Like we talked about last week, there weren't a lot of major issues popping up for the Cardinals during this year's Spring Training. The only concerns were the fifth starter and 3B. You'll always have the "Will ___ stay healthy?" or "Will ____ bounce back", but overall this was a pretty low-key spring (for the guys on the field; not so much for the batting coach).
Even so, there are still a handful of issues that didn't make everyone's "Top 10 Questions" list for the 2010 Cardinals.
I could have made that list if I wanted to, but all the big media outlets begged me once again to not drop my vast knowledge of guys like Craig Allen and David Freeze on all Cardinal fans. Luckily I'm here to break it all down, and get you 100% ready for April 5th.11) What will be the best giveaway of the season?
I'm a sucker for the fun giveaways, and judging by the lines at every bobblehead or mini statue night, so is everyone else. Since the 162 game schedule doesn't thrill me too much - especially after seeing the Red Sox or Yankees won't be playing here during interleague play - the giveaway schedule is one of the first things I like to check out on the Cardinals website every year.
We've already discussed the beauty of the Cardinals Sluggie night on April 30th, and that would be a worthy candidate any other year, but in no way does it compare to the Vince Coleman bobblehead giveaway on July 30th. In fact, there's a whole 1985 celebration (bitches) that weekend. The 2010 version of the Cardinals will be on the field vs. the Pirates, so hopefully those just-like-old-times hookers and coke parties don't distract anyone from putting a beatdown on Paul Maholm.
12) What kind of encore will Keith Law come up with this time?
Whether it's 2006 postseason-related, or 2009 Cy Young-related, you know who Keith Law is by now. I'm sorry to break it to everyone but he really doesn't hate us. The evidence might be there in your eyes, but he really doesn't sit in his living room with his radar gun in his lap, while giving "Jesus Props" at his Bill James mural on the ceiling...thinking about more ways to prove that he hates the Cardinals.
In fact, he had some really high praise for one Colby Rasmus earlier this week (insider article):
I have seen Rasmus as a future star for some time now, and I think he's on the cusp of a huge step in that direction. It might come over two years instead of one, but Rasmus' approach at the plate at the end of last season was better than that of many veterans with five or six years of experience on him. His great at-bats didn't always translate into great outcomes, but that will come with time, more reps, and added strength as he gets older. Rasmus has always had great tools -- he's a plus runner, a great defender in center and will show some raw power even now -- but his patience and pitch recognition will help him convert those tools into star-caliber performance.
But to answer the question...he'll wear a fur coat to LaRussa's next ARF event. And fur pants.
13) What will be the best Pujols message board trade proposal?
I'm really torn on this one because Cardinal fans tend to over-value their guys, and severely under-value the other teams' basic functioning intelligence, not to mention the awareness of how good their own player is (see Anthony Reyes for Carl Crawford). They also forget there are 28 other teams in the league that usually like to make their ballclubs better as well.
The difference here is that Pujols is the best player in baseball. He doesn't have the youth appeal of a Justin Upton or Evan Longoria, but obviously Albert would still fetch the world if the front office actually started listening to, and counter-proposing trade offers.
So I don't know what the best offer will be (and by "best," it makes terrible sense for one side). We already saw one given by the national media - Ryan Howard for Pujols - and that really set the tone for stupidity. We can all agree that Howard is a great power hitter, but I don't know if that trade proposal can be topped. I have faith in you, Cardinal Nation. Don't let me down.
14) Can Jason Motte be any douchier?
You know Jason Motte has a closet full of Ed Hardy and Affliction shirts. I don't know if it's a bad facial hair/necklace thingy/baggy jersey combo, but he just has the look of one of the first Hot Chicks with Douchebags entries. I do love the fact that he just throws heat, pitch after pitch, but when it comes to getting outs in order to win the game - that's where things get a little tricky.
I have a rock solid source give me the scoop on a Jason Motte encounter a couple weeks ago at Spring Training:
And Jason Motte's lady friend doesn't know to park in the players' parking lot. He was in our parking garage bitching at her for making him walk about two blocks while we were walking into the garage. That might have been the highlight of the trip since Motte got fucking lit up that day and now he's flipping out. I was waiting to go all TMZ with the camera and get Jason Motte choking some chick out.
You can't get that kind of reporting anywhere else, ladies and gents.
As I told my source: the least surprising part of that story is "Motte got fucking lit up that day."
15) Who will be the next Cardinal on Twitter?
16) How much beefier can Danny Mac get?
I'm sure I'm the only dork who DVR'd the sports trivia championships on FSMW over the past month or so. But you might have caught a minute or two of it, thus getting a glimpse at the creature who ate Dan McLaughlin:
Damn Danny Mac - I know you were packing on some LBS during the '09 season, but that was still two or three chins ago.
17) Can our lineup scrap the shitty country music?
Seriously - take out Pujols/Molina's signature Random Latin Crap batting music, and 80% of the roster had some country ditty playing as they walk to the plate. I know the lineup has a bunch of crackas and the stands are filled with hoosiers, but come on - no banjos. It's embarrassing, so let's stop.
18) How many games will Karina Smirnoff attend this season?
Just look at her. Go ahead, do it.
Why is she with Brad Penny again?
I'm assuming they are still together, but I haven't heard/cared about their relationship since these beach pictures surfaced a couple months ago.
If I'm setting the over/under on number of games she goes to at Busch, it's got to be one. There will be a lot of people thinking she'll stay in New York or LA, which is the definite favorite.
But if she attends one game, you'd have to think it will be on a weekend, so she'd probably be more likely to stay in town to catch another game or two during the weekend. And that means a big fictitious payday with my fictitious gambling problem...
19) What are the odds that Opening Day gets rained out?
One hundred billion percent. Looking back at my life, I don't believe I've ever gone to an opening day game. I've been downtown pregame, but not within the past ten or so years. Feel free to judge me, but I've always let school or work get in the way since my high school days.
Not to mention, it's always hard as fuck to get single season tickets for opening day, and this year they hung around for a few days.
So since I'm making my opening day debut in just 11 short days (and didn't have to get my tickets by meeting some dude at a truckstop), I'll just give you a heads up now - don't bother going down to the game. There will probably be a tornado, maybe an earthquake; I'd even toss in a volcano eruption as a strong possibility. As long as you keep your head on a swivel, and have tickets for April 14th, you'll be fine.
20) Can we get Taco In A Helmet at Busch Stadium already?
This is another thing that caught fire through Twitter. Basically, if you remember the ice cream in a helmet treats they used to sell at ballparks, this is just like that...except all the fixings of a taco is put inside the helmet.
It's currently being sold at one or two spring traning parks, and looks out-fucking-standing:
If they don't sell it inside of Busch, I think we need to assemble a crew to sell these things down on the street corners before and after the games. If those "cheaper than inside the stadium" peanut and pretzel guys are still in business after 20 years, could you imagine the bank we'd make on this?
Maybe I'm just a fat bastard, but a little more creativity in the food choices down at Busch would be nice. And the TIAH would shoot us right past Minnesota for "fanbase with the least amount of street cred."
Check out the 2009 version of this article here.