Skip Schumaker hoping to be available if Cardinals reach World Series

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In removing Skip Schumaker from the NLCS roster because of an oblique injury the Cardinals initially expected him to miss the remainder of the playoffs, but now the utility man is hoping to be available if they reach the World Series.

“There’s been a lot of improvement from then to now,” Schumaker told Joe Strauss of the St. Louis Post Dispatch. “I wouldn’t have been as optimistic two days ago, or even yesterday, but if it continues to improve at this rate I think there’s a very good chance.”

Of course, Strauss notes that Schumaker “has yet to swing or throw since injuring himself” in Game 5 of the NLDS, so he’s far from a sure thing unless Tony La Russa decides to go the same route Jim Leyland did by playing a clearly still-injured Delmon Young.

In his absence the Cardinals started Ryan Theriot at second base in Game 1 and Nick Punto at second base in Game 2, with Jon Jay playing center field in both games.

Anthems, first pitches and other ceremonial stuff

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The World Series is not just about the baseball. It’s about the bigger-than-usual stars singing the National Anthem, the more-famous-than-usual people throwing out the first pitch and all of the assorted to-do which surrounds the ballgames. Here is that sort of stuff for Game 1 and Game 2 in Boston.

First pitches:

  • Carl Yastrzemski will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for Game 1. Yastrzemski also threw out the first pitch of Game 1 in 2004, 2007 and 2013. The Red Sox won each of those games and each of those World Series so, yeah, go with what works, right?
  • Members of the 2004 World Series Champions will throw the ceremonial first pitch of Game 2. It doesn’t say which members, so maybe my dream of Manny Ramirez doing it will work out after all. Hey, he played for the Dodgers too, so let’s make this happen, OK?

National Anthems:

  • Singer-songwriter James Taylor will perform the National Anthem prior to the start of Game 1. This morning Peter Gammons tweeted that Taylor’s family helped build Fenway Park. Let’s file that under “interesting, but not so interesting that it’s really worth tracking down to confirm, so why not believe it?” Sweet dreams and flying machines in pieces on the ground.
  • For Game 2 the National Anthem will be performed by the Boston Pops, with the Tanglewood Chorus and the Boston Symphony Children’s Chorus doing the singing. The Boston Pops are conducted by Keith Lockhart, who was a career .287/.354/.425 hitter in 37 postseason games with the Atlanta Braves. I mean, at least I’m pretty sure it’s the same Keith Lockhart. Again: not interesting enough to check so, like Gammons’ thing about James Taylor, let’s assume I’m right about this.

Play ball.