Tag:World Series
Posted on: December 26, 2011 3:31 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:51 pm
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Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part I



By Matt Snyder


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie.

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. This is just Part I. Tuesday, we bring you Part II. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Moment(s) of 2011
No-Hitters: Justin Verlander, Ervin Santana and Francisco Liriano all tossed a no-hitter during the 2011 season, with Verlander doing so for the second time in his career.
10-year anniversary of 9/11: The Cubs and the Mets played the Sunday Night Game on September 11 in New York's Citi Field, with the game itself taking a backseat to the pre-game memorial for the victims and the honoring of service men and women. 
September 28th: Rarely -- if ever -- has the final day of the regular season provided so much drama, as the Cardinals and Rays completed epic comebacks to steal the respective wild cards. Evan Longoria put the cherry on top of an all-around amazing night of baseball with his walk-off home run.
Cooper Stone throws out first pitch: Months after losing his father, Shannon Stone, to a tragic fall, young Cooper Stone threw out the ceremonial first pitch of ALDS Game 1. The catcher? His favorite player, Josh Hamilton, who then embraced Stone just in front of the pitcher's mound.
Game 6: Eleven innings. Nineteen runs. Fifteen pitchers. Beltre and Cruz go deep back-to-back. Freese's triple. Hamilton's homer. Berkman's clutch single. And Freese's walk-off. This was one for the ages in one of the best World Series in recent memory.



Most Historic Milestone
Jeter's 3,000th: On July 9, Derek Jeter hit a home run for hit number 3,000, becoming the 28th player in baseball history to join the elite group.
Thome's 600th: On August 15, Jim Thome went deep twice, the second home run being the 600th of his illustrious career. Only seven other players in big-league history have reached that plateau.
Rivera's 602nd: On September 19, Mariano Rivera locked down the save with ease. It was the 602nd of his career, making him the all-time leader.
Triple Crowned: Verlander led the American League in wins, strikeouts and ERA. Clayton Kershaw pulled off the same feat in the National League. The last time each league had a pitcher take the triple crown was 1924.
Most Valuable: Verlander won both the Cy Young and the AL MVP awards, marking the first time a starting pitcher won the MVP since 1986 and the 10th time in history a player won both the Cy Young and MVP.



Biggest Surprise
The Cardinals: Not only were the eventual World Series champions virtually left for dead in late August, but they went all season without their ace, as Adam Wainwright suffered a season-ending injury in spring training.
The D-Backs: The Arizona Diamondbacks were predicted to finish last in the NL West by nearly everyone. They had finished last the past two seasons, too. But these Snakes came out and won the West by a whopping eight games and took the Brewers to the limit in the NLDS.
The Rays: Yes, the Tampa Bay Rays had won the AL East two of the previous three seasons, but they also lost several key pieces and the payroll was $30 million less than it was in 2010. And the Rays still took the AL wild card from the mighty Red Sox on the final day of the regular season.
Pujols to L.A.: Albert Pujols was a St. Louis Cardinals icon. While he appeared to be flirting with other teams, it only seemed like a ploy to get the Cardinals to pay him more. He wouldn't really leave, would he? Well, he did, signing with the Angels on the final morning of the Winter Meetings.
Marlins' spending spree: For years we've watched the Florida Marlins deal potential high-salary players and be one of the most notoriously frugal clubs around. And then, in less than a week, the newly-named Miami Marlins inked three big-name free agents -- Jose Reyes, Heath Bell and Mark Buehrle.



Biggest Disappointment -- Individual section
Dunn is done: Adam Dunn has one of the most historically awful offensive seasons ever, and he's a DH. And it was only the first year of a four-year, $56 million contract.
No mo fro? Coco Crisp let his dreads out twice to reveal an incredibly awesome afro. But he didn't stick with it. And, yes, we realize this is a disappointment on a different level, but the Bloggies don't necessarily have to be serious.
Fractured: Marlins bench player Scott Cousins leveled star Giants catcher at home plate, a play in which Posey suffered a season-ending broken leg.
Juiced? NL MVP Ryan Braun failed a drug test and is facing a 50-game suspension, if his appeal is not upheld.



