As a Cardinal fan in Chicago, I spend a great deal of time listening to the constant complaining of area baseball fans throughout the year. Both sides have their issues, but it breaks down like this-Cub fans complain about every other fan in the world while White Sox fans actually complain about their team. Yes friends, that’s what happens in Chicago each and every year. The fun part of this is part of the complaint Cub fans annually rant about is how they receive no respect as baseball fans. And when it comes to listening to White Sox fans, their annual issue is we get no respect for being the great fans we are. How do the fans of these teams compensate for these feelings of being wronged? They make stupid best with each other about who will have the better record or more successful year? Then they spend the offseason fighting over who actually won the bet. This offseason I think the Cubs regressed, but so did the entire NL Central while the White Sox certainly didn’t make a major splash, they made improvements to their club overall. I expect the Cubs to win the NL Central, with somewhere around 85-90 wins. I expect to the White Sox to finish in the middle of the AL Central with somewhere around 85-90 to wins. So I ask you, who will have the better and more impressive season? They both will have about the same number of wins and the Cubs will have a much higher attendance figure. But if they fizzle out in the first round again can you really make the case for them being the better team?
While I try and focus on the broad issues impacting the game, it is no secret the Cardinals are my team. Sitting here tonight, about a month from reporting day, it is fair to say my concerns are deep. The way things are going, there is some protection in the lineup and while the Cards are not going to lead the league in runs they will put up enough runs to remain competitive.
Unfortunately the concerns around the pitching staff are far more pressing. Everyone knows Dave Duncan can take a down on his luck pitcher, and revive his career. However you cannot keep counting on that to work. Let’s just pretend though, that the starting rotation concerns are a larger issues in 2010. I am still dreading the last 2 innings. In 2008 it was painful to watch the Cards attempt to close a game and another season like that will simply not be acceptable. Come October, if the Cubs are in the post-season because the Cardinals don’t understand the game last’s 9 innings, there will be reason for Cardinal Nation to be calling for heads to roll!
After more than a year away, everyone’s favorite blogger is making his triumphant return! I admit, the reason for my departure had nothing to do with baseball and more to do with thinking MLB.Com was indifferent to fan blogging on MLB Blogs. Clearly my position had some merit, but also some flawed logic. This platform was such a new-and relative to other sports-unique way for fans to pretend to be pro’s and pro’s to gauge what the proletariate was feeling, it was going to take some time.
Many bloggers-myself included-failed to work through the bugs, instead trying to have their collective voice heard in a different forum. I am not going to write about a great deal of soul searching or reflection, but rather point out MLB.Com has given fans something wonderful and made it even more so by providing free. Certainly it would be wonderful if MLB.Com were able to market MLB Blogs to everyone, but that is another conversation for another time. While my blog may have an awesome new name, it is still the same old Carlson Corner many of you came to know and love. And on that note, it is time for a completely awkward transition towards my first post!
This is clearly the worst time of year for any sports fan, especially hardcore baseball fans. College Football is on their silly 5 week long break, before subjecting us to 29 terrible games and 5 good games, the NFL only happens once a week (sort of) and the skeleton of a playoff situation is at least done, the College Basketball has yet to enter conference play, the NHL is going strong-for those few Hockey fans out there, the NBA is…well…the NBA, and Thoroughbred Racing is in its winter slow down. All that being said, and we are still 2 months from Pitcher’s & Catcher’s reporting!
With the winter meetings now wrapped, and a hand full of deals either completed, soon to be completed, or possibly dead, all of us are feeling either disappointed in our respective clubs or upset at the Yankees and their disregard for logic! There is still a great deal to be decided this offseason however with a handful of noteables still on the trade market or available via free agency. Certainly Teixeira is the biggest name on the market and Peavy thing will come to a conclusion sooner rather than later, but more important than those fine players are what happens with the guys on that second tier.
Looking at the rosters heading into 2009, it seems reasonable to assume there are maybe 15 to 18 teams who can make a case for the post-season. Of course by May, a few of those teams will already be dead, and my June a couple more, but right now let’s go with 15 to 18. And just so nobody thinks I am just throwing that number out there, here’s my run-down (3 in the AL East, 4 in the AL Central, 3 in the NL East, 4 in the NL Central, and both western divisions are pretty wide open).
I understand the big names get on Sportscenter and kids buy their jersey’s, but so often the playoffs could well come down to finding that random player or catching lightning in a bottle with an aging veteran having one last hurrah. What happens if Mike Hampton goes out and wins 15, and now the Astro’s make up ground in the Central. Or what of that team who lands Furcal-a guy who can hit in a couple spots and holds his own in the middle infield?
A number of players are not even close to signing and they can make all the difference. Anything can happen, and say the Cardinals all the sudden find someone to close out games or Kerry Wood keeps his All-Star form behind a pretty damn good rotation. It makes perfect sense that CC Sabathia gets the headlines-and he deserves them…he’s that good, but come September, how much money you spent can have little to do with your record!