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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

29

2 0 1 1 S t . L o u i s C a r d i nals

Season preview The Cardinals offseason has been focused on Adam Wainwright’s elbow and Albert Pujols’ contract, but now it is time to focus on the play between the white lines. Following is the Newsmagazine Network’s predictions for how the Cardinals’ will fare in 2011. Starting Pitchers About one month ago, it felt like the starting rotation for the 2011 St. Louis Cardinals was the only part of the team that was completely solidified. It was the undisputed strength of the team. Then, Adam Wainwright felt some stiffness in his throwing arm. Things definitely seem a bit more unsettled now, but all is not lost with the rotation. Pitching Coach Dave Duncan thrives when given a project to work on, and this year’s project seems destined to be transitioning Kyle McClellan from the bullpen to the role of No. 5 starter. McClellan is a sinkerball specialist, which Duncan loves, and which tends to protect a pitcher from giving up large chunks of runs. The best any team hopes for from this spot in the rotation is an innings-eater who keeps the team in games. McClellan should fit that bill. At the top of the rotation, in the person of Chris Carpenter, stands perhaps the fiercest competitor this town has seen since the great Bob Gibson. Carp should be especially motivated this year considering the injury to his friend and co-ace of the staff Wainwright. It is safe to expect great things from the veteran Carpenter this year. Jake Westbrook should shore up the middle of the rotation. He pitched very well after joining the Redbirds last year, and should benefit even more from a full season in the more pitcher-friendly National League. Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse will be as good as their health allows them to be this year. Garcia exploded onto the scene in 2010 and now just needs to continue getting stronger and adjusting to the rigors of a major league season. Lohse seems as healthy as he has been since 2009, when he enjoyed a very effective season. The Cardinals made a big commitment to Lohse with a rare four-year contract for a pitcher, and this is the year they really need that investment to pay off. UPI Photo

Predictions: Chris Carpenter Jake Westbrook Jaime Garcia Kyle Lohse Kyle McClellan

– 20 wins, 2.80 ERA – 15 wins, 3.30 ERA – 15 wins, 3.30 ERA – 14 wins, 3.80 ERA – 12 wins, 4.10 ERA

Bullpen Should Kyle McClellan indeed move into the starting rotation, the effect on the bullpen will be dramatic. Closer Ryan Franklin returns this year to consistently stop the hearts of Cardinals fans, but he does end up getting the job done. Converted catcher Jason Motte looks to build on an improved 2010 performance, where he found the consistency he had lacked early on. Lefty Trever Miller was a definite bright spot for the 2010 squad and seems to be ageless. New addition Brian Tallet is much more of a question mark. Tallet gave up a whole bunch of home runs last year as a spot starter and long reliever. The Redbirds hope that his new role as a lefty specialist will better fit his talents. There are likely only two spots open, and most signs point to veteran Miguel Batista becoming the long reliever and Fernando Salas assuming a middle relief position. Salas impressed in limited appearances with the big club last year, and Batista is a hugely versatile veteran. Predictions: Ryan Franklin Jason Motte Mitchell Boggs Trever Miller Brian Tallet Fernando Salas Miguel Batista

– 30 saves, 3.00 ERA – 3.00 ERA – 3.50 ERA – 2.50 ERA – 3.50 ERA – 4.00 ERA – 4.50 ERA


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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

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Starting Infield The 2011 version of the infield is drastically different from the 2010 version, and that is not at all a bad thing. Gone is the slick-fielding and fast-talking Brendan Ryan. Also gone is super-sub turned disappointing starter Felipe Lopez. The Cardinals have brought in the steady, though unremarkable, Ryan Theriot to be the starting shortstop. The Theriot signing should bring fond memories of the David Eckstein era to the minds of St. Louisans. He is not an eye-popping athlete, but Theriot shows up to play every single day in the role of the consummate professional. Local favorite David Freese projects as the starting third baseman again this year. Freese was off to hot start in 2010 before a series of injuries derailed his rookie campaign. Assuming he stays healthy, Freese has shown the ability to be an adequate major league hitter and an above-average defender.

