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.

    Greetings chatters, thanks for jumping in to the weekly conversation here.
    Lots to discuss.
    BattleHawks!
    Seriously, what did you think?
    Ratings boomed here. No surprise there. Wonder if NFL noticed?
    Cards are camping.
    The John Burroughs/Lutheran North column I wrote got a lot of discussion. We can chat abotu that.
    Blues trade deadline looms.
    And more.
    Let's roll.
    BenFred,

    I think the 1st weekend of the XFL went about as well as it could have and STL showed up big, not only in TV ratings but the scenes at local bars. The Dome will be electric and the XFL would be wise to put their best TV crew on that game. I hope STL fills up the dome and maybe even open up the top level if the seats sell. I wish I could be there...stuck in frigid Minneapolis. I will be cheering from the living room. I missed that feeling of watching a local professional football team. I am not afraid to say I scared by pups from all of the cheering! What did you think of the games?
    KA KAW!!
    The national reaction seemed to be quite warm and receptive.
    People like being able to hear the coaches and quarterbacks, and the refs as they work through overturning calls.
    College football and NFL should take note there.
    I figured it would be off the charts in STL, because people are going to tune into that first game.
    The BattleHawks do not play the most exciting brand. Pretty conservative, really. But if they win, people will support and continue to show up in ratings and in person.
    The BattleHawks are going to benefit from a nice blend of interest, eagerness to prove that St Louis is a football city, and this all-around motivation to support sports that has emerged since the relocation fallout.
    They are riding the wave.
    And they are doing their part to keep it going.
    Take today for example. 
    As part of the team's community hustle initiative, it is spending time today partnering with Operation Food Search to pack backpacks of meals for under-served students.
    It's one of many service projects the team has planned throughout the season.
    That's easy to support.
    I can’t believe the Dejong is keep being considered as a cleanup hitter. His average with runners in scoring position is pathetic .
    The Cardinals' cleanup spot, at the moment, is kind of like the college football team that insists it has three quarterbacks.
    Most of the time, the truth is if you don't have a clear No. 1, you really don't have much.
    DeJong is getting consideration, sure. So are a lot of guys. That's what happens when you have a hole to fill.
    Hi Ben. This is going to be an exciting team this year no ?
    Depends on your definition.
    Many will disagree with you because of the questions about the offense.
    Offense is exciting.
    I hear often about how last year's team was "boring" because of the offense.
    Before that I used to hear about how the team was "boring" because it didn't do the little things right, like defense and baserunning.
    So, everyone seems to have their own definitions, and they seem to shift all the time.
    This team could be exciting.
    It's certainly more intriguing than exciting at the moment.
    The Carlos-KK competition is interesting.
    The left field situation is interesting.
    How Wainwright and Molina battle Father Time.
    How Carpenter battles back, if he can.
    Lots of intrigue. We'll see about the excitement. Teams that can't score usually don't get that tag these days.
    If the Cardinals can just get on base, keep their defense and baserunning stout, then the team should be exciting, because these guys can run as well as any team the Cards have had in a long time. That's exciting. At least it used to be. Cardinals fans loved Whiteyball for that reason, and this team can play a modern version of that style if it just gets guys on base.
    Who would win a game between the BattleHawks and Lutheran North?
    At this rate Lutheran North might have to try to schedule them, considering conference opponents are dropping like flies.
    Benfred,

    This may seem a bit conspiracy theory-ish....but it sure does feel like Manfred released the new concept for the playoffs just in time to sweep the WSJ report under the rug. I hope it doesn't get passed over. The information in that report is damning....
    Well, I guess that makes me a conspiracy theorist right there with you.
    That Wall Street Journal report ruined Manfred's credibility on sign-stealing investigation.
    He withheld information from the public and flat out misled in his comments about Luhnow.
    That's where the attention should be today, yet the postseason trial balloon is getting all the coverage.
    If it was an attempt to change the narrative, it worked.
    Shame,.
    What message is Luhnow likely sending out now by not even owning up to much of anything himself ? This whole ordeal manifested under his supposedly watchful eye...
    It just confirms the label he's had for some time now.
    Win at all costs.
    Throw others under the bus when the bleep hits the fan.
    Lie, lie, lie.
    How do you figure that Hinch facing the music with the press will eventually play out in the eyes of future employer's within the baseball industry?
    He remains the most likable of that entire operation.
