August Preliminary Report: Cardinals

St Louis Cardinals
• The Cardinals finished 11-16 in July, and will hope to improve on that mark in August with a revamped lineup, a 4-man starting rotation, and an emphasis on  stealing as many bases as possible.

• Bob Forsch, John Denny, Silvio Martinez, and Rob Dressler will make up the St Louis starting four; former starter John Vuckovich will continue to work from the bullpen for now.

• Veteran Cards outfielder Lou Brock will be permanently stationed in left field for the remainder of the season, with George Hendrick shifting to center, and Jerry Morales and Jerry Mumphrey platooning in right. Tony Scott, who hit .383 as a reserve during July, will fill-in at all three outfield positions at various times throughout August.

• Springfield Redbirds rookie Todd Benefiel was called up to the parent club on August 1st, and will serve as backup to Garry Templeton at short while pinch-hitting and pinch-running when needed. To make room on the roster for  Benefiel, pitcher Aurelio Lopez was sent to Springfield.

• St Louis had just three complete games in July, to go along with a disappointing 4.09 team ERA.

• Catcher Ted Simmons hit a robust .394 last month, and led the team in home runs with five. To take advantage of those numbers, manager Ken Boyer moved Simmons up to the clean-up spot, batting behind Garry Templeton, Brock, and Keith Hernandez. All three are base-stealing threats, and should boost Simmons’ RBI totals, as well as run production for the team.

• August 15th is Pennant Night at Busch Memorial Stadium!

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53 responses to “August Preliminary Report: Cardinals

  1. Aurelio Lopez cries foul. Nepotism!

    • When the offspring of Aurelio ‘4.48 ERA’ Lopez decide to replay the 1978 season using the baseball board game of their choosing, he can pitch every day if he wants to. Until then, he’ll have to prove his worth in the SP78 minors while Rookie of the Year candidate Todd Benefiel tears up the National League with speed, seeing-eye singles, and a rage to win.

      And speaking of nepotism…played any Avalanche games lately?

      • butterboy44

        Hey, I EARNED my spot on that fake video game team!

      • Yes, you earned it…like Arch Hall Jr earned that spot in Eegah.

      • Did you randomly select what team this “Todd Benefiel” fellow played on, or are you a Cardinals fan?

      • Actually, there’s some logic involved here: in 1978 I played Little League for the California First Bank Cardinals, and kept track of all my game stats that season. Statis Pro has a formula that was included with the game, allowing you to create player cards with existing stats. So I took my 19 games played, transposed them to a 162-game season, and used those results for my Statis Pro player card. Also, I’ve always been a Reds fan, but I figured since I’d played in the ‘Cardinals organization’, I might as well stick with them for the SP78 season.

  2. Actually, I think Lopez cried “falta” (in his native tongue). I don’t think the Cards’ pitching staff is going to scare anyone. How’s the arm on that Benefiel kid? Will video highlights of the Cardinals’ SP78 season feature Simmons almost exclusively? I hear he’s quite the YouTube hit.

    • He may be a YouTube sensation, but Simmons has a lot of competition for SP78 highlight footage! Ontiveros, Chaney, Ruthven, Caldwell, Lezcano, Baylor, Carew, Guidry, Billy Smith’s tainted bat, Wauwatosa, Ant Night, the first poolside game, S2, Seattle’s 16-game win streak…hell, there may not even be room for Simmons!

      And the Cards’ staff won’t even scare a high school team if the starters can’t bring their ERAs down…Bob Forsch had an 8.00 ERA for July! And believe it or not, earlier today I was actually thinking, if the Cardinals are getting blown out, and want to use a position player to pitch…why not the new kid?

  3. Actually, I did that with my stats this year, but my team name wasn’t even a major league team, so I’m not quite sure which team I should put him on in my season that I’m replaying. (It’s the 2011 season, and I read that you have given up on modern baseball. I’m assuming because of Bud Selig and the strike.)

    • By him in the first sentence, I mean me.

      • Thanks for clarifying…I thought for a minute there you were putting ME on your team! But seriously…in this instance, where your team name doesn’t apply, I’d say go with your favorite team, or a team that needs your skills at whatever position you play. That way you can start AND lead that underdog team to the World Series!