Second baseman Skip Schumaker took a few steps back in 2010, and the success of this infield unit will depend largely on whether he can regain his footing in the field and at the plate. Schumaker was an excellent leadoff hitter in 2009 but saw his on-base percentage and average nosedive in 2010, especially the early part of 2010. If he gets off to a hot start, he should find success again and give the Cardinals a very nice middle infield. The question the Cardinals have at first base, of course, is more a 2012 question than a current year question. Albert Pujols is the rock on which the team is built, and that rock enters free agency at the end of this year. From a performance standpoint, Pujols undoubtedly is the best player in baseball. It is doubtful that anything, even a potentially $300 million contract, can distract him. Cardinals fans need to pay as much attention this year to Dan Lozano, Albert’s agent, as they do to Albert. Catcher Yadier Molina remains the best defensive infielder in all of baseball, but like much of the Cardinals infield took a step backwards at the plate in 2010. Molina plays in an awful lot of games at a grueling position, and that can definitely affect his performance at the dish. He will turn 29 during this season, but he still remains one of the top catchers in the game. Predictions: 1B – Albert Pujols .330; 40 HRs; 140 RBIs 2B – Skip Schumaker .280; 10 HRs; 50 RBIs 3B – David Freese .270; 15 HRs; 65 RBIs SS – Ryan Theriot .265; 8 HRs; 50 RBIs C – Yadier Molina .265; 6 HRs; 60 RBIs


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Starting Outfield Matt Holliday anchors this outfield group and anchors it well. A notoriously slow-starter, Holliday came on strong in 2010 and put up his expected numbers while playing an excellent left field. He will benefit from a better all-around lineup this year and should see his RBI numbers improve. After Holliday, the outfield comes with an awful lot of question marks. Young centerfielder Colby Rasmus put up decent numbers in 2010, but struck out far, far too often. Rasmus whiffed 148 times last year in just 534 plate appearances, a habit that created great friction between him and Manager Tony LaRussa. Rasmus also played an inconsistent centerfield, sometimes appearing almost disinterested. The talk is that he and his manager have made amends, and the Cardinals have done a lot this year to remove distraction and improve culture, so the hope is this will have a positive impact on Rasmus’ performance. In right field, it is hard not to root for Lance Berkman, at least now that he is a Cardinal instead of an Astro or Yankee. The “Big Puma” dropped weight in the offseason and looks quicker and more nimble than he has in years. This is fortunate, as the Cardinals are literally asking him to turn back the clock and play a position he has not manned in years. If Berkman can stay healthy and refrain from being a huge defensive liability, he brings an exceptional presence to the heart of the Cardinals lineup. Predictions: LF – Matt Holliday .320; 30 HRs; 115 RBIs CF – Colby Rasmus .270; 20 HRs; 60 RBIs RF – Lance Berkman .260; 20 HRs; 70 RBIs The Bench After nearly half the 2010 Cardinals bench players ended up as de facto starters last year, this is a portion of the team that fans will watch very carefully. Apparently, Cardinals ownership has a contractual clause with every general manager stating they must find a diminutive switch-hitter to serve as a utility player. That role was supposed to be filled this year by the 5’9” Nick Punto, but an injury will cost the former Twin at least the first month of the season, which invites some unexpected competition into spring training. Certainly the most intriguing part of the

MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

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Cardinals’ spring this year has been the exceptional play of third baseman Matt Carpenter. Carpenter led all Cards hitters in average, runs batted in, and extra base hits through the first two weeks of grapefruit league play. The last largely unheard of third baseman to make such an impression in the spring was a guy most people have heard of named Albert Pujols. Now, do not misinterpret that – Carpenter is not Pujols. But he is a line drive hitter with adequate defensive skills who just may make an impression on the big league club sometime this year. In all likelihood, given LaRussa’s penchant for veterans, there will not be many surprises on the Cardinals bench this year. Allen Craig and Jon Jay are virtual locks for the extra outfield roles. Gerald Laird will serve as backup catcher. Tyler Greene and Daniel Descalso should serve as backup infielders, though veteran Ramon Vasquez could send Descalso back down to the minors for some more grooming. Predictions: OF – Jon Jay .250; 7 HRs; 25 RBIs OF – Allen Craig .270; 10 HRs; 35 RBIs Tyler Greene .250; 5 HRs; 25 RBIs Daniel Descalso .230; 2 HRs; 15 RBIs Gerald Laird .220; 3 HRs; 20 RBIs

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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

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View from the front office Bill DeWitt III talks business

By BRIAN MCDOWELL Bill DeWitt III oversees all aspects of the St. Louis Cardinals’ business operations and the entities owned by the team. In his capacity as team president, he is in charge of the difficult task of selling tickets in a tough economy and trying to get the longpromised Ballpark Village built adjacent to Busch Stadium. According to DeWitt, Ballpark Village still is moving through the political approval process. “I’d say we’re about midway through,” DeWitt said. “I don’t want to put dates on it and either give false hopes or jinx it, but it will happen.” DeWitt said the first phase of the project had been scaled back to include 225,000 square feet of available office space and 100,000 square feet of retail or entertainment space, plus parking. Upon completion of the first phase, two of the seven planned blocks of Ballpark Village would be complete. “We are hopeful that those future phases will be what we originally envisioned and showed to the public, but this first phase keeps us on track with the completion of the whole project,” DeWitt said. Explaining the project’s delays, DeWitt pointed out that Ballpark Village originally was intended to include a residential area. The fragile state of the economy and bottoming out of the housing market prompted planners to change course and restructure plans, he said. Then, plans for Centene Corp. to build its corporate headquarters on the site fizzled when the health care business decided instead to build in Clayton. DeWitt said the TIF (Tax Increment Financing) bond mechanism that was supposed to fund the Ballpark Village project would not be backstopped by the city of St. Louis, so those bonds had to be sold based on their own perceived strength.

“With the financial crisis, we couldn’t get those bonds sold,” DeWitt said. “Now, we’re back in the mix and ready to come back to the table and try to sell them again.” DeWitt indicated the state of the economy had affected ticket-selling operations also, due to unemployment and tighter

Bill DeWitt III

discretionary income among fans. “Every professional sports team has to get creative,” DeWitt said. “I’ve been focused on the value programs of Cardinals baseball – items like half-price tickets, discount days for kids.” One new thing the team is trying this year is what DeWitt calls a Dynamic Pricing Option. In past years, all tickets were priced by section, and theoretically, that price was the same whether someone wanted to see the Cards play the Cubs on a Friday night or the Pirates on a Tuesday night. Under the new system, tickets for games that are less in demand will cost less, and the games generating more interest will cost a bit more. See DeWITT, next page


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Awning Sale!

