Blog: July 2008

July 1, 2008. This year's first-round draft pick, Brett Wallace, signed his contract and took BP before the game today. He was wearing a standard-issue pre-game jersey with "WALLACE 08" on the back... A photo in the Post-Dispatch showed Brendan Ryan holding Wallace's bat -- a black X-Bat model 77 with an American flag on the handle. Wallace was using a different stick in the cage, though.

July 2, 2008. An unusual number of broken bats tonight. Or, maybe this now is "usual"... When Chavez was going back on Glaus' walk-0ff home run, did anybody else have flashbacks to the 2006 NLCS?... The Authentics Store at Busch is selling jerseys from spring training. Not sure what all they had when they started, but I do know they sold pre-game jerseys of Ankiel, Rasmus and Molina and a home white Rasmus.

July 3, 2008. Boggs used a black LS ash bat tonight... Interesting piece in the Post-Dispatch about how MLB has started tracking broken bats by type of bat and where the pieces land. For the record, 10 bats were broken last night, three by the Cardinals. All but one were maple. A few more bats were sawed off tonight. Ankiel's broken bat barrel almost made it to the right field grass. Though it looked like a maple break, his bat actually was ash... According to the PD article, all broken bats will be sent to MLB for examination, which means fewer bats could be available to collectors via the Authentics Store and stadium auctions.

July 4, 2008. As promised, the Cards wore special navy caps with a flag-inspired logo on this Independence Day... Maybe the only fan activity dumber than the wave is tossing home run balls back onto the field. Glad to see someone got burned by it tonight. Though it wasn't shown on camera, the Cardinals' broadcasters said Pujols' 300th HR -- which hit the fair pole -- was tossed into the stands by Cubs LF Reed Johnson. The idiot who caught it -- surely a Cubs fan -- tossed it back onto the field and cost himself a small fortune. Albert ended up with the souvenir. Life is good.

July 5, 2008. The Cards wore the same special caps today they wore yesterday... Brendan Ryan used two new bats today -- a natural LS M9 and then a natural ash LS. It's the first time I've known him to use an ash bat. After two ABs, though, he was back to his maple Marucci... How sweet what that ninth inning?

July 6, 2008. The next time you see a really cool Pujols game-used mitt offered by a major auction house, remember that bats aren't the only items he gives away to friends. Here's proof -- Fernando Tatis wearing one of Albert's mitts in last night's game vs. the Phillies. Of course, the Mets were in town this past week... For the third straight day, the team wore the special "Welcome Back Veterans" navy cap... Brendan Ryan used a black X-Bat.

July 7, 2008. Fellow Pujols collector Rob Steinmetz dropped me a note today regarding the Pujols glove being worn by Fernando Tatis. If you look closely at the bottom of the glove, you'll see the letters "EKER." That tells us the glove was made in May 2008. Rawlings uses what is known as the "BLACKHORSE" code -- B=1, L=2, A=3, etc. So, "EKER" equates to "0508," or May 2008... If you have any interest in a twice-signed Mike Shannon Cardinals jersey, let me know. The shirt is from the clubhouse and tagged Set 1 2000. It likely was made for an on-field or charity event. Signed on the front in blue across the second button hole above the logo; signed on the back in black under the name plate. There's a small pinhole on the back between the numbers (possibly from when the jersey was mounted in a frame). Sweet piece from a St. Louis icon.

July 8, 2008. Two new bat sightings tonight. First, Izturis used a natural ash Louisville Slugger batting from the left side instead of his typical X-Bat. It's the first time I've seen Izturis use an ash bat this season. And second, Pineiro used a black Old Hickory.

July 9, 2008. Nothing new tonight from a uniform or bat perspective... It's sad to see someone who has worked so hard to comeback walking away from the mound after three batters.

July 10, 2008. The Cards' flopping, flimsy plackets are looking so bad that even my wife commented on them... I kind of like Philadelphia's alternate uniform, but the numbers are horrible. You can barely tell the digits 6, 8 and 9 apart without looking closely. And the whole idea of "throwback" loses something when you can see the Cool Base armpit vent.

July 11, 2008. Jaime Garcia made his MLB debut tonight wearing #64. He becomes the seventh player to wear a number in the 60s this year, and now a record seven numbers from 60-69 have been issued this season. Only #60, #66 and #69 have gone unused. Numbers 60 and 69 were not issued in spring training; Brian Barton wore #66... Garcia's glove was a light tan TPX... Garcia did something in his first inning you rarely see a pitcher do -- catch a pop up... It was good to see PNC Park full. It's a great ballpark.

July 12, 2008. The raffle for the Jackie Robinson Day jerseys is winding down. Tickets are available at St. Louis-area Mobil On the Run locations. I thought it would be a scratch-off deal, but customers actually purchase numbered raffle tickets -- $1 each or $5 for six tickets. Customers have to fill out each ticket with contact information. The last day to buy tickets is July 18 and the drawing will be held a week later. Winners chosen will attend the August 6 game (two tickets are part of the prize), where they'll participate in another random drawing to see which jersey they won.

