The Winter Meetings will be kicking off soon, and there should be movement a-plenty there this year. For now, though, things remain slow. It's always this way this time of year, but it feels a little different in 2011. Probably, I would imagine, simply because as Cardinal fans we haven't actually faced a momentous choice hanging in the balance like the one we currently have in a very long time. In fact, now that I think of it, I can't honestly recall the last time a major Cardinal player hit free agency during anything remotely resembling his prime productive years.
Albert is a little beyond prime, of course -- or well beyond it, if we believe what is apparently common knowledge amongst the teams of major league baseball -- but he's still the closest thing to a Cardinal star leaving in his prime I can remember. Neither of the other two legs of the MV3 left as free agents. The last big name pitcher to be on his way was Matt Morris, and he was a husk by the time he left town. I suppose Edgar Renteria would be the last major free agent to fly the coop, and while Edgar was a very nice player, he obviously didn't have quite the same juice as Albert Pujols.
The point being, not only is this an odd offseason in general, with two enormously high-powered free agents on the market, neither of which is drawing the sort of interest you would ordinarily expect, but for Cardinal fans specifically it's very unusual for us to be in a waiting situation like this. Sure, everything is lining up nicely for Albert to return to the Redbirds -- and likely for a much more reasonable deal than most of us expected, it seems -- but that is no sort of sure thing. Honestly, I'm not sure I like this version of the waiting game all that much. Following tweets by local disc jockeys I thought had retired like ten years ago because said disc jockey knows where Albert Pujols is going on vacation just isn't all that enjoyable.
The big news of the day is the hiring of Bobby Valentine by the Boston Red Sox. Of course, the immediate reaction from the various media types has been to line up for more of that embarrassingly eager fellatio we've talked about before. Why do I get the feeling the Red Sox could literally have gone out and hired a shift manager from the McDonald's down the street from Fenway and we would have heard the same sort of fawning? Something about his people skills and previous experience with fast food. (It's a chicken joke, people. Come on!) Whoever the Red Sox hired was, I'm sure, going to be exactly the right hire and exactly what that franchise needed. Oh, well.
From my perspective, the hiring is pure win. Not for the Red Sox, necessarily, but for the rest of use who no longer have to listen to Valentine's moronic analysis about what makes players and teams successful. (Spoiler alert: it's magic.) Less Bobby V. in the booth makes Aaron a very happy boy indeed. Now, if we could only get some foolish team out there to hire Horton and Hrabosky to fill a pitching/bullpen coach tandem I might be able to watch a baseball game with the sound on for the first time in years.
I'll be here until about one o' the clock. We'll be holding a chat until then, with me playing the role of Joe Strauss. I hear you're all jerkbags. Developing...
The Baron's Playlist for the 30th of November, 2011
"Personality Crisis" - New York Dolls
"Subway Train" - New York Dolls
"Marquee Moon" - Television
"Guiding Light" - Television
"Recharge and Revolt" - the Raveonettes
"Summer Moon" - the Raveonettes
"Cannons" - Youth Lagoon
"Montana" - Youth Lagoon
"Punk Rock Girl" - The Dead Milkmen (this one appears here, alone, as the one inclusion I absolutely regret not making to my 40 favourite songs ever list. I fell in love with this song at nine years old, hearing it on my older cooler cousin's shitty boombox while he and his friends talked about breasts and tried to figure out how to roll a joint so it would stay together, and part of me will always be nine years old and shouting out lyrics that didn't really make much sense to me at the time whenever I listen to this one.)