Do you believe this? What an awesome night.

This was a tremendous way to cap off an interesting season of Cardinal baseball. It wasn't a great season until the calendar hit October. And for 25 days, we were the best. Who could have thunk it?


Seeing all the fans going nuts, so awesome. I know "I Live For This" is a silly marketing phrase MLB came up with, but it is very true to all Cardinal fans. We buy the tickets, buy the gear, sit around and watch games against the Pirates in June...and talk about Cardinal baseball all year long. We live Cardinal baseball, even during football and hockey season. This is how life is for most people in St. Louis. And the feeling I have as I write this in the middle of the night--so worth it!

The victory party in the streets was strong; the best part is that people of all ages, backgrounds, ethnicity, etc, get together and were going nuts slapping each others' hands and screaming--just awesome. Such an awesome feeling, and we aren't even the ones playing on the field.

Much like yesterday, I really cannot put together a big article for this game either. My head is still swimming, legs are wobbly, and I can still hear a buzz in my eardrums. But it was so worth it. And staying up late to write about these games was worth it. Let's do it again next year.

Hope you liked this one grandpa ;-)


Let's Hear It For The Turf Monster!

If you thought there couldn't possibly be any more breaks that could go our way, game four proved you wrong...a lot.

Game five is tonight (Verlander vs. Weaver) at Busch. Right now I really am speechless. There is so much that I'd like to say about game four, but I just cannot believe the situation we are in right now.

I know it will be said a million times if the Cardinals win this, but going from the off-season garbage signings of Junior Spivey, Ricardo Rincon, Larry Bigbie (via trade), etc.--the Busch Stadium garage sale scam--to the great start in April and May--then the interleague play disasters--the multiple injuries to pretty much everyone--the lack of impact moves at the trade deadline--to the sub .500 ball down the stretch--to the blown lead in the Central division, only to win it because of a John Smoltz victory on the last day of the season--and now this?? A 3-1 lead in the World F'n Series?! I don't want to get ahead of myself, but with all the crap listed above, we deserve this.

With all the disappointments of '96, 2000, 2002, 2004, and 2005--we deserve this.

Let's win one more before the fight starts.


How To Waste Your Wednesday

I hope you weren't planning on buying The War At Home season two DVD, because you saw all you needed to last night!

Mother nature wasn't too kind to the Cardinals again this postseason, and game four will be played Thursday night. We did get a sneak peek at the lineup. For some reason, Preston Wilson is playing vs. the righty Bonderman instead of the Speezer (actually the reason is for defensive purposes...yes, that's sad). There is a possibility of another rainout on Thursday, so once again check with our buddy Paul Goodloe at www.weather.com for those outside of the STL.

If you were stuck in a bar on Wednesday night, there was a good chance that the alternate sporting event on television was the riveting NBA pre-season matchup between the Rockets and Heat. I casually watched this game and it was agonizing. Yes, pre-season basketball should be agonizing, but this was dreadfully agonizing. And the sad part was that one of the teams on the floor are the reigning champions. I should be in a better mood because Shaq and the cops were unable to track me down the other day, and my days of being a kiddie porn ringleader continue! You can't find me Shaq, I'm too quick. You probably cannot believe how slow you are.

Menu: We wasted a perfectly good half price appetizer night on some pre-season NBA crap? T-Ravs, Cheese Sticks, Mini Tacos, Potato Skins, and Quesadillas made an appearance last night. And Josh was given a free bucket of Rolling Rock. For all that he has done for the beer community over the years, Josh deserved it. Consider that like a lifetime achievement award or something.

See you tomorrow with a recap of game four...hopefully.


Carpenter Has All The Tools/Sign Guy Has None Of The Funny

This was as perfect of a game that Chris Carpenter could have pitched. Coming off the Kenny Rogers saga, the Cardinals needed to go out and dominate game three. They pretty much did, even though the score was close for most of the game. With a 2-0 lead, there was little doubt that Carp would give up anything to the Tigers. He was so good getting ahead of hitters, and wasted very little time mowing through his eight innings of work. During the post-game, Chris gave credit to Dunc, Molina, and even Gary Bennett for the well-prepared game plan.

Overall the bats were still quiet, but not very necessary in a game like this. It wasn't good to see the Tiger bullpen get out of a few jams, as it could have easily been a 8 or 10 run victory for the Cardinals. I'd like to see some Crush Duncan for game four, and wouldn't mind seeing So getting another start in the outfield.

Next up is Jeff Suppan; is he up for another ice cold performance? He goes against Jeremy Bonderman Wednesday at Busch. Once again, there is a chance of a rain delay or even a rainout. For you out-of-towners, check out what Paul Goodloe has to say at www.weather.com.

The only blemish in game three was when Albert Pujols killed Pudge Rodriguez. Come on Bert, I know Kenny Rogers cheated, but this wasn't the way to get back at the Tigers. You always hate to see this much violence in any game, let alone the World Series.

This picture reminds me of when The Rock turned heel back in '98; standing over Mick Foley as he lie there in agonizing pain. Oh well, I think Brandon Inge can catch, so the Tigers will be fine.

There was a blemish off the field and his name is Sign Guy. Stealing a line from Frank Caliendo (impersonating Terry Bradshaw): Sign Guy is NOT Funnah! NOT Funnah Sign Guy...NOT Funnah."

And because I haven't done it for this series yet:

Menu: Excellent pulled pork BBQ sandwich w/ waffle fries. It was dripping with barbeque sauce. I should have had two, that was a crucial mistake on my part. I'll do better next time.

Get Your Boots Out For Game Four: Billy Ray Cyrus will be IN THE BUILDING!



Not sure if you guys have all seen this email going around yet, but just in time for Game 3! I have to admit, I miss this guy and all of his crazy beer-drinking and wild antics! Here goes...