Biggest Disappointment -- Team
Red Sox: You may have heard of a collapse ...
Braves: You may have heard of a collapse ...
Twins: Lots of injuries and underperformance left the two-time defending AL Central champs with 99 losses.
Giants: The defending World Series champs finished eight games back in the NL West and four out in the wild card, sporting one of the worst offenses in baseball.



Most Bush League Moment
Weaver vs. Detroit: Magglio Ordonez watches a home run to see if it's fair or foul. Jered Weaver misinterprets it and thinks he's been shown up, so he has some words for the Tigers. Then Carlos Guillen hits a home run and basically stands still, staring down Weaver. Weaver then threw at Alex Avila and was tossed from the game while screaming at the entire Tigers dugout. You can place blame with Weaver, Guillen or both of them. However you slice it, though, at least one person was far out of line.
Big Z(ero): Carlos Zambrano gets knocked around by the Braves, throws at Chipper Jones -- getting himself ejected -- and then bails on his teammates. Some overheard him talking retirement, but he now is trying to work his way back.
Molina's "spittle:" Yadier Molina may not have intentionally spit on umpire Rob Drake back on August 2, but he did freak out far too much over a called strike and get himself suspended for five games during a pennant race.
Nyjer's mouth: Brewers outfielder Nyjer Morgan was a polarizing figure all season and that was solidified after the Brewers beat the D-Backs in the NLDS. Morgan was overheard screaming f-bombs right behind a field reporter. OK, maybe he didn't realize it was on live TV. But then when he was summoned for an interview on national TV, he made sure to say it loud and clear right into the microphone.



Worst Call
No pitching inside: Clayton Kershaw was ejected September 14 for (barely) hitting Gerardo Parra with a pitch on the elbow. Kershaw had been seen jawing with Parra the previous night, but he also had a one-hitter going and the pitch wasn't very far inside. It definitely seemed like an overreaction by home plate umpire Bill Welke.
Let's go home: An epic 19-inning game ended on a blown call at home plate by Jerry Meals, calling runner Julio Lugo safe at home and giving the Braves the victory over the Pirates on July 26.
Home run? On August 17, Royals DH Billy Butler hit what appeared to be a double in the gap. It bounced high off the outfield wall, hitting some fencing above padding on the wall. The umpires initially ruled a home run, but the play was put under video review. Replays pretty conclusively showed the ball staying in the park -- even the hometown Kansas City announcers were discussing that when the umpires emerged Butler would be ordered to head to second base. Butler was standing on the top step of the dugout with his helmet on when the umpires emerged and upheld the ruling.
Missed tag: In Game 3 of the World Series, Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler made an errant throw that pulled first baseman Mike Napoli off the bag. Napoli made a swipe tag that very clearly got Cardinals baserunner Matt Holliday in time. First base umpire Ron Kulpa, however, blew the call, opening the door to a big inning for the Cardinals.



Biggest "Can't-Look-Away" Character
These don't really need an explanation, so we'll jump right to the poll ...



Coming Tuesday: Part II, including Boneheaded Moves of the Year, Weirdest Injury and Most Impressive Home Run
Coming Friday: Voting results and staff picks

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.



Posted on: December 6, 2011 1:41 pm
 

Report: Allen Craig had knee surgery

By Matt Snyder

DALLAS -- With the Cardinals bracing for the possibility of losing first baseman Albert Pujols to free agency, this news is just like rubbing salt in the wound. Outfielder Allen Craig had surgery on his right knee before Thanksgiving, Derrick Gould of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.

According to Gould, Craig injured the knee during the regular season when he ran into the wall at Houston's Minute Maid Park. With the surgery, two pins were placed in Craig's kneecap to stabilize it. His expected recovery time is reportedly four to six months. So, yes, the beginning of the 2012 season is certainly in question -- in fact, it looks like he's out until May.

