Ladies and Gentlemen, the 2008 St. Louis Cardinals!

 

Well, Azru stole my opening joke for his post yesterday, so I got nothing. Oh well.

Hey, did you hear the one about the radio host who tricks people into coming on to his show? No? Here you go. Apparently, Kevin Slaten is no longer content with just haranguing Cardinal officials from afar. He just has to get them on, no matter how unethical or possibly illegal it may be.

Have I mentioned how much I dislike Mr. Slaten and his ilk? I believe I have, at some point in time. I've been quite critical of Dave Duncan at various times, for various reasons. However, this sort of thing is just ridiculous and uncalled for. I'm not sure who exactly is in charge over at KFNS, but they should be very proud of their station as it continues to circle the drain. Congratulations, KFNS, for lowering the bar for us all.

It appears that Uncle Rico is going to make the team. I'm really excited about this move. I think it's important to have a player on your team who can throw a football over a mountain. You just never know when a quarter mile toss could be the difference between victory and defeat. Seriously, though, it is very exciting to see a career minor leaguer like Rico finally get his shot at the big time. He probably won't be around too very long, as he's expected to go back down when Brendan Ryan gets healthy, but at 30 years old, Rico Washington will be wearing a Major League uniform on Opening Day. Congratulations, Rico. I wonder if this could just be the 2008 model of John Rodriguez? Similar skillset, although Rico is obviously an infielder, guy who gets an initial look because of some injuries, and his bat's just too damn good to send him back. I guess we'll see.

Opening Day for the Cardinals is Monday afternoon. There's not really a whole left to say about the roster; it appears to be set. No reason to rehash any more Anthony Reyes drama; it's just needless arguing at this point. The predictions are all in; we aren't going to be very good, at least by the numbers. So what to talk about?

I thought today we would just open it up and everybody toss in your ideas about the new season to be. What's everybody planning on doing for this most momentous of occasions? I feel fairly confident that at least some of you have made special arrangements to be around for the game; seeing as how we are all members of a community that have spent literally thousands of hours the past six months discussing baseball with absolutely no actual baseball happening.

Bukowski has a nice Fanpost up about his favourite opening day memories. Let's have some of those, too. Any particular season openers that stand out in your mind? Maybe you spent it with a loved one who isn't around any longer. Maybe you just go stranded on the side of the road trying to get into downtown St. Louis when the radiator in your past it's prime Mustang blew a hose. You know, hypothetically. That totally didn't happen to me in 1999. It's a really great post by Mr. Bukowski, by the way. Check it out.

Most of all, though, what are you hoping to see this season? Are you looking for a playoff appearance? Do you want to see the kids get a chance? Do you just hope the team doesn't embarass itself? Want to make a bold, certain to be wrong prediction? Here's the place to do it. And all you realists out there, none of that today. Let's all be optimistic today. It's the weekend, and baseball is on the way. Even I, as cynical and bitter a human being as you could ever hope to encounter, can't find it in my heart to believe anything but the best for this team right now. Seven pm, Monday night, we'll see if reality set in. For now, though, we're a title contending team.

Hey. Remember Spring Surprises? Well, the results are in, and the winners are:

On the position side, I think Joe Mather made the biggest leap forward in everyone's eyes. We all knew Rasmus was going to be good, and he didn't disappoint. Jose Martinez put up a nice spring, and the aforementioned Uncle Rico did some very nice things, with a little extra credit for making the team. (On a related note, Skippy has been surprising but not that surprising; he is Mr. March, after all) Barton has been a definite, pleasant surprise. Overall, though, Mather came in just hoping to make a bit of an impression, and ended up seriously in the conversation to take over Scott Spiezio's utility role with the team. Joe Mather, everybody!

Pitcher? Not even close. Kyle McClellan, St. Louis native, has thrown a limited number of innings above the single A level. He only has a year of pitching under his belt since Tommy John surgery. He's young and unheralded and should be grateful that his Springfield uniform fits so well. Kyle McClellan will be standing in Busch Stadium on Opening Day, watching as the Clydesdales he's tried to describe to Brian Barton parade around the stadium. Of all the longshots in camp, K-Mac, (nope, not letting it go) has to be the longest of all. Congratulations, Mr. McClellan.

More importantly than the players who surprised, though, is the burning question on everyone's mind: who called it? Who won our very own Spring competition?

AlberttheKing23 and cardschinmusic both had Mather. Excellent calls, gentlemen. Personally, I thought Mather would come in and struggle, more in line with his AAA line from last season. I wasn't a believer; count me among the converted.

Cariocacardinal and Hinkster both picked McClellan; again, kudos to the both of you. I picked Motte. I think I would do it again, as I think Jason has a nice future ahead of him. For the love of god, someone teach that kid to throw a splitter! As for McClellan, though, I'm curious: what did you guys see in him, exactly? I was aware of him coming in, but I never saw this kind of breakout coming. Heck of a call.

Our winner, and new supreme ruler, though, is...

Drum roll, please...

Hungry Jack. He had both Mather and McClellan. Congratulations, Hungry Jack. If I had thought this through a little better back in January, I would have laid in some sort of prize. However, seeing as how I failed to do so, you have only my eternal admiration. Fantastic calls, both. Huzzah!

One last thing. Shameless personal plug coming. The River Front Times, the independent alt journal here in St. Louis, is going to starting a Cards blog this season. I've been asked to be the main contributor. I'm incredibly excited to get this kind of an opportunity, and I really hope that you'll all come and visit me over there. The format is still a little up in the air at the moment, but we're taking the 'jump in head first' approach to the thing. Here's the link to the site:

riverfronttimes.com

It will be under the "STLog" area; there's also a link directly to that section on the sidebar here. Again, I'm all kinds of excited to be doing this; I really hope to see some of you around over there.

Alright, everybody. Here we go. Let's all enjoy this last bit of anticipation that we have. Two days until real baseball.

I can almost taste it.

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