the curse of human events: veteran journalist steve marantz has a new website, Sports Media Guide, which features interviews with sportswriters and broadcasters, and the occasional sports blogger. i gave an interview to steve last week, which is now up at this link. steve told me an interesting story about himself during our conversation, which i got a kick out of. a few years back he wrote a screenplay in which the cubs and red sox, baseball's two cursed teams, meet each other in the world series --- while the fictionalized owners of respective teams are in the midst of a love affair. the script got read, and there was considerable interest; he had an excellent chance of making a sale. in fact, he seemed on the verge of doing just that when . . . . well, you know. the one thing that could totally screw up his premise happened. one of the teams finally wriggled out from under its curse.
steve, who lives in boston (but is not a sox fan), told me he doesn't blame the cardinals for 2004; he almost knew something like that would happen. i've got my own curse when it comes to these things, he said. besides, it's the yankee series from that year that still keeps him up at night. i can see why, i said; boston's down 3 games, and trailing in the bottom of the 9th of game 4 --- three outs away. and steve added: yeah --- with mariano rivera on the mound. i said: wow, you are cursed. that's even worse than the curse of the bambino.
you make the call: i got a request to write the cardinals' team comments for a forthcoming preseason guide (i'll let you know when it's out, etc). the team boxes are highly formatted; short n sweet answers to targeted questions. i thought i would toss a few of the questions out to the group and get ev'ybody's opinion. here you go:
- Most Overrated Player Is:
- Most Underrated Player Is:
- The General Manager Is Known For:
- The Manager Is Known For:
cate expectations: troy cate shut down culiacan again in game 5 of the mexican pacific league semifinals --- at least, he shut down everybody except karim garcia. the once and maybe future big-leaguer (he signed a minor-league deal with the phillies) took cate over the wall twice --- a two-run 4th-inning shot to erase cate's 1-0 lead, and a solo blast for an insurance run in the 7th. against the rest of the lineup, cate threw 7 innings of 1-hit, shutout ball; his overall line was 7 ip, 3 h, 3 r, 2 bb, 8 so. here's the box score. the loss put mazatlan a game away from elimination; they trail 3-2 in the series, with the final 2 games at home. game 6 is tonight.
cate has now allowed just 8 hits and 3 runs in 21 innings of playoff ball, with 5 walks and 21 strikeouts . . . . and doesn't have a single win to show for it. he's got a 1.29 era and a 0.62 whip in the three games, and his record is 0-1.
read elsewhere: here's some of what others are saying:
- Beyond the Boxscore on the mark mulder signing: "Given the lack of useful alternatives, I can excuse this transaction."
- Bleed Cubbie Blue rates lee smith (#2 on the cardinals' all-time saves list) as the 36th-best cub player of all-time.
- one of my favorite cardinal players ever, terry pendleton, is listed by Talking Chop as the 6th-most important contributor to the braves' 14-year playoff run.
- la russa says: "i love scott rolen." but they haven't spoken in decades.
craig wilson signed with the braves and will compete for the 1st-base job vacated by the trade of adam laroche.
- speaking of that trade --- some vigorous discussion of it over at Bucs Dugout.
- yes, the american league's better than the national league. but not that much better.
- finally the sun-times reviews the cubs' off-season moves.