Blog: April 2007

April 1, 2007. Opening Day! Digging the new unis with the gold trimmed letters and numbers. They will be used during the first three games only. Not a fan of the World Series patch on the cap, though. Will be glad to see it go away... Rolen has gone back to Louisville Slugger, at least for the time being. It has a heavily flamed finish... Pujols started with Louisville Slugger, but after three hitless appearances, he switched to a Max Bat, similar to the one he used often in spring training... Kennedy is using Rawlings, a brand that's been mostly MIA since Grudzielanek left... Taguchi's Mizuno bat is sporting a new logo this season... Molina was first to have a bat sawed off in his hands... Wilson's bat has white tape on the handle and around the knob... The only bat available at the opening day charity auction was a Belliard Max Bat, broken in two pieces with "Cleveland Indians" on the barrel. What a letdown.

April 3, 2007. Just when you though you'd seen it all, Edmonds comes to the plate with something other than a Louisville Slugger. Yes, tonight, Jimmy Ballgame was wielding an X-Bat. Still black and still with the typical spiral tape job, but an X-Bat... Albert is up to his usual tricks. It took just five plate appearances this season for him to use three different brands of bats -- Louisville Slugger, Max Bat and Sam Bat... Kip Wells joined Adam Kennedy in bringing Rawlings back to the Cardinals bat box... Duncan is still a Carolina Clubs' guy... Bought a Belliard bat at the Authentics Store before the game. First one I've seen with "Cardinals" on the barrel; most of his bats last year were left over from Cleveland. He used the bat in game 4 of the NLDS. A Wilson bat from the same game sold before I got there (and I'm not happy about it).

April 4, 2007. Eckstein led off the game by having his bat shattered in his hands... Duncan followed by slinging his bat in the dugout. His teammates returned the favor and threw it back at him... Edmonds started with the X-Bat, but was using the Louisville Slugger after his first at-bat... I'm not sure if Wilson is using a different bat or if he's simply adding to the amount of tape on the knob each game... The bad news is the Cards lost 10-0; the good news is I have John Maine (7 IP, 0 R, 1 H) on my Yahoo fantasy team.

April 6, 2007. The good folks at Marucci bat company must be happy tonight -- Pujols used one of their bats. Though Pujols already is listed on the Marucci Web site's roster of players who use the brand, this is the first time I've seen him use one in an actual game and not just for BP... Wilson used a bat with a label I've never seen before. The brand was a thick-lined oval with what looked like a rectangle inside. Hmm... Pujols apparently broke his Marucci in his third at-bat. Looked like part of the bat flew toward third base as the ball squibbed to first. He used another Marucci in his next trip to the plate. Can't wait to see if these are Pujols models or someone else's (Carlos Beltran?).

April 7, 2007. On April 15, every member of the Cardinals will be wearing #42 in honor of Jackie Robinson. Still deciding how to handle that in my uniform numbers section... Pujols was back to his Max Bat again. Otherwise, nothing new.

April 8, 2007. Pujols hit his first HR with a natural Sam Bat. For the year, Albert now has three hits, and all have been stroked with his Sam Bat. He's hitting .333 with the Sam Bat, zilch with his other sticks... Kennedy switched mid-game from Rawlings to a natural ash Louisville Slugger... Wilson went back to his black LS ash bat, stroked two hits and then shattered it.

April 9, 2007. With two more hits today, Albert is hitting .417 with Sam Bat... Wilson's clutch 2-RBI hit was struck with his unidentified brand... Looper is swinging a natural LS M9... Albert's jersey this season is a size 52 with a straight hem at the bottom... Cardinals jerseys so far this season appear to have 2007 year tags.

April 10, 2007. Duncan used a flame-finished Carolina Clubs bat, straying from his typical black bat. The new bat was so dark it appeared practically burnt... Keisler used an LS M9 that didn't appear to have the MLB logo on the reverse. It also had heavy tar, suggesting he brought it with him from AAA... Love how Bennett is old school -- no goalie mask for him. Just a backwards batting helmet and regular catcher's mask. His red helmet reminds me how much I prefer red caps with the road grays instead of the navy blue caps.

