In participation with the United Cardinal Bloggers project for January, five headlines I expect to see during the 2011 baseball season:
April 1, 2011: In his regular-season debut as shortstop for the Mariners, Brendan Ryan’s RBI-single in the eighth and defensive brilliance in the ninth carried visiting Seattle to a 4-3 opening-night win over the Oakland Athletics. Ryan, acquired from the Cardinals, dived to his right to knock down a rocket off the bat of Josh Willingham and, from his knees, fired a laser, underhanded, to the plate in time to prevent Mark Ellis from scoring from third with the tying run. Anonymous commenters on stltoday.com clogged the site with a panic-stricken whine that bemoaned the Cardinals’ trade of Ryan, predicting a season of gloom for St. Louis.
Nothing peaceful about Easter for Reds, Cardinals
April 24, 2011: On a wild Easter Sunday night game at Busch Stadium before a national TV audience, Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina smacked a grand slam off Johnny Cueto an inning after Cueto was hit by a Chris Carpenter fastball, sending St. Louis to a 5-2 victory in a game marred by ejections on both sides. After Cueto was struck on the knee by Carpenter’s pitch, managers Dusty Baker of the Reds and Tony La Russa of the Cardinals engaged in a lengthy shouting match near home plate. ESPN microphones carried the profanity-laced tirade over the airwaves. The network reported getting hundreds of phone calls from angry pastors, blaming La Russa (but not Baker) for ruining Easter.
Berkman’s blasts in Houston homecoming lift Cardinals
April 26, 2011: In his first game at Houston as a Cardinal, longtime Astros star Lance Berkman gave his former club a reminder of what they are missing. He launched a two-run homer in the first while batting left-handed and ripped a three-run shot in the seventh batting right-handed, sparking St. Louis to a 7-5 victory. The homers helped compensate for a pair of misplays in right field by Berkman that led to three Houston runs.
Pujols’ historic hit pushes Cardinals into first place
July 15, 2011: Albert Pujols’ 2,000th career hit _ a two-run double in the sixth off Johnny Cueto _ sent St. Louis to its seventh consecutive victory, 4-2 over the Reds at Cincinnati, and into sole possession of first place in the National League Central. Cueto told reporters he refused to pitch around Pujols because “no one intimidates Johnny Cueto.”
Theriot’s triple clinches postseason spot for Cardinals
Sept. 28, 2011: Ryan Theriot, acquired during the winter as the replacement at shortstop for Brendan Ryan, tripled home the tying run, then scored the winner on a passed ball, giving the Cardinals a 3-2 victory at Houston and clinching the division title for St. Louis on the last day of the season. It was a glorious finish to a season in which Theriot batted .285 with a .350 on-base percentage and a solid .980 fielding average. Ryan closed his season at Seattle with a .241 batting mark, .315 on-base percentage and .379 fielding average. The Cardinals again were led by Albert Pujols, who hit .331 with 42 homers, 128 RBI and 123 runs scored but is expected to finish second to Ryan Ludwick of the Padres in the NL MVP voting.
To see the top five headlines other Cardinals bloggers expect, go to UnitedCardinalBloggers