    I don't know him well enough to know if that's a front, or if that's really how it is.
    His problem is that no one thinks he was the mastermind behind the Astros' success, in terms of the sign stealing but also the winning.
    Hinch did not launch the Astros' rise.
    He was just the manager for it.
    I'm not sure why any team would rush to hire him, and accept the baggage that came with it, until this thing has cooled off for some time.
    It's not cooling off.
    His non-answer on the question about the buzzers in the MLB Network interview was weak.
    What did you think of the XFL as a whole (not the Battlehawks specifically since you wrote an article about them)? Was the quality of play better than you thought it would be? Did the length of the game bother you? What about venues?
    I'll be honest. I did not watch every other game. Checked in on a few. My main takeaway was I think the quarterback play is better int his league than it was in the Alliance league. And that is so important. The other thing was just seeing the discussion and reaction as games played out. The TV contracts the league landed are big. That should really help.
    Watching Robert Thomas chew on his mouthpiece during game action makes me cringe. Seems like eventually he's going to get caught with his head down and could face serious injury. Hate to chill a guy's mojo, but is that something that a coach, trainer, or front-office staff ever addresses? Maybe they should just glue the thing into his mouth.
    Right after someone tells MJ to keep his tongue in his mouth.
    I always thought an elbow or shoulder would leave the best basketball player of all time without a tongue.
    I don't know if the Blues have said anything to him or not.
    He's been playing a long time, and I'm not sure it's something that he could change now if he wanted to.
    Just a habit.
  • Has anyone in the press heard anything from Beltran regarding the cheat scandal since he parted ways from the Mets managerial job?
    I have not. 
    His former teammates and current friends have defended him but if he's said much, I've missed it.
    Someone help me out if there's something out there I don't recall.
    Find it interesting arenado talk to holiday. He knows both FO and could get s deal done.
    Holliday would not be the one brokering the deal.
    That's now how this stuff works.
    But it was interesting to read in the Denver Post article linked below about how close the two are, and that reinforces what we already heard about Arenado -- that he would likely be willing to drop his no-trade clause to join the Cardinals. (Again, the bigger question could be if he's willing to renegotiate or drop his opt-out.)
    Holliday has been one of the Cardinals' biggest advocates when it comes to free agents. He is outspoken about how great it is to play in St. Louis, and how it's a great place for a baseball player to chase championships and raise a family.
    So, you better believe if Arenado has had or will have questions about the Cardinals, he can ask Holliday, who thinks highly of them.
    The “Codebreaker” scheme, which Luhnow must have known about or even conceived, gives more credence to Correa ‘s claim that the Astros stole proprietary information from the Cards, don’t you think?
    As I've written multiple times since the exposing of the Astros began, what Chris Correa did was wrong. Full stop. But the motivation he mentioned for the wrongdoing that was laughed at back then does not look like such a joking matter now. It won't help Correa. He's banned from baseball for not cooperating with the league's investigation. That won't change. But for those who have followed closely, it's clear now why he would have had a hunch the Astros took information that belonged to the Cardinals, information Correa said he found. As this stuff continues to come out, I would not be surprised at all if Correa makes a statement or releases some sort of interview that adds fuel to the fire. What does he have to lose?
    Why did you focus on Burroughs when Priory made the same decision? That was grossly unfair. Additionally, I saw no mention of the player safety concerns that factored into Burroughs' decision. North averaged 75 pounds per lineman on JBS last year. For a school that may not have a program in 5 years due to falling participation related to CTE concerns, that is a defensible rationale for dropping North.
    A few reasons. Burroughs was the latest in what has become a trend. And Burroughs had been incredibly competitive with Lutheran North in recent seasons. The two programs are 5-5 against one another in the last decade of regular-season conference meetings. Burroughs put a 30-plus point beating on Lutheran North as soon ago as 2015, when Burroughs rolled on to win the state championship. There were no concerns about player safety or an unfair gap between programs then. Why now? I've yet to see proof that playing against Lutheran North caused more injuries than playing against another team. Why are there no concerns about player safety in similar lopsided losses Burroughs has taken against MICDS? There seems to be different treatments for different teams. No one seemed to mind when Lutheran North was taking its lumps, but now that Lutheran North is handing out the lumps, it's a safety issue? Sorry. Hard for me to buy what you are selling.
    Do you think Kofi Cockburn will be a one and done for Illinois? He needs more experience and could be a real beast if he came back for one more year.
