by on December 22, 2010 · 7 comments

I’m sorry.  I know you’re ready to move on, and so am I.  But first, I wanted to address Dennis’ post from Friday – The Fall Guy.

I started to gather my thoughts for a well-written response as a comment to that post, but it quickly became clear it was going to be too long-winded for that.  Hence, another post.

At the risk of going all FJM on Dennis (I’m not mad at ya, just disagree!), I would like to respond to a couple of points:

That said, I consider [Lohse’s] remarks to be even more unprofessional than anything that Brendan Ryan was ever accused of doing during his time in St. Louis.  In the pantheon of unprofessional acts, badmouthing an ex-teammate is right up there with being the “unnamed source” inside the locker room.

Now, I didn’t listen to the interview on Tim McKernan’s show, but just reading the transcript, it looks to me as if Kyle Lohse was probably hesitating a lot and choosing his words very carefully.  Word has also gotten around since that perhaps the distaste for Ryan’s “antics” (whatever that entails) was much more widespread than a shout-down from Chris Carpenter or a sideways glance from Albert Pujols.  Guys who like everyone, get along with everyone, and don’t really have the clout in the clubhouse to make or break players – these guys had more or less thrown their hands up in the air over Ryan as well.  Couldn’t help him act right – couldn’t help him say the right things.  I know, I know – who is the judge of what is or isn’t right?  Is it Tony La Russa?  Carpenter?  Pujols?  Well, whoever it is – there were apparently a lot of them that all agreed that what Ryan was doing (or not doing) wasn’t right.

Back to Lohse, it seemed to me that he said – at a high level, WITHOUT getting into specifics and throwing Brendo under the bus – that Ryan wasn’t a fit in a clubhouse that I think we would all agree seems to be one that is more business than it is happy-go-lucky, for lack of a better way to describe it.

Personally, I’m thrilled for the guy, and I’m impressed that he was able to single out Brendan’s lack of professionalism in such a huge cluster of lackluster performances.  That’s absolutely what did in the 2010 Cardinals…….or not.

Lohse specifically said that Ryan was not in any way the reason why they didn’t win the division – so who’s throwing who under the bus wrongfully now?  HUH?!?!

It’s time to admit that the residents are now running the asylum, and the really influential residents just didn’t care to keep him around.  Fine.  Just come out and say it for once.  Man up.

Again, my reading between the lines in the last week or two has led me to believe this wasn’t a Tony move – this was a rest of the team move.  And it wasn’t something that just came up since the end of the season.  And whatever was happening on a regular enough basis for it to be more than just a passing issue wasn’t going away either.

So then, the question I have – or perhaps more of a statement – is why shouldn’t you let the residents run the asylum in this case?  Let’s leave Tony out of it because as I’ve mentioned, I don’t think this was his doing – at least not entirely, and doesn’t mean he’s not relieved to be moving on.  Rather, focus on the others who have clearly had concern and/or issue with Ryan – Chris Carpenter and Albert Pujols, most visibly.  If Carp and Albert suggested to John Mozeliak that Ryan wasn’t a good fit in the all-important clubhouse chemistry, what should Mo do?  Tell one of your top pitchers and your best player to suck it up because Ryan’s shortstop defense is THAT crucial to winning the division?  I was on the same bandwagon as a lot of Cardinal fans in wanting Ryan to stay, and I still think he could’ve helped the team, made them better.  But if the festering distaste for him had permeated more than half the clubhouse (just guessing), then at what cost are they just hanging onto the glove?  I realize that’s a bit abstract, but dysfunction within a team’s own walls has torpedoed more than one contender.

What I don’t get is that you want someone to step up and say they didn’t want Brendan around, and why – but the whole point of the post is criticizing Lohse for giving even the highest level insight into why things may have gone sideways?  I don’t think it does any good at this point to come out and further run the guy into the ground – as mentioned in the previous post, and by Lohse, hopefully this is a wake-up for Brendan a bit and he can string together a nice career in Seattle or wherever else he may land.

Don’t pass it off on Brendan’s performance, either.

I don’t think anyone has, have they?  Comments have been made that Ryan Theriot should represent an offensive upgrade, and I’d think one would find that hard to argue.  But Ryan’s defensive abilities were never really questioned throughout the process.

As for the fans, I hope we can all move on in a positive way and accept that just about everybody (except for us fans) had a hand in botching this one.  When throwing people under a team bus, it’s all or none.  I choose none.

I agree at this point it’s time to move on.  I don’t mean for this post to come off as attacking Dennis’ point of view – it’s one that I very firmly held prior to the trade as well – at least in that I wanted Ryan to play for the Cardinals in 2011 and that the Carpenter chew-out thing was a bit overblown, etc.  As more has come to light, and I have read and talked with more folks about what may have been going on behind the scenes, I think this ending to Ryan’s time in St. Louis was an inevitable one, and perhaps even overdue.

