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Oscar Taveras and the Importance of Baseball

October 27, 2014

I ask that you bear with me here. I don’t write any serious pieces. Hell, in the past few years I haven’t written much at all. But I needed to write this. It’s probably for selfish reasons, but I had to get this off my mind. I had to put into words the one thing I kept repeating over and over.


Heroes aren’t supposed to die. That’s the thought that I keep coming back to when I think about the tragic loss of 22-year old Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras.


Before I get any further into these thoughts, let me just say that I didn’t personally know Oscar Taveras. The hurt I’m experiencing pales deeply in comparison to the emotions that are currently overwhelming his family, teammates and those in the Cardinal’s organization that knew him more as a person than as a player. My sincerest condolences go out to them and the family of Oscar’s girlfriend.


But as a member of the fan base affectionately referred to as Cardinals Nation, this hurts. Honestly, this hurts me more than it probably should. Once again, I’ve never met Oscar, but he felt like family. And that is the beauty of baseball.


Baseball is pointless. I say this as a man who has dedicated a significant amount of time and money to following the game. But when a moment like this occurs, we realize that how hard a man throws a ball or how well another man can hit it means absolutely nothing. Baseball is beautiful because of the importance we’ve chosen to place on these action, these men, these moments.


Buster Posey played one of the most meaningful games of his career, only to walk off the field and say that baseball is not that important. That was a deep-cutting dose of reality from a man who is closer to the game than I will ever be, yet still understands that there are bigger things than the importance we place on runs, wins and ERA.


But it’s because of that collectively placed importance that a 22-year old from the Dominican Republic found himself hailed, cheered and idolized by millions of people whom he’s never met. That’s why without risking his life for us, or even personally knowing us, a baseball player can be called our hero. But that’s what Oscar was to thousands of us in Cardinal red. The man was a hero. And heroes aren’t supposed to die.


Baseball is typically a slow game. We have the luxury of saying goodbye to these titans of summer in phases. In different ways, Cardinals fans lost Albert, lost Tony, and lost Stan, but that’s how baseball works. Sometimes players have to say goodbye to a city, to the game, or sometimes, after many years of taking those last steps off the field, have to say a final farewell. We’re sad to see them go. The game goes on.


But those goodbyes should not come all at once. Not for a 22-year old. Oscar Taveras was our rookie phenom, future All-Star, and potential Hall-of-Famer. You’re not supposed to say goodbye to the future.


I would try to wrap all of this into some philosophical analogy about “the game going on” or the “promise of a new season,” but seeing the bigger picture in the death of a 22-year old with unlimited potential is futile. Cardinal Nation felt the pain of a loss last week at the hands of the Giants. This week we experienced a real loss.; one much bigger than the end of a postseason run. There will be a next season for 24 of the 25 men on the roster.


There should be a next season for Oscar Taveras.


Heroes aren’t supposed to die.


Area Man Deams New Cap Dance Impossible

April 3, 2011

Tim Fri has officially retired from even trying to keep up with the new cap dance at Busch Stadium citing the reason of it being "Complete impossible Bullshit"

(St. Louis, Mo) In a fit of frustration and inebriation today, local man Tim Fri lost all hope of keeping track of the cap dance for this game and every future game, deeming the damn thing impossible. The new dance lost Fri’s attention in an astonishing 2.5 seconds and he was unable to recover from the brief lapse in focus.

“What the hell was that?” screamed as exasperated Fri, “No way, no damn way can anybody keep up with that. Did you see that, it went like 50 times faster than it wass last year. Bullshit!”

Fri was excited for the new season in St. Louis and noted a myriad of improvements over the previous year. He was extremely pleased with the new concession options, more flexible ticket pricing and swears that the upper deck seats are noticeably softer. Although he rates his overall experience as positive, he was visible frustrated by his inability to complete the cap dance, a problem which bothered him throughout the 2nd and 3rd innings.

“This is supposed to be an atmosphere for the kids! Then they start making that cap dance so f*@#ing hard and no kid is gonna want to come anymore.” Fri stated between sips of his beer “I mean, you guys saw that right” he said, turning to the crowd “Total bullshit!”

Fri was quiet through most of the latter part of the game until a botched fielding error by shortstop Ryan Theriot started him on a string of obscenities that later led him back to the topic of the cap dance debacle.

“Catch the damn ball! That thing wasn’t moving half as fast as that damn cap dance! I’d understand if the f@#$ing thing moved that fast, but come on! Make a damn play!”

Fri was later escorted out of the park in the 8th after complaints from surrounding families about his public drunkenness and inability to just “let some things go.”

