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The Cards Experience

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Each year ESPN the Magazine puts together their "Ultimate Standings" which attempt to compare all the major professional sports organizations in various categories. I’ve been asked for some feedback on fans’ present views of the club and wanted to turn it over to you b/c in many respects, you are closer to the pulse of the club than I am.

What I’m looking for, therefore, today is your input about the team and the organization. The categories that the magazine uses and that I’m looking for your input include:

  • Ownership
  • Coaching
  • Players
  • Fan Relations
  • Affordability
  • Stadium Experience
  • Bang for the Buck
  • Title Track
I’ll bet a few of you have a few things to say about ownership and I sense that there’s a mostly positive view of LaRussa, Duncan, Oquendo, and the rest of the staff. For players – I wonder what your impressions are. How much frustration is there by the fact that there seem to be fewer star players? Edgar Renteria is now Khalil Greene – a guy who had an OBP of .260 last year. Scott Rolen has become Troy Glaus and he’s hurt and so is David Freese and now it’s Joe Mather. Matt Morris and Darryl Kile have become Todd Wellemeyer and Kyle Lohse. Isringhausen is now Perez or Motte or…How much excitement is there about the fact that there should be so many young players (Mather, Rasmus, Perez, Motte, etc.) getting so much playing time? I sense both the frustration in the lack of "proven" names and the excitement at the emergence of these young players.

What about the state of the switch to KTRS from KMOX? I have to admit, I watch my Cards’ games on the Extra Innings package since I live in Houston. It makes me no difference whatsoever but I’m interested in your feelings. Is Bill DeWitt getting richer off of your frustration? What about the state of the Ballpark Village? The All-Star Game will be in town in just over 4 months – has anything been done? What is your reaction to the progress – or lack thereof?

What about ticket prices, as well as beer, souvenirs, dogs, whatever? How affordable do you find the fan experience? Is it different considering the state of the economy? In other words, has it become too expensive or simply a luxury you no longer choose to afford considering concerns about the economy as a whole? How does it compare to your experiences when you go to other stadiums?

What about Busch do you like the best? The least? How does it compare to old Busch? When someone comes in from out of town to watch the Cards play, what concession item do they absolutely have to try? What should they avoid? Where is the best place to sit and watch the game? (I know to avoid a day game or 6 pm game near 1st base – I got sunburned like the final days!) What else is there to say about the stadium? (not enough places to see the count, can’t see who’s up in the pen, whatever).

Bang for the Buck -- when you drop $40 per person (w/ parking, a drink, popcorn, whatever) to go to a game, do you feel you’re getting your money’s worth? Do you feel it’s worth it to pay that kind of coin to watch Joe Mather, Chris Perez, and Todd Wellemeyer instead of Rolen, Izzy, and Morris?

Title track – what are the team’s prospects for this season? How do you feel about their likelihood of winning? Is failing to win the division or make the playoffs compounded by the fact that the Cubs have a good team? Would it be easier to finish 2nd or 3rd to the Reds, Astros, or Brewers than the Cubs? Are the Cards on the path to a championship or will ownership’s (ahem!) frugality prevent that from happening?

Really anything you’ve got to say, anything maybe I’ve forgotten to mention, is worth including here. My impression is that the team is on the right path but won’t get there this year. I’m excited about the young guys and, to the extent that I’m frustrated at having guys like Todd Wellemeyer and Joel Pineiro play prominent roles, it’s b/c they’re relatively high priced vets w/ little upside and not b/c they’re not Kile or Morris (in his prime). I’d like to see more of Perez, Motte, Mather, and have come around on seeing what Skip can offer at 2nd (though I’m still skeptical. I just get nothing out of seeing Joe Thurston or Brendan Ryan. Skip at least offers hope.)

As for ownership, my personal viewpoint is that we’ve got to promote the young guys. We’re not going to succeed by relying on free agents so I’m not at all bitter by the fact that ownership didn’t dump a lot of coin on Brian Fuentes or give up everything they had for Jake Peavy or Matt Holliday (who would’ve required big $ next year and beyond). Of course, I don’t have to look at what should be the Ballpark Village either. That’s the stuff I need the most help with – the fan experience.

Thanks for the help this morning. Have a great Saturday and don’t forget to change your clocks tonight. I’ll be here an hour earlier tomorrow.