Good day... here are some Bernie Bits on this 27th of August:
1. I respect my friend Sam Farmer, who does an excellent job of covering the NFL for the Los Angeles Times. I pay attention to his reporting, which features plenty of substance rather than the shrieking that often permeates local perspective on the Rams' situation. Anyway, Farmer wrote an interesting piece about how the NFL appears to be ramping up the efforts to bring a franchise back to Los Angeles.
In sticking with what I've always said -- that I would adjust my thinking on the Rams' future if warranted -- I'm going to tweak my view of the Rams/STL/LA situation. At least for now, pending new developments.
My belief all along has been that the Rams will stay here. I still feel that way, but I have always made it clear that there are no guarantees on this. And even though my views have been misrepresented at times by other media people, I have written and stated that a Rams' move is possible if no efforts are made locally to find a solution to the long-term stadium issue.
So please forgive me for saying it again: if St. Louis and the state and area leaders make an earnest attempt to ensure the Rams' future here, the NFL won't allow Rams owner Stan Kroenke to carpetbag into LA. Moreover, other NFL teams have their eye on LA, and the San Diego Chargers would adamantly oppose another franchise's attempt to swoop in.
But if there's no interest in keeping Kroenke or the Rams here, it changes everything. And obviously the NFL wouldn't take such a hard-line approach in blocking a potential move. For a while there were some potentially promising developments being discussed locally behind the scenes. But right now there isn't much happening, and if that continues Kroenke will have an opportunity to start making a case.
The Rams already have been choking off fan interest with their chronic ineptitude, losing and Kroenke's aloofness. Is there a reason to panic? No. But unless some local leadership emerges to take the public lead on the Rams/stadium issue, it would be naive to assume everything is fine.
2. I like the look of the Blues' new sweaters. It's nothing dramatic, but that's the point. Don't ever mess with the classic logo. Don't ever repeat the mistake of adding red to the team colors. Do not mar a beautiful thing -- and that logo is as handsome as any in professional sports. The Blues avoided taking a gimmicky approach. If anything they eliminated the borderline-gimmicky striping and added a retro touch with the stripes around the waistline. It's a bold, clear look.
3. It was also sweet to see such a great turnout for the sweater unveiling at Ballpark Village. The BPV figures to be a strong hockey hangout for viewing of Blues' road games this season. Not that I expected to see Blues fans abandon the team, en masse, after another postseason kick to the gut ... but this is a remarkably enduring fan base that keeps rising -- over and over again -- after every disappointing end to the season.
4. I also like the fact that Blues owner Tom Stillman and Cardinals' president Bill DeWitt III are good friends, and strong allies. Stillman is committed to this community. So is the DeWitt family. The Cardinals and Blues are here to stay. Unlike the Rams and Kroenke, you never have to spend one minute worrying about the Cards-Blues loyalty to St. Louis.
5. I won't criticize Cards manager Mike Matheny for not using Pat Neshek in the 8th inning last night instead of Seth Maness. (As for the Randy Choate debate, I wrote about it in "Bird Bytes" if you're interested.) Neshek is the easy call if you're playing Strat-o-Matic baseball, or something. But Neshek is running up his count on innings and appearances this season; this is the most he's pitched in a year since 2007. If Matheny breaks Neshek, then what? If Neshek blows up because of overuse, then who fills his role? It looks like Matheny is trying to be more cautious in pushing Neshek, and that makes sense. Here's an idea: don't throw an awful changeup to Ike Bleepin' Davis ... and then you don't have to worry about Ike B. Davis bombing a three-run homer.
5a. I did my "Breakfast with Bernie" video on the anticipated comebacks of Yadier Molina and Michael Wacha. As a footnote to the video, here's what Cardinals catchers have done offensively (combined) since Molina went on the DL: 154 plate appearances, .212 average, .272 onbase percentage, .269 slugging percentage, .541 OPS, and 11 RBIs. So in addition to his astute pitch-calling skill and award-winning defensive ability, Molina should also provide a boost for the offense.
Thanks for reading ...