    I'm sure Illinois fans want him to be convinced of that! And I don't blame them. If the feedback he gets, and he would be crazy not to get the feedback, says he's a first-round pick, he should go. If not, he should return. It's as simple as that. Guys should not pass up a chance to go in the first round. Underclassmen should not risk sticking in the draft and missing it. So, if the experts say he's a first-round lock, enjoy him while you can.
    I would like to see Dean and Sosa make the team,any chance of it?
    Considering spring training is as brand new as the baseballs that were shipped there, there's a chance. Lots of things can and will happen between now and the time camp breaks. Injuries. Surprises (pleasant and not so pleasant). These guys are on the outside looking in, and I would not expect them  to make it if things were decided today, but things aren't decided today.
    At first I wasn't crazy about the Joc Pederson rumors but after watching some of the film on him I think he'd probably be a good addition to the team. Left handed bat with power. Your thoughts?
    I'm not sure what rumors are out there other than the trade that fell through between the Dodgers and the Angels.
    Cardinals fans have spent a lot of time this offseason hoping the Cardinals see the fit they see.
    There have been no signs of that.
    Specifically, at Winter Meetings, Mozeliak pushed back against the notion of adding what he considered a platoon outfielder, a definition that kind of fits Pederson, who slashed .224/.240/.265 against left-handed pitching last season.
    The Cardinals seem convinced they can get better every-day production from their current cast of candidates.
    When comparing position players, how do you see the Cards vs Cubs? I'd go as follows:
    C- Cubs
    1B- Even
    2B- Cards
    SS- Cubs
    3B- Cubs
    LF- Cubs
    CF- Cubs (Almora/Happ vs Bader/Thomas)
    RF- Cubs

    I do give the Cards the edge in Rotation & Bullpen. Just curious your thoughts. Thanks.
    Based off what we know today, I think this is a fair assessment.
    What we don't know is what might emerge for the Cardinals, a team with a lot more unproven talent in that left field spot.
    We will see if Kris Bryant gets traded.
    And one problem with this kind of comparison is it leaves out Tommy Edman entirely, which is not how this Cardinals team will be built to play.
    Don't underestimate defense and pitching. It's the reason the Cardinals beat the Cubs last season and could again.
    Individually, most of the Cardinals positional decisions make sense: Let O'Neill/Thomas battle for LF to see what they can do, Commit to Bader's defense in CF, see if he can be a decent hitter. Hope Fowler can be improve on last year and be more consistent; Let Carp try to prove last year was the abberation, etc. But taken collectively, that's not much of a lineup.
    Lots of hope baked in, as we've discussed all offseason.
    Also intriguing options that will encourage changes sooner rather than later if certain players -- or more importantly the team -- gets off to a slow start.
    Hard to give Fowler more and more time this season if, say, both Carlson and O'Neill are red hot.
    Same for Bader.
    I don't think anyone in the outfield is feeling too comfortable with their role at the moment.
    They should not be.
    What tier of the NL do you see that Cardinals Offense, Defense, SP and Bullpen in? Will the aggregate be enough to compete for a pennant? I see bottom third for the offense, top third for Defense and SP, and like all bullpens a crap shoot from year to year.
    I'm higher on the bullpen than most.
    A lot of young, talented arms there compared to old, rusty ones.
    There's still a good chance Carlos Martinez could wind up at closer, where he's experienced and talented.
    Jordan Hicks should be back sometime in the second half.
    So, I'd say top third for everything but offense.
    I'm worried about the offense, like the rest of you.
    Is the Dewitt telling Mo This season. We tried it your way with free agents and it didn’t go Like it was touted. We’re going back to my way of homegrown talent and holding the line on cost?
    I haven't seen many signs of divided thinking between Mozeliak and DeWitt. They're usually pretty much on the same page and that seems to be the case here, for the most part. Mozeliak has said from the beginning of the offseason that the team that takes the field in 2020 isn't going to look too different from the team that ended the 2019 season, and that the emphasis was going to be on young guys getting more chances to help the team. That's exactly how it's played out. After a series of buys on the middle to upper tier -- but not the top -- of the free agent shelf backed them into a corner a bit financially, they have steered away from those to see if they can find something better already in the system.
    Speaking of Manfred, 1-10 how stupid is the proposed new postseason format? Is there any way Manfred could lose the commissioner position?
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