Monday, October 30, 2006

St Louis Cardinals are National League Champions and World Series Champions

by ShagOnSports


YES!!! That will never get old for me over the next year!!! After the disappointments of 85, 87, 04 and several playoff disappointments the Redbirds are Champions of Baseball…


Yes…. I was one of their biggest critics after all-star break… The pitching that had over performed in the first half of the season was struggling… Jason Marquis had become non-existent, the bullpen was bad and Izzy could not get anyone out and he led the league in blown saves… Besides Puljos and Rolen the offense was stagnant and injuries were everywhere… Edmonds was hurt, Eckstein was hurt, Puljos was playing hurt and Rolen began to have shoulder problems…

The Redbirds were swept by the Reds out of all-star break and they could not beat the Cubs… St Louis bumbled through the second half of the season and the moves for Jeff Weaver, Preston Wilson and Ronnie Belliard seemed desperate… There were many fans in St Louis who had lost faith in Larussa but St Louis still managed to stay in first place… When I went to Cincy and to watch St Louis and witnessed Izzy give up a two run walk off home run in the bottom of the ninth I was both frustrated and mad…

Spoiled fans!!! Count me as one… This team had made it to the playoffs seven of the last eight years and had won over one hundred games in 2004 and 2005 and failed to win the World Series either year… The bar had been raised to Yankee heights and the expectations were out of this world… Only the Yankees can boast of this many playoff appearances in the same run…

The St Louis collapse at the end of the year was monumental… Going into the last month of the season St Louis had righted the ship and were on pace to win around ninety games but………. Losing 10 of 14 and a second seven game-losing streak at the end of the year pushed the Redbirds to the brink of post-season elimination… Same situation as the White Sox last year!!! The key moment in the Redbirds season was Scott Spizeo’s game winning triple against Milwaukee on the last Saturday of the season, which he again repeated in the LCS against the Mets (F the Mets!!!)… Larussa rested his pitching ace that Sunday (A game that Anthony Reyes pitched and lost lasting only one inning) saving him for a possible make up game against the Giants or possibly a one game playoff against the Astros in the event the two teams tied… What a roll of the dice and what an impact these decisions ended up having on setting up the Cardinals rotation for the magical run to a World Series Championship (I love typing that line!!!)…

I am the first to admit that I thought that St Louis could beat the Padres but gave them little chance against the Mets… Then came the news that Pedro would not pitch and then El Duque was out… Suddenly my thoughts turned to what if??? What if, Jeff Weaver continued to improve, what if Wainwright was able to close out games, What if Jeff Suppan continued to pitch the way he had in the second half and what if Reyes could just get one key win or have a just one good or great outing (His great outing came in game 2 of the World Series)…

Suddenly Larussa could not make a bad decision… He rotated Preston Wilson, Scott Spizeo, So Taguchi and Chris Duncan through the LDS and LCS… Taguchi hit two key home runs; Spizeo continued his post season (through the LCS in his career he had the best games played to RBI ratio EVER) and St Louis got key pitching performances from everyone in the rotation… The often criticized for over managing Larussa was on a roll and so was his team…

The Mets fell and St Louis marched into the World Series on a roll with there starting rotation set up for a run and some hot bats with Rolen, Eckstein and Molina… They needed to steal at least one game in Detroit and then their rotation would be set for Carpenter to pitch in St Louis (where he had been dominant) and if necessary set him up for a start in a game seven showdown in Detroit…

Anthony Reyes pitched a brilliant game one (now everyone knows why St Louis would not part with him in their effort to make trades before the deadline as Jocketty had learned his lesson with Dan Haren) and the Cardinal bats were alive and well in game one… Kenny Rogers dominated game two but St Louis got the split they needed… Question for Jim Leyland… Why did you not pitch Rogers in game five???

Carpenter pitched a brilliant game three and Suppan pitched well enough in game four to set up a thrilling come from behind win with the newly found closer and his supporting cast doing a great job in the late innings for the Redbirds… Could it be or did this team resemble the Cards of 85 who had gone up three games to one only to lose to the Royals in seven games??? To this point St Louis record since 1964 in game sevens of the World Series was three and four and there had also been a disappointing LCS loss to the Braves in 1998 after being up three games to one…

In a season of who knows I had predicted the Cards to fall to the Tigers in six games… Moving into game five my thoughts had changed!!! Not only was St Louis in a position to win but also they could win at home… The rainout helped Larussa move Weaver into position to start game five and it was unbelievable that I was happy about this… Weaver had pitched great in the post season and since this was going to be his second start of the Series I felt confident he could get the job done and he did…

St Louis did what Detroit could not and that was play good defense (other then Chris Duncan’s blunders in game five)… The Cardinals pitching staff performed admirably (the Tigers barely hit over 200, as did the Cardinals) and Puljos did not do much at the plate but he made some really nice defensive plays at first base that saved some runs…

I will say it again… The St Louis Cardinals are National League Champions and World Champions… Go Redbirds!!! Rumors are flying the Larussa might retire…


College Football

The season is taking shape… USC lost as I had predicted they would but I did not see Oregon State being the first loss… The SEC continues to beat each other up and it will hard not to put a one loss Auburn or Florida in the Championship Game if they win out… If Texas wins out you could have an OSU and Texas rematch??? If Michigan beats OSU do you have bowl game rematch of these teams or do you have Texas vs OSU and then a Michigan vs the number four team in the BCS with the winners moving into a National Championship Game (remember there is an extra game this year after the bowls to settle the dust)… The winner of West Virginia and Louisville has a great shot to move into this mix…

Shags Top Five

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. Texas
4. Notre Dame
5. West Virginia & Louisville tied

On the outside looking in is Auburn, Florida, Tennessee, California and USC… Texas lost to Ohio State and Notre Dame to Michigan and that is there only losses… Auburn lost to Arkansas (Hogs are on the move) and Florida lost to Auburn and Tennessee lost to Florida so the SEC (the best conference in the country) has knocked themselves out of my poll… Cal lost to Tennessee and a Cal Vs USC match up is looming (as is USC Vs Notre Dame)…

The big game this week is right here in Louisville!!! Will I be there??? No… I will be in Lexington scouting out the basketball Cats exhibition game… If you are a U of L fan and are not going to this game then you are NOT a real fan… The only pass I give on this is my boy Bickel whose wife just had a baby…

Kentucky had a big win at Mississippi State but needs an even bigger win against Georgia… Georgia is the one team the UK has consistently competed with in the last ten years… If Kentucky can take care of business against Vandy and La Monroe and beat UGA then they will be in a bowl… If they finish six and six then they are staying at home, unless… The SEC has eight bowl tie ins and those games will go to Florida, Tennessee, Georgia, South Carolina, Arkansas, LSU, Auburn and Alabama… Kentucky needs to take care of business and win the required six games and then hope that two SEC teams make BCS bowls…

Random Thoughts

- I was glad to see small ball and good defense have such and impact on the Series… The American League has no doubt dominated the National League but I still prefer the National League brand of baseball… The DH stinks!!!

- I love the stats… Tigers and Cardinals were the first teams to play in the World Series that had losing records after the all-star break… Tigers were the first team to have five errors by Pitchers in a World Series… When Zumaya went to third base in game four instead of going to second to start a double play he was attempting something rare… The last time there was a 1, 5, 3 double play in the World Series was 1923 Giants against the Yankees…

- St Louis was only the fourth team to win a World Series by opening a new stadium (Yankees in 23 when they beat the cross town rival Giants whom they also played in 21 and 22, Red Sox when Fenway Opened and the Pirates with the opening of Forbes Field)…

- I thought that Tim McCarver did a masterful job in his role during the postseason with Fox… He stuck to baseball and when he does that he is great… Catchers know the game better then any other position player because of their roles during games… I am not a Joe Buck fan!!! I like Jon Miller on the play by play…

- I withdrew from my Club Championship before the round even started… There had been a frost delay (three hours) and it looked as though we would not finish the round once we got started and I would have no chance to watch Game One of the Series so I bagged it…

- Went to a Halloween party this weekend dressed as Miami Vice’s Sonny Crocket white suit, badge, sunglasses and fake gun… My wife made me leave the gun there… She went as a one-night stand!!! Dressed with a night cardboard box stained brown, lamp shade on her head with an ashtray and condoms super glued to the table top… They had Karaoke and I sang the Jefferson Airplane song white Rabbit with Mark Pruitt who was dressed as Yucko the Clown…

- Did I metion the fact that the St Louis Cardinals are National League and World Series CHAMPS!!!