  • "This big standing-room only crowd is settling into their seats."
  • "It's raining like a Chinese fire drill!"
  • (Referring to Bernard Gilkey):"He was originally born in University City.""He's faster than a chicken being chased by Ronald McDonald!"
  • (Referring to Mike Schmidt):"the longtime, and soon-to-be, Hall-of-Famer."
  • (Referring to Hideo Nomo):"He's the biggest thing to hit Japan since they dropped the bomb on Nagashima!"
  • "This game is off to a rather conspicuous start, don't you think. Jack?"
  • "Well, folks, this game began as a tiny worm, and is blossoming into a large cobra."
  • "That foul tip bounced up and caught him right in the groins...and that'll really clear your eyes out."
  • "A hit up the middle right now would be like a nice ham sandwich and a cold, frosty one."
  • (Broadcasting from New York under a full moon):"I wish you folks back in St. Louis could see this moon."
  • (On the day before Easter):"I just want to tell everyone 'Happy Easter and Happy Hanukkah.'"
  • "Well, he did everything right to get ready for the throw, but if ya ain't got the hose, the water just won't come out."
  • "Our next homestand follows this road trip."
  • "The right-hander is throwing up (instead of 'up, throwing') in the bullpen."
  • "I've heard it said that if you know English, Spanish, Italian, and I think it's French, you can go just about anywhere in this world...except China where they have all those derelicts."After a pause, Joe Buch suggested that Mike has meant to say "dialects." Mike responded, "Yeah, dialects! That's what I mean...but they've got a lot of derelicts too!"
  • "He ran to second faster than a cat in Chinatown."
  • "I wouldn't have see it if I hadn't believed it."
  • Joe: "Mike, the Cardinals would like to welcome a group of 19 French foreign exchange students in Section 382."Mike: "Where're they from, Joe?"Joe: "Uhh, France, I think."
  • A couple of years back, Mike and Joe were discussing the unflattering photographs of players that had been flashed on the screen at another ballpark. Mike's take on the quality of the photo selection was:"Some of those guys look like the picture was taken while they were seeing their first UFO."After several seconds of laughter, Joe added, "As opposed to their second or third."
  • "The wind switched 360 degrees."
  • "Ol' Abner Doubleday has done it again."
  • "It's raining so hard I thought it was going to stop."
  • "The crowd's on their feet for the Canadian Star Bangled Banner."
  • "Back in the day when I played, a pitcher had 3 pitches: a fastball, a curveball, a slider, a changeup and a good sinker pitch."


Kenny Rogers' Pearls of Wisdom

The scene: Lakeland, FL, 2006 Detroit Tigers Spring Training. A clubhouse conversation between veteran cheater Kenny Rogers and young fireballer Nate Robertson...
Nate Robertson: What's that shit on your chest?
Kenny Rogers: Crisco, Bardol, Vagisil. Any one of them will give you another two to three inches drop on your curve ball. Of course if the umps are watching me real close I'll rub a little jalapeƱo up my nose, get it runnin', and if I need to load the ball up I just... wipe my nose.
Nate Robertson: You put snot on the ball?
Kenny Rogers: I haven't got an arm like you, kid. I have to put anything on it I can find. Someday you will too.

Kenny Rogers, Jackass

Minutes before game time Sunday night, Brandon Inge went up to Kenny Rogers and said, "Kenny I offer you a truce...the stickiest of the icky."

Kenny, you are a cheating bastard. That's all I have to say to you. Let's hope Bud Selig steps in and delivers the standard 10 game suspension. I do realize that the Cardinals hit worse from innings 2-8 than they did in the first. But the fact is, he went out there with the intent of breaking the rules (rule 8.2 in the book if you want to look it up). Whether you go out there with pine tar (like Kenny did) or bean and cheese sauce (like Tony frequently does during softball), cheating is cheating.

Game two was very frustrating to watch. Once again we see the Cardinals struggle against left handed pitching. They hit Tom Glavine better the second time around during the NLCS, but hey guys: 1) it's October and 2) these aren't rookies you're going against, they are veterans who have both played during most of the televised baseball era. I'm assuming there is a lot of video tape, film, beta, phonograph records, and Egyptian hieroglyphic scouting reports on Kenny Rogers. What happened?

The good sign is that they roughed up the opposing teams' closer once again. The Cardinals finally woke up in the ninth, scoring their only run. I was calling for Chris Duncan during Preston Wilson's at-bat and surprised LaRussa didn't pull the trigger. I understand leaving Yadi in to hit because of his hot hitting, but looking back, I would have loved to see Duncan or Taguchi getting a chance in that situation.

I plan on posting something tomorrow to preview game three at Busch. As for Yadi Molina, can any of you ladies go over to his place and take care of this?


Have a Win Detroit...Yoink!

In what looked like a "gimme" win for the Tigers, game one goes to the Cardinals! Anthony Reyes pitched a totally unexpected 8+ innings, allowing two runs. These guys have shocked everyone all postseason, might as well do it three more times.

First I'd like to say: Scott Rolen, welcome back. He had a huge game and is temporarily out of the doghouse. If there was any time for him to step up, game one was the time to do it. Unfortunately, reports say that Verlander is considering throwing lefthanded for game five, in order to guarantee victory for his club.

As for Jim Leyland: did you forget that you scouted for us the past six years? Walk Pujols next time. My scouting report said "he's good." Trust that guy.

So now that game one is in the books, you want to read a game two preview, right? What is the headline on the Yahoo! Sports homepage?

"Former Yankees to square off in Game 2"
Title of the article: Yankee rejects face off in Game 2

Last time I checked, the Yankee's weren't involved in this series, but let's mention them anyway. I'm glad Duffman posted his rebuttal to the Keith Law article Saturday morning. It's sad that Law gets paid a lot of money to analyze this stuff all year, then ends up looking like--and physically being--a dumbass. I don't blame him for picking the Mets or Tigers to beat the Cardinals. If you look at the season records, it's obvious that both of those teams should have smoked the Cardinals.

But what Law and the rest of these clowns don't realize is that the team they are watching in the playoffs, is not the team that won only 83 games this year.

When you take a really bad team with really bad pitching...then remove Jason Marquis, Mark Mulder, and Jason Isringhausen...hey, we're a hell of a lot better! Besides that, when you put the Cardinals against teams that do not play in the NL Central, they play quality baseball. What's so hard to figure out? Sure no one expected them to go this far, but give me a healthy Edmonds, no Marquis, and no Cubs; this team was capable of making a run in the playoffs.