“Fine, fine, I’ll leave, I don’t care!” Fri screamed while being escorted away “But that f@#$ing cap dance is Bullshit! You hear me? BULLSHIT!!!!”

Clueless Area Man Surprised Adam Wainwright Slips So Low In Fantasy Draft

March 28, 2011

(Kirkwood, MO) Local man Allan Gipson was extremely pleased with himself today after a local fantasy baseball draft with three of his co-workers, four college buddies and Carl, who everyone knows, but no one is really sure how they know him. After four unsuccessful fantasy seasons playing for the Ozzie Cup, Gipson is sure that this is his year.

“Last year I definitely messed up in the draft. I went with a couple of big time busts. Barry Zito, Ken Griffey Jr. Brad Penny, man those were some bad picks. But this year, I’m stacked. No way can I lose. I don’t want to brag, but I was able to pick up Wainwright with the 12th pick. Wainwright! No way I’m going to lose.”

Gipson has been famously known among his group of friends to completely ignore the injury board, disregard regressing players and to frequently draft players that have been retired for at least one season. Some of his more famous picks have included Alfonso Soriano, Jeff Francoure and Todd Wellemeyer, all with his first round choice.

“Yeah, Allan is pretty bad at this whole fantasy baseball thing,” said Carl Welter, manager of the draft board “We invite him because he evens the numbers and pays his fees up front. Sometimes we feel pretty bad for taking his money, but at the same time, he’s kinda a jerk about who he drafts and he gets pretty pissed when he loses, so it’s kinda funny.”

Some of Gipson’s picks this year include Stephen Strasburg, Jim Edmonds, Chase Utley and Andy Pettitte. He’s also hoping to pick up Bryce Harper if Benji Molina doesn’t work out at catcher.

“Last year he tried to draft Reggie Bush,” said Welter, “Reggie Bush?!! He’s not even a baseball player! At least it’s an extra 50 bucks in the pot.”

Cardinals Take Solice In The Fact That They’re Still Not The Cubs

May 29, 2010

The Cubs won today by a final score of 5-0. Short of that, they really don’t have a lot going on.

“It was a good win” said Cubs’ manager Lou Piniella, “We were pretty happy that when we put our ace pitcher that hasn’t lost a single game on the mound against a player that has never actually made a major league start, that our guy came away with a win. With one of the highest payrolls in Major League Baseball, we expect to come out and be competitive against every team that has a starter who’s only playing because of 2 injuries to their everyday starting rotation. ”

The Cubs scored 3 runs off of starter Adam Ottovino who recorded a quality start in his first start of his major league career. Carlos Silva is off to a 7-0 start after the Cubs wisely traded for him with a player who openly hated the team and who they probably would have traded for $7 and tickets to the World Series for the team, you know, so they could actually see one.

“We know we can perform at that high level when our offense is on like that,” said Mike Fontenot, “We know we can always be competitive when a player gets back to back triples off of a first time pitcher. And when we get a run walked in? Well, that’s when we know we’re gonna get at least a run or two.”

Tony LaRussa was disappointed with his team’s performance, even though the Cardinal’s are still a good 4 games ahead of the Cubs in the NL Central. “We should really beat a team that’s struggling like this,” LaRussa said “I mean, they’re the Cubs for God’s sake, I know you can’t win em all, but with the Cubs you should really be able to. I guess we kinda deserve this after getting swept by the Houston Astros, I mean, what are they, like 34 games out of first place? And surprise, surprise, the Reds are playing them this week so I guess we won’t be gaining any ground right now. Oh well, I guess we should focus on getting to the post-season, unlike the Cubs.”

The Cardinals were suppressed today when shortstop Starlin Casto fielded a routine line drive by Albert Pujols while making an unnecessarily difficult looking fielding play and the second base umpire made a spectacular obstruction of Skip Schumaker when he had a potential double play ball. The umpire followed that up by making a fabulous botched call when he called over-payed superstar Alfonso Soriano safe after being picked off by Molina.

The loss comes a day after the Cardinals scored five runs (As many as the Cubs scored in the entire game today) in the first inning  yesterday before Chicago recorded an out. The Cardinals are looking to reclaim the World Series title after a 5 year drought.

The Cubs are looking to win their first World Series in 102 years.

“The bottom line is, we have fans that love us, players that want to be here, and a team that an entire city rallies around 365 days a year,” said first baseman Albert Pujols, “And at the end of the day, they have a team that’s playing for the Stanly Cup, a World Series title that’s eluded them since before WW1, and decent pizza. I think I’d take playing for the Cardinals any day.”

