-All sports this time...first Cardinals, then Blues, and last...of course...Rams.
-Cards--It seems to me that the Birds have what it takes to win another World Series. What worries me the most though is the recent struggles of the closer. Ryan Franklin seems to be cut out of the same sort of cloth that Izzy was. He is very good when he's on...but doesn't have the sort of "blow away" stuff that gives you confidence that he can still get guys out when he's not. When he's in command of his pitches he puts them in places where the hitter either can't hit it...or hits it on the ground to someone. But lately he's been leaving the ball in other places...where the batter can drive it. Unless he finds his command in the last few weeks of the season I'm afraid we might have a very nervous time in the playoffs...and possibly short too.
I would hope that we might hear something about a new contract for Matt Holliday, Mark DeRosa and/or Joel Pineiro before the post-season. It would be nice to know that at least one or two of them will be around for more than just the rest of this season. It might keep them a little more focused on the job at hand as well.
Shame on you if you take what Albert Pujols is doing for granted. The guy is an absolute baseball magician and we are lucky to be watching him on a regular basis.
-Blues--The excitement of last season's playoff run, and the ownership fans have taken in the young Blues roster, has definitely carried over to this year. The crowd at FanFest this past weekend was unbelievable...especially when you consider the apathy of a few years ago. The concourses at Scottrade were packed with autograph seekers and hoards wanting to be a part of the Blues family. It was great to see.
From what I've seen so far, I have a hard time believing that The Note won't make another playoff appearance in the Spring. Of course I'm not expecting the kind of major injuries that were part of the mix last season. There will be some injuries of course...but you have to believe that we won't be devastated like we were in '08-'09. Paul Kariya looks great so far. And Erik Johnson has started to flash some of that amazing ability that we were getting used to two seasons ago. If we get even average production from the usual places...and add a healthy Kariya and Johnson to the mix...well, you know. Keep your eye on David Perron. He seems to have a different, more determined, look in his eye on the ice so far. Could be a breakout year for this guy.
I've accepted an invitation from the NHL and am excited to be making the trip to Sweden to do the p.a. announcing for the two Blues-Wings games there. I've never been to Europe...and they say Stockholm is a beautiful city. I was surprised to get the call actually. I figured a local announcer would be handling the microphone...being in Sweden and all. But apparently the idea is to provide Swedish fans with the "total NHL experience" so this English-speaking fellow will be part of that. So when you're watching, or listening to, the games on October 2 & 3, listen for yours truly making the announcements in the background. I'll bring back pictures.
-Rams--It would be easy to say that these guys are embarking on another lost season at this point. 0-2 is what most people figured they would be. I see predictions of 0-5 before they have a chance to win at Jacksonville in week 6. I may be overly optimistic here, but I believe these guys are just about to start clicking a bit. I base this only on a feeling...mostly about the way they played against Washington...and I think some of Steve Spagnoulo's ideas and strategies should start bearing fruit about now. The defense, if they could ever get someone to the quarterback, should be OK. The offense seems to be starting to get a bit of traction. If they can avoid any more major injuries, I'm thinking they might actually win 6 or so. I'll go out on a limb and say they will start with a win over Green Bay this Sunday....let's say 24-14. (2 offensive TDs...one defensive)
How 'bout this--4-4 by the bye week.
Losses--Seattle, Washington, at S.F., Indianapolis
Wins--Green Bay, Minnesota, at Jacksonville, at Detroit
OK...so it's optimistic. I would rather be that way.