STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

STL sports chat with Jeff Gordon

Columnist Jeff Gordon takes your Cardinals, Blues and STL sports questions in his weekly chat, beginning at 1 p.m. Friday.

    Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
    Jeff I listened to your podcast and I think a lot of us fans are missing the point on Robbie Fabbri. He wasn’t going to play here because he’s not a Berube player. Not because Blues management messed up. Berube demands a 200 ft game plane and simple. That means all players play physical and play defense. Fabbri is a one dimensional offensive player NOT going to work! Berube has earned the right to play who HE wants and Army completely backs that. That said I am wondering how Kyrou will go over? Last time he was up Berube was like “here’s a sandwich and back to the AHL until you learn there is more to the game then hat tricks!” I don’t see an easy ride here for Kyrou.
    We did mention that even Vladimir Tarasenko had to come around to that way of playing under Berube. You are correct -- Berube set a standard that everybody had to meet. Most of the guys did, which is why the team took off the way it did.
    Fabbri is a classic case of a guy who must play in the Top 6 to be effective. He has the skill to play that sort of role and thus far he has lacked the sort of grit Barbashev and Sundqvist developed in their fourth-line role. Detroiit needed another skill guy to go with Larkin, Mantha, Anthanisiou while Zadina and (the lesser) Svechnikov develop.
    Is Brouwer going to play? What does he bring that the Blues don't already have (or at least have waiting in the wings)? Been awhile since I have seen him play much but don't remember his being too fast. Will he be in as soon as he gets his Visa situation straightened out and how could he not have had that straightened out already after going to camp with the Panthers and coming here for a tryout?
    Visas are always an issue when a player changes employers or, in the case, signs a contract to play. I don't know if he did (or even could) start the process while on a PTO not drawing a salary.
    What can he bring? He do a lot of what Maroon did. He bangs around, he can score greasy goals, he commands respect from his teammate. The fact he has history with Pietrangelo, Steen and Tarasenko helps too. He was a leader here on a team that went to the Final Four.
    The retro uniforms looked cool but a little goes a long way. Glad they are going to wear them only a few times. On the other hand, they may have magical powers. For one night at least, Thomas, Sundquist and Sanford looked like Oates, Hull and..... maybe Momesso? I forget who the other winger was on that line.
    I don't miss those sweaters. I worked at Burger King as a teenager, so I know the fast food uniform look when I see it. I did the Post-Dispatch story on them back in the day, hearing about the "red equity" in the redesign from the guy who did it. I didn't see the need for red equity.
    What do you think of Dunn? He is a good offensive D man but is he really a good D man? I mean he just stood in the crease while the Tampa Bay player waited in front of him and pushed in an easy goal. It’s not the first time I’ve seen him do that. He has brain fog at times or he just does not think like a D man?
    That was a mishap for sure. On the other hand, he delivered a monstrous body check Thursday night to remind us that he does have a physical side to his game. I see him as a Kevin Shattenkirk-type defender. If he doesn't see prime power-play time he may not put up 50-point seasons, but he is a terrific skater, a confident playmaker and a dangerous shooter.
  • I confess to being a little anxious to see Faulk score a goal or two and contribute a bit more on the power play, but he is playing significant minutes, so he must playing pretty well.
    Like Dunn, he is not seeing prime power-play duty and that is a big part of his game. But he is logging big minutes and doing his part to keep the machinery running. He will make the occasional high-risk pass that fails badly, I don't mind him with Jay Bouwmeester at all.
    Hi Jeff, Thanks as always for taking the time for the chats! Like many fans I experience "high anxiety" when Harrison Bader is at the plate. Unlike many fans I hope the Cardinals give him another shot at becoming a big league hitter. He brings so much to the table that most just simply cannot do. His speed, defense, base-running ability, and general excitement that he possesses are among the very best in baseball. Has anyone ever tapped him on the shoulder and said, "Hey Harry, the pitchers are throwing you sliders low and away and well off the plate"? Is pitch recognition that difficult to master? I for one hope the Cardinals do not give up too soon and have another talented outfielder they trade for virtually nothing. See Grichuk, Randall. Jeff, do you think Bader will be the Cards center fielder this year? Thanks!
