Darn the limitations of the 25 man roster. If ever there was a year the Cardinals could use a 30 man roster, it’s 2011. It’s not that the team would be all that much better (it probably would), it’s just that it would probably be a bit more fun to watch. Take Matt Carpenter for instance. Did you know that he stole a base yesterday? Crazy stuff. Absolutely crazy. FYI – As a team in 2010, the Cardinals stole -28 bases. That’s right. They stole a negative number of bases.
Just kidding. They actually stole something like 79. Yeah, a whole 79 bases. Woohoo. Their club leaderboard looked something like this:
- Albert Pujols – 14
- Colby Rasmus – 12
- Brendan Ryan – 11
- Matt Holliday – 9
- Yadier Molina & Felipe Lopez – 8
Yeah, that’s…..well that’s just….pathetic.
Of course, I live in this little dream world where we have flying cars, sustainable lifestyles, and Lance Berkman batting somewhere other than 2nd in the lineup. Why is that? Well, I really want a flying car.
Oh, you probably are wondering why I want to see Berkman batting behind AP and Matt Holliday. It’s nothing against Lance. I just want to see someone like Freese ahead of Albert. If Theriot gets on base, I don’t want to see station-to-station baseball, either. For the record, I think it’s silly to avoid stealing bases in front of Albert, too. That makes the Cardinals even more predictable. It also makes the pitcher’s job just a tad bit easier, because he doesn’t have to worry about the runner as much when Albert does step up to the plate. I’m resigned to seeing Berkman hitting 2nd, and I don’t care what the argument in favor of that is. I like the guy, and I’m sure he’ll make a wonderful DH.
Take the extra base. Take the extra risk. So what if the other team walks Albert? Men on 1st and 2nd with Holliday at-bat? C’mon! A single can score a runner from 2nd, and they still have Rasmus and Berkman on-deck and in the hole. It won’t happen, though. It’s far too important to have a man on first when Albert is at-bat. There is probably some statistic to justify this, although there is probably some equally ignorable statistic that indicates having Holliday up with men on 1st and 2nd is great as well.
That’s why I’ve come up with a new official scoring recommendation. “Runner’s indifference”. It’s the equivalent of “catcher’s indifference” or “defensive indifference”, only it applies when the offense doesn’t care enough to make an effort to steal a base. You can liberally apply it to the team’s manager. Cardinals fans can score it as “RiTLR”.
For the record, the leaderboard for stolen bases this spring looks like this:
Sure, I realize that most of the regulars aren’t going to steal bases during spring training for obvious reasons, and that’s fine. Still, the team is 9 for 11 in stolen base attempts, and I see no reason to hold back once the season starts. Give them the green light, Tony. The success rate will go down once they face better pitchers and more starting catchers, but the payoff could increase as well. Those stolen bases will occur at the bottom of the lineup, and that’s really where the team lacked production last year. Why not manufacture some? If you don’t at least try, then maybe there should be a scoring change.
TIDBIT: The franchise record for stolen bases in a season is 314 (1985).
MORE BITS OF TID: Do you know how many of the franchise’s batting records have been set in the past 5 years? None. I’m not talking about individual records. Just club records for a season. No records for walks, most doubles, or most hits. The team hasn’t even threatened something fun like “most caught stealing” or “most sacrifice flies”. I’m not calling for a return to “Whiteyball”, but a little hit-and-run wouldn’t be too much to ask, even with the big bombers at the plate.
Like it? Want to see someone besides Albert lead the team in stolen bases? Follow gr33nazn on Twitter to see when I mark “RiTLR” on my scorecard!