A Full Nine Innings–6/10/21

1st Inning—We begin with Depressing Subject # 1—The St. Louis Blues.  The Blues were swept out of the playoffs in humiliating fashion by the Colorado Avalanche.  The Blues made the Avalanche look like the greatest team in NHL History.  While Colorado may not be the best in history, they may very well be the best in 2021.  At this point (and its early as Stanley Cup Playoffs go), The Avalanche look like the most formidable team remaining in the 2021 Postseason.  Things can change, but right now Colorado looks like they have a real shot to be hoisting the Cup in July.  They outscored the Blues 20-7 in the 4-game series.

2nd Inning—And so the offseason begins for the Blues and it should be an interesting one.  St. Louis has 14 key free agents they have to make decisions on but just 5 of those are unrestricted—Tyler Bozak, Carl Gunnarsson, Alexander Steen, Jaden Schwartz, and Mike Hoffman.  Blues Management will have to figure out which 2-3 of those five players are highest priority and try to sign them.  I look for them to keep at least 2 of the Unrestricted Free Agents.  And then they have to deal with the Expansion Draft for the Seattle Kraken.  Blues Players that could be left unprotected for the Expansion Draft include Sammy Blais, Zach Sanford, Ivan Barbashev and Oskar Sundqvist.  The Blues need to put a team on ice next year with more scoring ability!

3rd Inning—On to Depressing Subject # 2—The St. Louis Cardinals.  The Cardinals are 11-16 in the last month and 2-6 in June thus far.  The injuries are coming in bunches for this team, which is sort of a mystery.  So far this season Miles Mikolas, Dakota Hudson, Kwang Hyun Kim, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks have missed time off the pitching staff for stretches or for the entire season.  And Yadier Molina, Harrison Bader, Tyler O’Neill, Justin Williams, and Paul DeJong have missed a significant number of games as well.  The Cardinals currently sit in 3rd place in a weak NL Central.  But if this team can’t stay healthy, I don’t know how anyone can expect success.  Will this current injury trend continue?  I hope not.  Time will tell.

4th Inning—I have been watching the Women’s College World Series and have to admit that I love the sport.  It is so much faster-paced than baseball and most of the games are close.  The Missouri Tigers Women’s Softball Team hosted the Super Regional and lost 2 of 3 to James Madison.  My initial thought after seeing the result was:  How does an SEC Team lose to James Madison?  But then I watched James Madison promptly go out and beat the number one team in the country (Oklahoma) in the first game of the WCWS.  James Madison finished in the Final Four before being eliminated by that same Oklahoma Team.  It does seem that Oklahoma has a slight advantage every year as the sight of the WCWS is Oklahoma City.  It will be Florida State facing the Sooners in a best-of-three to determine the Champion.

5th Inning—Speaking of Oklahoma, President Joe Biden took some time last week to remember the victims of an attack in Tulsa that took place 100 years ago and destroyed a thriving Black Community.  In the speech, Biden stated that the biggest threat to America is White Supremacy.  It is not Global Warming or Climate Change, or China building up by far the largest military in the world, or Iran (or North Korea) getting a nuclear weapon, or Russia continuing to mess with our country’s infrastructure through Cyber Warfare.  It is White Supremacy.  And we wonder why people of a certain color are being violently attacked every day in our country.  Do certain politicians want to destroy the country by starting a Race War?  Is that the goal?  

6th Inning—June has arrived and we are finally getting some warm weather in the St. Louis area.  Of course, we are now officially in summer time which is a great time to be a sports fan. We will have the NHL and NBA Playoffs wrapping up in the next 40-45 days.  Baseball will separate the pretenders from the contenders as the pennant races take shape and get more defined.  Golf will give us the US Open this month and the British Open in July. And in Tennis, the French Open is being played now and Wimbledon will be played in July.  And I plan on seeing lots of Live Music, regardless of if it’s a Thursday Night Concert at Blue Bird Park or the Foo Fighters in August.

7th Inning—The list this week is 10 best first basemen in St. Louis Cardinals History.  I will try to hit on every position for the Cardinals this summer (Just one man’s list):  1.  Albert Pujols, 2.  Jim Bottomley, 3.  Johnny Mize, 4.  Keith Hernandez, 5.  Mark McGwire, 6.  Bill White, 7.  Orlando Cepeda, 8.  Ripper Collins, 9.  Jack Clark, 10.  Gregg Jefferies.  NOTE:  While Stan Musial played more than 1,000 games at First Base, I consider him an Outfielder.   

8th Inning—The effort to make the St. Louis area (and in particular Augusta) the Napa Valley of the Midwest continues.  The Hoffman Family has purchased a total of 6 existing wineries (over 700 acres) and plans to not only have Shops and Restaurants, but also a five-star hotel and a 12-hole World Champion Golf Course designed by Reese Jones.  Recently, David and Jerri Hoffman announced that there will be Paddle Boat and Steam Boat Tours of the Wineries along the Missouri  River. And folks outside of the St. Louis Region are taking notice.  In late May, Fox Business did a story on the plans in Augusta and the rich wine history of Missouri.  Something to look forward to.    

9th Inning—Inspirational Quote of the Week:  “The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will.”  Vince Lombardi

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