    Until Bader proves he can hit that slider off the plate, I don't see how he can be more than a defensive outfielder playing late innings and starting a few games here and there. Yes, he needs better pitch recognition. But also needs to actually hit that pitch -- or least consistently it foul off -- to play every day. Hopefully he knows a bunch of pitchers who can throw sliders to him over the winter.
    Well you didn’t answer my question about Kyrou? I think it will be tough for him here. He’s a player much closer to Fabbri then Sunqvist! He’s not a 200 ft players!
    As for the Kyrou part of that Fabbri question, yes he will face the same challenge. Like Fabbri, he needs to play a Top 6 role to be effectively. And like the Blues currently moving in and out of Top 6 roles here, he needs to play the whole game. This is why the Blues want him to get as much work in San Antonio as possible. I could see him riding the shuttle this season while he keeping learning what it takes at this level.
    That said, the Blues will definitely need his offense. So he WILL get his looks this season.
    I saw an article today on NHL.com analyzing the contenders at this point for the Jack Adams Award. I realize this is premature and meaningless but currently they have Berube in 10th place! What does it take to get some RESPECT?
    Hi, Jeff. Thanks for the chat. If you were a Mizzou student today, would you go see this Missouri football team play?
  • Yes, because I've always been a big sports fan. When I went there is the 70s everybody went to football and almost nobody went to basketball games. The football team was erratic but then, but the games were in the afternoon and it was a huge party. Where else where you would you be on a Saturday? The library? That's what Sunday night was for.
  • Gordo... I miss you on the radio bro. What did you make of the big ESPN piece on the NFL in Loss Angeles? It looks like everyone will end up with their hands in Stan's pocket - Jerry Jones, Dean Spanos, Bob Blitz and St. Louis. I feel for the guy. Just like he did for the people at the Waggoner Ranch. lolol
    I have not seen that story yet, but I've seen some excerpts. Yeah, Jerry Jones saw a pot of money with that stadium deal. And they really flexed muscle when the two stadiums proposals looked were competing.
    So you also worked at Burger King as a teenager? Ah, the good old days working on the burger machine. I knew there had to be an unexpected reason I enjoy your chats so much. Seriously, thanks to you snd all
    How old am I? I was at BK #449 for the Yumbo (ham and cheese) and The Big Plain (one-third pound burger . . .  plain). The Yumbo was awesome deep-fried, like giant BLT, but one sandwich ruined the grease for the night. The bosses frowned upon us doing that. The Big Plain did not cook fully with its run down the broiler chain, so you had to microwave. Or serve it half raw, if you were rushed. Ah, the memories.
    Thanks to all the PD guys who provide these chats.
    Reading on espn about the LA football stadium going from initially $1.8 billion to up to $6 billion. The Chargers look like they have few fans there and have trouble selling seat licenses. Spanos actually thinks he can make more by moving?
    Stan K thinks he can really come out ahead with malls being closed left and right?
    Would you pay thousands of dollars a year when the Rams start missing the playoffs?

    Stan K and Spanos should have stayed in their home cities.
    There's a reason why it took so long to get two serious stadium proposals going in SoCal -- and why San Diego never could get a new one going, There's expensive, then there is SoCal expensive. We all knew that stadium would face cost overruns (they all do), but it sounds like this could be a fiasco.
    Is acquiring Blackmon even viable here in St Louis, especially with him still being owed $40+M over the next two seasons?
  • This team has given away a lot of pretty good outfielders. This team has a lot of outfielders it is still trying to define. This team is paying one of them a lot of money. This team is paying big money to older guys at other positions. So you add all that up and wonder how this team would want to spent assets and money on another veteran outfielder.
  • How could Leone possibly return to the Cardinals next season now being designated for assignment ?
    Well, if nobody else offers him a contract, then he will have to accept a minor league deal somewhere with an invite to spring training. He may well end up in that boat if nobody wants him on their 40-man roster. The Cardinals are likely to offer some relievers of that ilk minor-league deals and spring training looks.
    Jeff, Jim Sterk said he wants a perennial Top 25 team. Does Mizzou have the wherewithal for that or is it just a pipe dream? The program was lot of fun during the Dan Devine/Al Onofrio/Warren Powers years and during the Gary Pinkel regime but, while I hope for the best for Barry Odom, I just do not see this happening at present. Your thoughts, please.
