Sunday, June 28, 2009

Glad To Have DeRosa; But LaRussa's Micromanaging Will Negate Him

The Cardinals' Front Office actually acquired an in-season impact player. I'm shocked; I never thought this would happen. Mark DeRosa can actually hit for average and power (.270, 11 homers 56 RBI), something our present outfielders are incapable of. He should play every day, but don't hold your breath. Remember, Tony LaGenius is our manager, and if there's one thing he will never resort to it is doing the obvious thing. For, you see, geniuses do not do the obvious. That's why they are geniuses. If it is plain to all that DeRosa should play every day, then you can bet he will not. Because LaGenius knows more than any fan, any player, any manager, any front office person who has ever seen a game of baseball. In fact, I have publicly begged him to bat the pitcher eighth so that he would do what every other manager in the history of the game has always done: bat the pitcher ninth. I figure if he gets the idea that the fans think batting the pitcher eighth is a good idea, he will resort to batting the pitcher ninth. Such is the bizarre conundrum of being a St. Louis Cardinals fan. (By the way, someday, god willing, LaLoser will retire or die, and ownership--Bill DeWallet--will sell, and I will be free to love my team again. After all, this has been my team since 1958; it is more my team than it is LaGenius's or DeWallet's.)

Back to the sweet and sour of having DeRosa. Because DeRosa is a very versatile player, it presents LaGenius with many options. And one thing we do not want is for LaGenius to have too many options, because he invariably thinks and ponders and intellecutalizes himself into the wrong choice. (Baseball is a simple game, but LaLoser insists on making it rocket science.) For instance, in today's game the Twins threw a lefty, Nelson Liriano, so it was a safe bet that DeRosa would be in left field (even though he prefers the infield) because we have a paucity of right-handed-hitting outfielders. (The only other is Ryan Ludwick, so it was a safe bet he would play also, though I sweated this out until game time. Note: this is the same Ryan Ludwick who hit 37 homers last year, drove in 117, batted .300, and made the All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger award...but who has been turned into a platoon player by LaGenius.) This must have been a devastating dilemma to LaGenius, because it meant that he would have to sit either his man-crush/love interest Rick Ankiel (.234, 5 HRs, 25 RBI) or the pitching coach's son, Chris Duncan (no power, no average, no clutch hitting)...or, god forbid, horror of horrors...bench both! Ah...alas, LaGenius chose to play Ankiel, rather than Colby Rasmus, our young phenom who has also been turned into an occasional player. So although Duncan was benched, Ankiel was not.

Let's back up here a minute, and let me explain something. Until the Cardinals acquired DeRosa, they had four outfielders (five if you include Skip Schumaker, whom LaGenius has converted into a mediocre second baseman). They are Ryan Ludwick, Colby Rasmus, Rick Ankiel, and Chris Duncan. It is obvious to me, and all logical Cardinals fans, that Ludwick (for reasons stated above) and Rasmus should be playing every day. Rasmus is only 21, but he can run, hit, field and throw. He has the most potential of any player. Playing him every third game is not going to develop his abilities; he needs to be a part of the everyday lineup. That leaves one outfield position vacant for the remaining two players--Ankiel and Duncan. The logical thing to do would be to play one and sit the other (I don't care which, because they are equally awful...and now that DeRosa has arrived, BOTH of these slugs should ride the bench). But there is a problem with this. Yeah, you guessed it: LaGenius is infatuated with both of them. Let's take them one at a time:

Rick Ankiel--A converted pitcher whose pitching career was ruined by LaLoser (He played head games with Ankiel prior to a playoff game and this began Rick's inclination to regularly throw the ball over the backstop from the pitcher's mound). LaLoser may feel intense guilt over this and thus is compelled to "carry" Ankiel as an outfielder. This despite the fact that Ankiel is a streaky hitter, who has prolonged slumps, never hits for a good average, has little power, and never hits in the clutch (.155 career with the bases loaded, and 0 for 8 with six strikeouts this year). Ankiel wraps the bat around his head and waves it before the arrival of the pitch. His swing is long and loopy, and has a decided uppercut. He invariably hits the bottom of the ball (for a pop-up) or the top of the ball (easy grounder). My son and I laugh as we watch him hit. We scream in unison, "he hit the top of the ball" as we watch yet another weak ground ball roll toward the second baseman; or, "he hit the bottom of the ball" as another lazy Ankiel pop-up drifts towards short right field. If you're a Cardinal fan, he is the LAST GUY you would want in the batter's box of a tie game, ninth inning, bases loaded. He has a fragile psyche (he spent years in therapy from an abusive father), and he folds easily under pressure. However, you should see him hit when the score is 10-1. Screaming line drives. Some say he has a good arm, but as many times as he throws a runner out, he will just as often miss the cutoff man. In short, I am sick of the high-maintenance, no-performance, head-case melodrama that is Rick Ankiel. But LaGenius is not sick of it. He has made us endure it for 10 years, and there is no end in sight. I believe, don't laugh, that LaGenius has a latent homosexual crush on Ankiel. Ankiel is a great athlete (not all great athletes are competent baseball players) and a good-looking guy, and I think, at some level LaGenius is in love with him. How else to explain this obsession with Ankiel? The guilt theory holds only so much water; LaLoser has ruined many careers without a scintilla of guilt. Why this soft spot for Ricky boy?

That brings us to Little Dunc, the son of longtime pitching coach, Dave Duncan. Little Dunc looks, talks, runs and plays baseball with all the acumen and agility of Frankenstein. No, wait, Frankenstein was a better left fielder. As long and loopy as Ankiel's swing is, that's how stiff, labored, and un-athletic Duncan's is. They say, he is playing out of position; first base is his natural home, but we already have one of those (perhaps you've heard of Albert Pujols? Not even LaGenius could justify benching Albert in favor of Lil Dunc...though I am positive the thought has crossed his mind). Then one day Albert was hurt and Lil Dunc got his chance. He dropped an easy popup; so much for the first-base wunderkind. He strikes out often (all curves and changeups fool him); his power has vanished; and he never gets a big hit. So why does LaGenius play him? It's as simple as this--nepotism. LaGenius is fiercely loyal to Duncan, Sr., and this blinds him to all of Little Dunc's shortcomings.

So there you have it. Ankiel and Duncan must play, despite all the evidence to the contrary. There will never be a time when both are benched in the same game, and they WILL NEVER BE TRADED as long as LaLoser is manager. Despite LaLoser's national reputation as a great manager (this endures as the greatest American lie since Oswald acted alone), who bases his decisions on a computer-like recall of stats, proabilities and tendencies, he is nothing more than an impulsive, illogical, manipulative boss who plays favorites and and covets the power he has over others. His lineups are a reflection of his personality--a mishmash of senselessness, contradiction, contrivance and pseudo-intellectualism. And, mark my words, DeRosa's usefulness will be limited by this. Watch and see--the day will come--perhaps tomorrow night when Lincecum, a right hander, pitches against us--when LaGenius will bench DeRosa and play both Ankiel and Duncan instead. After all, it's more than just baseball; it's Tony working out his neuroses, much to the anguish of Cardinal nation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

I'll be a guest on a Blog Talk Radio show, 6/25

Grant Lawrence and Judy Lopez, hosts of Dream Catcher Entertainment on Blog Talk radio, have invited me to be a guest on their radio show, Thursday, 6/25, at 8 pm (central time). To access the show, go to
Scroll down to upcoming episodes and click on my link.

Judy and Grant have told me that we will be discussing my book and various other topics related to history, politics and American culture. I'm sure we'll touch on CIA atrocities, including the JFK Assassination, along the way.

Tune in and/or call in, and join the conversation.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The Sorry, Pathetic Mess That Is My Team--The St. Louis Cardinals

Where to begin with this woeful bunch? The anemic offense (worst in the majors in May)? The sloppy defense? The career minor leaguers who have been forced into action because the owner, Bill Dimwitt, Jr., (friend and supporter of George W. Bush) is too cheap to acquire real baseball players? The fraud of a manager? The red sheep who fill the stands each night? The sycohpantic media who fawn over the team? I have lots of gripes.

