An Evening with the White Rat

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The St. Louis Cardinals are hosting a unique event for fans to get up close with Major League Baseball Hall of Famer Whitey Herzog on Monday, May 16, at Busch Stadium.

As part of the event Herzog will tell stories and share insight into his 18-year managerial career during a 90 minute Q&A session with broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. In his 11 seasons as Cardinals skipper, “The White Rat” compiled an 822-728 record while leading the Redbirds to three National League Pennants, including the 1982 World Series Championship, and was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010.

In addition to the program, fans that purchase a ticket will receive a baseball autographed by Herzog, enjoy a cocktail party on the warning track, a photo opportunity with the 1982 World Series trophy and dinner and drinks in the Redbird Club.

Tickets for this once-in-a-lifetime event are $225 and can be purchased at cardinals.com/whitey.

The St. Louis Cardinals special events team (#CardsEvents) specializes in creating unique and memorable experiences. Since its opening in 2006, Busch Stadium has proven to be a versatile venue for events large and small. An iconic, uniquely St. Louis venue, Busch Stadium is home to the St. Louis Cardinals-one of the most storied franchises in baseball. In addition to two epic World Championship celebrations, Busch Stadium has hosted over a thousand public events and private functions ranging from small corporate gatherings to record-setting concerts and world-class sporting events. Learn more at cardinals.com/events.

St. Louis Cardinals Press Release

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Jose Oquendo taking Medical Leave

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The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that third base coach Jose Oquendo, who recently underwent right knee surgery, will be taking a medical leave of absence from the team for the foreseeable future.

In Oquendo’s absence, the team announced that Chris Maloney will handle the third base coaching duties and Bill Mueller will now coach first base and provide infield instruction.

Minor League hitting coordinator Derrick May will take over Mueller’s duties as assistant hitting coach and Minor League offensive strategist George Greer will now oversee hitting instruction for all of the Minor Leagues.

Oquendo, 52, has been part of the team’s Major League coaching staff since 1999, including the past 16 seasons as third base and infield coach.

St. Louis Cardinals Press Release

St. Louis’s own son Garagiola passed away Today

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This evening when I found out that Joe Garagiola died, my first thought was that Joe finally got to be with Yogi Berra once again.  Joe Garagiola’s nine-year baseball career was a modest one. His 57 years in broadcasting that followed made him one of the most popular figures in the sports world and beyond. The man Arizona Diamondbacks President Derrick Hall called “one of the biggest personalities this game has ever seen” died Wednesday. He was 90. The Diamondbacks announced Garagiola’s death before their exhibition game against San Francisco, and there were murmurs of shock and sadness at the ballpark. He had been in ill health in recent years.

Growing up in the Hill neighborhood of St. Louis not far from future Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, Garagiola went on to hit .257 during nine years in the majors. His highlight came early, getting a four-hit game in the 1946 World Series and helping the hometown Cardinals win the championship as a 20-year-old rookie.

“Not only was I not the best catcher in the major leagues, I wasn’t even the best catcher on my street,” Garagiola once remarked. But it was after he stopped playing that his fortunes took off. He thrived as a glib baseball broadcaster and fixture on the “Today” show, leading to a nearly 30-year association with NBC.

Garagiola’s son, Joe Jr., is a former general manager of the Diamondbacks and a current executive with Major League Baseball.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of this amazing man,” his family said in a statement, “who was not just beloved to those of us in his family, but to generations of baseball fans who he impacted during his eight decades in the game.”

“Joe loved the game and passed that love onto family, his friends, his teammates, his listeners and everyone he came across as a player and broadcaster. His impact on the game, both on and off the field, will forever be felt.”

Manfred also praised Garagiola for being a leader in baseball’s fight against smokeless tobacco. The Cardinals signed Garagiola after rejecting Berra at a 1943 tryout. The two remained lifelong friends, with Berra often the good-natured subject of Garagiola’s wit. Berra died last Sept. 15.

When both men entered retirement communities a few years ago, Garagiola recalled a phone conversation with Berra.

“I said, ‘How’s it going, Yog?'” Garagiola said, “and he said, ‘It’s all right, but geez, they’ve got a lot of old people here.'”

