Monthly Archives: April 2010

Money to Blow and Quite a Bit More

     Money, dough, bills, green, paper, “dolla dolla bills yall”, whatever you want to call it, Ryan Howard has acquired such with his brand new five year, $125 million contract that he inked this week. Let’s just say that with this brand new deal, Mr. Howard will be able to purchase quite a few I-pads to use in his free time, Cadillacs to drive to Citizen’s Bank,

what is the point?

Snuggies for when he gets cold at home and a regular blanket will not suffice, or even a couple Chia Pets for… okay, I really don’t know what purpose those serve. Regardless, Ryan Howard will be making $25 million a year and deservingly so. Howard has been one of the top 5 most feared hitters in baseball for nearly five years now and is continuously improving  on his batting average that many have pointed to as his downfall. With his homerun totals above 45 each of his last four seasons, the Phillies made quite a smart decision in locking up a guy who also led them in 2008 to their first World Series title since 1980.

     Okay so the Phillies made the right choice, good for them, but as we have seen throughout sports in recent seasons, a contract signed by one guy is not as simple as money goes to one player and that is that. With each and every new deal made, the next contract will be based on the amount of money that the previous one dished out. Just look at rookie contracts in the NFL. Why is it that the number one overall pick is making more money than the previous one? Is it because he is better? No, the only basis is that the next guy wants to make more than the guy before him, and he does.

     Everyone knows that #6 for the Phillies will be blasting homeruns at Citizens Bank Park for the next five years, but what does this mean for the guys who will sign their deals after him? Well, more than likely guys of similar talent will receive around the same dollar amount like Padres first baseman, Adrian Gonzales. Another “big bopper” who will be making his fair share of money next offseason is Prince Fielder. Fielder and Howard are similar players in their homerun totals and career batting average, only difference is that Prince is five years younger. With that being said, I would not be surprised if Fielder gets closer to $26 million a year. But there is one more first baseman that will be making quite a bit of paper in the near future. What’s his name again? El Hombre, The Machine, or more commonly known as Albert Pujols.

     Let’s get the obvious out of the way. Ryan Howard is a great player, but Pujols is twice as good as Howard and that may be doing Mr. Pujols a disservice. Both 30 year olds are amazing players and may find themselves as Hall of Fame buddies, but let me get a few things straight. Pujols has hit more homeruns, has raked in more RBI’s, has a better lifetime batting average by over 50 points, has more walks, and has not stricken out more than 70 times since his rookie season in 2001. Ryan Howard has had no less than 180 strikeouts each of the last four seasons. Like I’ve said before, Howard is a great player and is unfairly being compared to a player that quite frankly, nobody compares to, but the fact is that Howard’s $125 million deal will be used as the bench mark for Pujols’ new contract. Realistically, the Cardinals or whoever wants to have a shot at Pujols is going to need  to offer about $30 million a year, according to many around the league right now. This may not be what Cardinals management wants to hear, but at least Braves manager, Bobby Cox, is not Pujols’ agent. During the recent series in St. Louis, Cox was quoted as saying El Hombre should be paid “$50 million per year.”

     This probably isn’t going to happen, but honestly John Mozeliak and the Redbirds organization needs to be prepared for anything. Pujols would probably accept a contract hovering around $30 million a year to remain in the STL but really, they should pay him whatever he wants because he is worth that, and probably much more. Players like Albert don’t come around very often, and if he continues on the pace he has set, I will argue that players like Albert never come around. Tim Kurkjian recently said on ESPN that Pujols will go down as one of the top three hitters of all-time when it is all said and done, and let me throw even more onto that. Barring a major injury or something that will prevent #5 from hitting like he can, he will go down as the greatest player of all time. No player can compare with Albert when you look at his full body of work. He hits for average, blasts homeruns, is a Gold Glover, and makes everyone around him better. Albert is only nine seasons into his career and he is already putting his dent in the record books. No one has hit more homeruns in the first nine seasons of their career, being the first in history to hit at least 30 in those first nine seasons. Pujols already ranks in the top fifteen in baseball history in three major categories: on base percentage (12th), slugging percentage (4th), and on base plus slugging  percentage (OPS, 4th). Yeah, this guy is amazing.