DeWITT, from prior page Another issue that looms heavily around any discussion of the Cardinals’ economic future involves the team’s most popular player, Albert Pujols, who becomes a free agent at the end of the season. DeWitt said he was involved to a degree in contract negotiations with Pujols but acknowledged that he was not the primary point person. “That is largely done by Mo (Cardinals Sr. Vice President and General Manager John Mozeliak), his staff and my father (Cardinals Chairman and CEO William DeWitt Jr.),” DeWitt said. “I’m more focused on the business side of the team.” DeWitt said he was involved also with the corporate messaging that gets sent out about issues such as player contract negotiations. “I am pleased that these negotiations took place behind closed doors,” DeWitt said. “Either side here could have gone to the media and tried to win support for their side, but neither one of us did that. The problem with that is that there is no good, reliable information out there. Fans don’t know what (Pujols’) demands were and they don’t know what we offered. So when I listen to opinions on this, I have to keep that in mind.” In talking to fans, DeWitt said, he has heard two prevailing opinions about Pujols’ future with the team. There are those who feel the team should give the first baseman whatever he wants and those who are worried about the effect that would have on the rest of the team. “At the end of the day, all of these people are Cardinals fans and want us to do what’s best for the Cardinals,” DeWitt said. DeWitt emphasized that the team would remain focused on trying to sign Pujols. “He is an iconic player,” DeWitt said. “He already has Hall of Fame credentials. We obviously want him to be on our team, but there are certain financial issues. The length of the contract would be among those.” He expressed the team’s desire to keep Pujols and field a competitive team, but he made the point that the team’s funds are not unlimited. “We can’t be in a position where we’re giving 95 percent of our payroll to one player, but we also can’t give him a lower percentage than we give to anyone else on this team,” DeWitt said. “So it’s a combination of art and science.” According to DeWitt, the Cardinals will push the envelope and do what they have to do to keep Pujols here and still be

competitive. He expressed concern about the intense focus on the financial side of the game when it relates to players’ salaries. “The love of baseball comes from the games and how a player and a team performs in them,” DeWitt said. “If there is too much focus on the monetary side of things, I’m afraid it takes away from that.” When asked if ace pitcher Adam Wainwright’s injury and inability to pitch this season made him worried about the team’s prospects, DeWitt said, “I am worried about every season, but with Wainwright, there is room on the roster for five starting pitchers, and I know we can fill those. (Manager) Tony (LaRussa) and (Pitching Coach Dave) Duncan will fill his spot with someone effective.” DeWitt said he had heard from plenty of fans who were worried about how Wainwright’s injury would affect the team. “This isn’t the first time in history we’ve had worried fans,” he said. “I take that as a good sign. The passion of the fans comes from a deep desire for this team to win.” As for fan support, DeWitt said the Cardinals are in a unique position. “We’re one of the smaller markets in the majors, but we consistently attract more than 3 million fans a year, and our local TV ratings are higher than any other team’s in the country,” he said. He said the city’s love of baseball stems from the Cardinals’ history and legacy. “It’s generational,” DeWitt said. “We tend to have at least one great team every generation.” DeWitt also credited the Cardinals’ success to the signal strength of KMOX Radio and credited personalities such as Dizzy Dean, Harry Caray, Jack Buck and Mike Shannon for the Cardinals’ longstanding popularity in the region. He credited modern figures like Mark McGwire, LaRussa and Pujols for continuing the team’s grand tradition. Overall, DeWitt expressed optimism about the upcoming season. “With the acquisition of (Lance) Berkman and (Ryan) Theriot, and with (David) Freese healthy and (Colby) Rasmus coming up, with Pujols and (Matt) Holliday and (Yadier) Molina, and if (Skip) Schumaker can improve over what he did last year – our lineup is as good as it’s been in a long time,” DeWitt said. “The problems that we had last year have been addressed by changes we made in the offseason.”

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CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

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By BRIAN MCDOWELL Yadier Molina has a cannon of an arm that is regularly used to throw out base runners, and he has an encyclopedic knowledge of Cardinals’ pitchers and opposing hitters. His skills behind the plate and timely hits have played a major role in any success the Cardinals have had in the “New Busch Stadium” era. On the field, he displays an infectious enthusiasm and passion for the game. For those qualities, Molina – better known as “Yadi” – is much loved by Cardinals fans. Cardinals President Bill DeWitt III said he considered Molina “the best defensive catcher in baseball.” Manager Tony LaRussa called him a “superstar.” “Even the one lack that he has – foot speed – you don’t even see it,” LaRussa said. “He is one of those guys you just go to the ballpark and are always happy to see there. He is just a delight.” Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said Molina was so good that the team has had trouble finding backup catchers willing to play for St. Louis. “They all know that he is the