I also love how the media is always concerned about the markets that are involved in the World Series. They'll complain about St. Louis and Detroit not being one of the top markets in the country. The reason I love this is because market size is played up so much by everyone...except FOX! Why should ESPN care about Detroit's market size? They are set to gain or lose ZERO dollars because the games are played in the Midwest.

Here's a chart to show how awesome the New York and Chicago markets are. Notice how the subway series in 2000 is the third lowest rated World Series since the '94 strike. But obviously it's our fault here in the midwest, because we don't realize the importance of New York baseball, and that people should take the day off work to watch the Yankees play.

And so it continues, Sunday night at Comerica. Former Yankees square off, in a park that Derek Jeter has played in and George Steinbrenner flew over once.

World Series Woes

I had a major problem on my hands. I had to keep tabs on game one of the series, but it was also date night for me and my girlfriend. I didn't know how it was going to be accomplished, but I did know that it had to be accomplished. I'll give you a little back story before this endevor begins...

I have been dating the same girl for a little more than a year. For those of you that know me, you know this is a Ruthian effort on her behalf. This ranks right up there with Jesus turning water into wine and Moses parting the Red Sea. Typical woman, not really into guy stuff, but cool enough that I don't have to hide the Playboys. No clue how she has put up with me to this point, especially since I cancelled on her to watch games six and seven of the LCS. No clue why she hasn't said a thing about my Starting Lineup collection that is displayed. She knows that I need to watch the Cards, Mizzou, Bears, and Blues. I knew that flowers weren't going to be enough to save my sorry ass again. I knew I had to bite the bullet. But I also knew that I needed a plan.

Date night usually consists of dinner and whatever else is happening. So it was dinner time. The best invention ever you ask? The sportsbar. You want a burger? Sportsbar. Chicken? Sportsbar. A steak? Well, I'll one up you and get all exotic, Philly style. Sportsbar. Hun, you mind if I get shithoused? Sportsbar. Enter DJ's Dugout. Don't think of the one on College Ave in Alton. This one is a lot better.

At this point, she hates driving, but we are taking her car, so I get to drive. Time for me mark my territory. No, I didn't hike my leg and go on the seat. I did take control of the radio on the way. The following conversation happens on the way to dinner...

Her: Can we listen to my new Nelly Furtado CD?
Me: Babe, I really need to pay attention to this game. This is my Sex and the City!

Yeah, I drop that bomb on her. When you compare Sex and the City to anything, women know that you aren't messing around. "This is serious business, and I don't want to be inturrupted" is what that means. This call could come back to bite me in the ass.

Get to DJ's Dugout. I ended up killing a pitcher of Bud before our food got there, and had another on the way. Food shows up. Mine is gone. Too bad she can also eat quick. Dammit!! Another pitcher please. Catch the first couple of innings. I'm good.

She lets me know that she needs to pick up a blonde wig for her Halloween costume. So it's time to go to Nobbies. On the way there, she drops a good one...

Her: Who is this Joe Morgan guy? He is terrible!

It only takes this girl less than 15 total minutes of listening to MLB on the radio to decide that Joe Morgan sucks. Too bad the powers that be in Bristol can't decide on the same fact.

Reyes is on a roll. The inning ends, and I run in with her quick, get her blonde wig, and to the checkout. I miss one out. I'm still good. At this point, I think she is fairly impressed that I have been able to pull this off, but she is still into trying to screw me out of the game. Then one rule really bites me in the ass. "Pay or Pump" is said after I notice that she needs some gas. I really didn't want to pay or pump, especially with Pujols coming up. This Uno card has been played, and I have to fork over $15 and watch her pump. Pujols crushes one, and it's the beginning of the end for the Tigers.

She also needs to go to Walmart and get shampoo. I also need some hair gel. Time for a huddle. I tell her I'll save a spot in the self-checkout lane and she can go get my gel and her shampoo since they are right there in the same aisle. Inning over. Haul ass into Wally World. I get right into the checkout lane. There in front of me was a barefoot 5-year-old in a diaper. I'm sure his dad was getting his weekend time in with junior. They had alot of items, but this guy must have had some sort of training working at some department store. I'm up without an item and no girlfriend in sight. FUCK!!! I start to stall. It was a bad night to piss these people off since the Huskers just lost a heartbreaker to Texas. These inbred rednecks start yelling at me to get to the back of the line. No chance. Then I bring it over the top; I flash the "Hook 'em Horns" sign. This was 1,000x worse than flipping the bird to these people on this day. All of a sudden, she pops up, scan and done. I get cussed at in some hick language, and I miss part of the bottom of an inning during Reyes' consecutive out streak. Not much missed.

Back to my place with a quickness. On goes the big screen and it's time to see McCarver in HD. The major drop of the night came when I got on the Cardinals website and a picture of Brad Thompson comes up.

Her: Why do the Cardinals have a player with Down's Syndrome on the team? It's sweet of them to have handicapped players, but is he any good?

I couldn't believe it. I now have a new outlook for Brad Thompson.

Cards win! Cards win! I caught most of the game without getting in the doghouse. But it was time for her to cash in. She took the words out of my mouth earlier in the night and played them to her advantage. Once the Cards game ended, she found a season of Sex and the City that she left at my place, and it looks like the rest of the night will be full of Sarah Jessica Parker going after Big. Dammit, I hope this doesn't go seven games.