The dynamics of this issue are huge for St. Louis. The backup plan for Pujols signing elsewhere was to move Lance Berkman to first base and use Craig as the everyday right fielder. With Craig now likely out until May, the Cardinals run the risk of being awfully thin offensively, should Pujols sign elsewhere.

Craig, 27, hit .315/.362/.555 with 11 homers in 219 plate appearances last season. He endeared himself to Cardinals fanatics with several big postseason hits, including three home runs and five RBI in the World Series.

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Posted on: October 30, 2011 9:10 pm
 

Eye on Photos: World Series parade for Cardinals

By Matt Snyder

The 2011 World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals had their parade Sunday in the areas surrounding Busch Stadium and then ended up inside for even more celebration with their fans. Here are some pictures from the event.

Also, other than the parade, here's some related news: Anheiser-Busch has named a newly-born clydesdale "La Russa." Click here to see pictures on the AB website.

But anyway, check out the pictures below. Click on any individual picture for a full size.

Owner Bill DeWitt Jr. shows off his new trophy. (AP) Plenty of fans were basking in the glory. (AP)
How early did she have to get there to end up in the front row? (AP) That would be World Series MVP David Freese (black sweatshirt and hat backwards) in the front truck. (AP)
Amazing turnout, remember, the stadium is full, too. (AP) Freese gets a key to the city from St. Louis mayor Francis Slay. (AP)
Fireworks, confetti, a view of the Gateway Arch ... (AP) Tony La Russa, Octavio Dotel and Albert Pujols share a laugh on stage. (AP)

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Posted on: October 30, 2011 11:03 am
 

Funny video: Cardinals in animation

By Matt Snyder

NMA World Edition, a Taiwanese animation company, is back with another baseball video. This time it's of the World Series champion Cardinals. The highlights? David Freese freezing the opposition, Albert Pujols batting on a motorcycle for some reason and a parting shot at the Miami Heat ... check it out:



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Posted on: October 29, 2011 1:20 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2011 5:04 pm
 

Game 7 dominates in ratings, plus more stats

Fans

By Evan Brunell


While Game 7's St. Louis victory over Texas to win the World Series wasn't nearly as exciting as Game 6, baseball capitalized on the amazing Game 6 to soar even higher in ratings. Game 7 improved from Game 6's 21.1 million to over 25 million for Game 7, making it the most watched baseball game since 2004 when the Red Sox ended their 86-season drought. Excluding the 2004 World Series, you have to go all the way back to Game 7 of the 2002 World Series for similar ratings -- the last Series before 2011 to go the maximum number of games.

In total, Fox received a 14.7 household rating, which brings the average of all Series games to 10.0, 19 percent higher than 2010's Series played by Texas and San Francisco... and S.F. has twice the TV households as compared to St. Louis In the coveted ages 18-49 demographic, Fox scored big with a 6.8, besting the other four networks combined and gave the network the best Friday its ever had. It's also the highest-rated Friday since the 2010 Winter Olympics. While ratings were strong from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m., it was from 10 to 11 p.m. that dominated the most, with 24.77 million viewers. Those are pretty good numbers given it was a Friday night and the Cardinals/Rangers series was not a TV network's dream matchup.

While we're dealing with numbers, let's take a look at some more, dealing with the World Seres...

There were plenty of parallels to the 2002 World Series, the last Series to go seven games before 2011. In that series, the Angels took down the Giants despite the potent bats of Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent carrying the load for San Francisco. In fact, until Albert Pujols and Allen Craig matched the feat, Bonds and Kent were the last set of teammates to have three or more homers in a single World Series. Pujols and Craig are now the sixth to do so.

There's more 2002 World Series-related stuff, don't worry. For one, David Freese broke the postseason record for RBI, driving in 21 across three series. Prior to Game 7, Freese was tied with Sandy Alomar, Jr. (1997), David Ortiz (2004) and Scott Speizio of the Angels, from 2002.