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guy here and that he’s going to be here,” Mozeliak said. Longtime teammate Albert Pujols remarked on how hard Molina plays and called him “the best catcher that there is.” “When he is behind the plate, people don’t even think about running,” Pujols said. Cardinals pitchers say Molina’s catching skills and pitch selection have contributed greatly to their success in the past few years. “He is the best in the game,” Adam Wainwright said. “He just changes the game completely. I never have to think about base runners or bounced balls when there’s a guy on third. I shouldn’t say this, but he really hasn’t missed that many balls. Yadier is a weapon, a certified weapon. He calls a good game, and he gets calls from umps by catching the balls in a way that makes it look like a strike. He’s just the best.” Throughout his career, Molina has thrown out 42 percent of runners attempting a stolen base and led the majors in pickoffs with 36 in the past five years. Molina’s contributions to the Cardinals are enormous, but seemingly, fans do not know very much about him personally. Sure, they know he has two brothers who catch for major league teams and that all three brothers have World Series rings, but it seems fans know relatively little about the star catcher himself. Molina has not been a regular at team-sponsored events. Citing an illness in his family, he skipped his planned autograph appearance and accompanying media press conference at this year’s Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up. He is not omnipresent at downtown St. Louis nightclubs the way that some of the team’s 20-something ballplayers are. He is notorious among local sportswriters for being either widely unavailable for interviews or for not saying much on See YADI, next page


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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

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35

YADI, from prior page

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the few occasions when they do get to talk to him. Molina was born in Puerto Rico, so it is feasible that the language barrier has something to do with his lack of communicating with the public. He has a young family to attend to, so perhaps his living situation does not lend itself well to frequent socializing. Some of Molina’s teammates acknowledged that around the press, he appears to be a quiet guy, but they insisted that behind closed doors, in the clubhouse and on road trips, Molina is funny and personable. Second baseman Skip Schumaker has known Molina since the two were on the same AAA team. “He’s a guy that will back you up no matter what,” Schumaker said. “Having your back is always a good quality in a teammate.” Cardinals outfielder Jon Jay said Molina helped him adjust to his first year in the major leagues. “He’s talked to me a lot, giving me advice about game-time situations,” Jay said. “I know when Bryan Anderson came in late last year, Yadi gave him lots of advice and helped him out.” Jay said Molina always kept things loose in the clubhouse and never got down on himself. While he admitted Molina was “very quiet,” outfielder Colby Rasmus said, “He’s ‘the’ Cardinal player – a Cardinal through and through.” Young pitcher Jaime Garcia said working with Molina really helped him through his rookie season. “He’s the best there is,” Garcia said. “It’s great for a young guy to be around someone like that, with the knowledge he has.

I’m grateful to be around a guy like him.” Why the public and the press rarely see that side of Molina’s personality is a mystery, and ultimately, Molina remains an enigma – a blank canvas for local baseball fans to paint with their own interpretation of who he really is. Perhaps that, combined with his amazing athletic ability, is what makes him so appealing to the casual fan. But it also means that many of the subtle advantages he brings to the team are overlooked. “Behind the dish is the toughest job on the field, and he does it so well,” pitcher Chris Carpenter said. “Plus, he knows how to get big hits when he needs to, and we all know how well he works with the pitching staff. It’s great to throw to a guy as prepared and knowledgeable as he is. Plus, he can throw guys out at first and second. He does little things, he chases down balls and makes adjustments that I don’t think fans really see in games to help us save runs and pitches.” Carpenter said he was reading the book “The Blind Side,” which details offensive linemen’s importance to the game of football. Linemen make blocks and adjustments that allow quarterbacks, wide receivers and running backs to score, but their efforts are largely unappreciated by most fans, who revel instead in the glories of players who score points or prevent other players from scoring. Carpenter said the book reminded him of Molina, whose contributions often are not recognized by baseball fans. “He’s watched the same video I have, but he sees things that I don’t see, so when he puts fingers down, he’s not just jacking around,” Carpenter said. “He has a purpose for everything he does.”

