St.Louis Cardinals 2011 Wild Card Champions

Thank goodness that the Phillies knock out the Braves for the Cards to clinch the Wild Card. This is the ninth time the Cardinals have gotten into the post season with Tony LaRussa. This team does have heart and soul to come 10 1/2 games back to take the Wild Card. This was definitely a team win. Lets just hope the spirit continues Saturday when they play the Phillies. They have not announced the starting pitchers for the NLDS series, but the playoff schedule is out.

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AL Division Series
Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 DET @ NYY Fri Sep. 30 8:37 PM TBS
Gm 2 DET @ NYY Sat Oct. 1 TBD TBS
Gm 3 NYY @ DET Mon Oct. 3 TBD TBS
Gm 4* NYY @ DET Tue Oct. 4 TBD TBS
Gm 5* DET @ NYY Thu Oct. 6 TBD TBS

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AL Division Series
Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 TB @ TEX Fri Sep. 30 5:07 PM TBS
Gm 2 TB @ TEX Sat Oct. 1 TBD TBS
Gm 3 TEX @ TB Mon Oct. 3 TBD TBS
Gm 4* TEX @ TB Tue Oct. 4 TBD TBS
Gm 5* TB @ TEX Thu Oct. 6 TBD TBS

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NL Division Series
Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 STL @ PHI Sat Oct. 1 TBD TBS
Gm 2 STL @ PHI Sun Oct. 2 TBD TBS
Gm 3 PHI @ STL Tue Oct. 4 TBD TBS
Gm 4* PHI @ STL Wed Oct. 5 TBD TBS
Gm 5* STL @ PHI Fri Oct. 7 TBD TBS

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NL Division Series
Game Matchup Day Date Time ET TV
Gm 1 ARI @ MIL Sat Oct. 1 TBD TBS
Gm 2 ARI @ MIL Sun Oct. 2 TBD TBS
Gm 3 MIL @ ARI Tue Oct. 4 TBD TBS
Gm 4* MIL @ ARI Wed Oct. 5 TBD TBS
Gm 5* ARI @ MIL Fri Oct. 7 TBD TBS

American League Championship Series
Series Date Network Air Time (ET)
ALCS Game One Saturday, October 8 FOX TBA
ALCS Game Two Sunday, October 9 FOX TBA
ALCS Game Three Tuesday, October 11 FOX TBA
ALCS Game Four Wednesday, October 12 FOX TBA
ALCS Game Five* Thursday, October 13 FOX TBA
ALCS Game Six* Saturday, October 15 FOX TBA
ALCS Game Seven* Sunday, October 16 FOX TBA
National League Championship Series
Series Date Network Air Time (ET)
NLCS Game One Sunday, October 9 TBS TBA
NLCS Game Two Monday, October 10 TBS TBA
NLCS Game Three Wednesday, October 12 TBS TBA
NLCS Game Four Thursday, October 13 TBS TBA
NLCS Game Five* Friday, October 14 TBS TBA
NLCS Game Six* Sunday, October 16 TBS TBA
NLCS Game Seven* Monday, October 17 TBS TBA
World Series
Series Date Match-Up Network Air Time (ET)
Game One Wednesday, October 19 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA
Game Two Thursday, October 20 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA
Game Three Saturday, October 22 NL Champion at AL Champion FOX TBA
Game Four Sunday, October 23 NL Champion at AL Champion FOX TBA
Game Five* Monday, October 24 NL Champion at AL Champion FOX TBA
Game Six* Wednesday, October 26 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA
Game Seven* Thursday, October 27 AL Champion at NL Champion FOX TBA
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The State of Tony LaRussa

As I sort out all the rumors that are coming out about LaRussa, its hard to find what might be true. So far this is what I have seen. LaRussa will announce his retirement…….With Ozzie Guillen gone Tony will become the Whitesox coach, and Tony would join the Whitesox club as an advisor.

As of today LaRusaa had told media that he will not talk about his future due to not wanting this as a distraction while in contention for Wild Card team. He also did not deny the Whitesox rumor. So what is really going on?

Chicago Tribune Reporter Phil Rogers chimes in on the LaRussa;

Most people in St. Louis believe that La Russa will be back for 2012 regardless of what happens with free agent Albert Pujols. General Manager John Mozeliak recently signed Chris Carpenter and Lance Berkman to new deals, signaling ownership’s commitment to both Pujols and La Russa.

