Top 7: Must-Have Free Autographs at the 2012 Cardinals Winter Warm Up

January 13, 2012

You booked a room at the Millennieum, packed up the family truckster, even bought a sleeve of baseballs from Walmart, and now you’re ready to head up I-64 for some sweet, sweet Cardinal autograph action at this weekend’s Winter Warm-Up.

Only one problem, you forgot to go to the Cardinals web site and sign up for an autograph session with your favorite Cardinals players (for a specific additional donation of course). Great. Now you can forget about that Lou Brock autograph you always wanted ($75). Lance Berkman too ($100). World Series MVP David Freese ($75)? Forget about it. Hell, you can’t even get J. C. Romero ($5).

But don’t worry, because there are plenty of free autographs to be had. And the best part is we’ve done all the leg work for you, sifting through the list of unremarkables to comprise another Joe Sports Fan Top 7: Must-Have Free Autographs at the 2012 Cardinals Winter Warm Up.

7. T. J. Matthews

In a way, this whole Mark McGwire fiasco was his fault. Yeah! And while you’ll never be able to get Mark McGwire’s autograph for free (unless you’re a Baseball Hall of Fame voter), you can get the guy McGwire was traded to the Oakland A’s for, and unlike a McGwire autograph, it won’t even cost you your integrity.

6. Curt Ford

No, not Curt Flood. Curt Ford. The former sacrificed his life and livelihood so that today’s players could think that God wants them to go to Los Angeles for $240 million instead of stay in St. Louis for $220 million. The latter’s two-run single broke a scoreless tie and propelled the Cardinals to a 4-2 victory in Game 5 of the 1987 World Series, during which Ford hit a healthy .318. The Cardinals wouldn’t win another World Series game for 19 years, and Curt Ford’s career would end abruptly and sadly – just like Curt Flood.

5. Andy and Alan Benes

Together, the brothers Benes combined for 79 wins and 23 arm surgeries while wearing the birds on the bat. In fact, the only thing more stitched than the baseball you’ll give them is the arm they’ll use to sign it. But the duo helped boost the Cardinals to a memorable 1996 playoff run, and that’s got to be worth more than nothing, doesn’t it? The answer here is clearly maybe.

4. Glenn Brummer

A little-known third string catcher steals home during the magical championship season of 1982, and one of the greatest moments in Cardinal lore is born. So let me see if I get this straight…the Cardinals have no problem selling “souvenir” toilets to their fans, but they can’t even charge $5 for a Glenn Brummer autograph? You’ve got to be kidding me. That’s worth at least two used toilets, maybe three.

3. Mike Tyson

Just so you can do the joke, “Hey, I got Mike Tyson’s autograph! Mike Tyson the guy that played second base for the Cardinals from 1972-1979, not Mike Tyson the boxer!” to all your friends until one of them punches your face in, a la Mike Tyson. And it will serve you right, you dumb son of a bitch.

2. Tom Lawless

To get the full Tom Lawless free autograph experience, you’re going to need a bat for him to sign. Then, you ask him to stare straight ahead and flip it behind him, without a care for what (or who) is back there, just like he did when he homered in Game 4 of the 1987 World Series. Yep, this is quite possibly the best idea I’ve ever had.

1. Rex Hudler

It’s likely that more than a few witnesses to the debacle that was the 1990 St. Louis Cardinals would say that team wasn’t very much fun to watch. But those people obviously missed the 89 games in which Rex “The Wonder Dog” Hudler played or appeared in. Hudler’s speed, power, and fiery red hair proved an explosive combination, as he finished third on the team with 7 home runs and chipped in 18 steals in limited action. But Hudler’s statistics paled in comparison to the unwavering heart and hustle he displayed every time he stepped on the field.

Why, if diving head-first into third base was worth 5 runs, that 1990 team would have finished 18 games out of first place instead of 25. Hudler is now an award-winning broadcaster and, not surprisingly, a motivational speaker.  He resides in California with his wife and four children, sadly, according to the above photo, none of whom are ginger.

—-

Michael Grubb is a (semi) regular contributor to Team JSF. When he’s not ranking things that don’t matter, he can be reached at:

@GrubbHub
GrubbHub.net
grubbhub@gmail.com

Advertisements

Cardinals Hold Tryouts to Find Relievers They Can Trust

June 24, 2011

Plagued by much-publicized bullpen troubles, the St. Louis Cardinals released veteran right-hander Miguel Batista this week.

