clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

The Best Shape of My Life Effect, or, the nearest alternate universe to our own is one in which David Freese can drive.

New, 457 comments

St. Louis Post-Dispatch—February 26, 2009

CARDS PROSPECT DAVID FREESE NEARLY GETS INTO CAR ACCIDENT

"I've never felt better after nearly getting into a car accident," the third baseman told reporters. "That was close."

Cardinals prospect David Freese, widely expected to start at third base following Troy Glaus's uncertain bout with Troy Glaus's Disease, was nearly involved in a single-car accident sometime last month. 

"It was no big deal," said Freese, in a phone interview about the near-miss granted exclusively to the Post-Dispatch. "I was just really excited about getting the chance to play third base for the Cardinals and I almost totaled my car. That would have been pretty terrible, right? Last week I almost shut my hand in a car door, too. And a month ago—oh, this was terrible—I had one of those things where, like, you slip on the ice, and you almost fall, and then you look around to see if anybody saw it, but nobody did, so you just walk around like nothing happened." 

Cardinals manager Tony La Russa could not be reached for comment. In a prepared statement, General Manager John Mozeliak asked if this was really news, or was it just February again. 

GLAUS: "I SHOULD START THROWING IN A FEW DAYS"

#

St. Louis Post Dispatch—March 25, 2009

CARDINAL NATION POLL: WE LIKE THIS THURSTON KID

"This kid, he plays the right way," said your uncle, in a prepared statement. "Not like these other guys."

In a phone poll of St. Louis Cardinals fans aged 30-65 conducted on Tuesday, 88% of prospective t-shirt jersey buyers approved of surprise utilityman Joe Thurston's grit, hustle, and tenacity. An astonishing 35% of respondents already favor naming Thurston a "true Cardinal", although 8% abstained from voting until they saw what he did after being issued a walk or grounding out to the shortstop. 

"It feels good," said Thurston, a long-time minor leaguer who hit .316 with AAA Pawtucket in 2008. "I just try to play the game the right way and make things happen, and I can't wait to do that in St. Louis. You know, if I'm not pushed too far, or relied on too frequently, I think I can do some positive things for this club. Of course, if something else should happen, all bets are off."

FREESE: "YEAH, I SHOULD BASICALLY BE AVERAGE." 

The games haven't even been played yet, but in one Maryland basement baseball sabermetrician David Freese's 2009 stats are already common knowledge: .265, with 18 home runs and 75 RBI. 

 

Baseball "sabermetrician" Dan Szymborski's ZiPS projections for the Cardinals, released recently on a baseball website with a picture of a monkey on it, have similar lines for every player of note on the 40-man roster, but for David Freese things stopped after he found himself right next to the "league average" line for third basemen. 

"Yeah, I should basically be average," said David Freese, recently named the starting third baseman in a Jupiter, Fla., press conference. "I don't think Cardinals fans should expect much else. But when you think about it, average is pretty good. I mean, imagine how the guy who replaces the average guy would do—I'd say you'd lose... maybe two games in the deal." 

#

St. Louis Post-Dispatch—June 30, 2009

CARDINALS' JUNE SWOON WARMED BY DEEP FREESE

The Cardinals' lineup may have cooled off as summer heated up, but the cold snap is no problem for third baseman David Freese, who's hit .260 with a few home runs and some doubles for a third consecutive month since being installed as the starter following a brief spring skirmish with Joe Thurston and Brian Barden

With the outfield in disarray and shortstop a mess, the Cardinals' stability at the infield corners has become a theme in trade talks. Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has found the current market to be a tough fit. "[Tony La Russa] has sent me a list of possible lineups in which he could fit Mark DeRosa, but right now we're standing pat."

In a prepared statement, Tony La Russa commented that it was at least fifteen lineups, and you wouldn't believe how cool they were. 

YOUR UNCLE: "DID YOU SEE THE WAY THURSTON RAN TO FIRST AFTER THAT WALK?"

#

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch—July 24, 2009

OUT OF LEFT FIELD: MATT HOLLIDAY IS A CARDINAL

After a brief flirtation with St. Louis's favorite supersub, Joe Thurston, the Cardinals have settled on their new left fielder, trading top prospect Brett Wallace and others for outfielder Matt Holliday

"We felt like this was important for timeline reasons," said Cardinals GM John Mozeliak, in what was described as an intentionally cryptic prepared statement.

TROY GLAUS: "OH, GOD, I FORGOT TO START THROWING." 

#

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch—October 4, 2009

CARDINALS ENTER PLAYOFFS HUNGRY AT 94-68

Miss home field advantage by one game, in a coincidence fraught with portent.

#

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch—October 11, 2009

CARDINALS: THAT WAS OVER QUICK

"They're fine, thanks for asking," Matt Holliday says in prepared statement. 

 

#

Viva El Birdos—February 15, 2010

THE BEST SHAPE OF MY LIFE EFFECT

I was happy to see Jaime Garcia get the Goold treatment in today's Post-Dispatch, even though so much of the good news—he's a new pitcher, his mechanics are repeatable, he's added a cutter—is traditional February material, difficult to corroborate in the sea of exciting new careers that are about to take shape and then recede into the long season by April 15. I like Garcia, and I always have, and with Shelby Miller so far away he's the great hope of this weak system. 

But I'm trying better, this year, to remind myself about how far February is from October, and how difficult it is to predict what will make the difference in the Cardinals' 2010 narrative eight months in advance. Last January we didn't know Joe Thurston would start much of the season at third base; last June we didn't know that it wouldn't matter, finally, that he did at all. 

So who knows what it means for the 2010 Cardinals that Jaime Garcia is particularly convincing as the driven youngster in February. We have the projections, and these stories, and we can guess, but right now, with pitchers and catchers on the very edge of reporting, the main thing we can do is enjoy the early, quiet rhythms of the new baseball season. Jaime Garcia's "no longer just out there throwing." He's not in pain anymore. I can only hope it ends up meaning something in the end, but for now it's still good news.