Shag On Music


Dylan has a new album out and I have heard a couple of takes from it… It really sounds good… I watched all of the BBC classic concerts I captured on VH1 classic and they were all really good… I need to get a method to record these so I can have some bootleg music…

Friday, October 20, 2006

Christian Lattner Still Sucks

by ShagOnSports

Thursday night’s game seven NLCS was one of the most exciting games I have watched in a long time… The way sports goes you never know for sure what is going to happen and the outcomes of baseball games when it gets to this point in the post season is unpredictable…


When Endi Chavez made the catch in left filed to rob Scott Rolen of a potential game winning home run my thought was here we go again… I had switched from the couch to my lucky position on my bar stool in an effort to do all I could to help the Redbirds in my crazy kingdom of fandom… When the ball left Rolen’s bat I knew it was gone… As Chavez leaped to make the grab (what a great catch, one of the best EVER period in post season) I leaped off of the stool, slammed my hat on the floor and dropped several F bombs… He snow coned it over the fence and brought it back, which made the catch even more incredible…

My wife, who was about half asleep on the couch, bolted up due to my reaction and two of my cats that were in the basement ran as if the house was on fire… I had obviously scared the hell out of them… Here we go again!!!

In my history of being a Sports Fan and Sports Participant I have known both the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat… I thought that Endi Chavez was going to be added to my list of agony or heartbreaks which includes Kentucky’s 3 for 33 second half debacle against Georgetown in the 1984 final four, Don Dekingers blown call in game six of the 1985 World Series and the ensuing game seven debacle (a night I like to forget but I can’t remember most of it), Christian F’ing Lattner and that damn shot in the 1992 East Regional, Florida’s Chris Dorings last second reception against UK when the Cats should have upset Florida, The Redbirds collapse in 1996 against the Braves after being up 3 to 1 in the LCS, being courtside for the NCAA Championship Game in 1997 and watching Kentucky fall to Arizona in OT, The Hail Mary LSU pass from 2003 at Kentucky and from a Participation standpoint losing the Elementary School basketball Championship in the sixth grade after beating a team in the semis who was undefeated (we lost 41 to 38 which is some high scoring for a bunch of twelve year olds to a team we had beaten earlier in the year) losing the Little League Football Championship as a twelve year old in overtime after we had won the Championship the year before and three years ago in the semifinal of my golf league allowing my opponent to take a friendly drop that even though I won my match would have given us the two points we needed to advance … Not all losses are heartbreaks but these are the ones that still burn sometimes in my memory banks…

Nobody, including myself, gave the Redbirds much of a chance after they way the finished the season and backed into the playoffs… Their post season pitching has been incredible and that had been their Achilles heal the second half of the year… I do recognize the fact that they were helped out by the Mets injury situation with both El Duque and Pedro Martinez being injured but “F” the Mets… They are the only NL Team that I cannot pull for in the post season…

If you are a baseball fan then you had to enjoy last night’s game… It was a well-played game with plenty of drama… If St Louis would have lost this Series in five or six games or even lost the division series that would have not been very tough to take with the way the played down the stretch but to get that far and to lose would have been a heartbreak…
St Louis Cardinals National League Champions!!! I like the way that sounds!!! Go Redbirds!!!

Kentucky Football

The debacle last Saturday makes you wonder again about this coaching staff… The SEC is a great conference and Kentucky is a young team but there is no reason for UK to lose 49 to 0…

I am truly not as upset about that loss as I am the one the week before against the SEC’s USC… That is a game you have to win if you are Kentucky!!! I liked the way UK defense played in the second half all except the one play where they pulled a double reverse flea flicker pass to the Quarterback who was wide open in the end zone… UK has given up big yards this year on reverses…

It was nice to see an animated Mitch Barnhart on the sidelines for the USC game… He always stands down in front of us for the second half and you could tell by his body language that he was not happy with this performance… Give them hell Mitch!!!