But just as the Florida Marlins tempted Ozzie Guillen, the White Sox offer an intriguing option for La Russa. Reinsdorf has said his one regret in pro sports is firing La Russa after the Sox got off to a slow start in 1986 -– a decision that sent La Russa to Oakland, where he established a powerhouse that went to three consecutive World Series -– and he’s long been fascinated with the idea of a reunion.

This isn’t exactly a new storyline.

In an interview at the Cardinals’ camp before the 2010 season, La Russa was open about his affinity for Reinsdorf and a desire to work for him again after he left St. Louis. He insisted he wouldn’t manage anywhere one he takes off a Cardinals uniform, saying he’d like to be part of the management team without a GM’s responsibilities, but few have ever had his passion for running games from a perch at the end of the dugout. It’s hard to believe he can walk away from that job.

So when the Marlins fired Fredi Gonzalez in June, 2010 and didn’t name a permanent replacement, I wrote about a scenario in which Gonzalez would go to Atlanta to replace Bobby Cox, Guillen would go to Florida to open the Marlins’ new stadium and La Russa would return to the White Sox, where he started his managerial career in 1979.

There’s one shoe left to drop.

Don’t be surprised if it does.

2. Some believe that Dave Duncan is a potential deal-killer for La Russa with the White Sox, as Reinsdorf swears allegiance to Don Cooper, an organization guy who served as pitching coach for Guillen and Jerry Manuel. I don’t see it that way. I do think the Sox want to hang onto Cooper (who like the rest of Guillen’s coaches will be without a contract after the season), but I’m not sure that Duncan would automatically follow La Russa if he left St. Louis. Unlike La Russa, he is signed in St. Louis through 2012, a situation he sought out knowing that La Russa’s deal would run only through this season. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s not there by accident. Maybe Duncan would take over the Cardinals as manager, scratching an itch that bothered him when he was younger. And maybe Duncan (a former catcher) would come to Chicago as La Russa’s bench coach, with Cooper still the pitching coach. La Russa’s teams have always shown how much of the game is about pitching. Can you have too much knowledge in one dugout?

3. You can’t tell it by the way his tenure with the White Sox ended, but Guillen is as close to being a genius as you can find in baseball. He has the ability to be in an animated conversation in one part of a stadium or clubhouse and know everything going on around him — like the kid who never seems to be paying attention to the teacher but gets A’s without studying. He’s that kid. That’s what I’ll miss the most — how he catches everything. The man is pretty much a mind reader. His instincts are off the charts. He didn’t go onto the field in Houston to celebrate the White Sox clinching the 2005 World Series. He stayed in the dugout, with his coaches, leaving the moment to guys like Bobby Jenks, Juan Uribe, Paul Konerko and Buehrle. It was easy to love that guy.

  

POSTSEASON & TIEBREAKER TICKET SALES PROCESS ANNOUNCED

ST. LOUIS, MO., September 25, 2011 – The St. Louis Cardinals announced the process by which fans can purchase tickets for the National League Division Series and the potential one-game Tiebreaker that would be played should the team finish in a tie for the National League Wild Card.

Tickets will be sold online at cardinals.com and by phone (314.345.9000) starting at 10:00 A.M. on Monday, September 26, 2011. Tickets will NOT be sold at the Busch Stadium Ticket Windows or other ticket outlets on Monday. Any remaining tickets will be available at the Busch Stadium Ticket Windows starting at 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, September 27th.

The Tiebreaker game will only be necessary if both the Cardinals and Braves finish tied atop the N.L. Wild Card standings after the conclusion of the regular season on Wednesday. Should the teams finish tied, the one-game National League Wild Card Tiebreaker is tentatively scheduled to be played at Busch Stadium on Thursday, September 29th at a still-to-be-determined game time. The Cardinals would have home field advantage because they hold a better head-to-head regular season record against the Braves (5-1).

Due to the short turnaround time, all tickets purchased will be delivered via Print-At-Home tickets. Fans can purchase up to eight (8) tickets per game for the Tiebreaker and both Division Series games. Tiebreaker ticket prices are subject to Dynamic Pricing, while Division Series ticket prices start at $30. All-Inclusive Tickets will also be available for the Tiebreaker and Division Series games. Accessible seating can be purchased online or by telephone.

