Sunday, March 31, 2013

Weekend Reading And Winning

1 Esdras 5.

It's great to win pennants, and even better to win the World Series.  Since I was born in 1963, I naturally don't remember the 1964 WS champs.  But I've been blessed with a lot of great baseball.

Since I came on the scene, the Cardinals have won the World Series 5 times- 1964, 1967, 1982, 2006 and 2011.

In addition, they have won the NL Pennant another 4 times- 1968, 1985, 1987 and 2004.

Plus making the playoffs in 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2005, 2009 and 2012.

That makes 16 out of 49 years that I've been able to see post-season baseball, about 1 out of 3 years.  And 9 out of 49 years to see a World Series, about 1 out of 5 years.

And yet some people root for the Cubs.  Go figure.

Anyway, there's nothing better than winning the pennant.  Except for the World Series.

1982 Pennant.

1982 World Series.

1985 Pennant.

1987 Pennant.

2004 Pennant.

2006 Pennant.

2006 World Series.

2011 Pennant.

2011 World Series.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Friday Reading And More Big Home Runs

1 Esdras 4.

Spent enough time on Ozzie and Jack Clark and the 1980s for now.  Lets move to this century.

Jim Edmonds game 6 home run in the 2004 NLCS was huge.  This was one I didn't see as I was at church that Wednesday night.

The Astros had tied the game in the 9th inning right before I left the house to go to church.  I probably wouldn't have gone had I not had to usher.  One of the other ushers kept checking the score on the internet, as the game went on in extra innings.  Right before the end of the service he announced Edmonds had homered, sending the series go game 7.  Couldn't wait to get home that night to see the highlights.

The next year in the NLCS, the Cardinals, facing elimination and down to their last out, were saved by Pujols moonshot off Brad Lidge.  This was huge because it meant one last game at the old Busch Stadium.  Even though the Cardinals lost that next game, I feel at least the stadium got a proper send off.

The other notable thing is that look at the 25 second mark.  It's the face of Nolan Ryan.  Saw that look again 6 years later, didn't we?  Poor guy.  How he must hate the Cardinals.

Then is another game 7 home run, Molina's blast that put the Cardinals in the 2006 World Series.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Wednesday Reading And John Fogerty

1 Esdras 1.

Couldn't get through a baseball season countdown without John Fogerty making an appearance.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Tuesday Reading And Big Plays

The Prayer of Azariah and The Song of the Three Holy Children
Daniel 3: 8-30.

Lou Brock's 3000th hit and Lou Brock's 893rd stolen base. .

 Bob Gibson's 17 strike outs in the 1968 World Series.

1982 World Series, Game 7.  With the Cardinals trailing the Brewers 3-1 in the 6th, Keith Hernandez saves the day with a game tying single.

1982 World Series, Game 7.  George Hendrick puts the Cards on top to stay in the 6th.

Jose Oquendo's HR in the 1987 NLCS, Game 7.

Jim Edmonds game saving catch in Game 7 of the 2004 NLCS.

David Freese's game tying triple in the 9th inning of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series.

Lance Berkman's game tying single in the 10th inning of Game 6, 2011 World Series.

Monday Reading And Baseball Stuff

Bel And The Dragon
Jeremiah 10: 2-16.

Random baseball stuff.  Like Mike Laga hitting a ball out of Busch.  More Giants-Cardinals dislike.  Fernando Tatis grand-slamming the Dodgers.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Weekend Reading And Millions Of Memories

Deuteronomy 22: 23-29.

Someone posted excerpts from the Millions Of Memories DVD.  There are the usual Ozzie and Jack Buck highlights, but this video is really notable for its Tom Lawless "bat flip" footage and Jose Oquendo stuff.  Plus bonus footage of the Ozzie Smith's at bat in the '85 NLCS, his retirement, McGwire's last home run rampage in '98, and old Gussie Busch riding his Clydesdale beer wagon around Busch Stadium, possibly for the last time.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Friday Reading And 1985- A Heck Of A Year

Old Greek Esther 9: 1-31, 10: 1-13, 11: 1.

We've been blessed with a lot of great seasons of baseball.  But the winner, and still champion, of seasons, my favorite year, is 1985.  Only 2004 is in the neighborhood.

In its totality, even with the event that I shall never write of or speak of again, this was the funnest and most exciting season of Cardinals baseball in my lifetime

My reasoning starts with the fact several baseball "experts", with the Cardinals just 2 seasons removed from winning the World Series, picked them to finish last that year.  They almost got it right.  If by almost got it right, one means first place instead of last and winning 101 wins during the season.

This was the most exciting baseball team, and brand of baseball, I have ever seen.  This season was the absolute pinnacle of "Whiteyball".  This team collectively, stole an incredible 314 bases that year, stretched singles to doubles, doubles to triples and blazed around the bases.

