter -- but he won me over.
    Do Molina and/or Pujols warrant get their jersey's retired and names on the outfield wall?
    I could see both. Yadier Molina seems like a no-brainer for that honor. As for Albert, that seems likely too now that has mended the fence. I'm guessing no such consideration will be given in Anaheim.
    I am protesting the Cardinals became of Mo. Not watching or going to games! The Shildt firing was the last straw! Let me hear you Cardinal nation! "Mo must GO! Mo must Go!" Feel me ?!!
    Such protests have not gone far in the past.
    As Hobbs would say, why didn't I think of a flamethrower for Louie, after a Blues goal?

    You're on to something Bobo!
    They would have to keep him out of the concourse with that thing.
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