STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

Bring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Hello, chatters. Greetings from Kansas City. I'm here to cover the Hall of Fame Classic, which started with quite the dud last night. It sounds like there could be some news shaking on the NCAA bowl ban front as well. More on that as we get it. So, with the jumbled schedule here's the deal. We'll chat short and sweet, hitting it hard until 1 p.m. Sound good? Let's roll.
    What was it like seeing the Rams get their playoff hopes basically destroyed last night?
    A Thanksgiving miracle. I've got no ill will toward any of the players. It wasn't their fault. But yeah, I don't mind seeing them lose. In fact, I quite enjoy it!
    Are you saying you watched the football game last night?
  • Ha. No. I saw tweets about the beatdown. I was covering the Mizzou-Butler game last night.
  • Happy Thanksgiving,Ben.2 questions,is Fowler's best position LF or RF?If Fowler and/or carpenter don't have good seasons,would you think they'd be cut loose next off season with only 1 year of contracts to pay off? Thanks.
    It's hard to know how Fowler would do in left field. He's never played an inning there during his MLB career. He's played more than 1,400 innings in right field since he's joined the Cardinals. Right and center seem to be where the Cards are most comfortable playing.
     
    There has been no indication to this point that the Cardinals have much interest in eating either contract. One less year might make that more appealing -- depending on the performance of either player. But I wouldn't bank on it.
    What are you most excited about with the upcoming XFL debut?
    Interested to see how the QB plays. He could sling it around at Ole Miss and has a chance to be pretty good I think depending on how the team plays around him. Perhaps most interested in the attendance. I get the sense a good chunk of people want to see it. Question is if they will keep coming back.
    Albert O is clearly very talented, but if he hasn’t been able to put together a full consistently productive season what makes NFL teams think he’ll be able to do it at the next level?
    Great question. I would not spend a prime draft pick on him. He's got the frame and the physical gifts, but he has not shown the instinct and mental and physical toughness required to play his position at the next level. He's been a big disappointment, to be honest. He should dominate every week. The collapse of the offense is not on him entirely, but he's been a bit of a microcosm of this team this season. Talented. Lacking in intangibles. He's not a very enthusiastic blocker either. NFL teams care about that.
    It has come up in the chats before but...does ownership not understand that the current team as is...is just plain boring? We have one stellar starting pitcher and a top first baseman, but no one is going to pack the stadium to see Matt Carpenter strike out and then complain to the umpire (constantly!). The team is just not exciting to watch. Unlike Houston (despite their problems), DC, LA, even the Cubs (YUCK) have a more exciting product.
  • No, Cardinals ownership doesn't think the team is boring.
    I don't think the team is boring.
    I think the team's boring, bad offense is -- for some -- overshadowing everything good the team did last season.
    The Cardinals' rotation and bullpen were among baseball's top-5 in most meaningful stats. The defense committed the fewest errors in the league. The baserunning was a weapon, one of the best in baseball. 
    Those things are not boring. They are winning traits. And fun to watch.
    It's the lineup that lagged, that was tough to watch, that  needs to be addressed.
    But a team is not its lineup. If that was the case, the Nationals would not have won a World Series. 
    The offense was boring. The team wasn't. There's a difference.
    The question is, how does the offense get better?
    The current plan, unless it's a smokescreen or unless it changes, is to bank on most of the returning players being better.
    It's a gamble.
  • Over 50 years ago, the Atlanta Hawks played in St. Louis. Since their leaving, the NBA has yet to return to St. Louis and at this point, most people have forgotten the Atlanta Hawks ever played here. Assuming the NFL exists in 50 years, do you think people in St. Louis will know that the Los Angeles Rams and Arizona Cardinals used to play in St. Louis?
    That's just the way it works. As time passes, the past is remembered by fewer and fewer. The fallout from the relocation lawsuit might wind up being as memorable as the Rams' post-Greatest-Show-on-Turf era in St. Louis. People will always remember that team. We'll see if people always remember the relocation lawsuit.
    The stolen base attempt has always been an action packed moment in the game of baseball, and the game is looking for ways to inject more action and movement into the pace of play. But in the modern game, Catchers and pitchers are so good at suppressing the odds of success in the running game below an analytically acceptable threshold, and thus aggressive base-running, with its inherent action and excitement, has receded in significance in the modern game compared to past eras. Are there any rule changes that could be adopted that would swing the odds back towards baserunners? To me, this could both improve pace of play, and open up opportunities for a different kind of player to contribute more meaningfully in face of modern defensive shifts.
