Friends, that's scary good. We aren't talking about a media darling here that is getting undue breaks from buddies in the press box doing the voting either. He's earned serious consideration for the league's highest individual honor every year, without fail, for a decade.
A decade ago I couldn't legally drink. Today, I don't get carded.
So as we reach the precipice of June and step back to asses The Pujols, it's not only jarring to think of the talent that this particular player might be leaving St. Louis with, but also, perhaps more succinctly, wonder: what the hell Albert?
We knew that that specter of having perhaps the biggest contract in the history of professional sports looming over an entire season was going to be daunting for Pujols. Try as he might to completely compartmentalize 'the season' from 'the contract', I think it's fairly obvious now that he can't.
It's either that, or he went from being the premiere hitter in baseball to a plodding double play producing machine (leading MLB).
Let's give the MVP the benefit of the doubt and say his talent hasn't fallen off a cliff and that career lows in batting average (.262) on base percentage (.329) and slugging (.411) are more of a symptom of too much applied pressure rather than a superstar cresting and free falling to retirement.
As the June deadline for All-Star balloting approaches, It's become the elephant in the room -- Albert Pujols will be an All-Star. And Albert Pujols does not, in any way, deserve this honor.
He's one of the biggest stars in baseball. In the Midwest voting bloc, I don't think that fans could even begin to be objective about the first sub-par season in Albert's illustrious career. He's going to be on the NL team, regardless of the numbers he puts up over the next 30 days.
Albert VORP (value over replacement player) in 2011? 4.8 His career average? 81.2.
But that's one metric, pick yours and you'll be more than stunned at the averageness of Pujols in 2011. But the one I rely on most? The eyeball test.
And what I see in 2011 are teams are not scared like they used to be. Pujols was always great, but when the spotlight was white hot, Pujols was the BEST. It was surprising to see him NOT come through when it mattered the most. Now people that are regular followers of the team are hoping for anything but a double play. Sometimes a weak pop up to center is acceptable since it gives Holliday a chance to bat.
At this point, let's just hope that Pujols gets to some levels that won't be awkward for Joe Buck to talk about when he calls #5 out of the Chase Field dugout.
Because Albert deserves to be considered an All-Star... just not in 2011.
The good news is that Cardinal nation was out in force and the Gaslamp was awash in red.
The CD brought along their trusty point-and-shoot and hopes you enjoy a few shots of the game and the fans.
Friday Links follow the bad photography. Have a weekend, friends.
Click here to see the entire album.
And now: Friday Links...
- Kitty Hugs. You're welcome, Dr. Moody.
- Dogs eating pasta. Enjoy, you stoner.
- You can't park here.
- Disturbing word origins.
San Diego is a great city.
Tons of good people and one snake. But they do miss out on one thing… big time sporting events for former athletes to attend get some camera time.
So when the Cardinals roll into town for a 3:30 local start time matinee, the BIG stars come out.
James Lofton (LINK HERE) wore his Green Bay Packers hat and snuggled up to a, ahem, husky young lady while Danny Mac informed us that the former NY Giant wideout is a huge Cardinal fan.
Dave Winfield (LINK HERE) was more muted with a cream colored suit. Ricky Horton is still scared of the guy.
Steve Finley (LINK HERE) still has his flowing locks of blonde blowing in the Pacific breeze and is responsible for Andy Benes not being a verb on par with tight buttonhole in the St. Louis area. Benes continues to host the long running FSN skein, ‘Cardinals Kids Club’ with Frebird.
And I think we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention The Moonman, right? (Note: video has nothing to do with Mike Shannon, but that's the kind of insane stuff that comes up when you YouTube search for Mike Shannon. I thought it was apt.)
Fresh said it was like Cannes.
The Bachelorette is back. Let's cut the pitter patter get to the first LiveBlog of the season.
8:01 - That gay crap called Dancing With the Stars is finally over so we can concentrate on the totally hetero Bachelorette. 25 dudes, 1 chick and nothing but manly, manly entertainment for the men of Lami St.
8:03 - The Womack montage we knew we'd have to endure has commenced. Who else is hoping for an update on his current relationship? Is there any chance that isn't the worst relationship in the history of the world by now? Ashley is down and out, or so it would seem.
8:09 - Sadness personified is sexual writhing on the stage. God bless the Bachelorette. God bless everyone involved with this show.
8:15 - A: Ryan P. makes the Taylor Swift heart with his hands and frames the sun. Q: Why does everyone think Ryan P. likes boys?
8:17- Ames. AKA Mr. Perfect. I think this guy just blew up @HumbleBrag.
8:20 - The Jersey Butcher, Anthony. Zero chance of pulling out a win and probably a 10% chance of even getting past tonight with a rose... but damn this guy has Weatherman-esque potential. With an even better background for double entendre.
