News Conference Planned For McGwire

When the St. Louis Cardinals hired Mark McGwire as batting coach, the team said the former home run king would participate in a telephone news conference “sooner rather than later.”

A team spokesman said Thursday that the team hopes to schedule the news conference after the World Series.
Manager Tony La Russa announced that he had hired McGwire on the same day La Russa agreed to a one-year contract to return for a 15th season. At that news conference, general manager John Mozeliak said the team would not make an effort to shield McGwire from questions about steroids.
The now 46-year-old McGwire retired after the 2001 season, three years after hitting 70 homers to break Roger Maris’ 37-year-old record. Albert Pujols endorsed the hire in a radio interview with WXOS-FM on Thursday.
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Some Cardinals News

Smoltz and the Cardinals have expressed mutual interest — and reiterated it privately, sources said — in having the veteran and almost-certain Hall of Famer return as a potential fourth starter.

Mark DeRosa, the Cardinals’ starting third baseman at the end of this season, had surgery Monday to repair a completely torn tendon sheath in his left wrist. DeRosa’s agent said the veteran will be cleared for baseball activities in time for spring training.

DeRosa, 34, injured the wrist on June 30, taking a swing against Randy Johnson. He returned 18 days later and played the rest of the season with the injury.

Before hitting .385 in the playoffs, he struggled, batting .200 in the final month of the regular season.

A free agent this winter, DeRosa will spend five to six weeks in a cast, and his offseason workouts will be curtailed for rehab, his agent Keith Grunewald said.

The Cardinals and DeRosa had discussed his return before tabling conversations until after the season.

Pedro Is Full Of Crap!

Rays senior adviser Don Zimmer said Pedro Martinez is the one who is wrong this time, disputing the version Martinez shared Wednesday of their 2003 ALCS Fenway Park throwdown. The Phillies’ Game 2 starter said when Zimmer, then a Yankees coach, charged at him, he expected a lecture. Instead, Martinez, saying this is the first time he has discussed what really happened, claimed the then 72-year-old “was trying to punch my mouth and told me a couple of bad words about my mom.” Speaking from his Seminole home, Zimmer said that was definitely not the case. “Pedro is full of crap,” Zimmer said

Three Questions with Charlie James

There has been many professional baseball players that developed their talents here in the backyards of St.Louis. Many include Yogi Berra, Mark Buerhle, Jerry Reuss, and Dick Williams. These are just a few players that come to my mind that has made an impact in MLB and their hometown of St.Louis. Another name that also comes to mind is Charlie James. A product of Webster Groves High School that excelled in Baseball and Football eventually found himself the star Halfback for the Mizzou Tigers in 1958. Soon after Charlie was drafted by the St.Louis Cardinals. In 1960 he was brought up to the big league to play the outfield with Stan Musial until he retired.
Here are some fun facts about Charlie James:
-Jumped straight to AA upon signing, earning Texas League Rookie of the Year honors at age twenty when he hit .278 with 66 extra-base hits (36 doubles, 11 triples, 19 home runs) for the Houston Buffaloes.
-Was even better at AAA Rochester in 1959, hitting .300 with 63 extra-base hits (32 2B, 13 3B, 18 HR) for the Red Wings.
-Did better with more regular playing time the following year: .255, 19 doubles, 44 RBI in 108 games. He also helped the Redbirds tie a dubious record as one of three pinch hitters to strike out in an inning. It came in the ninth inning of a May 10 contest vs. the Reds, and Bill Henry was the Cincinnati reliever who nailed down the 3-2 victory. A fourth pinch hitter, Gene Oliver, walked during that inning.
 -Hit two home runs each off of a pair of very good pitchers: Harvey Haddix and Sandy Koufax.
 -Charlie is also my first cousin on my mom’s side

I was able to do a quick online interview with Charlie recently. So I hope you all enjoy Three Questions with Charlie James……

McBrayer: Can you tell us a little about how you handle the fans and success you had as a Cardinal in the early 1960’s

Charlie James: I never had any problem with the fans.They were always good to me.It is hard to get the “big head” in baseball because even though you get 3-4 hits one day you may not get any the next.Even your .300 hitters fail 7 out of 10 times.