        And yeah, I gave up on baseball in 1994, because of the strike, Selig, the players, the owners, you name it. I really had a fun baseball year in ’93, then to have these guys kill the ’94 season was just too far beyond my patience and loyalty. I lived driving distance from Lake Elsinore, which had a minor league team that played at a great little ballpark, so I got my baseball fix there instead. And of course, I still had my SP78 season to fall back on. By the way, how far into the schedule are you in your season?

  4. I am currently just under 200 games in. It is April 13. I have been doing it for just over a year. It has been a lot of fun. I am thinking about beginning a blog or something like you are doing.

    • Cool, Ben! It took me seven years to get to my two hundredth game, so you’re WAY ahead of my pace! I have a lot fun with my blog, and it’s a good way to keep track of your stats, so I think it’d be great if you did one of your own.

  5. It does help that I don’t really do anything over the summer (aside from a part time job) because school is out. Also, I have lots of time in the evenings after school.

    • Yes, having some free time helps! I really didn’t start picking up the pace until I was finished with April. Then, if felt like a real season, and I was getting somewhere. Although…I just wrapped up the month of July, and it took me 14 years to do it!

      • Yes,very true. My season may take a while, though, as I have 334 extra games to play. But hopefully, It gets done. Also, are you planning on doing playoffs after your season is done?

      • Yes, definitely planning on playoffs and World Series! I also played the All-Star Game at mid-season, and when can find them, I play exhibition games as well; coming up I have the Astros against their AAA affiliate in Charleston, a game which was actually scheduled between the two teams in 1978.

  6. And at least one game of the World Series is to be played at the Great Barrier Reef, I’m told!

    • If everything falls into place – like vacation time off, air and hotel reservations, and a valid passport – then yes! I wonder if I should play every World Series game at a different location; at least one at home, then the rest from destinations around the globe. If not, then at least from points around the greater metropolitan Gilbert area.

  7. Cool. How did you choose the all star teams? Did you make up ballots, if so, how many people did you have vote? (Sorry for all the random questions, I am just curious, and even might use some of your ideas, as long as that is ok with you)

    • I enjoy your questions, and no problem at all using whatever ideas I have to offer! I had an actual 1978 ballot that I made lots of copies of, and passed them out to friends and family; balloting ran from May 8th to July 2nd of my season, which translated to 1988 to 2000 to play those games…twelve years of balloting! There were 39 people, including myself, who filled out ballots, and many of them voted more than just once over the years. All in all, 145 ballots were cast, and the leading vote-getter was Johnny Bench, who garnered 98 votes.

      And here’s one bit of advice, if you play an All-Star Game: I would recommend dropping all All-Star pitchers PB ratings down by one. My ASG final score was 2-1, with only eight total hits in the game. I should’ve realized that these pitchers wouldn’t be going all-out in an All-Star Game, so instead of these PB 2-9 and 2-8 aces mowing down every batter, I should’ve dropped those PB numbers one notch to allow for a more realistic exhibition game (and a little more run production).

  8. And weren’t there some actual 1978 participants (coaches or players) included among the 39 voters from your “brushes with greatness”? I think that should be a part of the story as well. Especially if Ben’s season is 2011, since a lot more of those guys are still around than the ones we watched.

    • Yes indeed, included in that list of voters were players Fred Lynn, Merv Rettenmund, and by phone, Dick Tidrow, as well as 1978 Angels manager Dave Garcia and 1978 Dodgers coach Preston Gomez. By far the most memorable interaction was with the latter two, who I sat alongside and discussed baseball with as they filled out their ballots.

      Wait, I forgot one: Cardinals rookie phenom Todd Benefiel also filled out some ballots. About 28 of them, actually.

      • How did you get a hold of Fred Lynn? Was he still playing when you got a hold of him, or did he retire by that time. I think he was still playing in 1988. I’m pretty sure he was in my dad’s ’88 Statis Pro game. Then again, you did have balloting over a twelve year time frame.