Duffman gets pissed

Looking through ESPN.com yesterday, I'm trying to find anything, and I do mean anything that doesn't require my paying money. Unfortunately, ESPN has officially decided that any article that is free will also be total shite. Enter Keith Law. This little turd wrote an article which, out of 4 pages, consisted of 3 and 1/2 pages of complaining that the "wrong" teams are in the series. I wanted to document every ludicrous thing he said, but I blacked out exactly one paragraph into my reading. He had the nerve to say:
" why aren't the media calling for Pujols a non-clutch chocker after his one-RBI performance in the NLCS? Why aren't people arguing that the Cardinals would be better off if they had traded him?"
We have a winner. That may be the dumbest fuckin' thing ever said. In history. All of history. First of all, you whiny little twat, it wasn't just "the Media" calling for Gay-Rod's head after that disappearing act, it was all of New York. Don't you love it when members of the media blame "the Media" for some shit? Like they exist outside of that giant amalgam of poo and old taco sauce that makes up "the Media." Whatever.
So that comment inspired me to write a top ten list. Here are the top ten reasons "the Media" are punking out A-Rod but not Bert:

10. "The Slap"
9. Bert's 1 RBI in the NLCS was one more than A-Rod had this post-season.
8. Did anyone see Double Play-Rod getting intentionally passed everytime he had RISP?
7. The Cardinals didn't get bounced from the division series by a team spending $120 million fewer dollars.
6. As "bad" as Bert's NLCS was, his average (.324) this post season is 253 points higher than Rodriguez's (.071).
5. Bert doesn't engage in any homoerotic Top Gun-esque flexing after he scrapes the wall with his latest mammoth 358 foot blast.
4. 11 extra million dollars... every year.
3. Check the career post-season numbers. In forty more at bats (174- 132), Bert has twice as many home runs (12-6), more than twice as many RBI's (33-16), nearly twice as many runs scored (36-19), a batting average fifty points higher (.333- .280), and an OPS that is 172 points higher (1.032-.860). Of course, A-Rod has been caught stealing four more times than Bert, so he does have that.
2. Rodriguez isn't going through some minor slump. Since the start of game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, he has played in 13 post-season games. He has 5 hits, only one of which was for extra bases (a double). In those thirteen games over two years, he has exactly one more RBI than Bert has this week. He also has exactly one more hit than So Taguchi has in his last four at bats. His average: .109. The Yankee's record since his collapse: 3-10. He certainly isn't the only reason why the Yanks have gone home early the past three years, but he is the biggest reason.
1. Brad Lidge
Shut the hell up, Keith Law. You do not want your soul to be eaten next.

World Series Prediction & RBI Baseball's East Coast Bias

I wanted a scientific way to make my bold prediction for the World Series. First I bought some sabermetric stats from a guy on the street corner. It was a very shady transaction and I only learned that Bill James is a dork (don't worry, I vow to out-dork him...keep reading). Then I purchased ESPN Insider, because EVERY worthwhile baseball article is an Insider story. Although it was awesome to pay $40 to read about Jason Stark's sex dreams with Roger Clemens, overall it was not worth it.

So who do I turn to? Where can I go to get an accurate prediction for the 2006 World Series?

RBI Baseball, son.

Let me set the scene for you: it's a Friday and I thought that sitting around watching television is not dorky enough for me. Let's fire up the ol' Nintendo and watch a simulated World Series between the Tigers and Cardinals!

The only flaw in this incredible idea was that rosters of each team consist of players from 19 years ago, all of which are retired now. However, I was looking forward to watching a baseball game without 700 ads for House, Bones, Standoff, Justice, and Prison Break. I will miss Toby Keith and truck commercials, though. You win some, you lose some.

Game One: John Tudor vs. Doyle Alexander
This thing has got to go in the Cardinals' favor--Willie McGee hits a 3 run shot in the top of the first! The Tigers quickly come back. My RBI Baseball arch-nemesis Tom Brookens leads the comeback charge with a bomb in the second. This game was pretty sloppy, I must have turned the "errors" volume up because the two teams made a total of 10 errors in game one! Also the computer Cardinals had trouble on the basepaths (imagine that). Late charge by the Redbirds: 5 runs in the ninth, but they fall short.
Tigers 14, Cardinals 10

Game Two: Ken Dayley vs. Willie Hernandez
Because of the lack of strategy the computer uses, game two has to be a bullpen start. This had all the makings of an ugly game. Tons of jacks and errors again--including two by O. Smith on the same play! You know the wind must have been howling when Curt Ford goes deep in a game. Detroit scores 7 in the seventh to come back and win. Boo this game.
Tigers 20, Cardinals 17

Game Three: Tudor vs. Alexander
After an Alan Trammell home run I flipped the channel. That took the crowd (me) out of the game quickly. Checked back a little later and the Cardinals were still down. Just 19 minutes for this one. I don't think it was meant to be...
Tigers 9, Cardinals 6

Game Four: Dayley vs. Hernandez
Here we go again. Bullpen start, I can't watch. This game was even quicker than the last. After a big 6 run third inning, Detroit knew it was only a matter of time to start rioting. I was able to see another O. Smith error (he made at least five this series). Darrell Evans HR put this thing on ice. Luckily when Lou Whittaker was throwing the final out to first base, I hit the reset button. So technically none of this ever happened.
Tigers 13, Cardinals 3 (six innings). Series MVP: Darrell Evans.

  • Que Jim Nantz: "And the Tigers ROAR to a World Series Championship!"
  • Que Bob Carpenter: "They sure have had a PURRRR-FECT season"
Sadly, this series drew some bad ratings too. After the first couple games, viewership went in the tank. It could have had something to do with the entire series being played on a Friday night and the person watching it having no friends.

After seeing all this transpire, my prediction for the 2006 World Series: Tigers sweep dammit.

Stupid RBI Baseball. I know Detroit isn't on the east coast, but I still need something to blame for another Cardinal playoff failure. Maybe next year we can trade for Reggie Jackson.


Somewhere Porno Mike is very VERY happy...

So this morning I realized that somewhere on a yacht in Alabama or wherever the hell he is now, Porno Mike is probably the happiest man on the planet. Reason? He finally gets to see one of his two favorite teams win the World Series. Let's not forget the grungy "DT" hat he always wore & his newer "STL" hat he began to wear more often after a few years living in STL & of the Tigers sucking. Good times... anyway, here's to you and both your teams making it all the way buddy! You're one lucky fellow this year.

Here's my favorite picture, showing some serious man love and a marginally better vert for Molina than the original post about the game from Shauny. Get a room already!


Extra Mo' Lina!

Look at the awesomeness of that picture. I love it.

