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baseball new year

first off, let's give our best wishes to miguel olivo. in what i would just characterize as one of those baseball accidents, olivo got a very nasty clip from a long pujols swing. olivo got out of his crouch as if anticipating catching the ball (which pujols popped up) and caught a backswing on his left ear. olivo was left with a nasty concussion. i don't think it's useful or important to pick who is at fault - looking at you, la russa - i think it could have happened to any catcher.

if there's anything that the larue saga taught us, it's that catchers absorb a lot of damage, even more than i usually think, between backswings, foul tips, collisions at the plate, errant bratwursts, etc. just the act of squatting for a half-inning, then repeating that nine times, then pulling the same stunt 5-6 days out of the week has always struck me as a remarkable feat of endurance. throw in the concussions, etc., and the major league catcher's job is as challenging as almost any in sport. throw me in at left field, second base, whatever - even pitcher. i would not look pretty doing it, i would be the worst ballplayer ever, but i could stand there as a reasonable facsimilie of a baseball player. i am sure that i could NOT be a catcher.

speaking of which, yadier molina played the third highest number of games of any catcher in baseball. and that's with catching a break for the whole last week and a half of baseball based on his knees. larue started only FOURTEEN games this season. anderson picked up only a couple of starts until september. pagz didn't see the majors at all until september. tony, your new year's resolution ought to be to give yadi more than 15 games off before september 1st.

speaking of new year's resolutions, it's almost time for new year's resolutions. i mean for baseball new year, which funnily enough does not fall on january first. it's more like yom kippur in october. for the cards, baseball new year is monday.

i have a couple of thoughts for the new year, several of them twitter based.

first one comes courtesy of erin bolen, the springfield cardinals correspondent. i don't check her twitter as much as i should. anyway, she relayed a gem from a volleyball game.

Amusing student section here tonight. Small but vocal.

They were yelling Harry Potter spells earlier, then said "You let the whole team down" after an ISU service error.

so, i have a vision of a baseball game play-by-play littered generously with harry potter spells. like, in lieu of "get up, baby! get up!" shannon could shout "wingardium leviosa! wingardium leviosa!" by the seventh inning, mike probably barely knows what he's saying anyway; i'm sure he could be convinced. i would have a few "crucio"s lined up for bad managerial decisions. outstanding brendan ryan feats could be appreciated with an "impedimenta!"

next, there's my plan for "ladies' night" AKA "joe mather plays RF with his shirt off" night which i described earlier in the week.

i resolve personally to abuse bj rains more. the guy is a few loogys short of a bullpen, yes. but i always felt bad teasing the guy who seemed like what a lot of guys home on their couch would be like if they fell into a sports journalism job. i feel pity no more.

Cardinals bat boys currently taking their cuts in the cage......there's a reason they are the bat boys. #ugly

what the . . . . it's on, dude. these bat boys are out there living their dream, hitting BP in a major league park, and you give them a hard time? in a publicly followed medium? no more half-hearted abuse from me. i resolve to point out ALL the stupid things you say. no mercy in 2011.

next rule for next year: play the young guys. i'll leave my sabr/prospect buff hat at home on this. watching the cardinals this last week has been . . . fun. descalso, hamilton, craig, jay, anderson, greene -- they all look like they're having a good time out there, and they've been fun to watch. it's easy to be "fun" when you're winning, but still - hooray for the memphis mafia!

on the youthful pitching side, i also cannot help but wish good things for pj walters, especially given the terrible start of his season on the personal side. i doubt his last start is a sign of things to come, but i'm glad he had a good moment to close the year out. seeing adam ottavino join the club is also exciting. it would be good to see him throw a healthy pitch this weekend.

i will take deep breaths when matt pagnozzi starts a game next year. he just dropped a squeeze bunt last night, which means yadi will be lucky to retain his starting job.