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Cardinals Salute 2011

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Chris Carpenter - P W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 2 1 5.40 5 0 20.0 24 9 20 .289 CAREER 133 83 3.80 313 0 1965.0 1946 569 1494 .2.61

54

Ryan Franklin - P

Jaime Garcia - P

W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 2 0 5.25 11 2 12.0 16 0 6 .308 CAREER 61 72 4.03 511 83 1173.1 1186 346 651 .262

W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 0 1 3.00 6 1 24.0 21 5 20 .239 CAREER 14 9 2.96 38 0 179.1 165 72 140 .242

26

46

Kyle Lohse - P

Kyle McClellan - P

W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 3 1 3.81 6 0 26.0 30 8 14 .286 CAREER 88 98 4.79 292 0 1573.2 1767 485 984 .285

W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 2 1 1.38 7 0 13.0 11 5 12 .234 CAREER 7 15 3.23 202 6 217.2 193 83 170 .237

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30

Trever Miller - P W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 0 0 3.52 9 0 7.2 6 7 10 .231 CAREER 18 16 4.20 646 10 502.0 496 225 422 .259

Jason Motte - P W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 1 0 3.60 9 1 10.0 12 2 6 .300 CAREER 8 6 3.30 137 3 120.0 103 44 124 .235


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39

56

Fernando Salas - P W L ERA G SV IP 2010 0 0 1.93 7 0 9.1 CAREER 0 0 3.52 27 0 30.2

MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

H BB 9 1 28 15

SO 10 29

Brian Tallet - P AVG .250 .241

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W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 3 2 4.71 5 0 21.0 23 4 12 .277 CAREER 16 23 4.65 223 0 446.2 437 206 327 .256

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Adam Wainwright - P W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 0 2 6.14 5 0 22.0 29 6 20 .312 CAREER 66 35 2.97 182 3 874.1 802 249 724 .244

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Yadier Molina - C G AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG 2010 13 35 5 11 0 1 0 .314 .351 .486 CAREER 805 2680 223 718 41 325 21 .268 .327 .361

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Mitchell Boggs - P W L ERA G SV IP H BB SO AVG 2010 0 0 6.57 10 1 12.1 19 4 12 .339 CAREER 7 8 4.63 85 0 159.1 173 82 111 .282

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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

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G AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG 2010 16 49 7 15 4 8 1 .306 .364 .633 CAREER 1558 5733 1186 1900 408 1230 75 .331 .426 .624

G AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG 2010 5 11 2 4 0 2 0 .364 .462 .636 CAREER 1629 5666 1017 1675 327 1099 82 .296 .409 .545

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G AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG 2010 16 43 7 10 0 4 0 .233 .327 .302 CAREER 824 2468 325 610 13 198 91 .247 .321 .322

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G AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG 2010 23 64 12 23 0 5 5 .359 .423 .406 CAREER 663 2452 355 696 16 182 104 .284 .348 .356

G AB R H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG 2010 23 58 10 21 5 13 2 .362 .500 .707 CAREER 291 938 157 247 39 118 15 .263 .334 .452


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CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

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Allen Craig - LF G 2010 21 CAREER 44