    I'm sure there are a bunch of rule changes that could help move the needle back in the favor of base thieves and encourage teams to be more aggressive in this department. Limiting pick-off attempts, for example. I would be against it, though. Similar to being against banning shifts, I think teams and players should work around it, to dull the edge. You can beat the shift by learning how to hit to all fields. Teams can beat the shift by seeking out and keeping players who are able to spray the ball around the field. You can beat base-stealing prevention by being fast and practicing the skill. Teams can beat base-stealing prevention by finding and keeping those kind of players. I think right now teams have just preferred players who have more power than speed, and the analytics seem to suggest its better to get on base and wait for a home run than it is risk being thrown out on an attempted steal. Hopefully a more athletic brand of baseball returns, but I don't love the idea of pulling levers and creating rules to promote it. That's a slippery slope baseball is already on.
    Don't tease us too much. Long-suffering Tiger fans don't deserve this. Are you getting wind of a decision coming down in the very near future (hours, day, etc) and what that decision might be?
    First off, Go Mustangs. My dad was class of 1971. 
    Not meaning to tease. Just passing along what I can report. There is a building sense there will be news today on the verdict of the Mizzou appeal. No one is confirming that on the Mizzou side, let alone tipping off what it will be. The vibe does not seem optimistic, though. I would put your trusty Mizzou athletics cup on. A kick could be coming. 
    Have you had a chance to see Kofi at U of I? I think the border battle is going to be pretty interesting to watch him and Tilmon match up.
  • Kofi has been outstanding. He's had a double-double in all but one game.  He hasn't fouled out once. Based off what we have watched from Jeremiah Tilmon in two big games, Kofi will eat his lunch at Braggin' Rights. I thought Tilmon's no-show last night against Butler was one of the most disappointing games he's had in a Mizzou uniform. He let the two quick fouls completely remove him from the game. He didn't foul out, but he might as well have. Forget the zero points. Two rebounds in 17 minutes for Tilmon is borderline unforgivable. Cuonzo Martin was steamed after the game. Don't blame him.
  • It sounds like Sosa and Justin Williams are having nice winter ball seasons thus far, do you think that either can have an impact on next year's roster?
  • I don't read too much into winter ball, but I know there's a reason P-D teammate Derrick Goold keeps mentioning Justin Williams as one of the names that could wind up mixing it up in the outfield this season, and that's not just throwing a name out there. Spring training is going to be really fascinating and competitive in that outfield -- if it's going to be a true competition and not a manufactured one.
    I think this Mizzou team has potential and would be really good if they had a consistent, reliable bucket-getter. So much relies on Mark Smith being on from 3 or Tilmon staying out foul trouble. If they had one person they could rely on to give them 18-20 points a game and 1 or 2 others to pitch in 10-12, I think they would be a very solid team. I don't expect Mizzou teams to be favored to win the SEC or get to the Final 4, but I do expect them to get to the tournament most years.
    If you give most teams a guaranteed 20-40 points per game, most teams would be really good. Dru Smith dropped 19 in an impressive all-around performance last night and it wasn't enough. If Mark Smith is gonna miss all but one 3-pointer and Tilmon is going to log off after two quick fouls and score none and grab just two rebounds in a game, this team won't win many games. That won't happen every night, but this two-game trend (Xavier and Butler) of Tilmon checking out mentally is a bad sign. He has to be better, and his team has to be better playing around his absence. I think Xavier Pinson can score more and I think we will see more of him moving forward. I think that comes at Javon Pickett's expense.
    Glad the Blues clawed back and managed to get a point, but I feel like they left the 2nd point on the table. Not sure if it was bad ice or mishandling but having 2 guys have the puck getting away from them in a SO is tough to watch. Also thoughts on Brouwer? I think people might need to temper expectations, guy is going to play 4th line grinder minutes.
    Nice to get a point on the road after you fall behind 2-0. The Blues have plenty of grit. They're also probably beginning to feel the very real effects of being without three of their top-12 forwards. It's going to be a grind. I'm with you on Brouwer. Don't expect magic. Just be happy if he contributes and carves out a niche. Anything beyond that is hoping for movie-scene stuff, though this team pretty much made a movie last season, didn't it? The sequel will be harder, thanks to these injuries.
    Ben, I haven't been to a home Mizzou game since Gary Pinkel's final year, so I'm curious to know your thoughts on the effects of moving the Mizzou sideline to the westside. I was upset when HCBO first did it because it meant moving the team away from the student section, which was perhaps the best part. Then there was the SEC rule meaning the student section couldn't be directly behind visitors. So now, what we see on TV is a disjointed student section and the opposing fans sitting at the 50-yard-line. I also can't think of another school that gives so many opposing fans such prime seats. This seems like it was a poor decision.

