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ken rosenthal wonders if the 2006 nl central might go the way of the 2005 al central -- ie, with an upstart knocking off the reigning power. "None of general manager Walt Jocketty's acquisitions -- right fielder Juan Encarnacion, second baseman Junior Spivey, et al - seem particularly inspired," he writes, "but players frequently perform better for St. Louis than they do for other clubs." for more on the latter, check out this article about the sf giants' desire to improve their clubhouse chemistry. of the four players quoted in the story, three are former cardinals: steve kline, matt morris, and mike matheney.

cardnilly started a new project today: greatest cardinals in history, by uniform number. the series debuts with the franchise's best-ever #0 and #99. looks like a really fun series. another historical-themed cardinal blog launched today (as seen at baseball musings) -- gas house gang. among other things, this blog will be running a season-long tribute to stl's first world series title, which marks its 80th anniversary this year.

stl pretty war has pix of the marquee at busch III; play a hard 9 looks at the three phases of marquis.

see the comments for the answer to this morning's trivia question about 50-hr seasons.

Update [2006-1-23 17:24:56 by lboros]: couple of nl central news items of note: