Scott Rolen

Walt Jocketty

Baseball’s 15th greatest general manager knew a bargain veteran when he saw one

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Mark Armour and Dan Levitt have written a book: In Pursuit of Pennants, which examines how front offices have historically found innovative ways to build winning teams. In support of that, they are counting down the top-25 GMs of all time over at their blog. Since it’s slow season, I’m going to continue linking to the countdown as it’s great stuff we rarely read about in the normal course.

Walt Jocketty could add at the deadline. And pick up a veteran bargain in the offseason. You think you knew that already, but man, I was surprised at how many of these kinds of deals Jocketty made while in St. Louis. Mark McGwire, Will Clark, Mike Timlin, Woody Williams, Chuck Finley, Scott Rolen, Sterling Hitchcock, Larry Walker and Jeff Weaver all made their bones elsewhere, but were brought to St. Louis and shined.

Makes you wonder if Marlon Byrd still has one last big year in him in Cincinnati.

Roy Halladay really loves Chase Utley

roy halladay long getty
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I am fascinated by Roy Halladay’s Twitter account. There’s nothing spectacular about it really — he’s a retired dude who likes to fish and play golf and stuff — but because I can’t think of any ballplayer’s whose on-field and off-field personas are more different.

On the field Halladay was like the Terminator. He was always business, always serious. While his arm may have given out, you feel like he could still go 12-8 each year based on his intensity alone. It carried over into interviews too. He was never mean, but there was not a lot of emotion there. It was business and logic and zero nonsense.His Twitter feed, in contrast, shows him to be rather funny. Occasionally goofy in a good way. He dabbles in observational comedy and stuff. It’s kind of neat.

Today, the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association gave out its team-by-team Heart & Hustle Awards. They’re voted on by alumni and active Major League players and is presented annually to active players who “demonstrate a passion for the game of baseball and best embodies the values, spirit and traditions of the game.” Chase Utley won it for Philly, and Halladay went with the heart, going on a multi-tweet endorsement of Utley as a professional and a human being.

I began to read it with some amusement but then I started to kind of love it, mostly because it was a mix of Mac’s letter to Chase on “Always Sunny” and the “I love you, man!” stage of a bender, only done stone-cold sober at 2pm on a Tuesday.

Ignore the typos and there/their/our/are level of word mixups. The man was on a roll here and likely typing on his phone:

Corny? I dunno. But that’s some heartfelt stuff right there. From a guy who, as a player at least, gave you the impression he could rip out your heart in a second if he wanted to. Maybe I’m being a softie this afternoon, but I sort of love it.

Cardinals await conclusion of ALCS as World Series will be a rematch of 2004 or 2006

NLCS - Los Angeles Dodgers v St Louis Cardinals
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With a thorough 9-0 drubbing of the Dodgers in Game 6 of the NLCS, the Cardinals clinched a World Series appearance for the first time since, uh, last week. At least it feels that way, anyway. They won the World Series in 2011 against the Texas Rangers in seven games.

The Cardinals are anxiously waiting for the ALCS to wrap up to find out where they’ll go and who they’ll play on Wednesday in Game 1 of the World Series. They’ll open up either in Boston or Detroit.

If it’s the Red Sox, who are up three games to two, it will be a rematch of the 2004 World Series. The Red Sox swept the Cardinals in four games, breaking the 86-year-old “Curse of the Bambino”. That World Series featured players such as Pedro Martinez, Curt Schilling, and Derek Lowe for Boston. For the Cardinals, they had Albert Pujols, Jim Edmonds, Scott Rolen, and Dan Haren. It was a long time ago.

If it’s the Tigers, it will be a rematch of the 2006 World Series, which the Cardinals took in five games. That World Series featured players such as Curtis Granderson, Magglio Ordonez, and Kenny Rogers for Detroit. The Cardinals had David Eckstein, Jeff Weaver, and Anthony Reyes. Ah, memories.

The Cardinals will have four whole days of rest, meaning they’ll be able to set up their rotation exactly the way they want. In fact, Michael Wacha would be on schedule if he were to start Game 1. It will be interesting to see in exactly which order the Cardinals line up their starters.