    Am I overreacting about this development? I think it has probably had an effect on gameday atmosphere, but again, I can only see what I see on TV. Move it back, please.
    When they switched sidelines, they had to change the student section, due to an SEC rule that won't let the opponents' sideline be right in front of the student section. The SEC prefers this way, so teams don't have to mix as much coming on and off the field. But the biggest pusher for the switch was Odom. He felt it gave his team a competitive advantage to be on the shades sideline, and felt the setup made it easier for play calling and limited potential sign-stealing or giving too much away. Sarcasm alert, but it does not seem to have helped much. I don't know if it can be changed back now, but it would probably have to be a coach who pushes it through.
  • Ben, A few week ago I asked you about Mizzou needing a coach that might bring more life to this program, A coach with pedigree in order to not become a lower half team in the SEC. At the time you wanted Odem to have more time. Any changes?
    You'll have to send me that exact question and answer. I get a lot of questions about Odom and don't recall one more  specifically than the other.
     
    I would not be surprised to see Mizzou move on for Odom. The case for keeping him has really been damaged during this five-game losing streak. I put up some of the glaring numbers yesterday on the site. If Jim Sterk, who did not hire Odom, is not convinced the program is moving toward the top-25 direction he has said he wants since he became the AD, then he needs to go get someone he believes can do that. He has to be confident enough in his belief Odom isn't the one as he is in his ability to go get the one. He also has to be confident enough he can come up with the money. It's one thing to call for a proven coach. It's another to pay him and keep him and his staff. If you're going to pay what Odom gets paid, you're not guaranteed to get anything better.
     
    As far as the pedigree term, I care less about a coach's pedigree and more about his skills. I think it would be a big mistake for Mizzou to do the thing where it says, well, we decided to move on from a coach who was a first-time head coach, so now we HAVE to hire a guy who has  been a head coach before. Why?  Some of the best coaches in the country were offensive coordinators in their last job. Look at Oklahoma. Joe Brady, for example, just revolutionized the LSU offense. He's going to be a hot commodity. He's  going to get a lot of money if he decides to make a jump now.
    If Mizzou loses to Arkansas can they drop the appeal and just serve the punishment now rather than risk it rolling into next year?
    No. The appeal has been decided. Mizzou did not win. Sounds like nothing got overturned at all. Dave Matter is posting a story to STLToday.com now and there will be more coverage coming throughout the day.
    Here's the Mizzou news story from P-D colleague Dave Matter. The Tigers lost their fight with the NCAA. Appeal overturned nothing. https://www.stltoday.com/sports/college/mizzou/ncaa-denies-mizzou-s-appeal-on-postseason-ban-other-sanctions/article_10f0a157-a2e3-5c4f-af2c-655cabc4f9f3.html
    Does any coach want the Missouri job? Coming in with recruiting sanctions sure seems like a great way not to start off a new job.
    The same argument can be used for any program that has decided to make a change, right? To various degrees. Similar things were said after Kim Anderson was let go.  Cuonzo Martin wanted the job. Came from California for it. Got a nice salary, too. That matters. Same for the contract that proved Sterk understood the program Martin was taking over. There was time baked in. If Odom is let go, Mizzou will be on probation and limited somewhat, not majorly, in recruiting. Throw in whatever perception issues exist from the 2015 protest, and there is some baggage there, no doubt. But there will be coaches interested. Proven coaches who will be interested in the situation AND the money Mizzou would have to offer? Probably not as much. It's still an SEC job, and those are desirable.
    Sterk better go scorched Earth on the NCAA. Ya heard?!?!?
    Well, that is quite violent. Don't think we can let that comment hang there. I edited for language, because I think the question -- or at least topic -- is legit. Sterk made this bigger than Mizzou vs. NCAA. He sold this as a big case in the future of college athletics, a potential cornerstone ruling in the conversation about cooperation and compliance with the organization's enforcement arm. And the NCAA just laughed in his face, slapping Mizzou with a denied appeal months and months after the ruling was expected, two days from Thanksgiving on top of that. How does he respond? If he falls in line, it would be admitting the previous campaign was more bluster than substance. If he continues to push the envelope, he could face some sort of reprimand from the NCAA. I hope he talks here in  Kansas City today. He needs to.
    Ben - A comment and question: Going into the MBB and FB seasons it was widely assumed that Albert O and Tilmon would both go pro after their Junior year (this year). Both have size and have shown athleticism and talent.... but both are very similar in that they have atrociously inconsistent. Tilmon has shown a complete inability to function at the college level. What would inspire a pro, even G league, team to believe he can figure it out professionally? Albert lacks mental discipline, effort, and has shown very poor hands with many dropped passes. As the seasons progress, what are the chances both could come back for their senior years due to waning professional options?
  • Neither look like pros to me at this point.
    I'm no scout or GM, and those types seem to think they can fix all flaws, but physical and mental toughness are traits that need to show in college.
    They are hard to develop in the pros.
    If I was advising both, I'd tell them to come back.
Powered by ScribbleLive Content Marketing Software Platform