*Extremely Jim Nantz voice* Hello friends, and welcome to Viva El Birdos.
I don't want to go too far into detail about how the proverbial sausage is made over here at VEB, mostly because I doubt most of you care (nor should you: it's nothing too grandiose), but I will confess that I am writing this before the beginning of Super Bowl 50. Like hundreds of millions of Americans, I aspire to spend my Super Bowl Sunday evening eating unnecessarily large quantities of food and celebrating the overall gluttony of the event. Of course, if something enormous happens in the game, I'll revise this piece (my apologies if I forget and I don't cover Peyton Manning retiring at halftime or Mike Tolbert breaking off a 99-yard touchdown run).
But what I do know is that Beyonce will be performing at halftime, and The Internet as a whole only talks about Beyonce for the 24 hours after a new Beyonce story happens. So thank you for patronizing this rare corner in which the primary topic is something different.
- I looked at the Cardinals' results in award balloting so far in the 21st century and examined whether or not the Cardinals fared better or worse than Wins Above Replacement measures suggest they should. Overall, it is a mixed bag, but by and large, it appears the Cardinals have had slightly more success in voting results than on WAR leaderboards.
- Craig Edwards wrote about Randal Grichuk's power and how it is realistic, if not likely, for Grichuk to hit 30 home runs in 2016. In this era, thirty homers is a tall order, but his emerging power is something to watch. As Craig points out, the unaccustomed to MLB pitching Grichuk would have needed 618 plate appearances at his 2015 power pace to hit 30 home runs. But there are factors at work here. Is Grichuk's 2015 home run rate sustainable? Can Grichuk stay healthy and in the lineup enough to hit 618 plate appearances?
- Lil Scooter compiled some pictures of baseball players hugging in honor of Friends Day. No vivid descriptions here. That's pretty much exactly what it was.
- Ben Markham profiled the Cardinals' minor league system. The current collection of Cardinals minor leaguers is primarily filled with imperfect but still altogether interesting prospects. Particularly interesting is reading about players at the lower levels of the minor leagues--avid VEB readers already know all about Alex Reyes and Marco Gonzales and such, but I don't know much about, say, Bryce Denton besides vaguely recognizing his name.
- In the continuing reaggregation of VEB prospect rankings were the three players ranked between 6 and 7 (what kind of list doesn't include two players at #6, anyway?): #7 prospect Magneuris Sierra, #6 prospect Marco Gonzales, and #6A prospect Aledmys Diaz.
- In what was theoretically supposed to just be a mechanism for a Sunday open thread, the red baron made some enlightened observations about the social impacts of the Super Bowl. It's not especially focused on the Cardinals, or even on baseball, but it sums up why so many of us care about the Super Bowl, even those who do not care about football: it is, in a fragmented culture, the rare unifying social experience.
- In a repost from last year, Craig wrote about the impact and non-impact of the (former) St. Louis Rams on the St. Louis Cardinals. The economics background in me agrees: the lower attendance of the St. Louis baseball team from 1988 through 1994 was almost certainly a reflection on a worse baseball team than a lack of NFL team. The ex-Rams fan in me doesn't care about the economics because the Rams have been a huge part of my life since I was six years old and no amount of rationality about the economic boondoggle that is publicly financed stadiums will compensate for the emotional toll of the situation. The Cardinals fan in me is just relieved that for everything St. Louis lost with the departure of the Rams, we have the Cardinals. I say this not in the patronizing tone that some have taken to dismiss local football fans' sadness as secondary or irrelevant. I say this because baseball is fun and we should enjoy it, irrespective of anything else.