8:21 - West. Ahhh fuck. There pulling the widow card out again? The exploitation of Emily last year was kind of gross. So the producers decided to do it all over again. Get your bets placed for West in the final 5 right now. You can't cut a widow early unless you're cold-blooded.
8:30 - Ashley sits down with Chris Harrison. A nebulous source has fingered 'Bentley' as a scumbag with an ex-wife and looking to promote his business before he even gets out of the limo. I think we might have the biggest underdog in the history of The Bachelorette!
8:37 - Micky. I promise you that was NOT the reaction he was expecting. Went in for the kiss and Ashley pulled a back muscle jerking away. On the knuckle in the mouth cringe scale? 4 of 5. You know, from "all the men in America".
8:40 - The Butcher... Whoa, game = MEATY! Could we have a darkhorse this year?
8:43 - Jeff. The dude with the mask. And, OF COURSE, he's from St. Louis. So embarrassed for everyone in our city. Did he run this idea by anyone? And if he did, and they gave this a rubberstamp, they should be shot. Twice.
8:52 - Camera Guy. Interesting shtick. And it was taking him places. But then he took it a wee bit too far with the request to get a pic with Harrison inside the mansion.
8:54 - Bentley. He receives the scrunch face from Ashley. I'm typing this live and I'm calling it now... this guy is going at least 3 episodes. Girls can't help themselves. That chick that contacted Ashley should have known they were buying him more time.
9:01 - Cable is out. I've been waiting 4.5 years to say this... what the fuck Charter?
9:02 - We're back. I'm kidding Charter. Love you guys!
Side: Lot of French cuffs on these guys. I don't like French cuffs.
9:05 - Did a guy just willingly use his own mother to clockblock himself on national TV? Did that really happen? Guys, when you have the urge to call mom on your first date, don't.
9:08 - The Mask. Described as a "creighton" by Tim. I wish I could disagree, Tim. I wish I could disagree. I really spent this whole commercial break trying to think of something I've been more embarrassed by from St. Louis. And I can't. I really can't.
9:17 - Tim is as wasted as any contestant in Bachelor/Bachelorette history. Occupation? Liquor distributor. This is painful for him watching this right now. Hiccups, drooling, the whole deal.
9:20 - The Drunk & The Mask are in a heated game of verbal jujitsu. Ashley is one lucky lady.
9:30 - "Let's just take my face out of the equation". I could be wrong here, but whatever is hiding under that thing is going to be a let down, bud. But how long how does this go on? At what point will his insides be properly known? Has he pulled this gimmick in St. Louis before? I need to know.
9:33 - Bentley. Warned by a friend he's dangerous. Has a child and an ex-wife. But seems like a really good guy... so he stays. Women.
First Impression Rose: Ryan P. Heart hands for everyone!
9:42 - Let the cutting commence!
9:43 - The Mask gets the FIRST rose? Get ready Johnny Brocks. A run is upon you tomorrow morning. Lucas Park is going to be very mysterious Saturday night.
9:46 - The kiss that wasn't didn't sink Micky. Let that be a lesson, boys. Be agressive. Girls like that.
9:47 - Bentley. Of course a rose.
9:48 - The Butcher gets chopped. Bad move by the producers... err... Ashley. I think America was going to like the cut of his jib. He seemed to be very tender. Not much blood on his hands. Ok, I'll stop.
9:51 - "I thought Ashley was the one." - Things not to say on camera after an extended happy hour with 24 other dudes and one chick if you want to keep your friends when you get home.
Coming up this season on The Bachelorette...
+ Canoes, boats, trains, buggies, rickshaws and other primitive forms of transport.
+ "Man Claws"
+ The Mask is creeping everyone the hell out.
+ Bentley at least makes out with Ashley once by a fireplace. And then he breaks her heart. If only she'd been warned!
+ An asskicking. Fiji. Love. And more
The Cardinals are in San Diego California for a series with The Fathers. Let’s hope Fresh WC can make it out to one of the games and get some sort of something to put up on The CD this week…
The Cardinals tried mightily to cough up a weekend series in Kansas City, but being the considerate, and less important residents of Missouri, they decided not to take it. After all, the difference between 65 and 66 wins doesn’t mean all that much…
Guess what premieres tonight? That’s right. The Bachelorette is back. Guard and Protect Your Heart and The Weatherman are characters not easily duplicated. And quite candidly, Ashley is no Ali. But we still have high hopes…
The Pujols power outage is real. And it’s scary. The hits he’s getting are dinks, dribblers and the occasional strong single. But Jose hasn’t put a charge into a ball for weeks now. This is the huge elephant in the room and it’s making every very uneasy…
The Lance Armstrong deal isn’t good news. Dude has raised 100’s of millions of dollars for cancer research and treatments over the past decade with an incredible story. But it sure feels like last night’s 60 Minutes piece is just the tip of the iceberg. The government is involved and people are talking. I don’t think he’ll be able to continue to fundraise at the pace he’s been going and that’s sad…
RIP Macho Man…no comments
The KC Royals will never win a World Series again.
