For those of you dear readers just waiting (salivating in anticipation perhaps?) for me to go into a lengthy I-told-ya-so-hallelujah-victory diatribe complete with keg stands, half-naked women and lots of bad decisions over the Cardinals recent release of bullpen cancer Ryan Franklin, well, I hate to disappoint, but I ain’t gonna go there. I’m a human being first, Cardinals diehard second (albeit a very, very close second). For me to celebrate the absolute demise of a fellow human just wouldn’t be right. That’s only acceptable behavior when the human in question is an ex-Alaskan governor with scat for brains, traipsing around the country in a megabus flubbing the most basic facts of our country’s history.
No. I can’t go there.
Am I glad Ryan Franklin will no longer be allowed to yack up ballgames for my team when it counts the most? Absolutely. Am I smiling because a real fireballer has taken over the closer’s role in the ‘Lou? You betchya! Am I gonna point fingers and laugh and take pleasure in knowing Franklin doesn’t have a job?
I feel for the guy. I really do. But at the same time, baseball is a business and he was a faulty cog in the wheel of success. If I were to screw up my job as much as he did, I’d be in the unemployment line too. Luckily for Franklin, he ain’t hurtin’ for money. In fact, he could probably use the time off to clear his head, to think of other things besides baseball. I wouldn’t be surprised if we see him back in the Big Leagues in the near future.
In the meantime, the Cardinals are in the midst of a 4 game winning streak, so let’s focus on that. If we can double that to eight in a row, maybe I’ll bust out some of the busties y’all been waitin’ for.
Hate me all you want, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
“You don’t boo your own team. I don’t care who
you are or what you say or just because you spent your money to
come here to watch us play that somebody happens to make one bad
pitch and give up a homer and you are going to start booing?”
–Ryan Franklin, April 20, 2011
Um… okay. My patience is… er… nah, forget it. I don’t have any patience anymore!!!
We’re NOT TALKING about JUST ONE PITCH, Mr. Franklin. We’re NOT TALKING about JUST ONE YACKED performance. We’re TALKING about the difference of 4 or 5 games in the WIN column.
And it’s only April!!!
So yeah. Do your job. Get guys out.
THEN we’ll stop booing.
Keep this in mind, sir: YOU make millions of dollars whether you f*** up or not.
WE, the FANS, we are the ONES who KEEP YOU EMPLOYED by dishing out $45 (or more) per game, per SEAT… the ones getting raped by beer vendors selling $8 bottles of crap (Bud Light)… the ones who have to put up with your whiny whimpers to the reporters in the press.
We have every damn right to boo your @$$.
You don’t like it?
STOP LOSING GAMES ALL BY YOURSELF.
And don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Just like Ryan Franklin in the 9th, this is going to be quick, disgustingly ugly and will probably include an ERA over 9:
First he tried to score from third when no one was lookin’… then he slid head first and broke his arm… then he was… out. THEN he blamed third base coach Dave Anderson for the boneheadedly aggressive move (not my fault, duh)… and THEN he later apologized to Dave Anderson for blaming him for the boneheadedly aggressive move.
*SARCASM ALERT, SARCASM ALERT*
Considering the overwhelming, undeniable, empirical evidence in this case… I am glad to report that Jesus of Nazareth was soley responsible for Joshy’s change of heart, just as he was responsible for Joshy gettin’ some buttery nipple action at da club a while back.
BERKMAN FOR MVP!
The 2011 season is well under way and… SURPRISE!!!… that’s Lance Berkman posing at the Cardinals best player!
Hey folks, he may be weird lookin’ in a Redbird uni, but he’s the only one in the lineup who’s been solid from the get-go. Go ahead, Albert… just go ahead and think about finding a deal somewhere else… we got number 12!
THE GO-GO-HOME WHITE SOX!
Ozzie Guillen sure is giving Timothy Geithner a run for his money (wink, wink) in the sour face department. Heck, I’d be angry too if my son’s name was Oney (good grief is that really his name???)… I’d also be angry if my team scored runs like crazy, only to see them erased in the latter innings of an otherwise locked-down ballgame when the bullpen wheels start fallin’ off (see Chris Sale, Matt Thornton, etc.).
Can’t believe I’m sayin’ this, but, I sorta miss big boy Bobby Jenks. At least with Jenks you’d at least see some emotion when he blew the game.
Hangin’ the head and walkin’ off is a bit too pedestrian for my liking.
Opening Day saw some pretty spectacular bullpen meltdowns. But what
does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the
bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season? Have
pitchers gotten soft?
