We are a few weeks into spring training and tons of questions still remain to be answered for your St. Louis Cardinals. You can check a number of publications - local and national - and they will give you some kind of "Top 10 Questions" list for each team, addressing numerous decisions that need to be made by the beginning of the baseball season. But there are so many questions that do not make the cut and I feel they are just as important. Since I know the furious masses of BertFlex Nation demand answers and hardcore analysis, I will do the dirty work and cater to your needs. I did this back in 2006, and the Cardinals won the World Series. I did not do it last year, and the Cardinals were mediocre. Coincedence? Hopefully thinking about these issues will help the Cardinals get organized before March 31st.
Here are questions #11-20 facing the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008:
11. What is the statistical probability that Mike Shannon will drink a beer on any individual occasion?
See the convenient graph below...
12. Following in the footsteps of Edmonds, Shannon, O. Smith, Pujols, Hrabosky, etc, who is the next Cardinal, past or present, to open a bar?
This is a tough one. Now that the Spiezio news has come out, I think a current player would be advised against opening a bar with their name on it. The last thing Dewitt wants is more booze-related press about his team. So just to throw a name out there for conversation purposes, I'm going with a long shot and saying Ron Gant. I'm 99% sure that Gant doesn't live here, but if he were to give back to the community in a positive way, he'd open a bar called "Pythons."
Back to the current players, I could see Brad Thompson opening an ice cream shop, or Chris Duncan owning his own White Castle franchise. The former would be good for the Cardinals' family friendly approach. The latter would be awesome for my personal entertainment.
13. Who is the new David Scrapstein?
If he wasn't a few years away, I'd go with last year's first round pick Peter Kozma, who has been compared to Mark Loretta and a "young" Michael Young (which is Michael Young without the power). But he is gritty...and grimey...and tough...and is a great teammate...and, yeah you get the picture.
Kozma is too far away, but Jarret Hoffpauir is close to the majors so I'm going with him. Last year over two levels he hit 11 HR's, which is more than Eckstein ever hit in a season (although he had 8 HR's in two different seasons in the majors). But Hoffpauir is 5'9 and listed at 165 (baseballcube.com) and 175 (stlcardinals.com) - very similar to Eckstein. Both play MI (Hoffpauir at 2B, where Eckstein should be playing), and most importantly...both are white. I can't find any data that says how much of a "gamer" Hoffpauir is, I'm shocked that PECOTA doesn't have that projection yet, they're worthless.
Another intangible is that Hoffpauir (pronounced Hoff-Power) has a great name for Sign Guy to have some fun with. That has to count for something. Sign Guy is probably in his basement right now with a pen and pad thinking of more golden material.
14. What will be the least attended game of the year?
Thursday May 15 vs. the Pirates (12:15 pm)
Usually the early season games draw well, as does any "businessman special," where there is a game during the day in the middle of the week. But by May 15th there will have already been three mid-week day games (not counting opening day)...plus this one is against the Pirates. Really - who is going to go to this game? Stay at work people, don't call in sick.
15. With the 13th pick in the 2008 draft the Cardinals choose?
Okay, so the MLB draft isn't on par with the NBA and NFL draft, where players are able to make an immediate impact. But in recent years a lot of top picks in baseball have risen through the minors quickly and are regulars in plenty of lineups around the Majors. This is very evident with the '05 draft, as guys like Ryan Braun, Alex Gordon, and Troy Tulowitzki are starting and playing big roles for their team already. So with the 13th pick, the Cardinals should be able to snag a pretty good talent. I recently read that Shooter Hunt is a possibility, a pitcher from Tulane. My personal opinion is that they'll take Jemile Weeks, brother of Rickie "The Better" Weeks. Of course there are still a few months left for the front office to say they are going to make a big splash in the draft (like Rick Porcello last year), then find a scrappy 5'7" white infielder named Skippy or Shortie or Stumpy to build the franchise around.
16. What local website will be hosting a "Cardinal Off-The-Field-Problem Pool" in the wake of the La Russa, Hancock, and Spiezio incidents?
The insensitive bastards of bertflex.com. We will post the results in the coming weeks. Dave McKay is my sleeper pick.
17. Will Jose Oquendo really care this year?
Rumors flying around spring training so far have been saying that Jose will work his 3rd base coaching duties from a recliner. He won't be very busy waving runners home, and he can't be the Cardinal manager for another two years, so why bother?
18. Did we really sign Juan Gonzalez?
Oh crap, we really did. He's actually been in spring training games and hasn't fallen apart yet (with a HR off Johan too). With Spiezio cut, he has a chance to make the club over younger players who can bend their legs without needing an operation. I really hope the outfield ends up being Duncan, Ankiel, Ludwick, Shoemaker, and Barton. If TLR is making the decision, it will probably be over for those last two (Hmm, Gonzalez - over 30. Must be good. Sign him up. Shoemaker - under 30? Pass. Rasmus - 21? Does he have an uncle? Barton - blac...er, um bad fielder. Pass on him too).
19. What businesses will move into Ballpark Village?
I think I'm the only one left who actually has any faith in Ballpark Village. Besides the corporate office for Centene, a big ass aquarium (yeay?), and lofts that will be d-bag magnets, what else is going to go into BPV? I tapped into some Vegas connections and they have odds on these establishments, to be released soon:
1:2000 - Starbucks
1:10 - Something sponsored by Anheuser-Busch
1:1 - Walgreens
2:1 - Applebee's
5:1 - Tony La Russa Veterinary Office
7:1 - Delmar Gardens
10:1 - A Domino's run by Sign Guy
11:1 - A Mustache Trimming Saloon run by Sign Guy
12:1 - Some dude on the corner selling rocks to throw at Sign Guy
25:1 - The entire BPV will be a parking lot
75:1 - Cody McKay's Nutritional Supplements
200:1 - Dirt Cheap Cigarettes, Beer, & Liquor
1500:1 - KFNS 590
10 jillion:1 - anything involving nudity
20. Did they build a less boring stadium yet?