AB R 60 11 114 12

H HR RBI SB AVG OBP SLG 18 2 9 0 .300 .373 .567 28 4 18 0 .246 .298 .412

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Beyond baseball

Cardinals Care goes to bat for the community By BRIAN MCDOWELL The St. Louis Cardinals provide much more to the St. Louis community than great baseball and fodder for local conversation. It is the job of Michael Hall, the team’s vice president of the non-profit Cardinals Care and community relations, to help the team make life better for local young people. The Cardinals have long sponsored Fredbird’s “Doin’ It Right” series of school assemblies, which feature the team’s beloved mascot and various Cardinals broadcasters and former players who illustrate to schoolchildren the importance of staying in school, not doing drugs and participating in sports. It is estimated that 24,000 children see the program live at school every year. In 2004, the team decided to expand its outreach to area kids by concentrating on youth baseball development. According to Hall, the Cardinals currently run 22 baseball leagues around the area, have built 19 baseball fields and use baseball as a vehicle to help 4,500 local kids in areas that include health, education and cultural development. Hall said also that Cardinals Care helps other nonprofits throughout the year, including the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) every September. The program since its inception in 1997 has contributed more than $14 million to support organizations around St. Louis. The giving happens in two cycles: one in April and one in late August. The money for the Fredbird’s “Doin’ It Right” school assemblies comes directly from the team itself. The rest of Cardinals Care efforts are funded by events like the Cardinals Care Winter Warm-Up, which occurs down-

town every year on Martin Luther King Day weekend. Hall described Winter Warm-Up it as a “fan-fest for Cardinal Nation.” The event gives fans the opportunity to meet and get autographs from their favorite players and coaches. Team members’ appearance at the event is completely voluntary, and the fees collected for player autographs are used to fund the Cardinals Care charitable efforts. Cardinals Care benefits also from promotions like the silent auction that occurs before every Tuesday and Thursday night game at Busch Stadium, and from the occasional special jersey raffle which allows fans to buy a ticket for a chance to go on the field and receive jerseys from randomly drawn team members. Hall said the support Cardinals Care receives from players and coaches is very valuable. “They’re all very gracious to help us out with what we do,” Hall said. “The players and (Manager) Tony (LaRussa) all believe in this cause.” Last year, the Cardinals’ charitable efforts received a boost from a special 6K run fundraiser that was dedicated to Stan Musial. The event started at the Musial statue outside Busch Stadium and wound its way through surrounding streets, ending with every participant having the chance to run around the warning track at Busch and cross home plate. Hall said the popular fundraising event would be happening again this year on Sept. 18, which will correspond with the 70th anniversary of when Musial became a Cardinal. Hall said it was difficult to raise funds for charities in the current economic atmosphere. He said that is why the Cardinals created events like the 6K run, so they could continue to grow the base of services they support without dialing anything back. “Our goal is to continue to give the same amounts to non-profits that we always have,” Hall said.


NEWSMAGAZINENETWORK.COM

CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

Outside the lines

Umpire made the tough calls By BRIAN MCDOWELL Dave Phillips worked as a Major League Baseball (MLB) umpire for 32 years before retiring in 2002. He started umpiring when he was a kid and the St. Louis little league team for which he played started paying younger people to call games. Phillips found he had the knack for calling balls and strikes and a good memory for baseball rules. Phillips went to umpiring school in Florida and then spent seven years rising through the ranks as an umpire in the minor leagues. He made his MLB debut calling an opening day game in Anaheim, Calif., as one of the youngest umpires in the league. In the early days of his career, he was a self-described “baby-faced kid” and often was tested by players. “I got challenged more by them because I was closer to their age, but I held my ground, and eventually, they figured out that I knew what I was doing,” he said. The player that gave him the most trouble, Phillips said, was Lou Piniella. “He was just a hot-tempered kid,” Phillips said of Piniella. “I always joked that he had a special set of rules that applied only to him. If he didn’t swing at a pitch, it was supposed to automatically be a ball.” But once Piniella became a manager, Phillips said, he was very fair with the umpires. “He was good at that job,” Phillips said. “He was a throwback to the old type of manager that you really don’t see much anymore.” Over the years, Phillips was involved with several theatrical arguments with managers. “Yes, I was bumped and yelled at and called names by managers,” he said. “I think a big reason why they do that is to show their players and their fans that they’re passionate.” When asked if any of the managers with whom he argued had ever succeeded in changing his mind on a call, Phillips said, “No. None of that ever changed my mind. I was good at what I did. I was trained very well; I kept an eye on anything. I always found that the best way to handle confrontational situations was to avoid them.” Being booed by fans never bothered him, he said, but was “just part of the deal.” Phillips said he respected players as coworkers and generally got along with them, but professional ethics prevented him from spending much time socializing with them. “I’d see players places and I’d be cordial