Cardinals Players Believe Brendan Ryan “Wrist Injury” Just A Practical Joke

March 5, 2010

Brendan Ryan makes a spectacular diving play for a ball to the hilarity of his teammates. What this photo fails to show is that the ball was simply sitting on the ground.

(Jupiter FL) Teammates and Front Office personnel told reporters today that they believe long time Cardinal’s jokester and shortstop Brendan Ryan’s “wrist injury” that’s been plaguing him for years is simply “One big elaborate practical joke.” The “wrist injury” has kept him out of training so far this spring and is expected to keep him “day-to-day” until he reveals the gag around the first game of the season.

“This is a pretty good one,” said Ryan’s teammate Adam Wainwright, “I mean he’s pulled some stuff before; the mustache, the over-sized batting helmet, but man, to fake a serious injury for years just to get out of one spring training. Well, that’s just classic Boog.”

Ryan was said to have gone to such lengths as complaining about the “ailing” wrist for a few seasons, enduring what can only be seen as unnecessary cortisone shots as “treatment” and in the past few weeks has taken the joke as far as having unnecessary surgery just to throw people off of his trail. Team doctors said that it would take about 4-8 weeks to “recover” from the gag.

Ryan’s exploits have led his teammates to get in on the fun this spring and has lead to an overall positive attitude in the clubhouse and a welcoming atmosphere for players new to Spring Training. A few of the current starters especially had some fun with 2009 Draft pick Shelby Miller.

“I told him that Branden’s ‘injury’ was fake and that he would think it was hilarious if Shelby went up and just punched him in the wrist,” said Cardinal’s relief pitcher Trevor Miller, “You should have seen the look on Brendan and Shelby’s faces when he actually did it. I mean Shelby looked horrified and Brendan was laughing so hard it looked like he was in some real pain.”

Later, Ryan referred to the gag as “agonizing” and “excrutiating,” while Trevor Miller described it as simply “pretty damn hilarious.”

Ryan is currently undergoing “rehab” and will return by opening day as long as “no serious complications arise.”

Does Ownership Plan to Move the Cardinal Organization Out of St. Louis?

February 11, 2010

No, No they don’t.

Rick Ankiel Not Happy About Demotion to Minor Leagues

January 22, 2010

Rick Ankiel shows off some new defensive techniques he's learned while in the Royals training camp. Ankiel is confident that if he works hard with the Royals that he can regain a position on an actual Major League team.

(Kansas City, MO) In a recent interview, former Cardinals pitcher turned outfielder Rick Ankiel expressed frustration over being signed to the Minor League Kansas City Royals. Ankiel hit a rough patch in 2009 after suffering injuries related to a head-on collision with the outfield wall while making a defensive play. Ankiel split time with youngster Colby Rasmus for the remainder of the season, but never regained his hitting prowess after the incident.

“I just hope that my time in the minors in Kansas City will give me time to work out some kinks and hopefully work my way back up into the Major Leagues again,” Ankiel said in a recent interview, “I know I had an off season in 2009, but I really didn’t think it warranted a demotion to minor league Kansas City. I guess it’s nice to be a level down and just get to focus on getting better.”

Ankiel did express some confusion over the Royals 2010 schedule citing that it listed games against the Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals during the season.

“I think it means we’ll be playing against their minor league affiliates,” Ankiel said, “I mean, to put the Royals up against a Major League team would just be cruel. Have you seen the guys they have playing? We would get massacred!”

At press time, Ankiel could not name which Major League team that they Royals were a minor league affiliate of, and we at Fredbird Follys simply didn’t have the heart to tell him that the Royals were technically a Major League Baseball team.

“The thing that really confuses me about Kansas City is that I can’t figure out how Zach Grienke won a Cy Young playing in the minors,” Ankiel said.

“But, whatever.”

Bleacher Report Strives to Provide Balanced Coverage of Why Mark McGwire is a Disgrace to Baseball

January 21, 2010

(St. Louis, MO) Popular Baseball Blogging Site, Bleacher Report, expressed today that it will do it’s best to ensure that every side is represented in discussing why Mark McGwire is a complete disgrace to baseball and should be forever banned from the game. McGwire was the former Cardinals slugger who broke Roger Marris’ long-standing home run record during his ’98 season. In a recent interview McGwire discussed that he indeed used steroids and other performance enhancing drugs during his major league career and feverishly apologized for his actions. Bleacher Report announced that it would give fans an open forum to discuss the admission and why McGwire is such an unspeakable monster who should forever be banned from the game of baseball.