If the Cardinals advance to the Postseason, the best-of-five NLDS will begin Saturday, October 1st at the Philadelphia Phillies, the winner of the N.L. Eastern Division. The entire series schedule would be as follows:

Saturday, October 1, 2011 Cardinals at Phillies

Sunday, October 2, 2011 Cardinals at Phillies

Tuesday, October 4, 2011 Phillies at Cardinals

Wednesday, October 5, 2011 Phillies at Cardinals (if necessary)

Friday, October 6, 2011 Cardinals at Phillies (if necessary)

Marlins New Logo and Stadium

The new logo ties into the color palette of the new stadium, as sections of seats will vary by color. The Marlins will rename themselves from Florida to Miami after the year to accompany the move from Dolphin Stadium to their new stadium, built on the former grounds of the Miami Orange Bowl.

My take? I don’t like it. It lacks imagination, as the “M” is very plain, and there are a lot of colors at work. I can’t imagine the new logo performing well in apparel sales, which was a concern with the old logo as the general population doesn’t care for wearing teal. How wearing yellow, orange and light blue is any better is to be determined. You’ll notice that the swoop on the left of the new logo is a the shape of a marlin with no identifying features as the current logo has.

Gloves For Kids; Wainwright & McClellan

Today I went to the “Gloves For Kids” event at Dick’s Sporting Goods at the West County Mall.  I wasn’t able to get tickets for Berkman and Descalso due to being sold out. Well good luck had it there where still plenty tickets left for Wainwright. The Royals and the Tigers also provide the same event. Part of the portion that is paid to get the autographs goes towards this effort to get baseball equipment to kids that can’t afford it.
I had a great time talking with the other fans. The only problem I ran into was some event employee that yelled at me for taking pictures. So guess what happen? I got my pictures! Check them out……..


                                                                                     

Berkman Signs One Year Deal

I am very happy to report the signing on Berkman. Not much of a surprise but it is great to have him back. As a possible come back player of the year Lance had put up some great numbers. At this moment he is sitting on 31HR, 91RBI and a .300 hitting average.

The signing was announced Thursday, before a game against the New York Mets. The Cardinals had won 12 of 14 and were 1 1-2 games behind the Braves for the NL wild card.
Berkman said he’d been aware for a few days that the deal was done. Talks accelerated recently and Berkman pointed out he probably could have gotten a two-year deal for the amount he got from the Cardinals had he opted for free agency.
“Really, at no point was it ever contentious,” Berkman said. “I think from the very beginning both sides really wanted to get something done and there was compromise on both ends, and we got it done.”
Signing Berkman provides a potential backup plan for the Cardinals if Albert Pujols leaves as a free agent. The three-time NL MVP, who has played all 11 major league seasons with St. Louis, cut off negotiations on a new contract at the start of spring training.
“We don’t know what 2012 is going to look like for sure, but we do know Lance Berkman is going to be a part of it,” general manager John Mozeliak said. “You just look at what Lance did for us and to go into this offseason with sort of the unknown just really wasn’t a comfortable thing for us.”
Whatever happens with Pujols, Berkman said he was “committed” to the Cardinals.
“I’d love to see him come back here,” Berkman said. “That would be a dream come true, for myself and for the organization, I’m sure, and for Cardinals fans, but unfortunately sometimes the economics of the game don’t allow things like that to happen.
“If something were to happen where he doesn’t come back, I still feel like we have a great team, but obviously any team would be better with Albert Pujols as a part of it.”
The Cardinals began building last week when they signed pitcher Chris Carpenter to a $21 million, two-year deal through 2013. They’ve expressed interest in re-signing shortstop Rafael Furcal, acquired near the trade deadline and approaching free agency.

