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. Hope everyone is having a great week. Lots to discuss on all sports fronts. It's arguably the best time of the year as all are going at once. Let's roll.
    If you had to guess, will Isaac Bruce or Torry Holt make the Hall of Fame? And is the fact their careers were primarily in St. Louis hurt their case since the NFL probably doesn't care if St. Louis media vouches for them?
    I do think Bruce will get in -- eventually. Less sure about Holt. And yes, it hurts their credentials that there is not a team in St. Louis working on their behalf to get them in. And you better believe the voices from St. Louis advocating on their behalf, and there are some, at this paper and elsewhere, are easier to tune out now that the Rams are gone. Bruce belongs. It's overdue. But I have no faith in anything NFL-related to do the right thing anymore. Hope it happens this year. I have hoped it will happen the past two years.
    How come the Post doesn't show all box scores anymore? I understand west coast games not making the morning paper. But, they are now not printing box scores from early games either. For instance, the box score from the Cubs game yesterday at Wrigley. Also, they have stopped showing pitch counts in the box scores.
    That would be a better questions for the editors.
    With the shifting of much of our design and layout to a design hub instead of here locally, we don't have as much control of that kind of stuff on our end.
    I want to be sure this does not come across as snark, because we want to make sure readers get what they want out of our product, but if you're able to log into this chat and post questions, every box score you're looking for should easily available online.
    Who is the best college football coach who isn't Nick Saban or Dabo Swinney?
    Lincoln Riley is moving up that list pretty quick.
    Jimbo Fisher and Kirby Smart belong in the conversation.
    To make the west coast feel secure, throw Chris Petersen in there as well.
     
    Is there a conspiracy between Pitt and Cinc to keep the Cards from winning the division? Pitt throws some of the most hideous pitching ever seen against the Cubs last weekend, and Cinc pushes back Castillo, one of the best pitchers in the NL to Friday so he misses the Cub series. I realize you have to win your own games but the Cubs are showing up with their B team due to injuries and hammering these hapless clubs.
    Ha! Is this Pittsburgh's payback for the Cardinals stealing bases when they were up big? Interesting theory. The Cubs are doing what they should do -- turning cupcakes into stepping stones. The Cards went 12-7 against the Reds and 14-5 against the Pirates. The Cubs, as of Tuesday morning, have two games left against the Reds and three games left against the Pirates. They are 8-9 against the Reds. They are 11-5 against the Pirates. Keep that in mind as the Cubs pound away now. The Cardinals already did their pounding. You don't get extra benefits in the standings for a lopsided margin, either.
  • What do you make of the California bill that would cause college athletes to be paid? I believe South Carolina is also looking into it. Will this change college sports too drastically?
    I wrote about it a while back.
    I'll dig up the link.
    I think it's just another example of (most) people realizing what the NCAA continues to ignore -- the current model of big-time college sports is outrageous and wrong.
    You should not have school presidents, athletics directors, coaches, staff, etc., making massive salaries -- and that's just the beginning of the pile of money -- while the players who are risking their bodies to provide the entertainment are getting nothing more than scholarship and cost of living.
    That's not to dismiss the life-changing impact of a college degree. At all.
    But look and understand the money being made on these games, from TV contracts to sponsorships, etc.
    It's insane.
    And the people fighting hardest against cutting the players in on more of the pie are the ones with pie all over their faces.
    It's going to change.
    These bills prove that.
    The NCAA can adapt or be dismantled bill by bill.
    Its stubbornness on every common-sense reform is foreshadowing.
    I agree with critics who say it will be a mess to try to figure out how to pay student athletes.
    Who gets what? How do you make things right between star football players and the golf player no one knows?
    Tricky, for sure.
    That's why opening it up for players to benefit of their name and likeness is the perfect answer.
    Those who can get the business get it.
    Free market.
    Which one player needs to step it up for the Cards to hang on to the Central? Goldy?
    This team's success or failure can't hinge on one guy.
    If the Cardinals don't fire on all cylinders (enough offense, great defense, great baserunning, great bullpenning and decent starting pitching) then they won't win against good teams.
    It's as simple as that.
    There's not much wiggle room with these guys. 
    When one wheel wiggles, the car goes into the ditch against good teams.
    But, to play along, I'll pick Carlos Martinez.
    We saw what the Cardinals did without him -- fall apart.
    If he's not locked in and getting it done in save situations, with as many close games as this team will play down the stretch, things are going to be scary for the Birds.
     