First, you've got playoff hero Yadi Molina showing his 3 inch vert in celebration of the Cardinals' victory. Then you've got Cardinal killer Carlos Beltran giving his shoulder a short break from all that bat-resting he was doing on strike three. For good measure, you toss in a big punchout from the ump. Oh, and the best part is ALLLL the distraught Mets fans in the background. Eat that Mets fans, enjoy the World Series from your living rooms again.

I really hope someone at the Fox network reads this, because I would like to pitch a new show to them: "Crushed Souls of Mets Fans." All they have to do is pan the crowd from the end of last night's game and I'd watch it every week. Cubs fans, Philly fans...you know you'd watch that too. And I damn well know that Yankee fans would watch it and probably tivo it to watch it again. 30 minutes every week. It would be right up there with 24, trust me Fox.

As for the game, there couldn't have been a better game seven. From the start everyone knew that both teams had to take advantage of any chance they were given. This was baseball at its finest. I will admit that it was very agonizing to watch, and I think my heart rate was over 200 a couple times while the Mets were batting; but this was an unbelievable finish to a great series.

Game seven really reminded me of the Rams-Titans Super Bowl. Tons of drama, tons of frustration, and incredible finishes. For Cardinal Nation, this was our World Series. Looking ahead to Detroit, it doesn't look great. But seeing how three weeks ago, a lot of fans were openly rooting for this team to not make the playoffs (and make the owners open their pocketbooks in the offseason), this is the time to celebrate. The Cardinals have come a long way from where they were in late September.

I could go into a long recap and break down the managerial strategies, but I'll just say a few things:

-Hell of a catch by Endy Chavez. One of the best playoff catches of all time, and no one may ever remember it because the Mets lost.

-Jeff Suppan is clutch. I hope he stays in town next year, but wouldn't blame him for going to the highest bidder. His value is at an all time high, and he is going to cash in on a three-year deal somewhere. We've got him for at least one more game, so let's win it!

-I'm glad Tony LaRussa stuck with Wainwright for the final out. No one would have blamed him if he brought in Tyler Johnson to turn Beltran around (and God forbid face Delgado). But big ups to Tony for sticking with the closer for the final out. By the way, it is a great feeling to have a closer right now who comes in...and you know the game is over. We don't have that feeling when Izzy comes in, but right now when Wainwright enters, you know a W is in the books.

Celebrate this victory Cardinal fans--don't worry about work Friday, no one's going to get anything done anyway. The only thing I'm going to do is simulate the World Series on RBI Baseball and base my prediction on that. I'll let you know how it goes.

Tune in Saturday for game one!

"See this guy lose his will to live, tonight after The O.C.!"

Come on Fox, make it happen.


The Blame Game Preview?

A wise man once said, "If you win the first game of the series, then all you have to do after that is win every other game and you'll be okay." This statement is true, and when you think about this year's Cardinal team, playing .500 baseball is right up our alley.

Granted, they didn't win the first game, but after going up two games to one, the Cardinals and Mets have traded victories. So game seven has to be ours, right? Makes sense to me, let's hope Jeff Suppan and the offense cooperates.

As for game six, it didn't go as expected for Cardinal fans; that's an understatement. But is it time to start blaming people yet?

Probably not, but you'll see a lot of it tomorrow if the Mets advance to the World Series. When you combine the Mets injury woes with two great performances by Jeff Weaver, this has been a very winnable series. And it all comes down to game seven tonight (Suppan vs. O-Face) at Shea. Not to drop any hints or anything, but Scott Rolen is right at the top of the list.

The big decision Tony LaRussa has to make is with his lineup. Does Preston Wilson get the call vs. the Olivers (Perez and Darren)? The way he hits lefties, this is easy--yes. And Encarnacion probably gets the call too, even though he's hitting a hefty .222 in the series. So who plays third? Do you stick with the guy who got you there (Rolen .235), or the best player off your bench who has a little flare for postseason dramatics (Spiezio .250)? This would be an easy call for me, go with the Speezer. To show that I am aware of the stats, Rolen is hitting better in the series than Eckstein, Edmonds, Encarnacion, Belliard and Duncan. But he has failed over and over at driving in runners when they're on base for him. The Cardinals cannot afford to have him strand another 4 or 5 runners in game seven, if no one else is going to hit.

This situation LaRussa is in got me thinking about last year with Larry Walker. After going 2 for 15 in games one through five, LaRussa did not go to the bench to replace Walker in game six. In fact, Tony rewarded him for that consistent performance and batted him cleanup (remember?). Based on that and other cases of him sticking with veterans, my instincts tell me Rolen will play. To Tony's credit, it seems like he's managed differently this postseason as opposed to others. We'll have to wait and see what the lineup looks like later in the day.

Oh, and by the way, the "wise man" I quoted at the beginning of the article was none other than Danny Cox. I heard him say it a couple times before the Padres series, and to be fair, it sounded a little more like this: "If you win the first game of the series...shit, how's that go...(insert fart sound and fist pump here) oh smell that gas Mike Shannon! That's how it goes! Hey, there's a Busch Beer in my pocket, shut up fatgirl!"

Thanks to ______ For the Extra Readers Wednesday: www.thebiglead.com

Game Six Menu: A bunch of Hooters chicken wings, and once again...my 'ol pal bacon. Props to the waitress for the free bacon! Unfortunately that's about all the props she gets.

Turning Point of the Game: John Maine gets out of the 1st and 2nd alive. There's no other way to put it: that really sucked.

Current Mood: Bad, I hope I'm in a better one tonight...sometime in the 10 o'clock hour maybe.


This Guy Is Good

You heard about Adam Wainwright? He's good, let me get that out in the open right away.

I went into game five with a really bad feeling. I didn't think we'd get shut out by Tom Glavine again, but I thought Jeff Weaver was due for a short night. I know we didn't expect much out of him to begin with, but he has exceeded everyone's wildest expectations--by a lot. He made David Wright look really bad, and made better pitches to Delgado then anyone has done all series. He hung one to Beltran that was crushed, but got the out on a liner to right.

Once again, the bullpen showed up and delivered. They needed to bail out their teammates a couple times, and came up big in the clutch. Fox even tried to jinx Wainwright by showing the stat of death (Opponents are 0 for 30 vs. the bullpen with RISP), but he struck out Valentin to end the eighth.