Their speed forced other teams into mistakes.  When the Cardinals had a baserunner, each pitch became a "cat and mouse" between pitcher and baserunner.  The batter was sometimes an afterthought, which meant they often got better pitches to hit, i.e. fastballs, due to the stolen base fears.  It was interesting to watch, and listen to.

It was Jack Clark's first year with the club.  1985, and the 2 years that followed, had such a nice offensive chemistry between his slugging power and the rest of the lineup's speed and base thievery.

Willie McGee hit .353, hit 18 triples, had 56 stolen bases, and won the MVP that year.  And a Gold Glove.  The most exciting play in baseball was a ball in the gap with Willie in the game.  If Willie hit one in the gap, it was electrifying to watch him run the bases.  If he was on defense and a ball went in the gap, it was just as electrifying to watch him run one down.

It was Vince Coleman's first year.  You could almost, almost, ditto what I wrote about McGee running the bases and apply it to Coleman.  And patrolling the outfield, left, in his case.  There weren't many balls that fell between those two.  Oh, and he stole 110 bases.  And won Rookie of the Year.

Tom Herr, who was my favorite player along with McGee, had his best year ever, hitting .302, driving in 110 runs and stealing 31 bases.  Which was sweet, because the media was in love with Ryne Sandberg, his 2nd base counterpart on the hated Cubs, and Herr totally outplayed him this year.

Of course, Ozzie Smith played spectacular SS and stole 31 bases.  And Terry Pendleton played a remarkable 3rd base, gobbling up everything that came his way.

It was 1982 World Series MVP Darrell Porter's last year with the Cardinals.  There was veteran Cesar Cedeno filling in exceptionally well at first base for the injured Jack Clark the last month of the season.

John Tudor and Joaquin Andujar each won 21 games.  Tudor went 21-8, which is great.  But the fact he started 1-7 makes his record unbelievable.  It was truly one of the most bizarre seasons by a pitcher.  I had given up on him after the first few weeks of the season, but fortunately Herzog didn't.

Herzog commandeered a "bullpen by committee" that year, never naming a closer until late in the year when Todd Worrell came up from the minor leagues.  He instead used his head and matched his bullpen pitchers to the particular game situation he was facing.  All of which he had figured out in his head before the game even started.

Everyone in the national media was in love with the Mets at that time.  Cardinals fans all knew that we were the better team, and it was nice to prove it in 1985, and 1987.  That was a fun rivalry.

We didn't get a lot of games on TV at that time, so it was a great season of listening on the radio to Jack Buck and Mike Shannon.

I can remember no time, in decades of listening to and watching the Cardinals, that I was more nervous and excited than listening to the radio for the 3 games with the Mets the last week of the season, October 1st, 2nd and 3rd.  Maybe it was the fact I couldn't see what was going on, with Jack and Mike being my eyes and expertly calling those games, but the late innings of those games were positively thrilling.  My heart raced with the announcement of each pitch being delivered, and would calm down after I heard the results, only to repeat the cycle countless times.

The Mets were breathing down the Cardinals necks at that point of the season.  They won the first two games and were just 1 game back going into the last game of that series, with only 4 games left in the season.  If the Cardinals had lost that last game of the series, they would have been tied with 3 to go.

I've never been so relieved than at the call of the final out of game 159, which put the Cardinals up 2 with 3 games to play.

The Cardinals clinched 2 days later, against the Cubs, making that win doubly sweet.  The Cubs had been the darlings of the country the previous year, something that was really hard to swallow.  So this was vindication, placing the universe back in order.

We all know what happened in the post-season.  The Cardinals looked lost the first 2 games in Dodger Stadium.  The Dodgers had home field advantage, despite the Cardinals having the best record in baseball that year.  Returning to Busch Stadium was all the team needed.  The offense got rolling, especially in game 4.  Then came Ozzie's go-crazy home run in game 5 and Jack Clark's dramatic game 6 heroics.

In the middle of all that was another legendary occurrence in Cardinals lore- Vince Coleman, one of the fastest players on the team, getting his leg eaten by a slow moving automatic tarp rolling machine.

We won't go into the World Series.  But this was definitely the best team, and the most exciting team, I've ever seen.  There's a video, called "Heck Of A Year", about this season.  A lot of what follows comes from that video.  Enjoy.

Then there's this.

And this.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Reading And More Cardinals Songs

Old Greek Esther 8: 1-12, 16: 1-24, 8: 13-17.

Staying on the song theme from yesterday, here's a guy who's got a couple of them written about him.

The first time I saw the first video was during the rain delay at the start of Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS.  Yep, that's the Ozzie Smith "Go Crazy, Folks" game.