     Is it possible to imagine Pujols in another jersey than one that has Cardinals across the chest? I find it very difficult to see that, and maybe that’s just so I can go to sleep at night. I mean seriously, Big Albert in another jersey would never happen just like … umm, Brett Favre leaving Green Bay, dang that doesn’t work. Michael Jordan playing outside of Chicago, wait that doesn’t work either. Man, I’m getting nervous just thinking about it. Take out a loan, rob a bank, I don’t care what needs to happen, keep this guy in St. Louis or Cardinals management, you will forever be known as those who let the best of all-time walk out of town. Brock for Brolio, Ruth to the Yankees for a sack of cash, I enjoy laughing at these terrible sports decisions. My beloved Cardinals, if Pujols steps in the box for any other franchise during his career, the joke is on you.

-Derek Piper

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It’s Baseball Season?

    

     Pretty much all of you will not get the title, it’s an inside joke that Southey and I have. Long story short, if a girl asks you why you two can’t go out, please do not say “umm… it’s baseball season?” and if you do, please make sure nobody was around, otherwise you will be made fun of the rest of your life. Trust me, I know what I’m talking about. Anyways, I thought it fit well with what is going on with the sporting world right now. I mean seriously, what season is it? Baseball is three weeks underway and is on television nearly every night now and I am enjoying every minute of it. But then you got the NBA and NHL who are in the beginning stages of their two month long playoffs. So is it basketball season, or maybe hockey season? Not to mention the NFL Draft kicks off Thursday night with first round coverage on ESPN. Do you see my dilemma? Can it be four seasons at the same time? Alright let me break it down, that way I will know whether to spit my seeds, toss around the pigskin, play NHL 10 (which I will be doing regardless), or dare I say actually watch an entire NBA game?

     Prior to thinking about this question of seasons, I just assumed it was baseball season. Heck, I declared it baseball time back in February. In my mind there are a few signs for each sport that let me know it’s that particular season. Let’s start with baseball.

  1. I find myself watching each and every Cardinals game. Check

    such a great picture

  2. Cubs fans are beginning/in the middle of a state of panic. Check
  3. I check my Fantasy Baseball team religiously. Check (first place baby, thank you Jason Heyward)
  4. I spit seeds as often as I can, even if it’s inside my house. Check
  5. I have attended or am planning on attending a Cardinals game. Check

     Okay, so obviously it seems logical to me to declare it baseball season. But wait, what about the other sports? Alright, let’s do football.

  1. I dream of the Bears being better than they really are. Check
  2. I start talking about making a Fantasy Football league. Check
  3. You can’t watch ESPN for a day without hearing about Brett Favre. Okay, I guess it’s not football season

     So it’s not football season. I guess I can save my Illini/Bears inspired weekends of disappointment for a later time. Is it basketball season though? I mean, the NBA playoffs are in full swing. Let’s take a look at the list.

  1. yeah, he's pretty good

    I try and fail at beating my brother, Josh, in 1-on-1. Check

  2. I get excited to watch Sportscenter Top 10 so I can see Lebron dunk on somebody. Check
  3. I can’t go 10 minutes without thinking about college basketball. Sorry basketball, it’s not your time. I’m enjoying my life without Duke basketball in my mind

     And finally the last one, hockey. Could I really declare it to be hockey season, I’ve only been to the ice rink once in my life. Oh well, here is my list.

  1. I play NHL 10, get extremely frustrated, and then play it again. Check
  2.  I actually watch hockey. Okay, I don’t know if I’ve ever done that. Just kidding, bandwagon Blackhawks fan right here and not embarrassed to admit it

     Wow, that was fun and yet, I still don’t know what season it is. I guess I shouldn’t complain and in all seriousness, I am loving the sporting world right now. Baseball is rollin’, NFL draft day is among us (who cares if the Bears don’t have a pick until the 3rd round), playoff hockey is on TV, and I can watch the NBA at small doses. I’m not sure what circumstances would cause me to watch an entire NBA from start to finish, but for now, I love seeing my boy D-Will represent and show who is the best PG in the entire league.

