Craig Calcaterra, the prolific blogger, tweeter, antagonizer of Cardinals fans, had a fun piece up at Hardball Talk yesterday afternoon cataloging all of the different informal nicknames for every team in MLB. My favorite: The Cowboys - which apparently someone, somewhere uses for the Kansas City Royals. My Google search tells me there was a Kansas City Cowboys for exactly one year in the National League in 1886 (likely the genesis of this nickname). They went 30-91 and had a catcher by the name Fatty Briody, but still finished ahead of the old, now-defunct Washington Nationals who only won 28 games. Viva el Cowboys!
When it was the Cardinals turn, VEB got a mention and the age-old why "el" instead of "los"?
"El Birdos" is something I've heard — and there's a Cards blog called with that name in it — but that's grammatically wrong on, like, five levels. Would it not be Los Pájaros?
The VEB Twitter account was quickly on it:
And in case you've also always been curious, here's the important passage from the above-linked SI article from October 1967:
Before the game Maris had sat alone on the Cardinal bench discussing Busch Memorial Stadium and the Cards. "To me," he said, "this is the best of the new parks because it is fair to pitching, offense and defense. We have speed and power, and we have guys who know what they are doing. With the Yankees we had much more muscle and played for the big inning; here, we get what we get, and we know how to go about getting it.
"One of the few things here that sometimes bothers us is that people are in such a hurry to compare us with the Gas House Gang. We're El Birdos because Cha-Cha [Cepeda] named us that, and that is what we want to be called and remembered as. There were quite a few who said in the spring that St. Louis could not win because it had two troublemakers in Cepeda and myself. But one day Cha-Cha just pointed at me and said, 'Roger, you and me. You know what I mean?'"
There was also this great anecdote:
Beer day—or, during the season, beer night—is something special with the Cardinals, like the silly red-and-white ball they throw around during infield practice or the way they kid each other and call themselves El Birdos. On the opening day of each home stand Butch Yatkeman, the clubhouse man, hands each player an envelope that contains a letter saying, "This will introduce so-and-so, who is a member of the St. Louis Cardinals baseball team." When the player takes his letter to a store he receives a free case of either Budweiser or Busch Bavarian beer.
The third game of the Series was, in effect, the first day of a home stand and so Yatkeman wrote on the clubhouse blackboard, "El Birdos never lose on Budweiser-Busch beer day." When the Cardinals saw the message they joked and hollered, "It's gonna be ours today. What's our record on beer day?" Yatkeman said, "It was 10-4 during the season, but it should have been better."
Lastly, if you want to read even more about that period of Cardinals baseball, you can buy El Birdos: The 1967 and 1968 St. Louis Cardinals on your Kindle for just $9.99.
Here's what you may have missed yesterday at VEB:
I wrote about why in spite of all the great offensive surprises on the Cardinals thus far in 2016, Matt Carpenter is still their most reliable and indispensable player. He's on pace to have a four year stretch that matches up pretty well with some of the best Cardinals of the last 50 years.
Kolten Wong to the outfield? It could happen, as he got a taste of it last night in Memphis. Joe Schwarz detailed the likelihood of seeing it happen in St. Louis and what it could mean for Wong's future. And speaking of Wong, Josey Curtis has the goings on of the farm system from Palm Beach to Memphis.
Pitchers in the Home Run Derby?
Adam Wainwright has the most extra base hits for pitchers this season and is using that as a springboard to throw his hat into the ring for the Home Run Derby. Seeing how some of the better hitting pitchers would fare in the Derby is a fun idea but I'm sort of with John on this one.
People forget that the Home Run Derby was awesome last year.— John (@johnjf125) June 8, 2016
Have a great Tuesday, everyone.