Friday, January 25, 2013
January 25- St. Louis Cardinals
Last night was the third time I’ve seen the comedic duo of Randy and Jason Sklar at the now infamous Helium Comedy Club in Portland, Oregon. I’ve been watching/listening to the Sklar Brothers for years starting with their Comedy Central Presents special from 2001, on up through Cheap Seats (2004-2006) and into the their numerous TV appearances, films, Jim Rome fill-ins and especially their podcast entitled Sklarbro Country. The first time I caught them live was back in 2010 with my friend Sean Davis. We shared some laughs; grabbed some beers and he gave me a savage ass-beating at darts after the show. In 2011 I invited my best friend Sam Spencer for round two with Sean and me. This time, I was a little more prepared. Randy and Jason hail from St. Louis, Missouri and a die hard St. Louis Cardinals fans. Trying to score some points and maybe a few words after the show, I threw on my Cardinals road cap that night. Sure enough Cardinals baseball was a hot topic. Granted, this was before their World Series victory that year, and well before I really started venting my disdain for the team.
During the first month of my time in the MLB Fan Cave, I think it was the second week, Todd Pellegrino, one of the producers/directors of the production company overtaking all of the filming in the Fan Cave, came downstairs to talk to me while I was still in the process of mastering the new Samsung Galaxy Note I had won the previous day. He mentioned that he saw my (old) twitter photo (below) and asked if I was a big Sklar Brothers fan.
For a second I had debated on laying some thick sarcasm, but I was in a good mood and responded with, “of course!” with a huge smile on my face. He sat down next to me and told me stories of how he was the director/producer for Cheap Seats during its run on ESPN Classic, and is also one of my favorite shows of all-time. Needless to say, my nerdisms kicked into full gear. I was hoping after that conversation that one day the two would come in to work on a sketch with us, but no dice. No big deal though. It was at least nice to hear some stories.
Which brings thing back to last night. Much like their show in 2011, I opted to rock another Cardinals hat; this time their classic red game style shown above. If you’ve been keeping pace with my blog, I always have a goofy photo of me wearing the hat, so I figured I could kill two birds with one stone on this one: a photo for this post and make the guys smile. This has always been kind of a theme of mine whenever I know I’m going to be in the presence of baseball fans, players or management, and it truly came out when I was in New York. Despite the fact that I went in as the Oakland Athletics representative, I still had a grip of hats, shirts and jerseys that I wanted to wear during my time. At the same time, only seven other teams were actually being represented throughout the season: Ricardo Marquez (Angels), Lindsay Guentzel (Twins), Ricky Mast and Shaun Kippins (Braves), Eddie Mata (Yankees), Ashley Chavez (Giants) and Kyle Thompson (Cardinals). I had made a promise to the others that I would never wear gear of their teams in the event that a player from their team would show up. I felt it would be too distracting and I didn’t want to spoil their fun. But, anytime a player came in without their team being represented, I stepped up to the plate. This may explain a few things for the people who followed. So, much like those times, and the previous Sklar Brothers show, I bit the bullet to even bring a few seconds of joy and conversation.
But now, onto the numbers…
#1- If you’re any kind of a baseball fan I would truly hope you know who this is. Ozzie Smith played shortstop for the Cardinals from 1982-1996 after playing his first four year with the San Diego Padres which he got hosed on the Rookie if the Year in 1978 by Atlanta Braves third/first baseman Bob Horner. (Yah, I don’t know who the hell that is either.) Despite the folly of the BBWAA, Smith would later go on to win 13 consecutive Gold Gloves as well as make 15 All-Star Game appearances. He also won a World Series title in his first year in St. Louis by beating the Milwaukee Brewers in seven games, but only after sweeping Bob Horner and the Braves in the National League Championship Series. I tried to find a photo of Smith giving the DEGENERATION-X “suck it” sign to Horner, but had no such luck. Smith was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, primarily for his defensive prowess.
#5- Before greed and disloyalty plagued him and his wife, Albert Pujols was a dead lock for the Hall of Fame, and probably would have gone down as the second greatest player to don a Cardinals uniform behind Stan Musial. But, Arte Moreno gets what he wants. From 2001-2011 The Machine took St. Louis and the baseball world by storm. He won Rookie of the Year honors easily, three MVPs in 2005, 2008 and 2009 and won two World Series rings in 2006 and 2011. His stats were all ready a fast track into the Hall as well: 2073 hits, .328/445/1329. While I realize where he’s playing now, I couldn’t leave him off of this hat. But it was incredibly hard to leave Willie McGee off.
#45- If there was ever a guy who played Major League Baseball, that I could easily argue is a Top 10 right handed pitcher of all-time, it’s certainly Bob Gibson. Hoot started his career in 1959 and threw his last game on September 3, 1975. Every year he played in the bigs came while wearing a Cardinals uniform. He was one of the calmest pitchers to ever play the game, but at the same time he was one of the fiercest. He never hesitated to throw some chin music if a batter crowded the plate and he certainly never backed down from a challenge. He helped the Cardinals win two World Series trophies in 1964 over the New York Yankees and in 1967 over the Boston Red Sox. In both Series Gibson won the MVP, most notably going 3-0 with a 1.00 ERA and 26 strikeouts. Throughout his career Gibson struck out 3117 batters, won the Cy Young award in 1968 and 1970, as well as the MVP in ’68 after going 22-9 with a 1.12 ERA and 268 strikeouts. Oh, he also won nine Gold Gloves. The man was a gamer every single time he pitched. In 1981 he was inducted into the Hall of Fame by a vote of 337/401. How he didn’t get every vote is beyond me.
While I make a lot of snide jokes and comments about the Cardinals and their fans, I still respect the history of the franchise and the men who suited up. But at the end of the day, I still hate the Cardinals. Knocking the A’s down to the third most successful organization will do that to you.