     Hope you enjoy all of the sports action. I know I will.

Note: to all of you that are interested, I have purchased the pie that I will be enjoying, or at least my face will, so don’t worry about me trying to get out of it, it’s goin’ down.

-Derek Piper

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Feel Da Paign Radio (4/16)

Derek Piper and Jacob Southey doing the lastest installment of Feel Da Paign Radio. Hope you enjoy.

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Mickelson looks good in Green

   

  Well, if you were unable to watch the Masters this last weekend or you were just watching baseball, what a terrific tournament you missed. I was able to catch a lot of Masters Action and let’s just say I was hooked, this tournament had so many good storylines and so much great golf. First off let’s talk about the 59 year old Tom Watson who shot an unbelievable 67 in the first round. That’s just remarkable given that I’m 19 and I would shoot around 200 if they even let me on the course. For Watson to do that at 59 years old I tip my hat for that.

     How about Anthony Kim shooting a 65 on the final day to give himself a chance to be there at the end? I’m pretty certain that’s a record shooting at the course in Augusta. Not to mention the performances by K.J Choi and Lee Westwood, Choi who I like to call the “Silent Assassin” because he just goes out there every time and goes about his business like a warrior and shoots 11 under and finishes tied for 4th. Westwood took the lead into the final day where he was beat out by Mickelson, but Westwood played terrific golf all weekend and finished with a stellar 13 under performance finishing in 2nd place.

     You’re probably thinking oh my god he didn’t talk about Tiger Woods. Well Tiger gets his own section in this article. I’m personally tired of hearing about Tiger which a lot of people are, but I want to talk about Tiger the golfer not Tiger the person. Tiger finished tied for 4th by shooting 11 under in the Masters but he easily could have won this tourney. He drove the ball absolutely pathetic but gave himself a chance to win by putting very well and hitting good 2nd shots. I found his game amazing because he hasn’t played for around 5 months and then he comes out in the biggest event in golf and shoots 11 under par and he didn’t even play his best which is very scary. Many people don’t like Tiger but what he has done for the game of golf can not be tarnished and I just want people to look at Tiger the golfer and not Tiger the person before they give up on him.

      Now let’s get to the good stuff and talk about the champion Mr. Phil Mickelson. Mickelson snagged his 3rd Green Jacket by simply playing fearless golf. Mickelson shot a 67 the first day and then a 71, and then the last two days he shot a 67. We can talk about his 2 straight Eagles on the 13th and 14th holes on Saturday where he nearly hit in a 3rd straight Eagle on hole 15. Or we can talk about his courageous acts on the final day when he hit a couple of shots out of the trees and onto the green with relative ease. He just played a very steady game of golf and was able to get it done on the highest level of the game by just being himself and not trying to do too much. But how about that heartfelt moment he had when he hugged his wife Amy after winning the whole thing? Amy wasn’t able to come out for the first three days of the tournament because she is fighting breast cancer. She was there when Mickelson birdied hole 18 and it was just a moment that brought tears to my eyes. Mickelson couldn’t be a more deserving guy to win this tournament and I’m just glad I was able to watch it.

-Jacob Southey

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Opening Up and Shutting them Down

      That was the motto today in St. Louis where the Cardinals opened up Busch Stadium for the 2010 season. The Redbirds suffered quite a rough loss last night in Milwaukee after a 9th inning homerun derby in which Pujols and Holliday went deep to tie it up off the best closer of all time. Too bad Casey McGehee had to do his best Jonny Gomes impression and send the Cards home before they could sweep the floor. There were no ill effects that showed up at the ballpark today however, but who can do anything but bring their best when Cardinals greats Stan Musial, Ozzie SmithOzzie Smith, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, and Co. are in attendance? Not to mention the best fans in baseball got their first chance to see their team in person in the new decade, so why not spank the Astros who might finish with less wins than Pujols has homeruns?