Offensively, the Cardinals didn't hit well when they had their chances. As was the case in game one, the lineup was fooled by Glavine's junkball and swung at a lot of bad pitches. This needs to change for game six with John Maine on the mound.

For those out in Flexland, be sure to stop by the Hooters at Westport for game six. The official BertFlex party will be held there beginning at 6pm. If/When the Cardinals win, make sure you're there to witness some random nudity and make-out sessions by the waitress staff. No promises, but let's hope so.

Game Five Menu: Potato Skins and a Pujols Burger. Yes I am feeling beefy right now. And angry!

Buck Martinez Knows Something We Don't: "Adam Wainwright and Josh Kinney are the two best relievers on the Cardinals staff." Tony disagrees, but let's face it, Tony is always wrong.

Jose Oquendo Doesn't Know Something We Do: Shawn Green has NO arm! Send the runners home! It seems like we haven't challenged Green's arm at all this series.

Kids R Stuppid:

Random Thoughts From Me and Tony: Tyler Johnson gonna get some babies at Hrabosky's tonight?. Shaun Kennedy gonna get some bacon from Schnuck's tonight!...Randy Flores is growing the playoff dirt-lip..."Why is Chris Duncan batting right now?" BOOM (Home Run)! That's why Tony!...Damn there are two girls blowing up the bathroom, seemed like five trips each (not together)...Tony wants Chad Bradford on the Cardinals in '07...The name "Josh Lohnes" is dead, his new name is DUFFMAN...

What Should Have Happened: Willie Randolph having a Denny Green-like shouting match vs. the microphone, during his post-game press conference. Maybe tonight if we're lucky.

I'm So Pumped Up, Here Are MORE Pictures:



That's the best word I could come up with to describe game four. Anthony Reyes certainly cannot be blamed for this loss, although I wasn't very excited about his performance. Yes, he only gave up 2 runs in 4 innings, but he threw a TON of pitches (86) and was all over the place (4 walks). One of the keys to this game was that--at the worst-- we needed the score to be close when Reyes came out. It was only 2-2 when that happened. But if he didn't miss so many spots and throw so many pitches in those four innings, it would have helped tremendously. And, as we found out, this bullpen isn't so perfect after all.

Plus the offense did not put away Oliver Perez early like they should have. Once again, the Cardinals fold up when a lefty takes the mound. They hit Perez pretty well, but did not string enough hits together at the right time. Ronnie Belliard getting thrown out at third in the second inning really hurt. Well, that is unless you ask Tim McCarver, who said something to the effect of, "the best baserunning plays are when you make outs."

And in true Cardinal bullpen fashion, I'm taking the rest of the night off. I've done my job the past week...why continue to do it tonight? See you tomorrow for a recap of game five (Glavine vs. Weaver) at Busch.

Hopefully the rains stops sometime before game time, but my sources say to be prepared for a delay. That just means more time for eating.

Menu: Some wings and cheesesticks. My heart is in real bad shape. I might not be around for much longer, boys and girls.

Turning Point of the Game: Any time a guy named "Carlos" grabbed a bat.

Joe Buck is Biased Towards the Cardinals Because: He said Albert Pujols is a good baseball player! And Stan Musial is a legend! What a bastard, come on Mets fans, let's kick his ass!!


And so it begins:
The Cardinals vs. Tigers talk.

With a "commanding" 2-1 series lead, you'll be sure to hear many St. Louisans speculate on the possible '68 World Series rematch. Not so fast, I say. Remember, this is the 2006 Cardinals we're talking about. Luckily for us it is impossible to go on another seven game losing streak this season. The Redbirds must take care of business in game four, Sunday night at Busch. Former "future superstar" Oliver Perez takes on rookie Anthony Reyes. Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan are always cautious with their young pitchers, and this situation is no different. Reyes hasn't started since his brief appearance in the last game of the season vs. the Brewers. He got lit up that day, and couldn't make it out of the first. If he can give us a Jeff Weaver start (5 or 6 good innings, then YANK), I'm very confident about game four. Thanks to Jeff Suppan, the bullpen is fresh, and everyone is ready to bail the young righty out of trouble if need be.

As for Saturday, while the offense was on fire early, the biggest part of game three was the game plan Duncan had set up, along with Yadi Molina calling a great game behind the plate. Oh yeah, and Mr. Suppan hitting his spots and making this Mets lineup look horrible helped out a bit too. But it only takes one night for those guys to turn it around, so Dunc and Molina have to work a little more magic for Reyes to get the W on Sunday.

I am pretty pumped up about this team now, and they have made a total 180 degree turn from how they were playing just a couple weeks ago. Many fans were openly rooting against these guys to NOT make the playoffs. Welcome back to the bandwagon, my friends. I won't be talking about how we matchup against the Tigers just yet, but I will say that I like our chances in game four vs. the Mets.

Awesome News to Find Out While Writing this Article: Steve "Psycho" Lyons was fired by Fox after Friday's ALCS game. Why? He hates dem Mexicans...stealin' all 'ar jobs!

Menu: An amazing amount of fried shrimp, thank you Red Lobster.

Key Moment: Another clutch two out hit by the Speezer in the first (bold move by Tony going with him, Jimmy, and Wilson in the outfield).

Turning Point of the Game: A few days ago, when it was announced Steve Trachsel would pitch game three.

'Who Are These Guys' Moment: The defense was in shutdown mode all night. We expect the big plays from Rolen, but I loved Preston Wilson gunning out Valentin at second base.

Not So Fast Giving Preston Wilson Any Love: Remember Pujols' hit in the first inning? He hit a little dribbler into right field and P-Dubs didn't go first to third on Shawn Green's girlie arm. As we found out after that happened, don't make Bert mad...he will give you the look of death.

My Theory of the Night: Fox has Ryan Seacrest interview each player in a beauty salon, and finds out some super cool fun facts. Did you know Jose Valentin likes surfing and basketball? How about Nick Swisher--his favorite wrassler is Stone Cold Steve Austin. This sets up a new show this winter, starring Seacrest and Jim Edmonds: "Girl Talk."