NBC, or maybe it was KSDK, played "The St. Louis Cardinals: The Movie", and this video was a part of it.

The second video I just found on You Tube.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wednesday Reading And Cardinals Theme Songs

Old Greek Esther 15: 1-16, 5: 3-14, 6: 1-14, 7: 1-10.

During the 1980s the Cardinals won 3 pennants, and each year- 1982, 1985 and 1987- had its own theme song.

When the Cardinals won the World Series in 1982, the theme song was, naturally, "Celebration" by Kool and the Gang.

In 1985, with speed blazing the basepaths, Glen Frey's hit "The Heat Is On" was adopted by  St. Louis.

And in 1987 it was "Shakedown" by Bob Seger.  Inspired at least, I think, by the Cardinals penchant for base thievery.

The following audio is from 1985.  A local St. Louis radio station took the popular song "The Heat Is On" and overlaid it with Cardinals radio highlights from that season.  Someone has now posted it on YouTube with a few somewhat unrelated photos. But that's okay.  With a gift, it's the thought that counts.

I heard that song dozens of times that summer and fall on the mighty KMOX.

The station did the same highlight thing in 1987 with "Shakedown".  Only I can't post that one because I can't find it.  You'll just have to read about it.  You can read more about Cardinals music here and here.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Tuesday Reading And Whip Willis

Old Greek Esther 4: 1-17, 13: 8-18, 14: 1-19.

Jack Buck graduated from The Ohio State University in December 1949.  While in Columbus, he met a young comedian named Jonathan Winters, who he worked with briefly at a local TV station.

Years later, Winters visited Buck in the booth at Dodger Stadium during a Cardinals-Dodgers game.  It had to be either 1976 or 1977, because Don Kessinger was playing for the Cardinals, as noted on what follows.

Winters appeared in character that night, playing the role of "former big-leaguer" Whip Willis.  What followed was a legendary event in Cardinals broadcast lore. 

Its only known rival would have to be the pregame interview Mr. Buck did with pitching coach Barney Schultz a few years earlier, while the latter was supposedly on cold medicine. To my knowledge that interview has yet to sneak its way onto the internet.

And until recently, Whip Willis hadn't found his way on either.  But now he has.  Sit back and have a listen.  It gets zanier the more you listen to it.

Monday Reading

Old Greek Esther 2: 1-23, 3: 1-13, 13: 1-7, 3: 14-15.

Here's an interview with Jack Buck from the 1990s.  It's fun because of Mr. Buck, but also because of the Chris Farley-esque interviewer.

That was the fun side to him, but there was also the serious side.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Weekend Reading And More 1987

Old Greek Esther 11: 2-12, 12: 1-6, 1: 1-22.

Stuff from 1987 NLCS and season highlight video.

Pitcher Greg Matthews gives the Cardinals some breathing room in game 1.

Who can forget Jeffrey Leonard's derogatory comments about St. Louis prior to the series?  It always makes a series more intense when there is true hatred between the teams.  This series took the cake for that.  This is from game 6, and by then Leonard was public enemy #1.  He remained unrepentant flapping his gums, even after this bitter loss.  Watch him desperately try to get in another dig at St. Louis at the end of his interview with Marv Albert.  Didn't work.  He watched the World Series from home.

Here's the Game 7 intro on NBC someone posted on YouTube.  Vin Scully seemed old then.  He's still going!

Finally from 1987, here's a portion of the video "That's A Winner", narrated by Jack Buck.  Go here for the links to all 5 portions of this video, a retrospective of this great season.  The immortal seat cushion night is included on section 1.

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Friday Reading

2 Maccabees 15.  Prayer of Manasseh.
2 Chronicles 33: 10-20.

Today's video is worth watching for a couple of reasons.  The whole thing just screams "1980s".  And it's "Whiteyball" time, my favorite era of Cardinals teams.

At first I thought it was from 1988, as the video has a lot of '87 NLCS footage.  However, I remembered Jack Clark left as a free agent after that, so 1987 was his last year.  Therefore, I was thinking late 1987.  The ending confirmed my suspicion.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Thursday Reading And Allie May Schmidt

2 Maccabees 13-14.
1 Samuel 31: 1-7.

Today's video delves into the Cardinals uniform history, the origin of the team name and the birds on the bat.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Wednesday Reading And More Busch Stadiums

2 Maccabees 11-12.
Numbers 15: 22-31.

Here's another Busch Stadiums video.  Must be from late 2005, when Busch II was about to be demolished. A lot of Busch I footage again.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tuesday Reading And The Original Busch Stadium

2 Maccabees 9-10.
Ezra 3: 1-7.

Nice YouTube video on Sportsman's Park.  I wish the new Busch Stadium would have taken more design elements from this one, as well as the arches around Busch Stadium II.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Reading And The Building Of The Arch

2 Maccabees 7-8.
Hebrews 11: 32-40

Opening day is just 3 weeks away.  Time to start the countdown.