Anytime Tony La Russa is forced to let go of a 40 year-old reliever allowing nearly two base runners an inning, you know it’s a cry for help from the Cardinals manager.

But it turns out the situation may be more desperate than anyone could have imagined. After blowing far too many late-inning leads this season, the Cardinals have resorted to holding private tryout sessions in order to find some relievers they can trust.

You’d be hard pressed to find any info on these private workout sessions, because in typical close-to-the-vest Cardinals fashion the press and public have been barred from attending. But once again thanks to our far-reaching JSF sources we’ve been able to obtain the following footage:

Apparently the Cardinals are so desperate for relief help they’re contemplating turning to a cheesy, local mortgage lender with a rocket arm but a little rough around the edges, despite being a sharp dresser.

At least La Russa seemed impressed, so that’s a good sign.


You Can Take the Mask Off Now, Tony

April 29, 2011

Tony La Russa isn’t really a big football fan type. The sport is far too barbaric for an enlightened fellow like the St. Louis Cardinals skipper. I’m guessing he’d be more at home attending an upscale wine tasting or the symphony. As far as bowls go, he’s obviously more Puppy than Super.

Which is why it’s kind of ironic that his daughter, Bianca, recently made the Oakland Raiders cheerleading squad.

Raiders fans are notorious for taking barbarism to a whole new level. Nothing exemplifies this more than the costume-clad weirdos that make up the Black Hole, a designated  area of the Coliseum occupied by the team’s rowdiest (read: dumbest) fans.

However, according to JSF sources, Tony has been getting into the Raiders spirit since Bianca became a Raiderette, even going as far as reserving a spot in the Black Hole so he can watch his daughter cheer in person. Of course, this requires he don a scary costume and mask. Thankfully, in light of recent events and diseases, this shouldn’t be a problem.

This is the father of an NFL cheerleader? Really? All things considered though, it’s a good thing La Russa is only a fan of the Raiderettes and not their manager. Otherwise, given his well-known preference for veterans over youth, you might get a cheerleading squad that looks something like this:

Although at four feet 10 inches tall, Estelle Getty is a prime candidate for a middle infield spot. Just ask Aaron Miles, Mike Gallego, César Izturis, and Nick Punto.


Cardinals Had an Eye on Jake Westbrook All Along

April 22, 2011

Just before the trade deadline last July, the St. Louis Cardinals sent popular outfielder Ryan Ludwick to San Diego in a three way deal that netted them pitcher Jake Westbrook from Cleveland.

Although not exactly a hit with fans at the time, general manager John Mozeliak lauded the deal, citing the club’s need to bolster the starting pitching with injuries to Brad Penny and Kyle Lohse.

“We’ve been looking for a quality starting pitcher to add to our rotation for some time,” Mozeliak said shortly after the trade. “Westbrook is someone we’ve had our eyes on for a good period of time.”

Unfortunately, Westbrook has had a rough go of it so far this season. On Wednesday, he got pounded again for seven runs in only three innings of work, raising his ERA to a lofty 7.63.

For his career, the 33 year-old Westbrook is but a sub-.500 pitcher, going 74-76 with a 4.33 ERA in 11 major league seasons.

So exactly which eyes did the Cardinals have on Westbrook all that time? Apparently this was one of them:

Never let it be said that Tony La Russa doesn’t have an eye for talent. It’s just that his eye for talent suffers from conjunctivitis too.


Effort to Sign Number Five Is Not Malfunction

April 8, 2011

Self-imposed, arbitrary deadlines have come and gone. The regular season has started with a bit of a speed bump to say the least. Cracks in Tony La Russa’s sullen, joyless façade have already started to appear.

What once seemed like the unthinkable to the St. Louis Cardinals and the team’s loyal fans – Albert Pujols wearing his signature Number Five on a uniform other than one comprised of two parts bird and one part bat – has started to slowly creep into the realm of the imaginable.

In fact, there hasn’t been this much buzz over a Number Five since a cute, quirky robot starving for input shared the silver screen with Steven Guttenberg and Ally Sheedy, and later foiled bank robbers in an obligatory yet underappreciated sequel.

