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PURE CARDINAL OBSESSION
The #1 authority on St. Louis Cardinals baseball in Kent County, Maryland.
(And a little on the Orioles, Rams, Blues, Purdue Boilermakers, and Mizzou Tigers too, ever so often.)
This site is not affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, MLB, or anything, really. Contact the creator, if you wish.
I'm moving out East to start a new job over the next few days, so it could get hectic, and thus I may not reappear for a couple of weeks (that goes for at The Birdwatch
as well). But I'll be back sometime before baseball season, once I get settled in. Never fear!
I'll take the credit
Since my last two
posts, neither of my teams has lost. Mizzou (12-13) beat Oklahoma
(in overtime) and then Baylor
in Columbia, and Purdue (7-15) beat Iowa
in West Lafayette, thanks to 29 points from Carl Landry, after a weekend off. Both have big games this weekend, when Mizzou travels to Nebraska and Purdue hosts Michigan State -- Mizzou has to win some games to get in the NIT, and even has an outside chance at an NCAA bid (if they win out before the Big 12 Tournament), while Purdue needs some confidence before the Big Ten Tournament, which is the only way they can advance to the postseason.
Purdue's key for the Big Ten Tournament, actually, is avoiding Illinois as long as possible (and hoping someone else beats them). Illinois has the 1 seed all but locked up, and thus Purdue wants to do everything possible to avoid being seeded 8th or 9th, thereby being forced to play Illinois in the second round. Currently, they sit in 9th, but at 3-8 are only a game behind the Iowa/Northwestern tie for 7th (I'm excluding the possibility of finishing 10th, since Penn State and Michigan are both really bad). Unfortunately, they'd probably have to win 7th outright to get the seed, since Iowa and Northwestern have both beaten Purdue this year. At best, Purdue can probably hope for 6-10, which could be good enough for just that; however, if they're 5-11 or 4-12, then 8th or 9th is pretty likely.
Yeah, I just made a really long post there and I don't feel like duplicating it, so here's a link
. Also, be sure to check out the discussions on steriods, plus Iron Throne's two-part series on the fantasy value of the 2005 Cardinal players (here
Yesterday, the Cubs traded away a once-beloved veteran whose very effective seasons helped lead them to 88 wins in 2001 and the Central Division crown in 2003. However, a subpar season in 2004 filled with controversy led the Cubs to trade him away to the American League for a fringe major-leaguer and two prospects. Cubs fans were excited about the deal, claiming addition by subtraction of his personality from the team.
Yes, Kyle Farnsworth
, appliance-kicker extraordinaire, was sent to the Tigers for reliever Roberto Novoa
and two minor-leaguers.
I'm actually a little more disappointed about Farnsworth leaving the division than I am about Sosa, since he was such a goofy and flaky dude. You never knew if he was going to pitch solid relief in a comeback win
, give up a So Taguchi game-tying blast
, or cross up the catcher to allow the winning run on a passed ball
on any given day. Kyle, you will be missed.
Columbian wake-up call?
Purdue may be winning a few games now and then, but Mizzou is certainly not. They've lost 8 of their last 9 games, with the only win
coming over Nebraska at home. During that stretch, they've been beaten by Texas Tech and Kansas State at home, been blown out at Texas A&M and Kansas State, and also lost to bad teams Colorado and UNLV -- the latter of which happened last night
Mizzou's team this season reminds me a lot of Indiana's, since they both share several characteristics:
1) both coaches (Mizzou's Quin Snyder, IU's Mike Davis) inherited programs from legends (Mizzou's Norm Stewart, IU's Bob Knight) and achieved success in the NCAA tournament early on, but after disappointing '03-'04 seasons, both are on the hot seat this year
2) both teams have a "premier" player (Mizzou's Linas Kleiza, IU's Bracey Wright) who hasn't quite produced like he should, due to various reasons
3) both teams have few, if any contributing seniors (Mizzou's Jason Conley is the only one averaging significant minutes)
4) both teams have several freshmen who play a lot (Mizzou's Jason Horton, Marshall Brown, Kalen Grimes, and Glenn Dandridge, IU's D.J. White, A.J. Ratliff, and Robert Vaden)
I see promise next year for both teams -- however, both coaches may or may not return to their respective teams. IU sits currently at 10-10 (5-4 Big Ten), while Mizzou has dropped to 10-13 (2-8 Big 12). While Davis' team appears to be playing better of late, and still has a reasonable shot at an NCAA bid, he does not
have a vote of confidence from his AD -- something Snyder has
. I am of the opinion that regardless of the outcome of this season, Snyder (like Gary Pinkel) should be allowed to return next year with his young core of players mostly returning -- but if he doesn't produce a 20+ win season and more than a first-round NCAA exit, he should be fired.