One more 2002-related tidbit... Matt Harrison lasted four or less innings for the second straight time in a World Series during Game 7. That was the first time since Livan Hernandez repeated the same feat for San Francisco in 2002. Here's a better trivia answer for Hernandez. Before Freese won the NLCS and World Series MVP, the last person to win a LCS and World Series MVP was Livan Hernandez, who did it for the 1997 Marlins. The last position player? None other than Darrell Porter, who did it for the Cards in 1982.

Here are some other assorted facts about the postseason...
  • St. Louis won its 11th World Series and twice in the 21st century. It's their third NL pennant of the 21st century, and also Tony La Russa's third title (one other with the Athletics). He is just one of nine managers to accomplish the feat.
  • The home team has now won nine straight Game 7s and St. Louis has participated in four of them (1982, '85, '87 are the other years). They have eight Game 7 wins, tops among any team.
  • The Cardinals grounded into 15 double plays in the postseason. That's the fourth-most ever in a postseason, tied with the aforementioned '97 Marlins. Texas also tied a record for most walks allowed in a World Series with 40, matching those same Marlins.
  • The Rangers blew three saves during Game 6. That's tied for the most they've ever had in one game since moving to Texas.
  • There were 38 postseason games played, tying the all-time high set in 2003. There is only a possible 43 games that can be played. A record 13 were decided by one run.
  • Chris Carpenter threw a total of 273 1/3 innings over the whole year, regular season and postseason combined. He is the second pitcher in the last 20 years to make three starts in a Fall Classic, matching Curt Schilling's Diamondbacks in 2001.
  • Texas was the first team to score in the top of the first inning in a Game 7 since the Athletics in 1972.
  • The Cardinals won the last game of 2011. They are slated to play the first game of 2012 stateside, as there is a series in Japan between the A's and Mariners. The team will to face the Miami (nee Florida) Marlins in their new park on April 4.
For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:58 am
 

Fans celebrate Cardinals' World Series victory



By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- As one would expect, Cardinals fans were a bit crazy after watching their beloved team win the World Series Friday night. Here are a few quick shots of the scene around Busch Stadium. Above is pretty self-explanatory. Below, you can see some fans thinking it's a good idea to climb all over the Stan Musial statue.



The entire gutter around the perimeter of Busch Stadium was broken beer bottles, some places even more heavily covered than this one.



Here's a video taken one floor above the street, about one hour after the game ended. It's nothing really Earth-shattering, just an idea of the crowd and the noise. I expect that there were plenty of arrests, but this wasn't an L.A. Lakers-level "celebration" by any stretch. Just tens of thousands of fans celebrating their favorite team winning a championship. Nothing wrong with that.



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Posted on: October 29, 2011 2:28 am
Edited on: October 29, 2011 4:02 am
 

Grading Game 7 of the World Series



By Matt Snyder


ST. LOUIS -- Game 7 of the World Series wasn't nearly as exciting as Game 6, but was that even possible? I'd say no. We still saw a good game for about six innings and Cardinals fans certainly have no issue with how everything went down. Let's grade the game, just as we've done with the other six.

The Cardinals bullpen. Once Chris Carpenter was out of the game, it felt like the Rangers might have a shot at creeping up and at least making this game close. Instead, Arthur Rhodes, Octavio Dotel, Lance Lynn and Jason Motte were dominant and efficient for three innings, leaving no doubt who the champions were. The four pitchers combined to retire all nine of the hitters they saw, needing only 34 pitches to do so. While we're here, all Cardinals players are obviously elated and deserved congratulations, but how about Arthur Rhodes? He's 42, made his major-league debut in 1991, was cut by the Rangers earlier this season and had never even pitched in the World Series until this season. Now he has a ring that he earned (yes, he would have gotten one had the Rangers won, but that's really not the same).

I did name Carpenter the hero and he deserves major kudos for getting the job done on three days' rest, and, even more so, for doing it without his best stuff. But that latter part is what knocks him down to a B. He allowed the first four batters on base and, had Yadier Molina not picked Ian Kinsler off first, the damage could have been far worse. Carpenter himself would admit an outing where he gives up six hits and two walks in six innings is a B for himself, I'm sure. No shame in this B, though. It's like having the flu and not studying for two days leading up to a test and still getting a B. You'd be ecstatic with it. Just as Carpenter surely is with his outing.