Ha Ha Ha, Me So Funny

Okay, so I put my entry into the Snappy Headline Contest...but at least mine was halfway offensive.

What a way to win game 2! It would have been real easy to pack this one in after Carp's "Marquis-esque" performance. But these guys kept fighting back and were able to put away the Mets and their shaky bullpen 9-6. Who knew Billy Wagner would all of a sudden turn into Brad Lidge? Oops, didn't mean to say that out loud...

You've got to be pleased coming back home with one victory in New York. With no day of rest, be sure to check out game 3 on Saturday night, live from Busch.

I'll be back tomorrow with a more extensive recap and a few more thoughts about the series. As for now, this is all you need to know:

Turning Point of the Game: Me falling asleep in the eighth inning, and sleeping through the Cardinals' three-run ninth. That's what I call "strategery."


Baby, Let's Not Talk About This...

If Dan McLaughlin were here, he'd give the Cardinals a moral victory for game 1.

I mean, Jeff Weaver giving up 2 runs in 5 2/3 against the Mets' lineup? Typically that is asking a lot. But he did it. It was unfortunate that the Cardinals did absolutely nothing on offense to help him out, but once again we are burned by a soft tossing lefty.

Besides that, we got to witness many horrendous attempts to hit a baseball by Scott Rolen. I think it was the right move to start him Thursday. You have to go with the A-squad in game 1. But Rolen failed, and Spiezio has to be in the lineup for game 2. It's bad enough that Edmonds and Charlie Murphy aren't hitting the ball for power, but Rolen needs to get a quick hook here. And hopefully Chris Duncan can bring something to the table vs. John Maine.

Here is a half-assed recap of game 1, in case you missed it:

Hey _____ You're Not as Good of a Baserunner as Everyone Says You Are: (whispers) Albert...sorry, sorry guys.

Why is _______ Still in the League?: Jose Valentin!

Game 1 Menu: Two hamburgers, featuring my friend...bacon. And some Jack in the Box Bacon Cheddar Potato Wedges. Yes, bacon made a great cameo appearance at the party.

Shoulda Listened to Me Moment: Bottom 6, Jeff Weaver grooves one to Beltran and he fouls it back. After a huge sigh of relief, I said "Please don't throw that again." He did. Game Over.

What Else is on TV??: I was shocked that ESPN didn't pack it in Thursday. They had college football on, although it seems like there has been a college football game on every day of the week lately. ESPN2 comes "strong" with some StrongMan Competition! Ohh yeahhh. And FSN Midwest really packed it in by showing the Blues/Bruins game. Come on FSN, at least put on something watchable, like gymnastics.

Turning Point of the Game: David Eckstein had a perfect opportunity to clock Carlos Delgado in the face during the 8th inning. He did not do it. I hope he gets benched for not being a team player.

Billy Wagner is Good: Agreed, let's try not to face him anymore this series.

Post-Game Coverage: Jeff Brantley is dumb, John Kruk owns a pink shirt, Mark Schlereth loves FOOTBALL, Tim Kurkjian needs to have his "Man" card revoked, Mark Messier has a boooring interview on Quite Frankly until he starts talking about his new endorsement deal with Cold-FX. Yeah...


Crazy Day In The NYC

Okay, well...Tuesday night I expected to write something about game 1 of the NLCS, but that idea got washed away after all the rain in New York on Wednesday. The rain is still supposed to continue a bit today, how-evuh, I think game 1 will be played as scheduled. If not, let's hope for the most awesome doubleheader ever on Friday!

But I doubt that would be approved by the braintrust at Major League Baseball.

Nonetheless, the Cardinals/Mets rainout paled in comparison to the Cory Lidle tragedy that occurred yesterday afternoon. Going from "possible terrorist attack" to "accidental plane crash" to "oh shit, it's Cory Lidle's plane" made for an interesting span of four hours. Feel free to check out credible news sources on this story, as we send our thoughts and prayers to the Lidle family.


NLCS Prediction Post!

Today is the day we've been waiting for since April: the Cardinals vs. Mets showdown in the NLCS. We all kind of figured the Mets would take the path they did to get here. But no one could have predicted the rediculous journey the Cardinals have taken since those early season games this past spring.

We were looking forward to the great pitching matchups for games 1 & 2: Carpenter vs. Pedro and Mulder vs. Glavine. Oh, how the times have changed. Weaver vs. Glavine and Suppan vs. Maine doesn't have the same mystique to it, but we'll still be watching.

So what do the experts say? Naturally they're picking the Mets. The teams on the field have nothing to do with it, the media says the Mets will win because they are a bunch of east-coast loving jerks. At least that's what the "Best Fans In Baseball" will tell you.

But I agree with the east-coast guys, and I'd like to know your thoughts too.

I always hate seeing the Cardinals go home empty handed in the playoffs (96/00/01/02/04/05 anyone?), but I predict that they will lose this series in six. The way I see it playing out is that we take one of the first two in New York, come back for a Carpenter victory in game three, and then go in the tank. Unfortunately the rotation couldn't be set up for Carp's second start coming earlier than game 7. It is possible for him to pitch on three days rest for game 6, I'd be curious to see what LaRussa does in that situation. Luckily Andy Benes is on stand-by if we need him.

Feel free to post your thoughts in the comments section. And I will try to be back and do some hardcore (and by that I mean "terrible") analysis of each game.

In the meantime, bust out your parent's "Mets Are Pond Scum" t-shirts and enjoy the series!


Charlie Spunkmeyer

Notre Dame football will always be something special to me. My grandfather passed his love of the Fighting Irish on to me, and I hope to share it one day with my kids and theirs. Although I have an undying devotion to those who play for the green and gold on Saturdays, I have never always approved of what goes on behind the scenes at South Bend. The brief hiring of George "liar liar pants-on-fire" O'Leary was a bit embarrassing, and I was ticked off at the unfair firing of "I think you need to call on" Tyrone Willingham. I was pleased, though, when "proven winner" and ND alum Charlie Weis took the job as our new head coach almost two years ago. Weis has 4 Super Bowl rings from when he was an assistant coach or offensive coordinator during his stints with the Giants and Pats, I'm sure he breaks them out anytime an ND player tries to mouth-off to him, I would. The swagger is back at Notre Dame, along with the wobble. The wobble I speak of is the aforementioned Coach Weis who has become disgustingly more overweight each and every weekend the Irish play on NBC. It's distracting, to say the least, but as Catholics we are told to accept things that we cannot change. I say lets laugh at the things that we can't change, in this case, Chuck Weis' muffin.