As for the fans not having any hand in botching anything, that’s the beauty sometimes of being a fan – we can blindly throw support behind Brendan Ryan and lambaste Kyle Lohse – but at the end of the day, only the residents of the asylum (and I guess a select few others who wouldn’t disclose knowledge anyway) know what was going on in that clubhouse and that sealed Ryan’s fate as a Redbird.

To that end, I wish Ryan well as he moves on.  I wish it would’ve/could’ve been handled differently, sure.  But to hold Ryan up as a martyr as “The Fall Guy” and cast aside the rest of the team as backstabbing crazies doesn’t tell the whole story, methinks.

At this point, probably best to leave it as I have with the title.


If for some reason this doesn’t wind up being THE LAST BRENDAN RYAN POST, you have my permission to publicly shame me on Twitter.

Writing about the Cardinals and other loosely associated topics since 2008, I've grown tired of the April run-out only to disappoint Cardinal fans everywhere by mid-May. I do not believe in surrendering free outs.
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Deep Throat December 22, 2010

Nice effort!

Unfortunately, much of what get’s released thru the local media is strictly PR the club wants distributed as legitimate news.

Trust me, there is a far more insidious cancer remaining within the Cards clubhouse: Vets vs Rookies (or players w/less than 3 yrs service time).

Ryan was simply the latest casualty in the on-going war of sorts. His crime was in being linked to the Rasmus (F/O protected) situation when he admitted to a reporter how “tough it can be as a rookie in this clubhouse”.

Bet you didn’t know how ugly the clubhouse can be?

Here’s an excerpted example, provided by Rasmus dad recently: When the Cards are on the road, they have (2) buses reserved for the team, travel staff, & media for transport between hotel/airport/stadium.

The clubhouse leaders, e.g. “veterans”, decide who gets to ride in the lead bus reserved for the “team”. Rookies or those who haven’t earned their 3 yrs service time (or those in disavor with the veterans) are FORCED to take a taxi on their own btwn the hotel/airport/stadium!!

So a bus, which can hold 75, is typically very sparsely occupied. The veterans typically sit alone by themselves on the bus, so the need for the club to pay the cost for 2 buses is wasted while the rookies are effectively marginalized and made to feel they’re really not a part of the “team”.

It gets worst.

During BP the players are segregated into small groups of 2-4 and jockey for time with Dave McKay who’s known for providing the nearest game like situational pitching.

Guess what, bet you didn’t know guys like Rasmus or Ryan are not allowed by the “veterans” to participate in the groups with access to McKay.

There’s more, much more of this type of behavior well beyond any hazing.

The problem is Mozeliak & Bill DeWallet are aware of it and condone it to continue to happen.

The local press is fully aware of it as well since they typically ride on the 2nd bus during road trips.

But, you won’t ever read or hear of it because, the implied threat of getting their press credentials revoked at Busch Stadium keeps them from disclosing what they see.

Instead we get Mozeliak’s “character” moves.

Truth needs to be told or certainly tougher questions need to be asked in open public forum why our beloved Redbirds are being systematically destroyed from within & thus periodically delivering a “sacrificial lamb” like Ryan; or Mather or Lopez or Reyes or Kennedy, etc.

Andrew December 22, 2010

Nice anonymous post. Don’t be a tool, kid.

Jeff December 22, 2010

This is not far-fetched to believe of a rift between veterans and rookies, but like I’m going to believe anything 12th hand from Rasmus’s dad. We didn’t fall for that the first 12 times.

Deep Throat December 22, 2010
Dennis December 22, 2010

I don’t think Ryan qualifies as a martyr, and I thought that the team gave himself just enough rope to effectively hang himself. I basically acknowledged what I believed to be his known issues in my post.

I think it’s a bad idea to let the residents run things, though. It seems an especially idea to let Carp and AP run things, because they are technically short-timers right now. If they are going to make the big decisions, then let them make them publicly and be held fully accountable. No need to hide behind TLR or Mo.

What was the point of Lohse pointing out that Ryan wasn’t the reason why the team failed to win the division? It’s a debate tactic of sorts. It plants the seed that someone had actually mentioned it, and that Lohse is then defending Ryan. In actuality, it’s Lohse who raised the idea in the first place. Interesting, no?

Josh December 24, 2010

Ryan deserves credit for making it as a starter in the Majors when many thought he didn’t have the ability to rise above the dreaded AAAA stigma. Health issues also forced the Cards’ hand in good and bad ways with B. Rabbit.

I personally have no issue with former teammates speaking their mind. It happens much more in football, but baseball can benefit from opening some of the closed doors that turn off a lot of fans.

It remains to be seen just how much (if any) the move will benefit the 2011 St. Louis club, and that is all that really matters.

Andrew December 23, 2010

It was a bigger issue with more guys than just Pujols and Carpenter, from my understanding.

And I think your point about Lohse bringing it up may be reading into it too much. They asked him about Ryan, Lohse is an honest guy with the media, he answered it.

How much pull TLR may be becoming an issue, but not here, where I think it was a much more collective distaste for Ryan’s act, in actuality.

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