Garagiola played for the Cardinals, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago Cubs. He broke in with the Cardinals, joining a powerful team led by the great Stan Musial. Garagiola got four hits in Game 4 of the 1946 Series against Boston and batted .316 overall as St. Louis beat the Red Sox in seven games.

Garagiola broke into broadcasting in 1955 as a radio and television analyst for the Cardinals. He spent 27 years at NBC and was paired with Tony Kubek as the lead broadcast team from 1976-82 and then with Vin Scully from 1984-88. He was 62 when he left on Nov. 1, 1988, when his contract expired. He broadcast Angels home games on TV in 1990.

He didn’t limit his talents to sportscasting.

Garagiola was a co-host of the “Today” show from 1969-1973, working with Barbara Walters and Hugh Downs, and again from 1990-1992, working with Bryant Gumbel and Katie Couric.

“God I’ll miss Joe Garagiola. Was part of the soul of our show, and told me stories that made me laugh till I cried. Hall of fame person,” tweeted “Today” host Matt Lauer.

Garagiola also stepped in on occasion to host “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson,” including a 1968 show featuring guests John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Garagiola’s work as a commentator for the Westminster dog show helped inspire Fred Willard’s daffy character Buck Laughlin in the mockumentary “Best in Show.”

“One of the world’s good guys,” said his longtime Westminster broadcasting partner, David Frei. “He loved the game, of course, but he loved life. That’s why he was so well-loved everywhere he went, including the dog show.”

Garagiola helped found the Baseball Assistance Team in 1986 to assist former players and other baseball figures in financial need and was a leading figure in the National Spit Tobacco Education Program.

He authored several books, including “Baseball Is a Funny Game” and “It’s Anybody’s Ballgame.”

Among his favorite projects was the St. Peter Indian Mission School on the Gila River Indian Reservation. He coaxed friends into helping him provide bats and balls, basketball equipment and a new bus for the school near Phoenix.

Garagiola is survived by his wife of 66 years, Audrie, sons Joe Jr. and Steve, daughter Gina and eight grandchildren.

The funeral will be held at an unspecified date in his hometown of St. Louis. A memorial service also will be held in Phoenix.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked for donations to the Baseball Assistance Team or the St. Peter Indian Mission.

Source: AP

Is Jeremy Hazelbaker ready for the Big League

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The first time I heard the name Jeremy Hazelbaker was at the beginning of Spring Training and I had no idea who he is or his background. Well this kid Hazelbaker is making some important heads turn. Those on the Major League staff who heard about Hazelbaker’s success last season are now seeing it after inviting the 28-year-old to Major League camp. He has shown an ability to play all three outfield positions capably and, after capping a two-hit day with a two-run homer on Monday, is 9-for-29 with seven RBIs this spring. He has stolen four bases and hit two homers, tied for most on the team. The Cardinals signed Hazelbaker last May, after he had been released by the Dodgers. A former fourth-round pick out of Ball State University, Hazelbaker took off in the new environment. He hit .308/.394/.503 in 40 games for Double-A Springfield to earn a promotion to Triple-A, where he hit .333/.403/.594 in 58 games. Drafted in the fourth round of the 2009 amateur draft out of Ball State University, located in Muncie, Ind., his hometown, Hazelbaker played five years for the Red Sox and went to the Dodgers in 2014. His best season at the plate was in high A where he hit .279. In his one trip to Triple A Albuquerque with the Dodgers, he hit just .222.

I am hearing that they plan to send him down to the AA team in Springfield, MO but we may see him make the roster. I think he has a chance so lets just cross our fingers.

Source: MLB

 

 

Breaking News: Ruben Tejada signs with the Cardinals!

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Ruben Tejada has just now reported to the Cardinals Spring Training Complex…..the deal is done!. This morning Jennifer Langosch reports that the  Cardinals are nearing an agreement on a Major League deal with former Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada, who recently cleared waivers and became a free agent. The addition would help fortify the Cardinals’ shortstop depth, which thinned following a spring injury to Jhonny Peralta. Tejada, who will take the final open spot on the Cardinals’ 40-man roster once the signing is finalized, is considered an average defensive shortstop and has hit .255/.330/.323 over his six-year Major League career, all with the Mets.

Tejada, 26, was due $3 million by the Mets in 2016 before being released last week. The Mets no longer needed the additional middle infield depth with Wilmer Flores returning and Asdrubal Cabrera and Neil Walker joining the club over the offseason.