Rich Brooks career is on the line next weekend as the team goes to Mississippi State… Drop a bomb there and his career at UK is over for two reasons… MSU sucks and you have to beat them and the fact that Barnhart is looking at a minimum of about 15,000 empty seats each home so game which means this staff has lost a portion of the fan base that they may not be able to get back unless they can win seven games this year or he hires a new Coach… The dollars are just as important as the wins…

If UK does hire a new Coach I am all for keeping Joker Phillips and Randy Sanders on the staff in some capacity…

ShagOnFootball Top Five and other

1. Ohio State
2. Michigan
3. USC
4. Auburn
5. Florida

Auburn lost at home to Arkansas and Florida lost to Auburn at Auburn and I put them over West Virgina, Louisville, Texas, Tennessee and Cal with Notre Dame close behind…

Auburn could win out and if Arkansas wins out, WVA, USC, and Michigan lose and Florida looses the SEC Championship Game or another game in route they could play for the National Championship without winning the SEC West of the overall SEC Title… I hope that happens because we need a playoff system in college football…

If Notre Dame wins out they get the Big East BCS bid… Bad deal for the Beast!!!

Navy dropped a bomb last week but their Quarterback got hurt on the first series and that was a back breaker for them… Not sure what that does to their season… In the Triple Option the QB is the key…

Random Thoughts

- During the game the other night it was mentioned that the Redbirds beat the Yankees in 1926 with last out being made by Babe Ruth as he was caught stealing second base... Scott Spezio's dad was a member of the 1964 World Champion Cardinals... When Anthony Reyes and Odalis Perez mactched up in game four they combined to have the worst winning percentage of two post season same game starters ever (Tim McCarver mentioned that ever is a long time)...
- Saturday is my Golf Leagues final outing at Persimmon Ridge Golf Club in Louisville… I have not played in two weeks so who knows what kind of game I will have… Persimmon is rated as the toughest track in the state… Next month I am off to Florida for some golf and also next month is the Annual Royal and Ancient Golf Clubs of Henderson’s Turkey Day scramble where along with my partner we will defend our championship… More to come on this in the following weeks…

- Mike Archer says that the UK defense being ranked 119 out of 119 schools is deceptive… This was supposed to be a defense that was better this year… They are young but their schemes are bad and they show no intent to every blitz or even fake blitz… What is deceptive about being 119!!! You Suck!!!
- I have to agree with Mark Pruitt… UK Football Fans at the games are bad… Listening to some of the people around makes me realize that allot of people have no idea what is happening on the field… It was obvious to me when UK ran a no huddle offense against USC… The intent of a no huddle is to see what the defense is giving you and then call a play with about 10 seconds to go on the play clock and then give yourself time to audible if necessary… People could not understand why they were letting the play clock run down… I also have an issue with people who leave at halftime every week (the people who sit beside us do it every time) and people who leave at the end of the third quarter and in a tight fourth quarter game…
- Going into the week I am 80 and 52 against the spread for 61%… In my Fans of Navy pick set I am 19th out of 397, Fans from Kentucky 167 out of 2574 and overall with all groups combined I am in 10,193rd place (top ten percent in each)… I have had one losing week…
- Tigers in six… I love the Redbirds but they are a banged up bunch… Tigers just have way too much starting pitching… Detroit Tom says Tigers in five!!!
- How much money has Jeff Suppan and Jeff Weaver made this post season??? Both are free agents after this year… I am hoping St Louis can re-sign at least one of them… Both would be great…
- U of L has its big game coming up against WVA… I think they can pull it off!!! The dropped their bomb game last week and still won… Watch out for a tough road game at Pitt for U of L…
- My nephew was here last week and he got me hooked on PS2 College Football 2003… I started a season running the controls for Navy and Kentucky… I beefed up each team a little so they can compete… Navy beat Rutgers 72 to 13 and in game one and IU in game 2 49 to 7... I like runnng the triple option offense... Kentucky beat U of L 52 to 14 in it’s opener with a beefed up defense…


ShagOnMusic

- Since seeing the Stones I cannot get enough of their music… What a great band and have beat the test of time… On VHI Classic they are running old BBC shows with bands… I have DVR’d AC/DC with Bon Scott, Rod Stewart with Faces, Pink Floyd and some old Tom Petty… Watching closely for The Who, The Stones and Zeppelin…

Saturday, October 07, 2006

A Chip off the Old Shoulder

by ShagOnSports

On Tuesday morning I made the mistake driving into work of having the Bob and Will show on (my wife listens but I just hate local radio)…