We don’t know what 2012 is going to look like for sure, but we do know Lance Berkman is going to be a part of it. You just look at what Lance did for us and to go into this offseason with sort of the unknown just really wasn’t a comfortable thing for us.
— GM John Mozeliak

Mozeliak said Berkman’s contract left the Cardinals flexibility to get a deal done with Pujols.
“Getting into payroll and where we’re going to be, I know that’s a hot topic for you gentleman, but it’s not real relevant at the moment,” Mozeliak said. “A lot of factors go into that and where we see that going will really depend on how things trend this offseason.”
Berkman battled a left knee injury and batted a career-worst .248 with 14 homers and 58 RBIs for the Astros and Yankees last year. He briefly considered retiring before resuming training and finding a home in St. Louis, which gave him an $8 million deal for 2011.
“It’s a very good day. It’s a very good day for next year. We’re concentrating on today and this year,” manager Tony La Russa said.
Berkman’s presence batting fifth has given the Cardinals depth behind Pujols and Matt Holliday. Berkman has been hitting cleanup since Holliday injured his right hand a week ago and was batting .394 this month.
He was also among the league leaders with a .412 on-base percentage and has been adequate in right field, his first full-time duty as an outfielder since 2004.
“I’m at a point in my career where I’m OK going one year at a time,” Berkman said. “I don’t know how much longer I want to play or that I’ll be able to play at a high level.
“I want to earn my money and I feel like going year to year that’s the way to do it.”
Berkman’s presence leaves promising Allen Craig without a position for now. Craig was batting .308 with eight homers and 33 RBIs in limited duty and has been filling in at left field for Holliday.
“He’s an up and coming talent that is going to get a lot of playing time regardless,” Mozeliak said. “When you have that type of young player, you try to give him opportunities. But having someone like Lance and the opportunity to bring him back, it was just too compelling to pass up.”

ESPN

Dodgers Looking to Add Big Contracts

Despite having financial problems the Dodgers just might be able to renew Matt Kemps contract. or attract some of the big name free agents like Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

Here is the rest of the story:
The Dodgers’ status as a bankrupt company should not prevent owner Frank McCourt from offering big contracts this winter, according to parties involved in the federal bankruptcy proceedings.

“Whatever happens with the club, it’s in everyone’s interest for the team to be competitive and not compromised in trying to operate,” said Michael Weiner, executive director of the MLBl Players Assn., which, as co-chair of the bankruptcy creditors’ committee, represents the interests of every party to whom the Dodgers owe money.

“They’ll be permitted to make whatever decisions they have to make.”

The critical decisions include whether the Dodgers can persuade All-Star center fielder Kemp to forego free agency and whether General Manager Ned Colletti can implement his plan to upgrade the offense in “the most dramatic way we can.”

Kemp, a leading contender for the National League’s Most Valuable Player award, would be eligible for free agency after next season. Dave Stewart, his agent, said the Dodgers have not opened talks on a long-term contract but that Kemp would be receptive to such an offer, even amid the prolonged ownership uncertainty.

“I don’t think he’s so much worried that the team isn’t going to be able to contend,” Stewart said. “He’s been very supportive of today’s ownership — Frank McCourt — and sympathetic to the situation.”

Stewart said he was not apprehensive about a long-term commitment to a team that could be sold next year.

“Because this is Los Angeles, and because of the great tradition the Dodgers have, I don’t think we’re so concerned about the direction of the ballclub,” Stewart said. “In this market, you have to go out there and win. We’re not so worried about that. We’re pretty confident about that.”

Fielder and Pujols might not be so confident.

Dan Lozano, the agent for Pujols, declined to comment. Scott Boras, the agent for Fielder, would not discuss the Milwaukee Brewers‘ slugger in particular but said some players would be comfortable making a long-term commitment to a team with ownership uncertainty and some players would not.

“It’s the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Boras said. “It’s a storied franchise. Because of that, it will right itself in time. The question is, how much time?”

Boras clients have signed with a high bidder even if that team did not appear poised for immediate success, including Alex Rodriguez with the Texas Rangers and Jayson Werth with the Washington Nationals.

Fielder, however, told The Times at the All-Star game that he would evaluate teams first and foremost on their ability to win.

“That’s the obvious part, especially for you to be somewhere in the long term,” Fielder said.

Similarly, Pujols plans to evaluate every interested team beyond its contract offer, including the quality of its minor league system and the desire of ownership to afford a team that can get to the World Series, and get back, according to a person who has spoken with him.

Although the Dodgers accepted a $150-million loan from MLB to fund the team through the bankruptcy case, the league does not have a say in player acquisition under the terms of the loan, said Bruce Bennett, the Dodgers’ lead bankruptcy attorney.

“The bankruptcy case imposes no limitations on the ability of the Dodgers to operate their business in the ordinary course,” Bennett said, “which includes managing the roster in any way the Dodgers see fit.”

written by Bill Shaikin