*Breaks window, jumps from the second story, runs down the street screaming even though forgot pants*
Believe me, Mr. Jake, I am really trying to tackle this one without any bias, without any memory of Opening Day in the ‘Lou, without a mammoth-sized chip on my shoulder. But let’s be honest: in baseball, there isn’t much worse than watching your team dominate throughout a game, only to blow it all in the 9th when the win is on the line.
My Redbirds managed to do that on Opening Day. The Brewers did too (all credit goes to John Axford). The Mets ran into it last night with Jail-Rod’s shenanigans (Also, his unfettered desire to fight people proves that pitchers — at least this one — have not gotten “soft”… unless the pitcher’s name is Kyle Farnsworth). Hell, ask the 2010 Baltimore Orioles… they know all about losing games late considering they blew more games last year than Lil Kim did Bad Boys in the 90s.
But what does it say about the game that teams have become so reliant on the bullpen that relievers can pretty much make or break a season? Gee, I’m not sure it’s really come to that. The ’08 Cardinals were pretty awful, as I remember the bullpen yacking up over 25 games late… but, after giving it the old eye test, I’m not sure it’s really fair to say that the state of Major League bullpens is any different than it has been in years past. You either have a good one, a mediocre one, or a bad one.
And even when you have a bad one, that doesn’t necessarily spell gloom and doom for one’s team. 2009 Brad Lidge comes to mind; my pedestrian and oft frightened colleague, Mr. Krause probably could’ve done a better job on the hill than Lidge that season, but the Phillies still managed to grind their way to the World Series.
Unfortunately, these days, the role of a “closer” and “set-up man” and “7th inning guy” has been magnified because of money. The more money involved, the more pressure. The more pressure, the fewer who can actually deal with it.
In fact, for my money, there’s only one closer who is reliable every single day and that man’s name is Mariano Rivera. I think the Yankees could realistically state that their season might rely on Mo’s cutters; but then again, their set-up man saved 40+ last year. And, oh yeah, their all-star lineup doesn’t hurt either.
But for the other 29 teams, yeah, it could be a problem. But when your team is in flux — featuring an unsigned future Hall of Famer, a sidelined perennial Cy Young contender, and an All-Star outfielder absent because of an appendectomy — then you got more problems than you can actually stomach right now. The bullpen is just one of many.
Don’t hate me. ‘Cuz I’m right.
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When that one game exposes a rudimentary flaw that I have been gripin’ about for over three years now, then that’s when trouble starts. That’s when walls in my apartment become punch-holed and that’s when my neighbors consider burning me at the stake for my insane bouts of baseball rapture.
Ryan Franklin… brother… I love ya… and I know you only blew two saves last year, but you ain’t a closer.
Pitching to contact is fine if you’re Derek Lowe. It’s fine if you’re a starter. Heck, it’s fine if you’re guaranteed that the batted balls are going straight into someone’s glove. But in the 9th inning, with a one run lead… I don’t want ANYONE ON BASE. NO ONE.
Ya hear me?
When I bring a guy in to close a game, I want someone with firepower, someone with strikeout potential… someone who throws GAS, someone with a wicked slider, someone with an impossible-to-hit cutter.
Think Mo Rivera. Think Dennis Eckersely. Think Neftali Feliz.
The closer’s job is to come in and close the game, not to let ’em hit it and hope your defense saves you.
The best way to close a game is to miss the hitters’ bats. And Ryan Franklin has a real hard time doin’ that.
Now, for more on this, let us turn to our junior RSBS correspondents:
Um… okay. So this is what happens when Brendan Ryan becomes better known for a poorly marketed pornstache than his actual comeuppance as an everyday St. Louis Cardinals shortstop. Oh, wait. No comeuppance? He sucks? My bad.
Which is sorta why I haven’t really said much this offseason about my dearly beloved Redbirds. What’ s there to say? Jake Westbrook signed? Okay. Cool. We traded Blake Hawksworth for Ryan Theriot? M’kay… nice. I guess. Can we guarantee that Skip Schumaker won’t take another step backwards? How about facing the fact that closer Ryan Franklin really ain’t cut out to be a closer? And then…???
I guess what I’m trying to say is that I still haven’t really gotten over the crapfest that was the second half of the 2010 season. No one likes a sore loser, but goddamn it if I ain’t still sore as hell! Matt Holliday, Albert Pujols, Adam Wainwright, Chris Carpenter… YADIER MOLINA.
Friends, Romans, Cubs fans… those names command a division title.
And that’s what I want. At the very least, we ought to be slaying the Reds, the Cubs and whatever other foe floats carelessly towards the top.
Does Ryan Theriot magically make that happen? Uh… no. In fact, as a hitter, Baseball Reference has Theriot matched up with the likes of Aaron Miles, Jason Bartlett and former St. Louis Brown, Ernie Johnson. And while Bartlett had one good year, let’s not get too excited over these comparisons; ‘cuz frankly, there’s little that breeds excitement.