April 11, 2007. It's a hat trick! Pujols used three different brands today -- Sam Bat, Max Bat and Marucci. A sure sign Albert is still looking for his groove... Wilson became the first batter this season to break two bats in one plate appearance. He broke his black ash LS bat on a foul drive down the left side, then splintered the end off his unidentified natural bat two pitches later. His third bat during that appearance was another black LS... Beginning to think Duncan's flame-finished CC bat has a darker stain on the barrel. From a distance, it almost looks like a Walker finish.

April 13, 2007. Rained out tonight, but still some news. I'm disappointed to report that Cardinals Care letters of authenticity appear to be slipping in quality. Both game-used items in tonight's stadium auction had incorrect LOAs. A Randy Flores shirt was billed as a game-used home jersey, but it didn't have the Final Season patch on the sleeve. An accurate description should have noted it was a spring training jersey. And the letter accompanying a Scott Rolen bat said it was simply an autographed bat when it clearly was game used. Just illustrates that you shouldn't put complete faith in LOAs, even those coming directly from a team.

April 14, 2007. No new bats tonight, but we did see the debut of the regular home jerseys (sans gold trim). The World Series patch will remain on the left sleeve of the home jerseys all season... Everyone on the team will be wearing #42 tomorrow to honor Jackie Robinson. The jerseys I saw on the news didn't include the players' names on the back. If I'm not mistaken, that would be the first time since 1961 the Cardinals took the field without names on the backs of their jerseys (not counting TBTC games)... Let's see, we now have the Civil Rights Game jerseys, the gold-trimmed home shirts, the regular home jersey (w/ WS patch), the regular road jersey (no WS patch) and the Robinson tribute jerseys. Not to mention spring training jerseys, which include a home white with no sleeve patch. For a team with no "alternate" jersey, there's no shortage of variants this season.

April 15, 2007. The Robinson tribute jerseys do not have names on the back... The team is wearing a Jackie Robinson Day sticker on their batting helmets... Albert used a black Sam Bat for the first time this season and drove a 3-run HR in the first inning. He hit a second HR with the same bat in the 8th... Props to Wilson for wearing his pants up and showing off the socks... The Uniform Numbers section has been updated to reflect all the players wearing #42.

April 16, 2007. Though its hard to be positive just watching TV, it seems Rolen is still using the same bat he's used all season. His batting gloves are Mizuno, but for now, his bats are still Louisville Slugger... Wilson tried a Marucci bat like the one Pujols used earlier this month... Did you ever wonder why the Cards have a white dot on the tops of their red batting helmets? They don't have white buttons on their caps. Never understood that.

April 17, 2007. This was one of those games that makes a daily blog difficult -- no new bats, same old unis. So, I'll take this opportunity to toss out a few plugs for some of my favorite collector sites. Game Used Universe is a site I check frequently. Not only is it a great resource for bat order records and expert articles, but the message boards are a goldmine of information. MEARS also is a good resource for articles and bulletin board contributions from experts and collectors alike. UniWatch is a daily must-read. Getty Images is a great source for current sports-related photos. And no day would be complete without surfing eBay to see what bats and jerseys are being offered. Auction houses (especially those with archives of previously auctioned items) and retailers' sites also are good resources for photos, information and pricing. Next time I have another "no news" day, I'll post links to the ones I check out most.

April 18, 2007. No real news on the Cardinals front. Albert is still using the black Sam Bat. If fact, the only player who seems to be using two brands this week is Kennedy, who goes back and forth between Rawlings and LS... The most interesting observations from the game involved Barry Bonds' bats and Armando Benitez's uniform. Bonds used two bats, an SSK and an unbranded bat that looked like his typical Sam Bat, but without a logo or barrel markings. Odd. He hit a HR with that bat, then came up with the SSK in his next plate appearance. As for Benitez, it's amazing how a guy who is 6'4" and weighs 260 can look like a child in his uniform. His jersey looks three sizes too big and his pants must be 6" longer than floor length. I guess the uniform police must not be writing tickets these days.

April 19, 2007. Wilson used a natural Rawlings, his fourth brand this season... Wells also used a natural Rawlings for his HR... Wondering if the new MLB caps are coated with Teflon, because Steve Kline' s lid is way too clean.