      • Lynn was a friend of someone I worked with, who supposedly took a ballot to him to fill out when they played golf one afternoon. I have no way of verifying the authenticity of the filled ballot, but I have to trust my friend that Lynn did truly fill it out. This was in the 1990s, after he’d retired. And yeah, he must’ve been in your Dad’s game, since he retired in 1990.

  9. From ’95 to ’99 I probably saw Lynn at least once a week in my store. He was very accessible to people who would come up and talk to him; I’m sure if his friend explained the ballot and asked him to fill one out that he would have done it. I never really cared one way or another about him as a player, but I gained a lot of respect for him once I saw him interact with complete strangers. Rollie Fingers, on the other hand . . .although I guess everyone has their good and bad stories about meeting quasi-celebrities.

    • That’s good to know, that Lynn was that way with people and fans, since it makes his side of the situation more believable. It’s my co-worker’s side I’ve always been hesitant about. He’d known about my game, and asked me to give him a ballot to pass along to Lynn, a friend of his who he saw ‘all the time’. So of course, me being excited by the prospect of an SP78 player actually filling out a ballot, I would ask the co-worker every few days about it, and the response would always be “I forgot” or “I haven’t seen him”. Then suddenly one day he handed me the filled-out ballot, and it was given to me in such a way that my first thought was – and this was before I became cynical – that my friend filled the ballot out himself to shut me up. With the passing years, I always like to believe that Lynn filled it out, but there’s that nagging doubt that it’s actually a radiologist’s handiwork.

      Although I have no doubt about the authenticity of my autographed copy of Open The Door: The Rollie Fingers Story.

      • Can you give me a summary of the Phillies-Mets blowout? Is that the most runs by one team in one SP78 game so far?

      • In a nutshell, the Mets simply stunk up the joint. Six NY pitchers just flat-out couldn’t get anyone out…and Phils first baseman Richie Hebner powered three home runs, joining Dave Winfield and Don Baylor as the only SP78 players to slug three HR’s in a game. Garry Maddox had five hits, Jerry Martin also had an HR, and PB 2-5 starter Jim Lonborg threw a 6-hit complete game. Hopefully I’ll have a full recap of the game posted soon.

        And the most runs scored in an SP78 game was by the Giants and the Pirates, who both scored 23 in their respective games.

  10. Cool. Are you eventually going to try to get recaps for every game? Or is that too much work?

    Wow. 23 runs is a lot in a game. The most I’ve had is 17 runs, but that was because of a 12 run inning, in which a player blasted a grand slam and had a 3 run double in the same inning. He ended up with 8 RBI on the day.

    • Yes and yes: I’m going to do my best to get recaps for each game, and it’s too much work! But I need to get caught up on other site things first. That’s the problem with playing 1,200 games of a season first, then creating a blog site for the season…it’s years and years of work! (If you haven’t seen one of my recaps yet, I have a bunch for some games in July; look in Daily Scores, and click the ‘R’ links on the right side of the final score lines).

      And don’t worry, your season is young…there’s PLENTY of time for craziness ahead, including some 20-run games! My season’s been loaded with wild and memorable moments, and I hope to eventually discuss them all on the site. I’ve had one 12-run inning, and the 8 RBI in a game is an AL record for me; Reggie Smith holds the NL mark, with 10.

  11. Also, I’ve had two or three people hit two homers, but no has more than two in a game so far. But I have a feeling it’s only a matter of time, especially considering the HR ranges on some cards (21-31, 32-38, 33-38, 23-28, 23-31, just to list a few.)

    • Hebner’s HR range is just decent at 33-37, so I was a little surprised that he drilled three…and he still had three more at-bats in the game after that! But for the ultimate in home run power, check out my article here.

      Who’s your home run leader so far? For me, it’s Reggie Smith of the Dodgers, with 37 through July.

      • For me, it’s Ian Kinsler of the Rangers, as he had six through the first six games, but has none since. Some are rapidly catching him though, as I now have four or five players with five. I am one game away from completing the second week of the season.

      • You’re moving along at a pretty good clip…just two more weeks and you’re done with April! I’m hoping I can get through August faster than the 14 years it took me to get through July!