    Barry was set up for a Top 25 team this season and just didn't get it done. Had he won at Wyoming and won at Vanderbilt, he could still be in that Top 25 range heading into the Tennessee game. That said, Odom has never been able to avoid the bad losses and he has yet to elevate the Tigers on the recruiting front. He has maintained a good quarterback succession, but there has been too much fall-off at defensive line, wide receiver and offensive line.
    Could he get over the hump? Yes, but that won't be easy when you look to next year's schedule and you assess returning talent and the recruiting. I'm not sure he can raise this program's ceiling, but he certainly has to raise the floor and stop losing games he should win.
    Jeff, what do you think the adoption of analytics in sports has done to the product we watch on the field? The shift and launch angles has turned MLB games into HR Derbies. Shot valuation has eliminated midrange play and made many NBA games a 3 point shooting contest. The NFL has become pass happy despite only a few teams having the QBs needed to run even the most basic schemes. And NHL teams like Toronto and Calgary that fully embraced the speed and skill mantra of the "new" NHL are now struggling to win. Is following what the metrics say is the right way to play a sport making them actually less interesting to watch?
    I don't blame analytics for all problems. Every sport evolves. Look at how much more explosive competitors are today thanks to advanced training programs tailored to specific athletic movements. Diet, nutrition and, yes, chemicals have had an impact too. Analytics can provide illuminating information, but that data can obscure the obvious. Managers like Whitey Herzog and Tony La Russa operated by feel as well as with research. They knew the numbers, but they could also see if a player was in a groove or in a funk. They got a read on their team before every game and then kept reading players on the fly. They used the eye test and the gut test. Hockey is very much the same way; Scotty Bowman was like a great conducting running his bench. But . . . Ken Hitchcock admitted that he came out a period with an assessment that didn't match up with the actual outcomes on the ice. He thought a line was great, but the data said otherwise. The art of running a team, both in management and with the coaching staff, is melding old school with the new school.
    Who might the Cardinals seriously target out of this free agency's class?
    Well, nobody really. The top few guys are out of the franchise's price range and then the free-agent class falls off dramatically. This team has a full rotation and an almost-set lineup. They need relief help, but key guys have flown off the board already. This team could make a trade if the right pieces came together, but at this point there is no reason to expect much activity.
    Media in Toronto is in a frenzy to tear apart the Maple Leafs. On the Hockey Today a host suggested that if Army can't sign Petro to an extension, the Leafs send Nylander to Blues so they can acquire and then resign Petro. First, if the Blues know that Alex won't sign for less than 10 a year, should they move him? (They won't, but should they?) Second, would getting a guy like Nylander even be enough?
  • I still don't see Pietrangelo leaving as a free agent to chase the last dollar. But he if does, then team will move forward with Parayko, Faulk and Dunn as the blue line core and use the money to lock in other guys or fill other needs. As for Nylander, he is a skilled guy but at this point he is not playing the sort of game Berube demands. Not even close. With Tarasenko out, this team will give the younger forwards more to do and see which guys elevate. So far so good on that front.
  • Are the Cardinals likely putting out more than "feelers" on Carlos Martinez' services this off season?
    That is quite possible, but the Cardinals would have to get high-quality pitching in return. For all of his issues, he has been both an upper-tier starter and an effective reliever for this team when healthy. Trading him to trade him would be stupid. This team has bigger issues among the incumbent players than Carlos.
    Everything DeWitt/FO have said so far leads fans to believe that they are prepared and comfortable to take a step back in ‘20 after finally making the playoffs last year. So has this become a franchise that is now comfortable with contending every few years, versus the 2001-2014 teams that only missed the Playoffs every few years?
  • There has been no reduction in commitment. The Cardinals will likely have a Top 10 payroll again next season. The problem is the dead (or severely ailing) money on that payroll and the need to cycle out some contracts. In another year this team will be closer to that goal -- and it will also have a better idea on their various young outfielders as well as pitchers like Reyes and Genesis Cabrera and youngsters Elehuris Montero and Nolan Gorman on the corner infield.
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