The more time passes, the more I suspect that we won’t see Mark McGwire play again this year. And that saddens me. It also means the playoffs will be far less exciting for Cardinal fans, and will probably mean a first-round exit for the Cardinals. I think it’s great what Will Clark has done to keep the Cards afloat in McGwire’s absence, but he is still not Mark McGwire. Imagine the scene in October, in the seventh inning of a close game with the Braves, two men on, Busch Stadium is rocking, and Mark McGwire strides to the plate. No other hitter in the game provides the edge-of-the seat anticipation that McGwire does. That is something all fans will miss out on if McGwire doesn’t play in the post-season. The Cardinals can’t fill the hole in their lineup left by McGwire’s absence. As good as Clark has been, the Cardinals would still be better off with McGwire drawing his numerous walks, and changing the score with one swing. While he was breaking records he kept talking about wanting to win. Now the team is winning, he can’t play, and I fear we’ve seen the last of Big Mac for this year.
Archives for August 2000
It’s becoming old hat. Will Clark wins another game for the Cardinals. Clark’s ninth-inning, hit and run double scored Jim Edmonds from first to snap a 2-2 tie. The Cardinals beat Florida 4-2 to take the rubber game with the Marlins and win their sixth consecutive series. Clark also homered in the 2nd inning. He’s hitting .394 with 18 RBI’s in 26 games since joining the Cardinals. Rookie starter Britt Reames gave the Cardinals six good innings, allowing 2 runs. Matt Morris got the win in relief and Dave Veres notched his 24th save. The Cards picked up a game on the Reds, and lead by 8 and 1/2.
The Royals survived another bad outing by the bullpen, but Jerry Spradlin didn’t. Kansas City built an 8-0 lead on the Twins and led 8-2 when starter Mac Suzuki left after seven innings. Minnesota scored two runs in the 8th against Andy Larkin, and three runs in the 9th against Jerry Spradlin. Ricky Bottalico gave up two more hits before finally getting the final out in an 8-7 Royals win. After the game, the Royals released Spradlin, and called up minor leaguer Scott Mullen. Manager Tony Muser says Spradlin wouldn’t have returned next year, and they wanted to look at Mullen. Mike Sweeney drove in 3 runs, giving him 121 on the year. The Royals play in Tampa Bay tonight.
Usually, teams pump in crowd noise during practice to see if their offense can handle the volume. During the Rams workout in the Dome Wednesday, they pumped in noise during their defensive drills. The Rams make numerous checks as they line up defensively, and coach Mike Martz wants to be sure the defense can communicate while Ram fans are trying to disrupt the opposing offense.St. Louis’ injury report is a light one. Defensive end Sean Moran and linebacker Leonard Little are doubtful for Monday night’s opener, and running back Trung Canidate is questionable.
Missouri Western finished third in the MIAA last year, leading the pack that was chasing top dogs Northwest Missouri State and Pittsburg State. The Griffons begin their quest to reach that top tier in 2000 tonight when they host South Dakota. The Griffons were 7-4 a year ago, while South Dakota was 4-7. Central Missouri State opens at home against Winona State. The Mules beat Winona last season, 30-24. Both teams were 7-4 a year ago. Central Missouri features quarterback Cable Davis, a transfer from Southern Mississippi.
Ideally, 0-4 is not how you want your preseason schedule to go. But it’s not the end of the world if it happens. It’s the PREseason, as in, these games don’t count, we just want to milk the fans for more money. So under normal circumstances, I wouldn’t be bothered by the fact that the Chiefs failed to win a preseason game. However, the WAY the Chiefs lost their four preseason games is quite alarming. They scored a touchdown on their first drive in the first game, and haven’t found the endzone with the number one offense since. They haven’t been able to run, they haven’t been able to pass, and their secondary has been burned time and again. But hey, new punter Todd Sauerbrun has looked good, and it’s a good thing too because they’ll need him. I hope I’m wrong. I hope the Chiefs can survive they tough early schedule and get 9 or 10 wins and get into the playoffs. But I’m not counting on it. They have too many questions to answer, and the answer to some of them is bound to be “no”.
30-year old Marlins rookie Chuck Smith came up with his best performance and beat the Cardinals 3-1. Smith allowed St. Louis’ only run on Edgar Renteria’s solo homer in the 7th. That was enough to beat Pat Hentgen, who pitched very well after giving up Mike Lowell’s two-run blast in the first. Hentgen allowed three runs in six innings. Smith gave the Cardinals just four hits over 8 innings. St. Louis’ lead in the Central division has been shaved to 7 and 1/2 games over Cincinnati. Rookie Britt Reames will start tonight in the series finale against Florida’s Reid Cornelius.Cardinal fans can buy playoff tickets for the first round starting Saturday, September 9th at 8am. Unlike in 1996, the Cardinals say they will let fans camp out overnight for tickets, because it’s part of the experience.
Mike Sweeney drove in a pair of runs and scored twice as the Royals jumped on Minnesota for a 7-3 win. Blake Stein improved to 5-3, allowing 3 runs in 6 and 2/3 innings. Mark Quinn had two hits for the Royals, and Sweeney improved his RBI total to 118, tying George Brett for 4th best ever by a Royal. Kansas City scored 4 in the 3rd and 3 in the 5th to take a 7-1 lead, as Stein cruised until he gave up two runs in the 7th. The Royals helped themselves move further from last place by beating the cellar-dwelling Twins. The Royals now have a 2 and 1/2 game cushion. A season-low crowd of just under 12,000 turned out. The teams finish their two-game series this afternoon. Mac Suzuki will face Mark Redman.
Missouri quarterback Kirk Farmer has a stress fracture in his ankle, but says he can play through it. Farmer says the ankle is a little tender, but will not keep him on the sidelines Saturday aganist Western Illinois. Farmer missed the second half of last season after suffering a broken leg. Coach Larry Smith, who says he will no longer comment on injuries, says Farmer is fine.With the defensive secondary thinned by injury and suspension, Missouri wide receiver Eric Spencer may see some two-way duty this season. Spencer has been practicing at cornerback. Coach Larry Smith says Spencer will concentrate on offense only this week, because Missouri will be missing its top receiver Travis Garvin. Garvin is suspended after failing a drug test. Spencer may see some game time on defense later this season in nickle and dime packages.
Division II football coaches across the nation agree: Northwest Missouri State is number one. The Bearcats are ranked first in the D-II coaches’ poll, which is new this season. Northwest Missouri has won back-to-back national championships. The Bearcats received 22 of 28 possible first-place votes.