Yes, maybe Theriot will solve the leadoff problem that has crippled the Cardinals in recent years. Then again, he probably won’t. He’s gotta beat out Brendo and Skippy for a job first, which for us anticipating fans, is sorta like having to vote from a pool of John Kerry, George W. Bush and a bowl of potato salad.
Which one is the bowl of potato salad? I’ll leave that up to you.
Hate me ‘cuz I’m still bitter, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Long live the US American dream!
First there was “Cuck the Fardinals”.
Then there was “Cardinals take it in their Pujols”(which wittily showed a disenfranchised redbird being sodomized by a Louisville slugger).
And then there was the Cub faithful support of the racist “Horry Cow” featuring an Asian rendition of the late great Harry Caray… all part of the warm 2008 Chicago welcome to Japanese import Kosuke Fukudome.
But like all things, dear readers, even racism gets old. So while the new fad in Wrigleyville attire may be a t-shirt that reads “Pujols Mows My Lawn”, I think it’s time we all grow up and act like adults. First Asians, now Latinos… what’s next? A crack at how Ryan Franklin looks like a neo-Nazi? (He does)
Of course, this sharp razor of racism is double sided. Vendors outside of Busch sell similar duds; in fact, they started the lawn care business with “Zambrano Mows My Lawn”, to which I couldn’t help but ask: how in the world does he have time for that?!?
Yet in all seriousness, this passé barrage of back-and-forth t-shirt warfare is all a bit lame in my opinion. Can’t we just do drive-bys like they do in L.A. and S.F.? Or why not just beat the crap out of each other like Red Sox and Yankees fans?
I boldly volunteer to throw the first punch… but, if I win the fight… you have to mow my lawn.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
Round two of the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry kicked off Friday night and once again the game wobbled in the unsteady hands of each club’s respective bullpens.
Ryan Franklin was a success.
Carlos Marmol was not.
If you don’t know by now, Albert Pujols is a baseball god. He hits for average. He hits for power. He steals bases. He motivates his teammates. I would rather donate half my salary to the Republican Party, sit on Rush Limbaugh’s lap and make out with Ann Coulter while listening to the entire Barry Manilow catalogue than piss off Pujols.
No wonder Franklin got the job done.
As for Marmol, well, can anyone blame him for yet another failure? His manager hates him. He has no clearly defined role on the team. And he just found out that General Motors is pulling the plug on the Pontiac line!
Life just ain’t fair; I couldn’t be happier.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.
(*Base images courtesy of the Associated Press)
Spin the chamber. Pull the trigger. See who you get.
On Sunday night, you got Russ Springer in the 8th inning. You also got the rocket-like go-ahead homerun Shane Victorino catapulted off the aging journeyman reliever, which ruined a splendid starting performance by Todd Wellemeyer.
So it’s the same old story in St. Louis.
The bullpen is about as reliable as GW Bush is eloquent and the Cardinals have done a wonderful job of losing tight ballgames all season long because no one in the pen has been able to close the deal. No one instills fear. No one throws better than my grandma.
While John Mozeliak looks more and more like Ann Coulter, the Cardinals look more and more like a rollover ballclub that realistically can’t compete with the rest of the division, league, sport.
Dear readers, the dreaded paradigm shift seems to have begun. Don’t adjust your monitor; what you are witnessing is real. It appears that the Cardinals of today are not the Cardinals of yesterday. They went from a heady go-get-em front office to a sit back and pray for the best front office in just one GM switch; and I’m afraid that in baseball, that philosophy doesn’t ever work.
Look at the Royals.
I have gone to great lengths to adequately describe — with videos and pictures — the extreme pain and anguish involved in watching the Cardinals try to hold a lead late in the game. Presently, I feel that I am at a loss for expression. How can I go any lower?
I’m afraid I can’t. But I am an US American and US Americans don’t give up. We never give up, even when a bitter, out-of-touch GOP presumptive nominee fails to realize that he received donations from a prominent hotelier who just so happened to sire the very vixen said nominee compared his opponent to in a scrupulous attack ad meant to instill psychological distrust among the mass of US Americans. No, we don’t give up in the face of such abuses of power, and we won’t give up in the fight against mediocrity.
To prove that this calloused plight is real, I recently started the Bring Bruce Sutter Out of Retirement Campaign. While I go door to door to bring back Bruce, I also arranged for Dave LaRoche to school the Cardinals bullpen on the finer points of the Eephus pitch exhibited here:
It might not seem like much, but it’s more comforting than TLR and Dunc spinning the chamber and hoping they don’t get their brains blown out. Of course, the optimist in me realizes that things could always be worse…
We could be the Tigers after all.
Don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.