Beating Penn State at home is a little like kissing one's sister, but when one is 1-8 in the Big Ten going in to the game, one should take any win
one can get. Especially when Chris Hartley has successfully made the transition from last player on the bench to starter
So, how'd it happen? Well, David Teague learned to shoot, Carl Landry continued to dominate, and Purdue actually was able to keep a team from making a high percentage of their shots.
Teague, one of the least efficient
shooters in the Big Ten, put together a 10-16 (5-10 3-point) effort for 25 points, a career high. Landry continued his solid play with 24 points. And Purdue actually held Penn State to 28.3% from the field, and 25.0% from 3-point range -- if those weren't season lows, I can't remember what was.
So, a win's nice. And the next two games for the Boilermakers are also at home, after a weekend off, in the forms of Iowa next Wednesday and Michigan State next Saturday. Why not start a streak?
Going north, but heading further south
Okay, so I lied. No more about the Michigan game, since Purdue proceeded to get beat up
in the second half in Columbus last Wednesday, then lose
at Northwestern on Saturday afternoon.
I was at the debacle in Evanston; it was a beautiful February day on the North Shore, and I comfortably walked to the game from my car in a T-shirt and jeans (the same outfit I sat outside in at Mustard's Last Stand after the game). For most of the game, however, I wondered why I even bothered to make the trip. The Boilers fell behind 11-0, and were not much closer than 4 or 5 in the first half, which ended 32-18. Northwestern went nuts again to start the half, opening up a 20-point lead at 44-24 (and being helped by the officials, who called the first seven fouls in the second half on Purdue -- enough so, that when they called the first foul on Northwestern, a huge Bronx cheer erupted from the Purdue half of the stands). At that point, as I was vocally expressing my indignation at having driven all the way up there, the weirdest thing happened -- Purdue went on a huge run, cutting the deficit to 4 points once more with about 4 minutes left. Unfortunately, there was a point soon after that with Purdue down either 4 or 5 (forgive me for not being able to remember the exact time or situation), when two Purdue players both went for the same rebound on the defensive end, collided, and the ball squirted into the backcourt where it was grabbed by a Northwestern player -- and of course, Purdue committed a foul, the Northwestern shooter made both free throws, and that pretty much was the turning point down the stretch.
Tonight, the Boilers look to get out
of last place in the Big Ten against Penn State. There's still enough games left to salvage a little dignity out of this season (even though they're mathematically eliminated from any postseason play, save winning the Big Ten tournament), so tonight would be a great time to start.
St. Louis Cardinals -- The Purpose.
Major League Baseball -- The system behind The Purpose, messed up in some ways as it may be.
StLToday.com -- More polished journalism than can be delivered on this blog.
ESPN.com Cardinals Clubhouse
Redbird Nation -- My inspiration.
The Birdwatch -- A new Cardinals blog. Highly recommended. Oh yeah, I post there.
Get Up, Baby
Random Redbird Reasoning
Royalties & Cardinalate -- Cross-state rivals, sort of.
Cardinals Birdhouse -- My dream job.
The Cardinal Virtue
Cards Fan in Cub Land
Other Baseball Links
Rob Neyer -- One of my favorite baseball pundits, even though he's a Royals fan.
Jayson Stark (on ESPN.com) -- Another guy I like.
Peter Gammons (on ESPN.com) -- Ken Burns would love his East Coast bias, but the guy knows what he's talking about.
Baseball-Reference.com -- An easy-to-navigate and uncluttered site for historical statistics. Yours truly is Ray King's page sponsor.
Al's Ramblings -- An excellent blog focusing mainly on the Brewers, a tribute to the lukewarm Brewer fan I've become.
Honest Wagner -- I don't hate the Pirates, and this is a good one as well.
Aaron's Baseball Blog -- Aaron Gleeman, Twins blogger extraordinare. Al of Ramblings fame calls him "King Gleeman," for good reason.
Transaction Guy -- Very witty. Keeps you up to date, which is handy for fantasy leagues.
Bat-Girl -- Twins commentary, with sass.
Throws Like A Girl -- Astros blog.
The Hardball Times -- General baseball blog/news site.
College Basketball Links
Big Ten Wonk -- Big Ten blog.
Yoco's College Basketball -- General NCAA blog.