What Cardinals will play in the WBC?

The World Baseball Classic will once again be played this year with a handful of Cardinals players getting an opportunity to represent their country. The intriguing name, according to reports from December, was supposed to be Jaime Garcia, who intended to pitch for Mexico. However, his name is not on the rosters released today, though that may still change.

The question becomes did Garcia back out on his own accord or at the team’s urging? Or is it his injury continuing to be an issue? The answers really shape what happens in Spring Training. Right now there is only a single pitcher spot on the roster, for a right handed reliever. If Garcia is still down, that opens up a rotation spot for a number of candidates.

Jason Motte turned down an invitation to pitch for the United States because he and his wife are expecting their first child later this month. Mitchell Boggs will be on the only member of the team on the US roster.

Carlos Beltran and Yadier Molina will play for Puerto Rico. Fernando Salas will pitch for Mexico. And Richard Castillo, who started in Double-A Springfield last year for the Cardinals, will pitch for Spain.

Why not Punto?

Exactly one month ago today the St. Louis Cardinals traded Skip Schumaker to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for minor league shortstop Jake Lemmerman. It wasn’t a trade of necessity for the Cardinals, but rather a trade of accomodation. Under new manager Mike Matheny, Schumaker saw his playing time and role on the team diminish down the stretch.

Meanwhile, Schumaker was still hitting over .300 for the season entering September and was holding his own in the defensive metrics with Daniel Descalso. He was by far the Cardinals’ best option at second base last year, but he didn’t get regular playing time. He made 8 pinch hitting appearances in the playoffs and got a chance at second base in the playoffs for the 9th.

With the reduced role, Schumaker asked John Mozeliak to explore trades for him, somewhere where he could get a bigger role. New Dodgers’ hitting coach Mark McGwire lobbied for Schumaker and the Cardinals and the Dodgers made a trade work.
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What to do about Chris Carpenter?

When I think about the greatest Cardinals’ pitcher of the last decade, my mind immediately goes to Chris Carpenter. I think most Cardinals’ fans’ minds would too. Over the last decade, when number 29 was on the mound you knew he was going to give it everything he had in the tank. If there was just one single ounce of greatness left in him, he was going to find it and use it. It was this same gritty determination that Carpenter used to give the Cardinals their eleventh World Series championship in 2011.

He spent nearly all of the 2012 season paying for it.

A rib later and here was Carpenter, using everything he had to make a miraculous September return. He wasn’t bad either. His record may reflect a 0-2 record with a 3.71 ERA in his three September starts, but he followed it up with a 2.63 ERA in three playoff starts. Unfortunately he was the victim of 6 unearned runs in the NLCS against the Giants that resulted in a 1-2 playoff record for him. Carpenter showed he was close, but he still wasn’t perfect.
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Gloves 4 Troops

I ran across this this morning as I was poking around for Cardinals’ related news. Cardinals’ minor league shortstop Vance Albitz has begun a program to collect gloves and baseballs and send them overseas to troops. He’d read in a news article the response of a soldier who said he’d really like a glove and a baseball to play with and Albitz decided to start this collection drive. According to his site he has sent 212 gloves to soldiers so far. His goal was to send 1,000 gloves before he has to pack up and head to Florida for Spring Training with the Cardinals.

You can donate gloves, baseballs, or even cash (which is just as good as money) to help pay for shipping expenses.

You can check out the website for more information, www.gloves4troops.com. Maybe even donate if you feel like it. I’m wishing I hadn’t trashed my backup glove over the summer. I thought it was a very cool idea. He has some updates and pictures on his Twitter page as well.

Cardinals announce 2013 promo schedule

The St. Louis Cardinals announced the promotional schedule for the 2013 season today. It will feature replica jerseys, replica rings, bats, socks, and of course, everyone’s favorite giveaway, bobbleheads.

It will kick off with the schedule magnet giveaway at the home opener against the Reds. You can get a Stan Musial Harmonica on April 12th against the Brewers. The Bobbleheads include Carlos Beltran (April 28th), Mike Shannon with voice chip (July 5th), Ozzie Smith (July 19th), and Mike Matheny (Sept 13th).

There are some cool ones that I’d like. Like the Team Canvas Print (August 23rd) or the Molina replica Gold Glove Award (April 14th) or the 2006 Replica Championship ring (April 26th). But I don’t know if it’s really get me going to extra games.

All this got me thinking, do promotional giveaways really sell more tickets? There has to be  some evidence to support it, or they’d have stopped doing it. But they don’t really work much for me. I’d still be going to the same number of games. I may move one of the ones that I attend to a particular promotional item if I wanted one. Or I could just find it down the road on eBay.

I go for the game not the giveaway, but maybe that’s just the mentality of a hardened fan and not a casual fan. Kids love the giveaway stuff too, I guess.

But how about you? Do they affect what games you go to? Would you go to a game specifically  for the giveaway? And if so, what giveaway?

Redbird Dugout 2013

Maybe this is a little bit of a State of the Blog post. While the 2012 season was not successful as the 2011 season was in terms of visitors to the blog, I was unable to be as reliable with posting as I wanted. That left me contemplating several options going into this offseason. After two years had my blog run it’s course? No, I was still interested in writing about the Cardinals. I wanted to have a blog, I wanted to have a place to share. So the goal became finding a way where I could maintain the blog like I felt it needed to be maintained, but still not completely ignore my job and my wife.

So here comes my plan for Redbird Dugout in 2013. Less conventional blogging, more shorter posts. The idea is that it’s more like a Tumblr-style where posts aren’t as long, but posts may be more frequent and more focused on one simple thought. While I’m sure there will be the occasional 1,000+ word missive, I’m expecting those to be rare, maybe once a week at most. The Tumblr-style will also allow me to feel like I can share more baseball related things I find. A funny baseball image? Post that up. A good quote from someone? Post that up too.

With the conventional style, the pressure was on to treat it like I would a regular sports website. At least it was from myself. The change should help.

We are up with the new format right now. There is still a few little display fixes yet to do, but for the most part, the base site is now ready. I’m excited for what 2013 can hold for Redbird Dugout and hopefully it’s closer to 2011 success than 2012′s failures. Preview season will start soon and we’ve got just 47 days until baseball is played again. The excitement is building.