    Hello Ben. A couple weeks ago there was an article saying the Rams are appealing the court ruling against them by wanting to have the case in the Supreme Court rather than in the STL Court. Correct me if I am wrong but I swear I remember that in this court case (the big one not the PSL, or other one) the Rams were denied appeal to move the case from STL over a years ago. It was determined that the case would stay here. Don't tell me that this year+ delay was just to say that the Rams want the Surpeme Court. That case should have already been in court a LONG time ago. They need to hurry up as I want an expansion team!!
    Cases don't start in the Supreme Court.
    They climb up to that level.
    So, the Rams' desire to move the case would not have sent it to the SC.
    I'm aware of the expansion team reasoning  because of how the NFL has handled things in the past, but I have no reason to believe that's a realistic option for STL at this time.
    I'm not even sure if STL would be interested in a team.
    I won't pretend to speak for everyone, but I can think of a lot better things this area should do than welcome back the NFL.
    But hey, not everyone agrees.
    Look at Wentzville, which just made Stan a business partner.
    Gross.
    Wouldn't the California bill push the star athletes toward CA and give those schools an unfair advantage? No different that boosters paying off players to get them to come to their school......except legal.
    The NCAA would have to decide how to handle it.
    It has threatened to ban California teams from hosting and competing in championship events.
    Here's something: What if kids go to California schools anyway?
    Some will.
    And then the NCAA's belief that their coveted championships are the only thing motivating student athletes will be popped.
  • Ben, I’m struggling to figure this out. Is Paul Dejong a top tier ss or just average? His power suggest above average but his ops suggest average to below average. I know his defense is strong and we’re reminded every night by Danny Mac how great he is, but is he really? I mean if edman and Dejong are playing 3rd base and ss next year would edman have better range at short? Would Dejong moving to a less stressful position help his offense blossom? Or is he just a .250 hitter with power?
    It's fair and right to be concerned with Paul DeJong's consistency. That's going to be the challenge for him. Becoming more consistent. Fewer slumps. Shorter slumps.
    What I would not worry about his his power or his defense. Both are special. In back-to-back seasons he's set records for HRs by a Cardinals shortstops. In back-to-back seasons he has ranked among the best defenders in the game in terms of Runs Saved at his position.
    You mentioned his OPS.
    It's .771.
    That's seventh-best among NL shortstops at the moment.
    It's in between Corey Seager and Dansby Swanson.
    His 27 HRs are third-best in that group.
    His DRS ranks sixth-best among all shortstops.
    He's 26.
    This is a long way of saying, no, I would not move Paul DeJong from SS.
    Consistency is his challenge.
    He's improved every weakness so far, so there's no reason to think he won't find a way to improve this one.
     
     
    I enjoy reading the paper at home over a cup of coffee. I don't log in until later in the day when I get to work. That argument of "just get it online" is what will kill the newspaper industry.
    It's not an argument.
    I'm trying to help, to offer a solution.
    I don't control the box scores. I directed you to those who do, and tried to offer help.
    I'm sorry I can't be more help for this problem.
    Which St. Louis athlete do you think will try out the St. Louis Wheel first? I feel like Jayson Tatum would enjoy it.
    I'd like to see Jose Martinez up there.
    Or Jordan Binnington.
    Jordan, how was it?
    "Pretty cool," he would say.
    Hi, Ben. Do you think whether the Cardinals re-sign Marcell Ozuna hinges largely on how he performs over these remaining weeks? I understand that Dylan Carlson is coming up fast, but what's the harm in having him serving an "apprenticeship" on the bench for a year, then replacing Fowler in right field? Thanks for your time. I love your columns.
    I don't think it's THE determining factor, but it could become one, sure.
    What you do when it matters most tends to weigh the scale a little differently, right?
    I've said all along that a strong Ozuna performance combined with a Cardinals postseason run could change the tune we have picked up from the Cardinals about their willingness to let Ozuna walk -- or more likely offering him a qualifying offer, and happily taking the draft pick when he declined it to pursue a multi-year elsewhere as a free agent,.
    We've discussed that situation at length in every chat for a while now.
    And as Ozuna struggled lately, he was doing the opposite of forcing the Cardinals' hand.
    Entering Monday's win, Ozuna was batting .113/.214/.258 over his last 60-plus at-bats.
    That's bad, folks.
    But he broke out big time Monday, with his 28th home run and his 21st double, and a great throw from left field. He also tried to climb over the wall to rob a home run. I think it might have been his most complete game as a Cardinal. And, after the game, it sure sounded like manager Mike Shildt wanted to make it crystal clear that everyone -- front office included -- understood what Ozuna means to this lineup, clubhouse, etc.
    Shildt has not yet openly campaigned for an Ozuna extension, but it sounded like he was forming a campaign on Monday.
    The Cardinals are always fans of their internal options, but it would be quite bold of them to think they can replicate their OPS leader who ranks second on the team behind Goldschmidt (for now) in HR and RBIs with a player already on this team, or a player who has not yet played in a major league game.
    Stay tuned.
     