“We just want to give fans a chance to speak on both sides of the issue of how horrible McGwire is,” said Bleacher Report Administrator, Larry St.Cloud, “Fans need to be able to tell people how they feel about this news, whether that be that Mark McGwire should be simply banned forever from baseball, have his memories of ever playing the game erased, or even go as far as dragging him through Cooperstown by a steroid induced horse. Fans have reacted very differently to this story and we want to make sure that every blogger who writes on McGwire’s heinous steroid admission is given a forum to tell the world just how physically ill this news makes them.”

Bleacher Report is not simply limiting it’s coverage of McGwire tarnishing the memories of millions of fans to Cardinals bloggers. Instead, Bleacher Report is striving to let every fan in baseball tell the stories of how McGwire has forever ruined, not only baseball, but the entire season of summer and a good chunk of fall and spring.

“McGwire has destroyed America’s pastime. I just don’t think I’ll ever look at him the same way again,” said San Francisco Giant’s fan Matt LaCoy, “You would never catch one of our players sinking to such levels to excel at this game. I’m just thankful that Barry Bonds came along and reclaimed the record for steroid-free baseball players and fans everywhere.”

When asked if Bleacher Report would be posting any blogs about fans forgiving McGwire for his actions and accepting his apology for earnest, McCloud said that Bleacher Report would “Never stoop to such unthinkable, dirty publicity to attract attention from readers.”

For God’s sake,” McCloud continued, “This is journalism.”

St. Louis Cardinals to Base Their 2010 Season Around The Second Mighty Ducks Movie

January 20, 2010

(St. Louis, MO) In a perplexing phone interview today, Cardinals management announced a shift in club ideology. Cardinal GM John Mozeliak and coach Tony LaRussa said that they will be altering their current plan of action in 2010 to try to bring another world championship to St. Louis. They announced that they will make every coaching and managerial move to try to make the 2010 Cardinals reflective of the 1994 Disney Picture, D2: The Mighty Ducks.

“We think this is a brilliant plan,” said Mozeliak, “Last year it appeared we had all the pieces. We had tons of talent, were the clear favorites to advance to the World Series for the National League, and what happens? We lose to those underdog Dodgers. So we just started thinking, what do you do when you want to make a great team even better? You keep the same exact players, get rid of the people that no one remembers, and find about 5 new people that have quirky, one in a million abilities. Bam, World Champions.”

Mozeliak and LaRussa devised this management strategy while they were sitting at Tony LaRussa’s California home and smoking pot creatively brainstorming. After a run to the local White Castle, they came back and started watching D2, because in the words of LaRussa, “That movie is f@*#ing awesome.”

“That’s when it hit us,” said LaRussa, “The Mighty Ducks were the best team in their city which automatically makes them qualified to be the U.S. Hockey Team in Goodwill Games, that part is obvious. But they weren’t good enough to beat the world, so they had to get a few more players. We figured if you take the 2006 World Champions, and add a few extra players, then World Series here we come.”

The actual lineup the Cardinals have in mind was still very sketchy, but we tried our best to decipher who they had penciled-in for the lineup. This was especially difficult because LaRussa only referred to the players as the Mighty Ducks character that they most reminded him of, and did so through fits of giggling and telling John Mozeliak to “shhhh” over the phone.

“The lineup is pretty simple, the hard part was rollerblading all over the city to round them up,” said LaRussa, “We’ve got Fulton, who can hit really hard (Albert Pujols), and Charlie who’s our captain and really leads our squad (Chris Carpenter?). We had to go get that Cake-eater Adam Banks (Jim Edmonds?). Goldberg who’s our goalie (Catcher Yadier Molina?) and that annoying Averman kid (Adam Wainwright?). After that it was basically just filling in the missing pieces and bringing home the trophy.”

Mozeliak said that every move he’s made this off-season has been in efforts to recruit players that resembled the young hockey stars recruited in D2. “First we had to get Portman, that guy is the other bash brother and we need him for the power (Matt Holliday). Then we picked up Luis because of his speed (Fastball hurler Brad Penny) and Russ Tyler because of the knuckle-puck (Knuckle baller Charlie Zink). Now all we need is that Asian, Ken Woo, we used to have (So Taguchi?) and that Dwayne guy from Texas (Texas free agent Hank Blalock?). After that it’s just off to Iceland (New York?) to claim the championship.”

Alledgedly backup catcher, Jason LaRue, is not happy about the comparisons to Julie “The Cat” Gaffney.

LaRussa and Mozeliak promised that if their 2010 team failed to bring home the World Championship, they would do their best to make the 2011 squad “Just like that kick-ass movie, Space Jam,” although they noted the difficulties that would come with trying to get Bill Murray to sign a Major League contract.

St. Louis Locker Room Hosts Every African-American Cardinal Player to Celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day

January 18, 2010

Well...This is Awkward