So the Milwaukee Brewers lost “on purpose” last night to force today’s NLDS Game 4 between the Cardinals and Phillies to be played at 5:07 St. Louis time. Or so you’d think if you listened to or read the comments of St. Louis’ free agent to be 1st baseman and 2012’s heir apparent 1st baseman and the numerous fans I’ve spoken to since last night’s Cards loss to the Phils at “shadowy” Busch Stadium.
As he commented on during the regular season, Albert Pujols believes that mid/late afternoon games at Busch affect the way he sees the ball. It’s somewhat odd that he would once again publicly “bitch” about this “deterrent” to his play following the four hit night he’s just completed. For Lance Berkman, following his four strikeout “Golden Sombrero", maybe his comments are a bit more pointed:
"Look at the game," said outfielder Lance Berkman. "I know the pitching was good but we played six innings and I think there was four total hits and we have some pretty good hitters one either side of the ball. "I don't want to make too big a deal of this because (Cole Hamels) pitched a great ballgame. I think it would have been extremely tough to get anything done if we had ideal conditions but you never know what happens, how the game plays out differently. That's about all I want to say about it." Asked how he thought Hamels pitched today, Berkman said, "I didn't see much of anything because I couldn't really see. If I would have been able to, I would imagine it was pretty good. He's got great stuff."
Obviously both of these sluggers have proven their abilities throughout their careers and some merit must be placed upon the comments but quite simply, both teams played under identical circumstances.
Is it MLB screwing with the Cardinals and “unpopular” manager Tony LaRussa by scheduling these games in mid to late afternoon where the Cards lost all 7 of the 3:15 start time games at Busch this season?
Or more obvious is the fact that MLB wants the biggest bang it can get from the television networks in scheduling big games to be broadcast in “Major” markets such as Philadelphia (4th largest TV market) to the largest possible audiences at or near prime time scheduling blocks?
But to read and hear the comments of Pujols:
““We’ve been talking all year long; there is nothing we can do about it. Maybe if we were the New York Yankees maybe we would have played an 8:00 game today. It is what it is. I just don’t understand when we play a 4:00 game the league knows we have tough shadows out there, but there’s nothing you can do. They’re making their money, they’re paying their money. I guess they put the game time however they want it.”
You have to believe it’s all about the almighty TV dollar. Living and playing in the 21st largest TV market here in St. Louis may or may not play into the prized free agent’s decision on where to take his talents or if he stays in the gateway city.
I truly don’t know the answer but do know that with a 5:07 start time this afternoon in St. Louis the Redbirds, shadows and all, had better figure out a way to avoid the ridiculous 14 runners left on base that doomed them last night, or Cardinal Nation will put away their lint filled towels and await the decision of the 1st baseman and then focus on the annual Cardinals Winter Warm Up.
I’ll make the trek back to Busch once again today with hopes of a Cards win followed by a “Happy Flight” to Philadelphia for a deciding game 5 on Friday. No red cap or shirt today simple white “St. Louis Cardinals Baseball” tee and my “summer” sky blue “STL” cap. And no thanks I don’t need another lint filled cotton rally towel but maybe an extra “zyrtec” if they insist on waving those things again today. LOL