April 20, 2007. Nothing new today, so I'll share a few observations about Pujols jerseys. There are a few auctions going at the moment, and it seems every house has a Pujols jersey. If you're in the market for a Pujols jersey, here are three key things to consider. First, Albert prefers a straight hem, no tails. Second, when the Cardinals used name plates (during Albert's career), there was almost no material left and right of the letters. If a jersey has so much extra nameplate that you could add another letter or two, forget it. And third, especially on Albert's early jerseys, the 5 on front should not be flush right with the Cardinals logo. I see many jerseys were the 5 is way too far right. So, when examining a Pujols jersey, look at the tails, the nameplate and the number on front. If you see anything suspect, think twice about spending your hard-earned money.

April 21, 2007. Reyes used a natural LS ash bat. Otherwise, nothing new... Just noticed on Getty Images that the search engine now brings up as many as 4,020 photos when you do a search (67 pages of 60 photos per page). If you need to go back further in time, add a year after the seach term. For example, "Cardinals 2002" will bring up photos from that season that wouldn't come up if you simply searched "Cardinals." Also, if you add "St. Louis" to your search, you'll weed out most photos from Arizona's football team, Louisville's sports teams and random shots from the Vatican.

April 22, 2007. Albert's game-winner was hit with a black Sam Bat. He's used the black Sam all week and has hit .310 with 4 HR... Saw today that Skip Schumaker has been added to Dave Jackson's show next Sunday in St. Louis. Skip joins Wainwright, Molina and LaRussa as members of the 2007 Cardinals who will attend and sign autographs. There will be six other guests, including new NFL HOFer Roger Wehrli. I'll be there all day. If you make it, stop by and say, "Hi."

April 24, 2007. I'm not really a batting glove guy, but since there were no new bats tonight, I took notes on batting gloves. Nike users included Eckstein (black), Duncan, Edmonds, Miles (white w/ red back and fingers), Pujols (white) and Kennedy (black w/ red back and pinky). Rolen used Mizuno (red/white/ black); Spiezio (red/white) and Bennett (white) used Franklin; Molina used Rawlings (white); and Wilson (black/red) and Schumaker (white/red/black) used Louisville/TPX.

April 25, 2007. Flores got his first plate appearance of the season; used a natural LS M9 and no batting gloves... Wilson was using that unknown brand of bat again tonight... Focused on cleats tonight. Nearly all position players wore red Nikes. Pujols' shoes were slightly different; he had a white heel. Rolen and Taguchi wore Mizuno cleats.

April 26, 2007. A couple more observations about cleats: Spiezio was wearing Adidas today, Schumaker was wearing Reebok... Paid attention to wristbands during the game. Pujols and Edmonds both have red ones with the Nike Swoosh and their uni numbers. Wilson also had red bands with number 3 on them. Kennedy, Bennett and Schumaker all had black wristbands. Rolen, Spiezio and Miles did not use any wristbands... I'd heard the new MLB caps had more of a curved bill on them, but a dugout shot of Reyes proves they can be straightened. It clearly was one of the new caps because the underbill was black, not gray. Flat as could be.

April 27, 2007. A note from the Cardinals Web site: "Most of the Cardinals have ditched the new batting practice hats that were introduced throughout baseball this spring. Clubhouse manager Rip Rowan said there are still a few players who sport the new-style cap, but most are wearing the game hats for BP. According to Rowan, many veterans didn't like the flex-fit hats, preferring the traditional hats"... Louisville Slugger will supply pink bats to select players again this Mother's Day to raise funds for breast cancer research... Kelvin Jimenez is wearing #56, last donned by Ray "Burger" King in 2005.

April 28, 2007. Josh Hancock had his first plate appearance of the season. Looked like a black LS M9, though it was tough to be sure. Maybe if Fox had shown the kid with the Elmo a little less... Wilson also may have used a black LS M9 pinch hitting for Hancock. Didn't get a close look, then it broke it on the second pitch... Albert used a black Sam Bat for his HR.

April 29, 2007. RIP Josh Hancock. The Cards will wear Josh's #32 on their sleeves the rest of the season. The round, black circle with a white 32 is similar to the patch worn to honor Darryl Kile in 2002.

April 30, 2007. Dennis Dove, activitated to fill Josh Hancock's spot on the roster, was assigned #59. The uniform number database has been updated to include Dove and Jimenez... The memorial patch for Hancock is being worn on the left sleeve of the road jerseys. I assume it'll be on the right sleeve of the home shirts since the World Series patch is on the left... Tyler Johnson wrote Hancock's #32 on his cap... Atlanta Braves pitcher and Hancock's college teammate Tim Hudson wore Josh's initials on his jersey.