Not to be too big a dick about the situation with our neighbors to the west, but it’s not going to happen. Not this year, not next year. Not ever, actually. They’ll always have hope, I suppose, but it’s just not going to happen.
Location: St. Louis has a storied baseball tradition. Fans come from all over the south and Midwest to watch the Cardinals all summer long. They plan vacations around Cardinal baseball. This can partially be attributed to the effect of being the first team west of the Mississippi and also the 100K watt power of KMOX in the days where radio was the preeminent way to consume baseball games.
All the other ‘storied’ baseball towns are destination cities on their own merit. You or I could say “I’m going to… (New York, Boston, LA) for a trip” and no one would question it. They’d say awesome and move on. St. Louis is really the exception to this rule. Meaning that sometimes the Cardinals get a break from players that want to be around the action because they know the Cardinals somehow are getting support from places other than St. Louis.
Money: Which leads us to money. Bitch as we may about Bill DeWitt and this cobweb infested wallet, the dude is spending in the triple digits.
The only reason he can afford this is because of the enormous fan base that has generationally grown with the population. This isn’t something you can just develop. And in the fragmented media landscape we live in now, the chance to grow popularity only comes with superstars.
Superstars: They want money. And they want fame. Two things that the Royals simply can’t provide.
KC is a very nice town. I like visiting there. I have a good time. I’m ready to leave after 2 days. And I’m sure that people from KC have the same view of STL if they were being honest. But if a superstar wants out after 2 days, that means you have to pay him to stay.
So this whole thing becomes circuitous. Can’t afford to pay the superstar because the location isn’t destination, because it isn’t a glamorous city, and you can’t generate the money.
Where does that cycle end?
The Pirates have shown you can make a killing just doing nothing. Treading water and acting like you give a shit now and then. The Royals, bless their hearts, are owned by a former Wal-Mart guy who made money by shaving the margins. And for the past 18 years, this franchise has been irrelevant on every level. Hell, the only sell outs they have are when teams like the Cardinals come to play.
So tell me, where does all this stop? How do they get back to the top? I don’t think it’ll happen. Not because they don’t deserve a chance, but because of the way baseball is set up. Therefore, series like this weekend are the closest the Royals will get to World Series.
Enjoy your 1985 chants. Cardinal fans are actually looking forward.
Now, the Friday Links…
- My Drunk Kitchen. Very entertaining web show. LINK HERE
- This would freak me the hell out on the highway. LINK HERE
- The most entertaining tennis player of all time? LINK HERE
- Fish win. LINK HERE
- Inception chair. LINK HERE
- Play-Dough being shot. LINK HERE
In 2010 Kyle Lohse’s last named was reimagined as a derogatory verb on this site. As in “The Cardinals were doing pretty good, then they got Loshe’d all over their FACES.” Stricken with a dirt bike forearm injury for most of the season, we were steamrolling towards the single worst contract in St. Louis baseball history. 44 million dollars for 10 wins through 2 years and a 5.64 ERA?
Thank you, sir. May I have another. Two. Years. DEAR GOD > WHYYYYY!!!!
Through 9 starts in 2011, though, Lohse is working off a 2.17 ERA and has more wins (5) than he did in all of 2010. Even better, his patented sixth inning meltdown seems to have abated allowing him to go 7 1/3 innings per start.
Much more in line with the 11m/per year that he’s drawing from your pocketbook, right?
At the quarter pole of the baseball season, there is no such thing as certainty. Seeing Matt Holliday and Lance Berkman both exit last night’s tilt with injuries bears this out. But I think we can all reasonably say that Kyle Lohse has been one of the more underrated and pleasant surprises the Cardinals have had in 2011. Some may even say that his steady pitching is the biggest reason the Cardinals are in a virtual tie for first place in the NL Central.
So here’s a Q1 hat tip to the whipping boy of 2011. You took your licks last season on this site, Kyle Lohse. And we’re happy to have you positively contributing to the collective mood of the STL area.no comments
Let's go to the tape a break this sucker down...
1> The 3 year-old in front of me at the game told his dad that Tyler Greene ‘needed to squeeze’. Not so fast, squirt. Looks like Tyler Greene squeezed this one off a bit pre-maturely. And yes, that was double entendre.
2> Gaga Little Monster claws have no place in baseball. Let alone during a play.
3> Stoned? Sleepy? Science says you have a much easier time catching the ball with your eyes open.
4> Lot of arm paraphernalia on this young man. That wrist wrap looks particularly tight. I think we can just blame this on the Cardinals medical staff and call it a day…