McBrayer: What made you decide to leave Mizzou Football for Major League Baseball?

Charlie James:  During my Jr.year at Mizzou I received a severe thigh injury in fall football practice-had to be in the hospital for about 2-weeks.So,I figured if I was going to give baseball a shot I better do it soon or I may really get hurt seriously and not be able to pursue baseball.

McBrayer: What are you thoughts and concerns for the Cardinals during this off season?

Charlie James: The Cardinals need to find a very good left handed starter and maybe

a left handed reliever as well.It would be nice to get Holliday signed for some Pujols backup. Otherwise we are good to go.
 
McBrayer: Thank you Charlie for taking time out to chat with me.

Breaking News………..

The Cardinals will announce at a Monday morning press conference Tony La Russa’s decision to return for a 15th season as manager. Today’s run-up, however, features mounting evidence that La Russa’s return after a 2-week deliberation will be dwarfed by former Redbirds first baseman Mark McGwire’s return from a self-imposed 8-year exile to become the team’s hitting coach.The Club had also notified Hal McRae on Friday that they will not renew his contract, per Post Dispatch.
Multiple sources, including McRae’s son Brian, have confirmed McRae’s ouster following a five-year term as hitting coach. Now get this……
A club source confirmed a plan to bring back McGwire but cautioned that a formal announcement could wait until after Monday’s press conference. McGwire is believed to still be negotiating a deal that would put him back in uniform for the first time since he abruptly retired after the 2001 season due to chronic injuries.
Now this makes me wonder if Holliday would want to stay a Cardinal if McGwire is now the batting coach?

Cardinals News and Tidbits

Albert Pujols, the likely winner of a second consecutive National League MVP award, had bone spurs removed from his troublesome right elbow during a procedure Wednesday morning, according to a release from the St. Louis Cardinals. The club went on to say the doctors who performed the procedure agreed that Pujols “did not need ligament reconstruction.” Pujols will begin rehab next week in St. Louis. No timetable for his return has been set.
The thought going into the procedure — which was done in Birmingham, Ala., by Dr. James Andrews — was that Pujols would be able to return from this surgery in time for spring training activities. The Cardinals and the doctors left open the possibility that upon entering Pujols’ right elbow to perform the surgery a more intrusive operation would be necessary. Pujols has been playing with a tear in the ligament since 2003.
During the surgery, Andrews removed bone spurs and bone chips from Pujols’ elbow. The release makes the point that today’s surgery was not related to the nerve transposition surgery had last season, though it does involve the same joint.
Cardinals team physician Dr. George Paletta was also in attendance at the operation.

During a two hour organization meeting the club is leaning to David Freese to be next years Third-Baseman.

Freese, 26, hit .323 in 31 major-league at-bats this season and, according to several within the organization, would have been placed on the postseason roster if room could have been found.

He instead must settle for standing first in line for auditions next spring.

“I think we would like to give him a shot to play every day,” Mozeliak says. “If we need to ramp up the offense in another way, we have plenty of time. But given what he accomplished this year, I definitely think (Freese) deserves that chance.”

 I other chirpings The Cardinals are interested in bringing back Smoltz and DeRosa. They may pick up Smoltz at a cheap price in the next two months but wait till DeRosa’s surgery is over.
                                                                      
   

The McCourts Are Headed for Splitsville

Frank McCourt, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ owner, and his wife, Jamie, the team’s CEO, are in the middle of divorce proceedings, according to multiple major-league sources.”Frank McCourt and Jamie McCourt confirm that they are separated,” the McCourts said in a statement when asked for comment by FOXSports.com.
“This is a personal matter and they request that their privacy be respected. They will be making no public statements.”
The divorce will not be amicable, one source said.