The Michael Young Schism has already been noted by my esteemed colleague Gregg Doyel. Friday night, we once again saw the good and the bad. Young doubled in Josh Hamilton in the first inning, giving the Rangers a 2-0 lead with no one out. But Young would follow that up with two strikeouts and a pop out. Defensively, Young looked horrible in trying to snare a foul ball pop up, but seconds later made a nice diving stab of a line drive to end the inning.

Poor Ron Washington seemed to have every move he made blow up in his face. On the big stage, Matt Harrison seemed rattled from the get-go, Scott Feldman was brutal, C.J. Wilson hit the first batter he faced -- forcing in a run since the bases were loaded -- a bunt wasted an out in the fifth and Washington just never changed his lineup. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa switched things around in Game 7 as a reaction to how his team had been playing and it worked. Judging manager is mostly second-guessing, but things didn't seem to work out for Washington, so he gets a D.

Why were the Rangers' pitchers trying to help the Cardinals so much? Falling behind in counts to most hitters, walking six guys, hitting two guys, serving up meatballs when they did work within the strike zone. Iit was a veritable clinic on how to not pitch anyone -- much less a good-hitting ballclub like St. Louis. Mike Gonzalez and Alexi Ogando were fine, but the game was over by then. Harrison, Feldman, Wilson and Mike Adams dug a hole while the Cardinals' pitchers buried the Rangers' season.

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Posted on: October 29, 2011 1:58 am
Edited on: October 29, 2011 3:16 am
 

Part-timer Craig makes most of opportunities

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Allen Craig only played in 75 regular-season games, but Cardinals fans would tell you he made the most of his opportunities then, just as he did again throughout the seven games of the World Series. And Craig firmly believes in taking advantage of any chances he gets.

"It’s all about just making the most of your opportunities," he said on the field minutes after catching the final out of World Series Game 7. "You can’t let opportunities slip, especially in the World Series. I’m just glad to be a part of it.”

Craig, 27, was most certainly a part of it. He was an integral part in all four Cardinals wins -- and in a loss they probably should have won.

In Game 1, Craig came up to pinch hit with a tie game and runners on first and third. He was facing Alexi Ogando, who was lights-out in the ALCS. Craig delivered a line-drive single to right, which ended up being the game-winning hit.

In Game 2, Craig came up in a nearly identical situation and again put the Cardinals ahead with a single to right off Ogando. The Rangers would rally and win in the ninth, but Craig got to Ogando twice in a row, and it's possible that ruined Ogando for the series -- he ended up allowing seven hits and seven walks in 2 2/3 innings in the World Series.

In Game 3, Craig got the scoring started with a solo home run in the first inning.

In Game 6, Craig woke everyone up in Busch Stadium with an upper-deck homer in the seventh. It felt like a ghost town before that shot, and the Cardinals would eventually come through with the epic comeback victory to avoid elimination.

World Series Coverage
And then, in Game 7, Craig not only homered again, but he also brought one back in the yard. Nelson Cruz hit a shot to deep left field and Craig went back and perfectly timed a jump to rob Cruz of the postseason home-run record. Center fielder Skip Schumaker had a perfect view of the ball's trajectory and knew Craig had a shot.

“Yeah, it was in the air long enough where I thought he had a chance to get to the wall in time," Schumaker said. "He timed it perfectly.”

Then Schumaker volunteered the essential information on Craig.

“Without him in this series we don’t win it.”

Well put. On a team with Albert Pujols, Chris Carpenter, Matt Holliday, Lance Berkman and Yadier Molina, two of the most important cogs in the World Series were MVP David Freese and part-timer Allen Craig.

Just like Craig said, you have to make the most of your opportunities. And he definitely did in 2011, especially in the World Series.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com