Even talk of Albert joining the dreaded Chicago Cubs has started to make a modicum of sense.  I mean, why else would the Cubs sign 32 year-old Carlos Pena to a one-year deal, unless they were hoping to be able to make a run at Pujols the free agent this winter? Everybody knows the Cubs like to overpay for terrible players. Alfonso Soriano in left field makes Chris Duncan look like, well, Shelley Duncan. Just imagine what they would be willing to pay a future Hall-of-Famer still in MVP form?

Come on mang, this can’t be happening, can it? Won’t somebody do something? Please, think of the children!

Actually, somebody has. A local St. Louis group has started a website called SignPujols.org. Its mission:  keep the career of Number Five alive and with the Cardinals.

How do they propose to do this? By selling metal signs featuring a skillfully crafted sketch drawing of Prince Albert with the phrase “Sign Pujols” in big, bold lettering:

Sign Pujols Sign

The idea is that fans will buy the signs, bring them to the game, or otherwise prominently display them, thus letting Albert know we’d like him to remain a Cardinal. The best part is that all proceeds from sales of the signs go to Albert’s charity, the Pujols Family Foundation.

So buy a sign, cross your finger and pray to Gah, and maybe just maybe, we can get Albert Pujols to stick with St. Louis. Because letting Number Five go to another team, especially the arch-rival Cubs, could very well make the Cardinals look like numskulls for years to come.


Tony La Russa Roasted…Vegetarian Style, of course

January 20, 2011

[Please welcome the newest addition to the JoeSportsFan.com contigent, Michael Grubb]

Dean Martin, Don Rickles, Bob Hope, Greg Giraldo, Jeffrey Ross…and Tony La Russa?

Under normal circumstances, Tony La Russa and a sense of humor go together about as well as animal rights and a thick, juicy steak.  Typically you’d need a canister of tear gas to elicit something resembling laughter from the all-too-serious skipper.

But few punches were pulled Sunday at the annual St. Louis chapter BBWAA dinner. Like his crippling phobia of young players. Surely there were some good barbs about that right? Or his general dourness during postgame news conferences, where he often looks as though his third-favorite dog just had to be put down. Probably some real knee slappers there. Then there’s the one about his lineup cards being like snowflakes. No two are ever alike. Ever.

Okay, so maybe some of those didn’t make the final cut. But there were a handful jokes about falling asleep at the wheel. But hey, it was all in good fun. I’m sure Josh Hancock’s family was in stitches.

Most of Tony’s lifelong friends were in attendance, which even included a few bipeds. Friends like fellow baseball manager Jim Leyland, former Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight, and a kangaroo.

At one point, actor and notorious Cardinals suck-up Billy Bob Thornton praised both Knight and La Russa for being old school coaches, saying, “The more chairs Bob throws, the more I love him.”

This prompted Knight to honor Thornton’s words and La Russa by…what else? Throwing a chair.

Later, Knight choked a college kid and berated and physically intimidated a female secretary as part of the gag. All laughed heartily.

Unfortunately, longtime friend Bill Belichick was too busy watching his Patriots get booted from the playoffs by the New York Jets (sorry, I couldn’t resist). Which is too bad, rumor has it that Belichick tells a mean knock-knock joke.

Singer Bruce Hornsby was also unable to make the event. Attending on his behalf was The Range, which had nothing else to do.


Grubb Bites for January 5, 2010: Big Ten Network Comes to St. Louis

January 5, 2010

We have something really special for you today. It’s called a blog post. No, actually it’s something we’re calling Grubb Bites.

We at Grubb Hub have decided that instead of always trying to stir up the motivation to polish off the proverbial 6-course meal in the form of writing full, feature-length articles (which clearly is not working, as evidenced by the lack of posts lately), we thought it might be fun to quickly go through some items of the day and offer our reaction in a more “bite-sized” or condensed form. So here goes nothing:

Charter Brings the Big Ten Network to Southern Illinois, St. Louis

Since its inception in 2006, I have spent many a night dreaming of what it would be like to have the Big Ten Network for my very own – to possess her, to hold her in my arms, to caress her slowly and softly; as she deserves to be caressed. To toss aside the cares of the world and just spend the day with her, watching her replays of games I’ve already seen again and again…and again and again.

But alas, it was not meant to be, for I had Charter Cable. And if it were not insufferable enough that I could not possess her for my own, too often I had borne witness to her flaunting herself in the arms of others – like a wanton and promiscuous whore!! Until it turned my stomach just to hear her name.

get more Grubb…