The first caller calls in and asks, “Does UK get to count all of its games against Division 1AA toward being bowl eligible”? “They should not get to count them all.” The next caller asked basically the same question and makes a comment “That at least U of L fans have two Sports to look forward to each year…” Bob and Will quickly corrected both callers that D1AA games do count and that all D1 teams can play one a year if they choose to do so and that UK is only playing one this year and at that point I turned off the radio…

If these fans truly understood the current landscape of college football they would understand the more UK wins the better for U of L since they beat UK this year!!! These fans needs to get the chip off their shoulders and look at reality of scheduling and realize how many of the teams on U of L’s schedule will be ranked in the top 25 at years end and how that will damage their chances to get in the BCS Championship Game??? NC State, who was beaten by Akron, beats Florida State Thursday night who beat Miami and that hurts The Ville’s strength of schedule big time…

It is a shame for U of L but the weak Miami team they beat is going to hurt U of L at the end of the year in the BCS rankings (thank god Miami beat Houston last weekend or it would be worse for them)… That was not a rock solid Miami team and this was not a statement game like people want to think… Miami was a team that U of L should and did beat at home… Miami is bad and they are going to fire their coach and try to hire Petrino per my source in South Florida (Petrino will not go)!!! West Virginia plays a weak schedule so win or loose that game does not help U of L either in the BCS (same for WVA win or loose)… U of L may not get into the BCS Championship game but win out and they will have a chance to prove themselves in a BCS bowl…

As for UK their tough year in and year out schedule always will help U of L and this year the more UK wins the better the impact is for U of L and vice versa… U of L fans better hope that UK can beat South Carolina, win the rest of the games they should and then pull off a big upset at home against Georgia or at Tennessee…

If I were the Athletic director at UK I would schedule Western, Eastern or Murray State every year… There is nothing wrong with scheduling a guaranteed win when your schedule is as tough year in and year out as tough as is any teams in the SEC… This year UK will play only five ranked teams since they were lucky enough to have Auburn roll off of the rotation… Five to six ranked teams is pretty much what they play each year…

The SEC will have a tough time ever winning a National Championship in the current Football format because they beat the hell out of each other each year… Look at the talent in this league this year and last year… I hope that Florida and Auburn can run the table in the league so they can get to the Conference Championship Game and almost guarantee the SEC a shot at the National Title… I will take a one loss SEC team that wins the Conference Championship over any other undefeated teams besides Ohio State, Michigan or USC for the BCS title game…


My Chip on My Shoulders

It is so comical the rhetoric you hear from both U of K fans and U of L fans… That is why I do not listen to local radio… Fans that call in on these shows from both teams in allots of cases are embarrassing and most cases are not focused on their team but the other team… To me this is very narrow minded and demonstrates a level of ignorance that runs across both fan bases and not just isolated to one as some people would like you to think…

For example back during the summer I was listening to a U of L baseball game on the radio and U of L’s announcer talked about how Louisville is so different then the rest of the state (by the way dude we live in the Commonwealth of Kentucky) and that people here are more cultured and not as backwards as people in the rest of the state (Remove the chip from his shoulder please)… Face the fact dude that there are plenty of backwards ass country rednecks that are U of L fans and the city if full of them … Have you never been to Jtown, PRP or Shivley??? Go to a game and change the people in Red to Blue or the people in Blue to Red and you get the same thing!!!

A friend of mine went to Law School at U of L… I was at a party with him one time and was talking with a group of guys… One of the guys turned to me and asked in a sarcastic southern voice what I thought about the big city… I told him I really liked New York and in the past several years I had went there often but of all the big city’s I have been to in the world that Rio Dijanaro was my favorite, Rome was second due to the history of that City and that I really liked Barcelona due to the nightlife there… I thought Paris was dirty and Chicago just did not give me a good feeling but I had not really spent allot of time there to judge that city… He looked at me kind of funny and said, “I was talking about Louisville…” I knew what he was implying and since he threw me arrogance right over the middle of the plate and I crushed it for a home run!!!

I love the City of Louisville or I would not live here!!! I love where I live, the things that the local area has to offer and the only thing I would trade it in for is a move to a warmer climate… I just think the fans of both U of L and UK need to get a grip on reality and realize that it is good for the Commonwealth that all of the schools be successful… This only will help with the perception that people have of those of us who reside in the Commonwealth, which is a chip I have on my shoulders!!!