I am sick of the melodrama that is Rick Ankiel. The pitcher who used to throw balls over the backstop is now an outfielder who cannot hit, yet Tony LaLoser keeps sending him out there. Ankiel is hitting .220, with no power, and never gets a hit when it really matters. His mental and emotional problems are well-documented, and he wilts when the pressure is on. He's the last guy I want at the plate in the ninth inning of a tie game. Rarely does he make solid contact with the baseball because of his loopy, upper-cut swing. When he's not striking out, he hits the top of the ball (ground out) or the bottom of the ball (pop-up). He is erratic in the outfield and susceptible to injury. He is very high maintenance, and he never comes through in the clutch. So why is he still on the team? The manager has a man-crush on him. Ankiel is one of Tony LaLoser's favorites. As is the pitching coach's son--Chris Duncan.

Duncan plays left field with all the agility of Frankenstein. If butchers were all-star outfielders, this guy would be inducted into the Hall of Fame. And, like Ankiel, he cannot hit a curve ball or a chane-up. His swing is stiff and flawed, and opposing pitchers fool him with off-speed stuff constantly. Why is he still on the team? He's another of the manager's favorites; he's the son of LaLoser's long-time pitching coach--Dave Duncan.

The one outfielder who can hit is Ryan Ludwick. Ludwick had 37 homers, 110 RBI, and hit .300 last year. He was voted to the All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger award. So what does Tony LaGenius do with him? Platoons him in April, to the point where Ludwick questions, rightfully, the manager's sanity. This gets Ludwick a one-way ticket to the doghouse. He falls victim to the manager's mind games and now he's an average player. Who benefits? Favored children, Ankiel and Duncan, who have actually played in more games than Ludwick.

Meanwhile, unknowns like Brian Barden, Nick Stavinoha, Joe Thurston, Shane Robinson, Tyler Greene, and Brendan Ryan, all of whom should still be in AAA, get significant playing time. They are the oddest assortment of banjo-hitting slugs I have ever seen. They do not hit for power, average, or if their lives depended on it. Some nights, I swear, I think I am watching the Memphis Redbirds and not the St.Louis Cardinals.

And why do we have no talent in the minors? Because, apparently, the scouting and drafting departments are being run by Moe, Larry, and Curley. In the past 30 years, only two major league-worthy pitchers have been drafted and developed by the organization. One--Danny Haren--was traded away by Walt Jocketty. Jocketty was also responsible for signing Tino Martinez (a bust), Juan Encarnacion (a bigger bust), and Adam Kennedy (the grandaddy of busts). He traded for Mark Mulder (the most worthless ragarm of the three Billy Beane dumped), giving away Haren in the deal.

The current GM, John Mozeliak, is no better. His big signing was Khalil Greene, who is hitting about .200 and now has been diagnosed with anxiety disorder and likely will never play again. Good job researching Khalil's history, Mo.

Overseeing the whole mess is LaRussa, the most overrated manager of all time. How did he get the reputation of a genius? George Will, the creepy political geek who knows as much about baseball as I know about marine biology, once wrote a book in which he called LaLoser a genius. The label stuck, despite all evidence to the contrary. He changes line-ups every night to eradicate performance consistency. He cools off hot hitters (see Ludwick). He makes unfathomable in-game decisions, typically folding under the pressure of a tight game. (In a tie game, ninth inning, at Arizona in April, he sent up Brendan Ryan to pinch hit with the bases loaded instead of Silver Slugger Ryan Ludwick.) He typically destroys the confidence of young pitching talent. He plays favorites. He does not retaliate when his players get hit by pitches. (The one legitimate offensive threat, Albert Pujols, was plunked in the kidneys in a game in retaliation was ordered by LaGenius.)

So how does the team manage to compete? The starting pitching has been pretty good. Especially Carpenter. But give it time...LaGenius will find a way to screw that up too. Meanwhile, red lemmings (aka Cardinal fans) fill the stadium every night, and Dimwitt, pockets full of cash, chortles all the way to the bank.