They’ve already ‘lawyered’ up,” the source said. “They’re trashing each other terribly. It’s going to be World War III.”At stake: The future of the Dodgers, a team valued at $722 million by Forbes magazine. Forbes calculates the value of a team based on its current stadium deal without deduction for debt.
The McCourts, married since 1979, are living in separate houses, sources say. They attended the Dodgers’ recent postseason games, but did not sit together.
Jamie McCourt, the highest-ranking woman in Major League Baseball, became the team’s CEO on March 17. Prior to that, she had been club president since Aug. 12, 2005.
Earlier this year, a divorce between San Diego Padres owner John Moores and his wife, Becky, helped prompt the sale of that club.

Together, the Moores had owned 90 percent of the Padres.
The Dodgers’ team Web site states that the McCourts purchased controlling interest in the club on Jan. 29, 2004.
Community property laws in California would give Jamie McCourt a 50 percent share of the McCourt’s share of the Dodgers and any of her husband’s other assets.
Any uncertainty in the team’s future ownership could be resolved if one McCourt buys out the other. Jamie McCourt would be better positioned to make such a move, sources say.
Frank McCourt reportedly financed more than half the purchase price when he bought the Dodgers from FOX Entertainment Inc. — owner of FOXSports.com — for a reported $430 million

Ozzie Smith’s Restraunt Closing

After more than 20 years in business, the sports bar Ozzies at Westport Plaza is closing.

Workers were notified Sunday morning. The economy and nearby competition have really taken a bite out of Ozzie’s business.

The restaurant opened in 1988, and is named after former Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith. Ozzie’s is owned by Ray Gallardo, the founder and former owner of the Casa Gallardo Restaurant Chain.

Ozzie Smith released a statement Sunday afternoon. “All good things must come to an end, Smith said. “We, like a lot of businesses, couldn’t survive in this economy. We exceeded our expectations of being in business for 21 years. I would like to thank all of our great employees and Ray Gallardo their efforts It was a great ride. We didn’t stay in business just because of the name. We lasted this long because of our food and our service. It was a great ride.”

Ozzie’s will close its doors for good Friday, October 16.

The Aftemath

Arrrrrgggghhhh!