    The first loss of a home series to a non-AL team all year .. and it comes to the Yelichless Brewers. In a pennant race in mid-September. Dont you find that trend very worrying? Especially with the easy schedule the Crew and Cubs have?? (I can hear BFIB screaming at me, "STHU. we won last night!).
  • When you are two games up with 12 games to go, every loss is worrying.
    This is not wrapped up.
    Not even close.
    Don't forget the Cardinals are 0-6 at Wrigley Field this season.
    Great night for Ozuna, but put me in the group who would give him the QO and I would trade O’Neill this offseason and his swing and miss. Next spring hard looks need to be given to Arozarena in CF, A. Garcia in LF, Thomas at all 3. With Carlson potentially coming in late May for salary reasons. All of those are better fielders than Ozuna. My 2 cents
    For what it's worth, Ozuna was a +8 defender in left field last season (6th among MLB left fielders) and is a +1 (13th) this season, per Fielding Bible's version of Defensive Runs Saved.
    He's made some goofy non-plays.
    And his arm has certainly been a work in progress.
    But he doesn't seem to get the credit for the plays he does make.
    If I had to bet today, I still think the Cardinals let him hit free agency.
    I'll think that until we see some sort of sign from the decision-makers that they want him to stick around. There has not been much of one yet.
    You write "That's not to dismiss the life-changing impact of a college degree" and then you proceed to pretty much dismiss it. Many of these athletes would never get to college (unless as janitors or landscapers) without the benefit of a free scholarship. That scholarship opens enormous opportunities they wouldn't have otherwise. Besides the great value, the great cost of a college education is something many families can't afford or have to incur great debt to achieve. Maybe you've never had to face the reality of paying for a college education. Or maybe you're super wealthy. But your "meh" attitude about the tremendous value already offered to athletes is very short-sighted.
    This is the convenient argument for those who don't want to see student athletes get more of a fair cut -- argue that what they do get is not appreciated enough.
    The be-happy-with-what-you-have argument is great to assign to others, but rarely do we actually live by it.
    We ask for raises. We negotiate on deals. We push and pull until the middle is reached.
    That's business, and college sports is a business. A big one.
    If you don't see that, your eyes are closed.
    Aside from the St. Louis Battlehawks, what is your favorite XFL name and logo?
    There is no other team than the Battlehawks. I'm ride or die.
    What are the front runners for names of the MLS team?
  • No news on that front at the moment. I just know Don Garber has suggested the group comes up with something that is a nod to St. Louis history. So, expect something along those lines.
  • If you had to hazard a guess, do you think Michael Porter Jr. sees the court for the Denver Nuggets?
  • Until he shows up in the box score of a game that matters, I'll take the under.
  • Ben, Mr Gant has had a good season, He should remember he has had some bad ones too and is not on track for the HOF when doing a interview. Any reason he was allowed to walk 3?
    When you are without your closer, everything is off. You're just trying to survive at that point. The move to Junior Fernandez didn't work out much better. The Cardinals will be in trouble in close games if Martinez can't pitch. The best news out of Monday's game was that he was back, looked healthy and pitched well, though it was only two pitches.
    As for Gant's media stance, who cares.
    If he pitches well, we write about it.
    If he stinks, we write about it.
    He's done nothing to help himself tell his story beyond that. It's a shame, I think, but I'm not losing sleep over it.
    If you look at the Brewers schedule, combined with the Cardinals/Cubs playing each other 7 times, the Crew has to be the favorite, right? On the other hand, streaks follow streaks and I doubt the Brewers will go 19-1 or 18-2 to finish the season.
    The Brewers would not be the favorite even if they had Christian Yelich.
    They're three games back with 12 to play, and they are without the reigning NL MVP.
    FanGraphs postseason projections are not gospel -- I get that -- but the fresh ones give the Cardinals a 60.3 percent chance to win the division. The Cubs have a 33.8 percent chance. The Brewers? A 5.9 percent chance.
    They could do it, but they're far from the favorite.
    What they are doing is playing with house money, which makes them dangerous.
    No one expects them to pull this off, but they might.
     
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