     Speaking of Pujols homeruns, The Machine continued on his early season tear, blasting his 5th dinger of the year and raking in 4 RBI’s. Big Albert is now batting .407 and slugging a ridiculous .963, no big deal right? In addition to that, Pujols became the all-time leader in homeruns through the first 10 seasons of a player’s career with his bomb off Wandy Rodriguez.

     Pujols wasn’t the only one seeing the ball well today in the Cardinals lineup, Skip Schumaker and David Freese added two hits apiece, as well as Ryan Ludwick who went 4-4 with a triple. The offense was rolling today and has had a great start so far this season. With Rasmus coming on strong this spring, Matt Holliday protecting “the Big Guy” and Ryan Ludwick in front of him, this offense has depth and the ability to put runs on the board even when some guys have an off night.

     Everyone could have had an off day today with Adam Wainwright on the hill. Wainwright, who had a Cy Young caliber season last year, is picking up where he left off and is 2-0 on the young season. Wainwright had it all working today, commanding his fastball on the corners and finishing with the nastiest curveball in the Bigs, just ask Carlos Beltran and Brandon Inge. Wainwright went 8 strong innings, only allowing six hits and struck out seven. Sure, the Astros are very offensively challenged. Check that, you would find more firepower in the Little League World Series than this Astros batting order, but Wainwright was impressive nonetheless.

Go Cubs Go

      Okay, I hate that song, but the Cubs did show some promise at Wrigley today. I mean someone has to give them some credit, they actually scored some runs. The Cubs scored a whopping 9 runs off the Brewers behind homeruns by Aramis Ramirez, Jeff Baker, and Xavier Nady, in an offense that managed to only score 9 runs in an entire series against the Reds. Dempster pitched fairly well and notched his first win of the season (and helping my fantasy team). Anyways, nice to see Cubs fans have a little fun and allow the depression hotlines to have a day off. Just kidding Cubbie fans, but I don’t know what I’d rather listen to, Justin Bieber or “Go Cubs Go”, both make me throw up.

Just a Side Note

     If you listened to our Feel Da Paign radio show, you heard me pick the Blue Jays to win 12 games this year. Please forgive me, as the Jays are off to a fast start going 5-2. Let me correct that pick in saying the Astros will only win 12 games, now that’s something that could actually happen.

-Derek Piper

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Motte what you want to see

     The opportunity to sweep the Reds and take sole possession of first place in the division went flying through the afternoon sky when Jonny Gomes tagged a Jason Motte fastball over the left center wall in the 9th inning on Thursday. The Cardinals struggled all day at the plate and failed to reward Brad Penny for his great performance in his Redbird debut. Penny threw 7 innings, only giving up 6 hits and 1 run in his impressive outing. The only problem was that Reds starter Bronson Arroyo was even better. Arroyo went 8 innings, giving up 4 hits and 1 run on a Matt Holliday blast in the 7th. It was obvious to see that neither manager was eager to go to his bullpen as Arroyo was sent out to bat in the 7th with a runner on, but why not? Arroyo had the Reds first RBI in the 5th, not to mention the Reds bullpen had surrendered 11 runs combined on Monday and Wednesday.

     The Cardinals wished they could have avoided their bullpen as well, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. The bullpen is easily the main concern surrounding this Cardinals club and has been since late last season. Ryan Franklin made the All-Star team in 2009, but struggled after the break and that continued into the spring. Other members of the bullpen have been shaky as well, and Jason Motte has been one of them. Everyone knows Motte throws smoke, but Major League hitters can catch up if there are no other pitches that pose a threat. Motte’s inability to locate his fastball on a consistant basis has hurt him mightily and has forced him to throw fastballs and fastballs only. In the Jonny Gomes at bat, Gomes saw five fastballs in a row before knocking the cover off number six.