For the Cardinals, the addition of Tejada would give them an additional shortstop option as they wait for Peralta to heal from left thumb surgery. Peralta is not expected back on the field until at least June. Up until now, the Cardinals had been looking at Jedd Gyorko, Aledmys Diaz and Greg Garcia as fill-in options.

Source: Jennifer Langosch

Matt Holliday at Firstbase

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For some time since last year I kept hearing of the possible move for Matt Holliday to move to first base. Well it now looks like it is going to happen. The more Holliday plays at first, the less this looks like an experiment. It wouldn’t be all that a surprise come opening day if Holliday starts at first against Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano, with Pham in left to pack the lineup with right-handed hitters.

“We’ll continue to watch and we’ll decide later how that’s going to be used,” Matheny said. “Every time he goes out there, there’s going to be something unscripted he’s going to have to react to, so it’s just the repetitions that he needs.” Moss has played some left field this spring and the team showed its commitment by giving him an $8.25 million one-year deal. He’s more than a year removed from hip surgery that hindered his swing last season, and the team is anticipating a lot more power from a player who had 15 homers last year but averaged 24 homers from 2012 to 2014. Adams also is 100 percent following a quadriceps injury that limited him to 60 games and just five homers after averaging 16 the previous two years.”I can control what I can control and that’s come in every day and work hard and go out there and compete in games,” Adams said. “At the end of spring training we’ll see where we’re at.”

He’s also shown a willingness to bunt for a hit to foil ever-present shifts.

“Video gets out and the report says I’m getting better at it, maybe it’ll take some of the shift away,” Adams said.

Holliday played just 73 games last season while hampered by quadriceps injuries.

Trying first base appears to be a consensus decision, with the 36-year-old Holliday entering the final year of his contract and interested in increasing his market value. General manager John Mozeliak said the team “kind of let him drive the bus on this.”

Holliday lives in Jupiter, Fla, where the Cardinals train, and asked third-base coach and infield guru Jose Oquendo, who was also in town, to give him some tutoring in case he was ever needed to play there.

“It really wasn’t some big scheme,” Holliday added. “I just asked (Oquendo) to work with me and I’ve let the team guide it from there.”

Once a shaky defender in left, Holliday has worked hard to become at least average the last few seasons. And so far he’s looked just fine at first base after working on his footwork.

“Yeah, it’s been fun,” he said. “Just trying to get comfortable being over there. Yeah, it’s been good.”

 

Will the Cardinals Consider Ahmed?

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With the Cardinals trying to make a decision on how to fix the shortstop situation with Peralta being out, another name rises to the top…..Nick Ahmed. According to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports the Cardinals are exploring options to help replace Peralta at shortstop.  One player that the organization is considering is Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed. Cafardo cautions that the Cardinals are “just starting” their search process for shortstops, but Ahmed is, at the very least, on the list of potential trade targets for St. Louis.  As it stands, the Cardinals’ internal candidates to fill in at short are Jedd Gyrko, Alemdys Diaz, and Greg Garcia different reasons, none of those three players are ideal for the role.  Gyorko was ID’d by some as the main candidate to fill-in for Peralta early on, but he has limited experience at the shortstop position. It’s not hard to imagine the Diamondbacks parting with the defensively-gifted Ahmed for the right price.  The D’Backs could start Chris Owings at second base and Jean Segura at shortstop,  making Ahmed somewhat expendable.  On Sunday morning, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports wrote that one Diamondbacks official indicated that he would be comfortable seeing Ahmed relegated to a utility role or made into a trade candidate. Peralta’s timetable on his left thumb injury could theoretically line him up for a return in early June, but Mark Saxon of ESPN reported that his return would more likely be around the All-Star break in July.  Last week, MLBTR’s Steve Adams ran down possible replacements the Cardinals could bring in for the injured Peralta.   Steve listed Ahmed as a trade possibility, along with D’Backs teammate Chris Owings and several other interesting names.

I believe if the Cardinals do make a trade for him it would be from their huge pool of pitchers from their minor league system. It wouldn’t take much to make this trade happen. I know we sure got burnt by the Masterson and Moss deals

Source: MLBTradeRumors.com