  12. Oh yeah, I saw that the other day as I was making my way through your site. I found that to be funny. I also was a little surprised that no one checks the cards real close. Considering that fact that this seems to have been a popular game when it was in production.

    • This is kind of off topic, but I just realized why the times your blog is saying I am posting is different from when I actually am. Your blog is set to west coast time, but I am on the east coast.

    • From the information I’ve found, it seems that my 1978 season game was the first official Statis Pro game released, although I’ve seen articles that make it sound like a 1977 game might’ve been released first. So if mine was indeed the their initial offering, maybe I need to cut them some slack when it comes to typos and mistakes. Although it does get frustrating at times.

      • Really, I thought it was around before then. It stopped in the 90s because of licensing thing with the team names and the MLB wanted money. At least, that’s what I saw on the Internet (everything on the Internet is true these days), but I would believe that good ‘ol Bud might have had something to do with that. I don’t know if you heard that he is retiring either after this season or next. (insert cheering crowd here)

      • I guess there was a version of it before 1978, with a different name, but the one called Statis Pro first came out in either ’78 or ’79. And yes, I’d heard of the licensing situation, and I’m sure old’ Bud had his grubby little hands in there somewhere…but I was not aware that he was retiring. So thanks for that info, and I will proceed with my week-long celebration tomorrow.

  13. Every time I try to watch national broadcasts, they are interviewing Bud, and he thinks he did some good for the game. Here’s why:

    He moved the Brewers to the NL, and the Astros to the AL (even though it was ten years apart).

    Added one more division to each league, and added a wild-card spot.

    He decided four teams from each league wasn’t enough in the playoffs, so he added another wild-card spot.

    Allowed steroid users to be eligible for the hall of fame, and banned Pete Rose for gambling …… on his own team!!?!?

    Decided to call an all star game a tie.

    Gave the winner of the all star games (starting the year after the tie) homegirls advantage in the World Series.

    And added replay.

    • Well, you just solidified my negative feelings towards Selig with that list! There’s not one thing he ‘did good’ for the game that I can say I’m happy about. And I’m assuming you’re not too happy with Seligs handiwork, either. And is ‘homegirls’ a typo? Because if it isn’t (or even if it is), I thought it was pretty funny.

  14. Yeah, it was supposed to be home field advantage, but I guess homegirls might work with that. I hate spellcheck.

    And yeah, I don’t like Bud Selig’s “handiwork” (aka screw up baseball work) either.

  15. Oh and by the way, his instant replay junk allows for managers to challenge the call. Before you know it, home runs will have to be hit through goalposts and will count for three extra runs, and running the bases will become full contact, with everyone wearing football helmets and pads.

    • What I’m waiting for is a phasing out of extra innings, and instead the two teams will play a round of home run derby to determine the winner. Just like hockey and the idiotic shootout. I would not be surprised if Selig tried to promote this idea before he departs.

  16. Aside from Selig, I have already seen some cool stuff in my season (hopefully it is only a small fraction of what is to come), as in I currently have three starting pitchers with scoreless innings streaks of over fifteen (watch out Orel Hershiser), the Padres went 37.1 innings without scoring a single run to begin their season, and a walk off grand slam by a guy whose only HR number is 26.

    • I like that Padres streak…good lord, that’s over four straight games! I think the Braves from my season might be close to that…at least into the 20s, because I remember they were shut out in a doubleheader a few months (SP78 months) ago. The fun part of replaying a season – besides the fact that players you like exist forever – is that you can create the fun yourself (like my Lenn Sakata article), and turn it into the game’s reality. Steve Ontiveros Day, Ant Night at Candlestick, The Nelson Norman Tater Club…and of course, putting yourself into the game. Trust me, if you stick with the game and the season, you’ll have a blast.

  17. What was Ant Night? I don’t think I’ve seen that so far as I’ve browsed your site.

    • I was playing a Statis Pro game at the desk in my apartment, and discovered an ant horde on my kitchen counter when I went to get something to drink. It became a promotional giveaway at Candlestick: every person in attendance received a free ant farm.

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