with them, but I can’t say I ever really was a part of their group,” he said. Phillips was a part of several historic baseball games. He worked in four World Series, including two that involved the St. Louis Cardinals in 1982 and 1987. He grew up as a Cardinals fan and listed the ’82 World Series as the highlight of his career. “The only team I root for anymore is the umpiring team, and that (1982) Series went well from an umpiring standpoint,” he said. “There were no controversies, and this town was just so euphoric. It was great to have a part in that.” Phillips was due to be the home plate umpire during the game that featured the infamous Disco Demolition at a scheduled Chicago White Sox doubleheader. Fans got discounted admission to the game for bringing in disco records to be destroyed by two Chicago disc jockeys in a bin in the stadium’s outfield. The demolition essentially set part of the outfield on fire, and rowdy fans rioted. Phillips was part of the umpiring crew that decided to cancel the second game, and the incident gave him the title for the book he wrote about his umpiring career, “Center Field on Fire: An Umpire’s Life With Pine Tar Bats, Spitballs, and Corked Personalities.” Phillips said he felt fortunate that while he missed a few calls and got some things wrong, he never made a major mistake in a high-profile game. Now, he is enjoying retirement, although he received an offer to join the ESPN broadcast crew to talk about the game from an official’s perspective. He said he was tempted by the offer but was not really looking forward to the travel.

MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

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MARCH 23, 2011 WEST NEWSMAGAZINE

CARDINALS SALUTE 2011

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Cardinal numbers • Through history, the Cardinals have won more than 9,200 games, 10 World Series Championships, 17 National League pennants, three National League Eastern Division titles, eight National League Central Division titles and have had 37 players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. • The team was founded in 1882 as the St. Louis Brown Stockings, an American Association team, and joined the National League in 1891. In 1892, it became the St. Louis Browns and in 1899 changed its name to the Perfectos. In 1900, the team officially became the Cardinals. • Rogers Hornsby playermanaged the Cardinals to their first National League pennant and world championship in 1926. • Fredbird, official Cardinals mascot, was introduced in April 1979. • The Cardinals bring more than 3 million fans downtown each year.

• More than 90 percent of fans attending Cardinals games come from outside the city of St. Louis. • Busch Stadium is the Cardinals’ fourth ballpark and third to be named Busch Stadium. • In one year, Busch Stadium sells: • 540,000 hot dogs • 81,000 pounds of nacho chips • 32,000 gallons of nacho cheese • Cardinals retired numbers: - August Anheuser Busch, Jr. (85) - Bob Gibson (45) - Bruce Sutter (42) - Lou Brock (20) - Dizzy Dean (17) - Ken Boyer (14) - Enos Slaughter (9) - Stan Musial (6) - Red Schoendienst (2) - Ozzie Smith (1) - Jackie Robinson (42) • Cardinals Care has distributed more than $15 million to area organizations and built 19 youth baseball fields since its inception in 1997.

Resources: “St. Louis Encyclopedia,” by Bob Broeg The St. Louis Cardinals website

Bird’s-eye view This baseball season, Cardinals fans who have Charter TV in digital can enjoy a bird’s-eye view of the game, and they can choose the view. Charter TV digital subscribers will have access to Fox Sports Home Advantage, which gives customers access to four unique views of the game through four channels: • Backstop – Channel 160 • First Base – Channel 161 • Bird’s eye of field – Channel 162 • Video board – Channel 163 Games from all views will be broadcast live and unedited. The four views will be offered in addition to watching the “normal” version of the game on Charter.


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