"Oh do you know the muffin man, The muffin man, the muffin man?Oh do you know the muffin man, That lives in South Bend?"

"Yes I know the muffin man, The muffin man, the muffin man.Yes I know the muffin man, That lives in South Bend!"

A quick show of hands, who was born with a butt on the front of their body?

"Has anybody seen my penis, I haven't since the Reagan administration."

New for 2006...... The Muffin Rascal, complete with gatorade bottle full of gravy.



Hey, We Quit Sucking for a Week

When the playoff matchup was set last Sunday, many San Diego Padres fans and media were penciling themselves into the NLCS vs. either the Mets or Dodgers. I couldn't imagine why; we stumbled into the playoffs, had a bunch of key players injured (theoretically Izzy and Mulder should be key players), and had Jeff Weaver starting game two.

But lo and behold, this Cardinal team keeps shocking us. They didn't light the scoreboard on fire by any means, but they came out on top in 3 out of 4 games vs. the Padres. The Cardinal pitching (especially the bullpen) really stepped up and turned out to be a pleasant surprise this week.

Unfortunately that could all change Wednesday. Good luck to Bert and the Azzkickers against the Mets.

As a sidenote, there were plenty of nasty jerseys in attendance last night. But for some reason, this was my favorite: two people on a bus wearing Tony Womack jerseys. I'm not sure why this amuses me. Except for the fact that there are two people on a bus...and they are wearing Tony Womack jerseys.



Just a week ago, I was getting the invitations ready. There was going to be a huge "jump off the roof of your favorite building" party! I ordered hats and kazoos too. But the Cardinals were able to take care of business (kind of) and make it into the playoffs.

And here we are Friday thinking we might have something cookin'. The really mad guy at the top of this webpage is back to normal, and my estimates say he's hitting around 1.600 in the series so far, with a slugging percentage of 7.000. I apologize for not looking up the correct numbers, but I'm probably not too far off. Some may attribute Bert's playoff performance to his dedication in the batting cage. Others may say his God-given talent. Smart people would say the power comes from his goatee. Babyface Bert isn't very intimidating. Goatee Bert ends careers.

For example, here is one career that should be ending soon...

So on to game three. Bright and early Saturday morning (okay, noon). I know you are clamoring for some analysis, so here are my keys to the game:

Padres at Cardinals
October 7, 2006

*Cardinals hitting
*Padres hitting
*Cardinals pitching
*Padres pitching
*Cardinals defense
*Padres defense
*Josh the Batboy
*The weather
*The Cardinals' home field advantage
*The Cardinals' Moxie
*Tony LaRussa
*Bruce Bochy
*Willie McGee's Cookies
*Pre game meals
*Fan heckling
*Ernie Hays
*Coldness of Beer
*Hangovers from Friday night parties (Tyler Johnson--looking at you)
*Nicknames given by Chris Berman
*Gross jersey sightings
*Performance enhancing drugs
*Hot dogs

Those are just a couple things to pay attention to this Saturday when you watch the game. See you afterwards for Tony Pellegrino's Dance Party. TV, DDR pad, and cold frosty ones in the middle of the day...what else do we need to have a good time!?

If your answer is "a life," you probably ought to shut up.


MySpace Race #3

This must be "Big Return Week" here at the 'Flex, because today I bring you the return of the MySpace race. Today's race was nearly two months in the making; very disappointing results from our two competitors.

It is almost as disappointing as us having zero baseball posts during the first week of the playoffs. I'd like do my best Mark Messier and GUARANTEE that I will have a baseball post up when you check our site Monday morning. I'm sure there will be enough material to fill a column after going to the game Saturday and Sunday (if necessary). Oh, you're not going? Look for me on tv, I'll be the guy in red.

On to today's race...

Football season is a month underway and we welcome the annual return of two of my favorites: John Madden and Ed Hochuli. Madden because of his bumbling explanation of the simplest topics, plus his man-crush on Brett Favre. If Brett Favre and Jessica Alba were standing side-by-side with signs that said "Free Sex Now," I'd hate to imagine the outcome of John Madden's decision. But I digress.

Ed Hochuli is not as mainstream famous as Madden, since he is only a referee. But he is a referee who can and will kick your ass whenever he pleases. He is the reason why the phrase "The Gun Show" was termed. A lot of NFL fans know who he is and is a fun part of the game whenever reffing. Ed Hochuli will turn a simple "Holding" call into a Hulk Hogan WrestleMania VII promo.

The reason we are here today is to see which one jumps at the chance of being my friend on the MySpace website quicker. I sent the friend request to both men on Monday, August 7th.

Madden has the huge advantage here, as he has 5800 friends, compared to Hochuli's mere 36. But I think the reason has to do with Ed Hochuli's treacherous friend-selection process, as opposed to Madden's popularity. Rumor has it that in order to be Hochuli's friend, you have to go through a weeklong bootcamp in Liberia.

In his photo gallery there is a picture probably taken from his law firm's website. A simple google search found it to confirm. As a side note, you can email Ed directly: ehochuli@jshfirm.com. But you didn't hear that from me.

Madden and Hochuli's individual sites include funny little tidbits too. Now we know that John Madden is on MySpace for "Dating & Serious Relationships." And Ed Hochuli doesn't know how to spell Attorney.

Guess what kids, it's not really them.

Nonetheless, the competition took a while to complete, but your winner this week is...


"How come Shaun?" you may ask. Well, the answer is simple: they both suck and have yet to respond.

So what other knowledgeable football expert could I turn to?

<--- This guy .
That's right, Sean Salisbury comes through in the clutch!

You can view his page here: http://www.myspace.com/humanratingspike