Troy Glaus

     For the Cardinals sake, hopefully the bullpen can get it figured out. Carp, Wainwright & Co. can only go so long until they have to put the game on the shoulders of the pen. This will be something that we’re going to have to keep an eye on because quite frankly, the Cardinals are far and away superior to all NL Central foes in all areas (lineup, starting pitching, closer facial hair) but the bullpen. However, I’m not going to put too much blame on Motte or the bullpen today. If you manage to score only one run off the Reds and have Pujols, Rasmus and Larue combine going 0-8 (had to put Larue, Southey’s boy, in there), you’re probably not going to win unless the opposing team is hitting like Troy Glaus (6 K’s in his first two games).  

     With all this being said though, it has been a good start for the boys in red. No teams go undefeated, and if the Cardinals manage to win 2 out of 3 the rest of the way, they will be sittin’ pretty with 108 wins. That would be nice, let’s see how the Redbirds fare at one of my favorite places in baseball, Miller Park.

-Derek Piper

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Notes from Opening Day

     The 2010 baseball season started off with quite a loud BANG yesterday. Just how loud? Think Jayson Heyward’s 1st inning blast against the Cubs.  Sorry Cubs fans, I had to do it. Anyways, there was a lot of great action going on yesterday and I just wanted to run through a few notes that I had about Major League Baseball’s first full day.

  • First of all, man it was great to see baseball back on the big stage. No longer will we have to watch World Series of Poker on Tuesday nights because nothing else is on.
  • Being that this is a site run by Cardinal fans, let’s start with the Redbirds. Did anyone have any doubt that Albert Pujols would not be Pujols-like coming out of the gate? This guy is absolutely amazing, going 4-5 with 2 HR’s. There wasn’t one ball that he didn’t hit hard. Thankfully, I was raised right so that I don’t have to be rooting against this guy.
  • I really like the Cardinals lineup this year and would probably take them over anyone else in the NL, though the Phillies are loaded as well. With Pujols hitting the way he always does and Holliday backing him up, I don’t know if anyone can shut them down. Also, when you throw in Colby Rasmus, who is prime for a great year, trust me, this team is dangerous.  
  • After enjoying yesterday’s Cardinal game I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of the Cubs-Braves game, and yes, I do like to see the Cubs lose but that wasn’t the only reason why I liked this game…. okay maybe it was. Like I said before, Jason Heyward hit an absolute bomb, the crowd erupted, and as ESPN showed, his parents went crazy, hugging everyone around them. It was a great moment for him, his family, all the fans, and everyone not wearing Cubbie blue. That’s what I love about baseball.
  • Staying on the subject of the Cubs, don’t give up on the season just yet Cubbie fans. Big Z is not an Opening Day pitcher, as he has yet to win one of his six Opening Day starts. However, I will say that I don’t see this team winning the division, and I know it has only been one game, but there are a lot of problems that this team has and Sweet Lou needs to get them corrected or he will be just another addition to the Baseball Tonight crew next season.
  • There were some great defensive plays yesterday that we may see again in September as the Web Gems of the year. Colby Rasmus made a great rob of a potential Scott Rolen homerun, but the play of the day belonged to Mark Buehrle for his kick-save and rediculous between the legs toss to get the out. 
  • Roy Halladay had a great start to his Phillies career yesterday, going 7 innings and striking out 9 Nationals. Let’s see if he can do the same against the better half of the division, I’m guessing he can.
  • For those Fantasy Baseball players out there, here are a few guys that had great days yesterday and I think are going to have great seasons.

    Garrett Jones

    Garrett Jones, Pirates RF, blasted two dingers off the Dodgers in a Pirates victory. Jones managed to hit 21 bombs last year in only 82 games. He could very easily be close to 50 this season. Yunel Escobar, Braves SS, had a great day as well, going 2-5 with 5 RBI’s. Escobar hit .299 last year and Bobby Cox expects big things from him this season and you should too. And as I’ve mentioned before,

    Colby Rasmus

    Colby Rasmus, Cardinals CF, is a guy you should have your eye on. Rasmus had two hits yesterday, including a solo HR to right-center. Rasmus led the team in HR’s this spring and is a very hot hitter right now. If you already have these guys on your roster, sit back and enjoy, but if not, try to get them now because their stock is going to rise as the season progresses.

-Derek Piper

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