Tony La Russa’s not certain he wants to return for a 15th season as St. Louis Cardinals manager. For one thing, he didn’t expect to begin so soon the decision-making process that begins every time his contract expires.
The Cardinals were the first National League team to clinch a division title, loaded with star power in the lineup and two Cy Young candidates at the top of a strong rotation. They were the first team to go home after getting swept in the first round by the Los Angeles Dodgers.
La Russa fully intended to be managing the team in Game 4 on Sunday instead of packing for his trip home to the West Coast. He was disappointed in his team’s response after Matt Holliday’s dropped fly ball for what would have been the final out in Game 2, allowing the Dodgers to rally and then put away a reeling team with a 5-1 victory Saturday in St. Louis.
“I’ve just started thinking about it,” La Russa said while attempting to organize his cluttered office at Busch Stadium. “I really thought we’d make a series of it.”
The 65-year-old La Russa asks himself the same questions: Does ownership want me back? Do the players want me back? After all these years, are they still responding to his brand of leadership?
“Is what you’re saying not helpful?” La Russa said. “Those thoughts go through your mind.”
General manager John Mozeliak said La Russa has a job if he wants one but hadn’t spoken with the manager about the future. The GM was optimistic pitching coach Dave Duncan, disgruntled earlier in the season after the trade of his son, Chris Duncan, and other organizational issues, wanted to return.
“We need to sit down and talk,” Mozeliak said. “We don’t need to do it today because it’s still pretty fresh, the wound.”
The Cardinals batted .133 (4 for 30) with runners in scoring position, numbers that La Russa contends are somewhat misleading because of many hard-hit balls that were right at fielders.
Besides the disastrous gaffe, Holliday was 2 for 12 with a solo homer.
“Ain’t no free lunch,” La Russa said. “Matt’s going to take some hits for this.”
Albert Pujols was a non-factor, too, going 3 for 10 with an RBI. The Dodgers studiously avoided him with runners in scoring position and issued three intentional walks the first two games, even though he didn’t seem to be the same guy that batted .327 with an NL-leading 47 homers and 135 RBIs.
Pujols didn’t homer in his final 89 at-bats after Sept. 9. La Russa said teams just pitched his star tough.
“People can pick and choose whatever they want to write about or talk about and if somebody wants to look at the last 80-90 at-bats and say he wasn’t hitting the ball with authority and wasn’t strong enough to hit the ball out of the park, they can point to that stat,” La Russa said. “I think it’s ridiculous.”
Most unsettling to La Russa was the Cardinals exiting the postseason with a whimper after two competitive games in Los Angeles.
“We got beat, so you take the heat,” the manager said. “Yesterday, whatever heat they want to bring, we deserve it.”
Besides who manages the team, the Cardinals face a number of personnel issues in an offseason that arrived so quickly. Tops on the list are the twin big-ticket items of attempting to get a long-term deal with Holliday, who cost the franchise three prospects and is headed for free agency, and signing Pujols to an extension.
Mozeliak said he’d get to work on Monday.
“It’s kind of depressing, really,” the general manager said. “You realize the finality.”
Since coming from Oakland on July 24, a trade that spurred the Cardinals to a runaway triumph in the Central, Holliday has been consistently noncommittal when questioned about free agency.
“If they get something done, they get something done,” teammate Ryan Ludwick said. “I think he knows everyone likes him.”
The Cardinals would like to lock up third baseman Mark DeRosa, who’s due for offseason wrist surgery, and there’s mutual interest in a one-year contract with 42-year-old John Smoltz.
“In a perfect world, if I could have one more run, gosh, that would be great,” Smoltz said.
The Cardinals are likely to look for a cheaper alternative to 15-game winner Joel Pineiro, due for free agency, and La Russa expects outfielder Rick Ankiel to seek a regular job elsewhere. They’ll almost certainly cut ties with infielders Troy Glaus and Khalil Greene, who had contracts worth more than $18 million last year but contributed little.
Kyle Lohse, a 15-game winner last year but unused in the playoffs, struggled with his command after getting hit by a pitch on the right forearm in late May and finished 6-10. He vowed not to pick up a baseball again until January and joked that he’d bat with Barry Bonds-style body armor next season.

Dodgers Sweep Cardinals

Well, the season is finally over. Dodgers swept the Cardinals in three games and like true professionals had a subdue celebration on the field and then had an all out Beer and Champange fest in the clubhouse. Its a shame that the Cardinals Bats fell flat. With so much talent on their team there wasn’t much hitting going on. Left several players Left-On-Base through out the three game series. This is a heart breaker for the fans of Cardinal Nation.
Rick Ankiel’s last at bat in the 9th inning was his send off from the Cardinals. His Agent Scott Boras has bigger and better plans for him in 2010. Boras claimed recently Rick will be a starter in the Majors once again. After the game it was reported that he departed pretty fast. Most of the players stuck around to talk and planned to meet up somewhere to eat. So Long Ricky-Boy!
News and Tidbits

The Tampa Bay Rays and the Cubs are talking about a trade regarding Milton Bradley. Both teams want to do this quickly if it’s going to happen at all so that it doesn’t affect any of the team’s attempts to sign other free agents.Last winter, the Rays competed with the Cubs to sign Bradley and then picked up Burrell, who had been sent packing by the World Series-winning Phillies. Burrell (two years at $16 million) had come cheaper than Bradley (three years for $30 million), so that price discrepancy may still be a factor.
Rumor has it the Rays could send Burrell to the Cubs for Bradley, but it would mean that the Cubs would also need to include some money in the deal.