Santa Visits St. Louis

stlxmasOnce again Christmas is upon us and this year I called up my good friend Santa Claus and he gave me a sneak peek at the Christmas Wish List from a few of our area sports teams and individuals. Here are a few of the things they are hoping are wrapped nicely under their tree this Christmas day.

  • John Mozeliak – A home grown offensive talent. Mo lost out on a couple of big names this off-season (David Price and Jason Heyward). But the bigger issue is the Cardinals lack of home grown offensive talent. The Cardinals have been rich filling up their major league roster with home grown talent but have lacked in cultivating a true offensive star. The last true star hitter developed by the Cardinals was Albert Pujols. Sure Matt Carpenter is a solid player, above average even, but he has had his struggles the last couple of years as he has adjusted his swing to fit more into a power role. The Cardinals thought they had the next big thing in Colby Rasmus, but he never developed here in St. Louis, and while he has averaged 25 home runs per season he remains a .245 career hitter. Then it was Oscar Taveras’ turn; and he showed some promise before his life had a tragic end. With the Cardinals’ core position players (Yadier Molina, Jhonny Peralta, Matt Holiday, even Carpenter is 30 years old) all reaching the end stages of their career it is vital the organization finds a star position player. Could Stephen Piscotty be that player? Who knows, he had a great rookie year. But Mozeliak is hoping he can find a young bat and find it soon.
  • Yadier Molina – A new thumb. The face of the Cardinals franchise recently had his second surgery on his thumb this past year. Molina, a future Hall of Famer, battled through a thumb injury last season and after his most recent surgery will not be ready for spring training. More so than his bat, Molina provides intangibles that are hard to duplicate. Can someone please get Yadi a new thumb? Maybe one of those giant foam finger thumbs they sell at the stadium would even do?
  • Adam Wainwright – Health. Wainwright is one of the best pitchers to put on a Cardinal uniform but has had to deal injuries that cost him valuable time during his career, missing two full seasons and parts of two others. At 34 his time as an elite pitcher that contends for a Cy Young may be over. But what has diminished in velocity he makes up for with determination. Seeing him come back for the playoffs last year was impressive. It is often talked about his lineage with Chris Carpenter, another bull dog but injury prone pitcher for the Cardinals. But unlike Carpenter I hope Wainwright is able to fend off the injury bug for the remainder of his career and is able to go out and put the finishing touches on a remarkable career.
  • Stan Kroenke – You asked for L.A. but you get a big fat chunk of coal. The lack of communication, the total abandonment of fan interaction from the organization, from top-down; you have done everything you can to put yourself on the naughty list. So enjoy that coal.
  • St. Louis Rams fans – A decision. At this point St. Louis Rams fans just want a decision. Are the Rams staying or leaving? The city of St. Louis has done everything they can to keep the team; appeasing their billionaire owner with plans for a new stadium. Fans have still supported the team throughout some of the worst football in NFL history. Now fans are stuck waiting to find out if their team will remain in St. Louis or leave for the sun and stars of L.A. The worst thing that could happen is the NFL puts a decision off for another year. Then it is another lame duck season in St. Louis. Fans will not, and have the right to hold off their support until they learn whether or not they will have a team to cheer for beyond one calendar year. So NFL make up your mind. Don’t drag this out like you have done with all of your other decisions like deflategate, concussions, Ray Rice, etc.
  • St. Louis Rams team – A quarterback/wide receiver. The Rams have a strong defense and this year have finally shown signs of improvement on offense. With what looks to be the best young running back in the league (Todd Gurley) and a video game type dynamo (Tavon Austin) the Rams have the beginnings of a legitimate offensive attack. Now they need a quarterback who can play consistent. Someone that can get the ball to a receiver within 10 feet of his outstretched hands. Speaking of which the Rams are hoping their quarterback comes in a package with a receiver. Tavon Austin broke out this year but remains at best a #2 receiver. Can you imagine if the offense had a real top flight receiver that can run a 15-yard out and catch the ball 90% of the time. That takes opposing defenders off Austin and out of stacking the box defending Gurley.
  • Dave Peacock – Rest. Peacock has spent the last two years putting together a plan to keep the Rams in St. Louis. Through the efforts of him and his team they have put forth a plan that was recently passed by the city of St. Louis. With stadium designs, funding, naming rights, and everything in place all they need now is an owner that wants to stay. No matter what is decided by the NFL, Dave Peacock and his team deserve a huge round of applause for their efforts. I am sure it has been a tireless effort and he is deserving of recognition and rest.
  • Ken Hitchcock – Here is hoping the Hitchcock finally gets a team that “buys-in”. That is tongue in cheek. For the last few years we have heard Hitch talk non-stop about buying-in. When the team does well, it’s because they bought in. When it fails, they didn’t buy-in. I am tired of this excuse. But Hitch believes fully that is the key to success. So I hope he gets it.
  • St. Louis Blues – A healthy team. The Blues got off to a fast start this season despite some significant injuries. This spring as they enter the Stanley Cup playoffs, I hope they get their wish of a fully healthy team. We have seen in past playoffs the Blues come in short-handed. Just one, I want to see the team come into the playoffs on full tilt with a full roster.
  • Mizzou Football – Star recruits. I like the Barry Odom hire as the new head coach. Odom is already making waves in the recruiting circles, stating he will go after five and four star recruits and wants them on campus. Nothing against Pinkel and the previous regime, they did a fantastic job taking the recruits they had and developing them. But often those recruits were two and three stars. Now the star ranking system has its issues but the fact remains a five star recruit typically is just flat out more talented than a two star. Odom knows that the only way to not just compete in the SEC and in football but to win, is to have the best players. Here is hoping that Odom gets the top notch talent from around the state and creating a program that keeps players from leaving for other schools like Florida State, Wisconsin, and Nebraska.
  • Mizzou/SLU basketball – Relevancy. The two local basketball programs have fallen into the sports background. It was just three years ago that Mizzou had a 30-win season, in fact just two years ago they picked up 20 wins. It was also just two years ago that SLU had won their second straight Atlantic 10 title. Now after last season in which the two teams won 20 combined games, the programs have quickly faded to the background. SLU was in on a top notch recruit, Jayson Tatum, (albeit more do to being the school where his father played and the hometown team than anything they did) that would have immediately changed the program’s standing. Mizzou is still trying to fill up its roster after having it depleted by Frank Haith’s exit. The two teams have a couple of young players that can play but they need to find their footing. Here is to hoping more talent arrives and lifts those two programs back up to something to talk about during the winter and into March.
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