BLUES – FINALLY, CAPTAIN AMERICA IS REAL

On the Blues knighting David Backes as their new captain, this is a no-brainer.  There are so many reasons why, and an article I wrote months ago should explain that.  You can read that at this link: http://joerichtermedia.com/?p=59

Backes is the kind of guy you want to follow; he’s tough, talented, and tenured.  The Blues did the right thing.  They couldn’t make General Manager Doug Armstrong – who has done a terrific job since joining the staff – the captain, so Backes is the next best thing.

Though there is a lot going on sports-wise in St. Louis, I can’t put in words just how excited I am to see the Blues get out there.  My anticipation is bubbling over watching Alex Pietrangelo blossom as a star defenseman, Chris Stewart emerge as a star power forward, and Jaroslav Halak become a true #1 netminder.  There’s so much that we have longed to see – the continued brilliance of Patrik Berglund, the rocking mullet of TJ Oshie, etc.

The Blues New Captain, Captain America

But if I might protest something, it would be the choice of Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believing” for the Blues ad campaign.  I just saw the commercial on the Blues website, (I’d add the link, but I don’t want to put you through the obnoxious college ad) and was selfishly bothered.  I never started believing that Berglund can actually play the piano (although the guy’s charismatic goofiness should certainly be part of the campaign), and I did stop believing that the song should be played outside of a high school dance.  Besides, it sings about Detroit, which should be enough said.  OK, maybe I’m being too nitpicky here (I admit being a bit petty), but didn’t Tony Soprano get shot to that song?  Sorry, late spoiler alert…

Regardless, it’s nice that the exhibition season will start next week (September 20), and training camp begins Friday, September 16.  And it’s classy of the Blues to allow fans to be there at the St. Louis Mills to see them officially take the ice for the first time of the 2011-12 season.  Many of the boys in blue are already there, which shows me the Blues, themselves, will not stop believing they owe it to the fans and the franchise to make it back to the playoffs.

 

 

RAMS – MAYBE WORST FEARS REALIZED

Well, we talked about it before, and now our worst fears have been realized.  The positions with the least amount of depth for the Rams were ones most battered on Sunday.  First off, Rams Quarterback Sam Bradford slammed a finger on an Eagles player’s helmet, leaving him inactive in practice until at least Wednesday.  It turned out to be just a bruise, but the finger he hurt was on his throwing hand, and the franchise QB wasn’t exactly meticulous on Sunday (I thought he was trying to hit the cameramen on the sideline on a couple throws) to begin with.  Neither was AJ Feeley.  This is very concerning in a league that has a quarterback fetish.  The NFL knows these guys are the faces of franchises, and have bent and changed rules over the last two decades to benefit the passing game.  Teams cannot live on the run alone.  “Keep our fingers crossed,” Head Coach Steve Spagnuolo said, “no pun intended.”  Hey, Spags; I make the corny jokes around here…

All-Pro Running Back Steven Jackson was updated to “week-to-week” by Spagnuolo.  But it’s a wait and see scenario with Jackson.  He said, “I’ve always trusted Steve with injuries and how he feels. He knows better than anybody how his body reacts.”

Even worse, Wide Receiver Danny Amendola – Bradford’s go-to guy – is out for who knows how long.  It was determined that he dislocated his elbow, and was getting an MRI during Spagnuolo’s press conference Monday.  They’ll more info midweek.  If Amendola doesn’t require surgery, then he could be back sooner than originally expected.  Spagnuolo called him a “tough sucker”.  Spags said Danny is “a lot tougher than me.”

But what might be the costliest injury is losing Cornerback Ron Bartell.  After suffering what everyone thought was “just” a stinger, Bartell wanted to go back into the game.  In the understatement of the season, it’s a good thing the Rams didn’t let him.  It turns out that he has a broken neck.  Ouch.  He could miss the rest of the season.  You got to feel bad for him, considering how long he has waited for this team to be a winner.

Ron Bartell (stlouisrams.com)

Who will take Bartell’s place on an already short list of quality corners?  Cornerback Bradley Fletcher suffered a toe injury, as well, possibly leaving only two healthy corners for Week 2.  The Rams will have to see how Fletcher comes along this week.  Right now, they might have to look outside for another corner to fill in.  “Obviously you have Justin (King) and Al (Harris) here,” Spags said.  He added that they “may have to find a way to get another one.”

There was some good news.  Offensive Tackle Jason Smith and Defensive End C.J. Ah You are listed as day-to-day after their injuries turned out to be less serious than previously estimated.

Right now, it’s a waiting game for the Rams to see just how depleted their first game left them.  “We didn’t envision starting like that,” Spagnuolo said.  “We certainly didn’t envision losing all these guys but between the coaching staff, personnel staff, the players just find a way to rally and go play.”

 

 

CARDS – THANK YOU, MORGAN?

Nyjer Morgan Gives a Lesson in Class

I know the 5-game winning streak was snapped on Monday night by the mighty (to the Cardinals) Pittsburgh Pirates.  But the Cards are still in it.  That’s right, I said it – they still have a chance to get into the playoffs.  And if they do, I think it’s all because of Brewers Center Fielder Nyger Morgan.  He may be a player with crazy skills, but that might not be the only crazy thing about him.  I mean, we’ve all thrown our chaw at a pitcher that has struck us out, and made a fool of ourselves on television.  OK, maybe that’s just me.  But I don’t think any of us have called Albert Pujols a little girl.

You have to hand it to Morgan, he has more guts than brains.  Many have accused 6’3” 230 pound Albert Pujols of being surly at times, or thinking he’s ten times faster than he really is; but we would never call him feminine like Morgan did.  It’s like the old line by Gene Wilder from “Blazing Saddles” that he said about the movie’s character, Mongo, “No, no; don’t do that.  If you shoot him, you’ll just make him mad.”

That might be exactly what Morgan did with the Pujols and the Cardinals.  Morgan might have lit the fire under the Cardinals that they needed.  They have been on a roll ever since.  And the Brewers are starting to look a bit more mortal.  After losing five games in a row, The Brew-Crew defeated the Philadelphia Phillies on Sunday.  And they also got Rickie Weekes back.  But the Cardinals have a little more incentive to see them in the playoffs, now, and beat them.

Nyjer Morgan Reminds Us to Floss

Thanks to the Florida Marlins’ Mike Stanton’s game-winning RBI single Monday night against the Braves, the Cards are only 4.5 games out of the wild card spot – and a ticket to a whole new season, the playoffs.  While the Cards will be hard-pressed to catch the Brewers (6.5 games back   games slip away, especially against the Pirates.

One more note.  Getting Chris Carpenter for two more years at a reported $21 million total is a steal by the rate pitchers are getting these days.  It’s important to have the one-two punch of him and Adam Wainwright next year.  If Jaime Garcia can come back next year with a more consistent season, the Cards will have one of the best top three pitchers in the league.  And the money saved could help the Cards retain Morgan’s best friend, Albert Pujols.  Maybe…