Lots of stuff to review the next 3 weeks.

First off is a video related to the Gateway Arch.  I love the old videos that show Busch Stadium II also being built in the background as the Arch is going up.

And no, don't worry, in this video, there is no one going up on top.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Weekend Reading And Strawberry Aggression

2 Maccabees 5-6.
Deuteronomy 28: 25-44

My worst Mike and Ike fears have been realized.  Strawberry has taken over the box.  I can't shake out a handful now without getting a strawberry.

I posted my dismay with Mike and Ike a few years ago.  I didn't expect this.  Strawberry has gone all Third Reich on the other flavors.

They should have a classic Mike and Ike for those of us who just want the original flavors.  Or they should separate strawberry in its own compartment, and those who want to sprinkle it in can have that option.

My other idea is to just compartmentalize the whole box into individual flavors, allowing one to mix and match the flavors based on whatever one's mood is.

Or allow us to send back all the strawberries to the company in protest.

I guess that about sums it up.  Stay tuned to this station for all your Mike and Ike news.

Friday, March 08, 2013

Friday Reading And Allen Craig

2 Maccabees 3-4.
Deuteronomy 28: 1-14.

Glad Allen Craig got paid.  He's another Game 6, and Game 7, hero.

Only problem is that now he is signed for multiple years, he'll likely be injury prone the rest of his contract.  I'm betting at least one season of the five in which he will barely play.  Or won't play at all.

It's the Cardinal way.  Rolen, Glaus, Edmonds, Carpenter, Wainwright, Izzy, Ankiel, Lohse.  Who am I leaving out, in recent history?

Only Yadi and Pujols are exceptions to this rule.

Considering the Cardinals recent track record, this bet is easy money.

Wednesday And Thursday Reading

1 Maccabees 15-16.
2 Maccabees 1-2.
Deuteronomy 32: 4-9.
2 Chronicles 6:40 - 7:3.

So Furcal needs elbow surgery?  Really?  What a surprise.  Never would have guessed that was going to happen, way back August 30, 2012 when he first hurt it...and COULDN'T EVEN THROW A BASEBALL.

But it's not like they wasted 6 months on this, is it?

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Tuesday Reading

1 Maccabees 14.
Micah 4: 1-5.

There's no way that anyone should be surprised about Furcal's elbow.  Just another in a long, long, long line of Cardinals guys getting paid for doing nothing.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Monday Reading And Rocky Top

1 Maccabees 12-13.
Psalm 35: 11-26.

Watching Hee Haw on RFD recently, saw this, always a favorite.

Sunday, March 03, 2013

Weekend Reading And The Rock

1 Maccabees 10-11.
Leviticus 23: 33-44.
Psalm 118: 5-13.

Nice post on "The Rock."

No, not this one:

Perhaps you should just go there and read it.

Saturday, March 02, 2013

Friday Reading And The Flying Saucer

1 Maccabees 9.
2 Samuel 1:17-27.

Saturday March 2, 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the opening of the University of Illinois Assembly Hall.

To say that this structure is a unique architectural feat is an understatement.  I still don't quite understand how it stays up.  Whenever I'm near the south side of Champaign, it's always worth the drive to check it out.

The first time I remember seeing it was when I was 8 years old, before an Illinois-Iowa football game on November 20, 1971.  I was awestruck driving up to it, a cool site to see.  We had come to Champaign to see the game with a neighbor and went inside briefly.  I must say it looked cooler outside than inside, but it still was pretty cool inside, looking up at the dome from below.

The next time I was there was for the Ringling Brothers Circus in 1974.  It wasn't just a basketball arena.  I went to a Journey Concert there in October 1981, at the height of their popularity.

I haven't been inside it for years.  I'm sure it's changed through the years inside.  Supposedly it is going to be renovated.  Which is good to hear.  It would have been a shame if the University had wasted money on building a new arena.  This one is an iconic landmark, a symbol of the university.  In addition to a practical and versatile building.

Anyway, I'm linking to an article about the groundbreaking, the Wikipedia page, the Assembly Hall renovation project, the 50th anniversary game Saturday, and the most memorable games at The Assembly Hall.

Happy Anniversary.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Thursday Reading- DAGGER!

1 Maccabees 7-8.
Psalm 94: 1-15.

Look fast, I'm sure Comcast will pull this quickly.  Saw this on PTI last night.  Absolutely hilarious.

Was that George Stephanopoulos announcing?

In his defense, watch the crowd, some of them thought it was a basket as well.