Kentucky and South Carolina

Kentucky has a chance today to make a statement… My concern is how young the defense is and how many yards they have given up this year… Brooksy says that UK blitzes allot so tonight I am going to count how many times they send the pressure… I got five blitzes against Florida and only saw three last weeks… UK needs to send the linebackers up the middle (that is what they did not do last week and that is why Kentucky made CMU’s Quarterback look like John Elway)… This is huge game for the Blue Team and I will be there!!! Brooksy wins this game and he all but guarantees he is coming back next year… Get seven wins and he may even get an extension on his contract… I hope UK wins eight games this year but long-term I still want someone else to be the coach… Could be Joker with Randy Sanders as your Offensive Coordinator!!!

The biggest obstacle UK has in this game today is the guy in the visor…

Last weeks game was exciting and that is all I ask for… It did get a little to close at the end which prompted my wife to drop a huge “F” bomb during the fourth quarter which was funny as hell…

First UK game today for my nephew Matt… Hoping for a victory…

Shags Top Ten


1. Ohio State
2. USC
3. Michigan
4. Florida
5. Auburn
Navy dropped after losing to Tulsa two weeks ago... Big road win last week for them against UCONN and this week they are at Air Force...
I am 60 and 36 against the spread so far this year (U of L got me off to a bad start last night failing to cover)... In my survivor football I have Carolina at home this week...


Golf League Summary

Flying Balls lost in the semifinals ala USA Ryder Cup style… We got stomped!!! I was two up in my match through four holes… I was again playing one of the top three golfers in the league (we had split so far this year)… After being down one after the first hole I managed a par on the next hole and he got a double… We both pared the next hole (my birdie putt lipped out) and then he hit is tee shot OB on the next hole and I was in the middle of the fairway… He ended up dropping a bomb putt for a bogey and I made par to go two up… Going to the easiest part of the golf course I am up two and my putting stroke left me again… I lipped out for a one-putt par on the next hole, missed a five footer for par on the next and then three jacked the next hole and he birdied which at that point pretty much sealed my fate… I ended up losing the match by two strokes… Still fun as hell to compete in this format… In my five years in the league that is the first time I have lost a match that advanced us to the next round… I was seven and zero to that point when the money was on the line…

Club Championship is next and then I will get a little break before going to Florida for a week to try and take some of my buddy Coops money and prepare for the annual Royal and Ancient Thanksgiving Day Classic where Ready Vowels and myself will defend our championship…




ShagOnSports Random Thoughts

- Twins were the first team ever in baseball to end up in first place on the last day of the season that had not been in first place all year… That is a great stat…

- Tigers made a statement against the Yankees last night but down count those Damn Yankees outs… Jeter is money and the only reason I can even tolerate the Yanks… A’s are to the next round…

- Cards backed in and have now put themselves in a great spot to close out the Padres… With the Mets pitching hurting (looks like the Mets will handle the Dodgers) could St Louis be in a position to make the Series after a mediocre season??? Redbirds will go as far as Puljos and Carpenter can take them… Puljos is your MVP no argument… Take him away and St Louis is middle of the pack but still better then the Cubs or Pirates…

- Great documentary on the Cubs is running on HBO… Take time to watch it… HBO is also running a great documentary on my namesake Barry Goldwater… My mom would not let my dad name me Barry Goldwater Cravens which saved me allot of ridicule as a kid but we a pretty cool name… I really did not know allot about the man until watching the program… He was a great photographer and took some great pictures of the State of Arizona…


ShagOnMusic

- The Rolling Stones concert last weekend was awesome… Churchill Downs proved to be a great venue for this concert… The Stones stage was six stories high and part of it rolled out about 300 yards to the inside of the track… They played all their great songs except “Shattered”… They even did “Dead Flowers”, which has a reference to the Kentucky Derby… “When your sitting back, in your rose pink Cadillac, making bets on Kentucky Derby Day, I’ll be in my basement room with a needle and a spoon and another girl to take my pain away…” My nephew Matt is really into Panic At the Disco… I downloaded the CD and I have heard a few of their songs… Pretty good stuff… He picked it out on his own at Ear X Tacy during his last visit…