July 13, 2008. The five most interesting uni/bat observations from the first "half" of the season: Except for one plate appearance, Pujols has used just one brand of bat all season, Marucci; seven numbers between 60-69 already have been worn; Cool Base jerseys cannot support the weight of the embroidered birds-on-bat logo after prolonged wear, causing an unsightly "sagging" of the placket (especially on the road grays); Duncan, once a model of consistency (he used Carolina Clubs almost exclusively) has used five brands of bats this season (as has Glaus); and the rash of broken maple bats is causing some players to switch back to ash. As an aside to that last point, it's almost shocking how Sam Bat has nearly disappeared from the bat rack... We've made it to the All-Star break, which means I can avoid the DVR for three whole days. Of course, I'll be watching the ASG to see which bats are used by Pujols and Ludwick.

July 15, 2008. Albert used his typical Gwynn-finished Marucci in the All-Star Game. What was different was his batting helmet. It was a Coolflo helmet that features vents on top. It also had the ASG logo on the back instead of the MLB logo. I'm assuming those were issued exclusively for the game... Ludwick also had a Coolflo helmet, but it was a home red! And the logo had a white outline and a red interior (vs. a blue outline and white interior). Clearly, that logo sticker was meant for a road helmet. What's up with that?... Pujols' and Ludwick's jerseys look standard issue, except for the ASG logo on the left sleeve... Ludwick used his regular black Rawlings bat.

July 17, 2008. The last sliver of consistency evaporated tonight -- Skip Schumaker used a different bat. Okay, it was the same brand (X-Bat), but instead of a natural handle, his new bat had a rose (Galen) handle... Heard Ludwick on the radio today talking about his All-Star Game helmet. He said he forgot to pack his road navy helmet when leaving Pittsburgh and that the red helmet he used was given to him. Whoever did that apparently didn't have a clue that the red wasn't the correct shade and the logo sticker was meant for a navy helmet.

July 18, 2008. Looper broke out a black Marucci bat tonight... In the seventh inning, Miles came to the plate with a maple Max Bat from the right side. But, when San Diego changed pitchers, Miles moved to the left side of the plate and switched to an ash Louisville Slugger.

July 19, 2008. Nothing new, equipment-wise... Here's why Cardinals fans are the best: When Brian Giles made a great catch and hit the wall at full speed to end the 6th inning, he received a standing-O -- even though he robbed a double and two runs that would have broken the game open. Cards fans appreciate good baseball, no matter who is delivering it... Fox broadcaster Mark Grace probably wishes he could rewind and erase his comments. In the fifth, he suggested LaRussa's strategy of batting the pitcher eighth didn't work for him this inning because a "light-hitting pitcher" was leading off instead of a position player. Wellemeyer then singled and started a four-run rally. Gotta love it.

July 20, 2008. Jaime Garcia used a natural LS M9 in his debut as a starting pitcher... I learned today that Colby Rasmus began receiving signature model bats in January 2008 -- six G174C models. That's three months before H&B sent out a press release announcing Rasmus' contract with the company. He started receiving the B363 model in May. Prior to signing a contract with H&B, Rasmus had received one order of block-letter bats -- C243 model -- in January 2007.

July 21, 2008. Duncan used his sixth different brand of bat tonight, a Max Bat with a Hornsby handle and black barrel. It was a Rick Ankiel model 243... Pujols has begun wearing 3/4 sleeves on the hottest days of the year. Must be a moisture-wicking material. There are prominent manufacturer logos on each sleeve near the elbow, but I'm not familiar with the logo.

July 22, 2008. Cesar Izturis apparently has decided to abandon switch hitting and stick to batting right handed. Most of the season, he used the Gwynn-finished X-Bat from the left side and the black LS M9 from the right side. But tonight, batting righty, he was using his X-Bat... Albert was wearing his 3/4 sleeve on his right arm, but not his left, which was bare.

July 23, 2008. Look for the 2009 All-Star Game logo to be unveiled sometime next month. Can't wait to see what that will look like... For the first time, Joe Mather used something other than a Zinger bat -- a black LS M9. He clearly was batting label down... Aaron Miles also was using a black LS M9, a first for him this season.

July 24, 2008. Nothing new tonight... Just a reminder that you can find out what bat each player is using by clicking the "Notes and Articles" tab at top, then clicking "2008 Cardinals" under "Team Bat Use Records" in the left column.

July 25, 2008. Joe Mather again was using his black LS M9, but a closeup of the centerbrand showed unusual markings left of the oval. I asked an H&B representative if they changed the M9 sticker and added a graphic to the left. He said that while changing the sticker has been discussed recently, nothing has been done to date. So, those markings must have been added by Mather or someone else, not the factory. Mather proceeded to break the bat in two. Normally, it would show up for sale at the stadium. But, with MLB keeping broken bats for their study, we might never get a closer look at this one.

July 26, 2008. I'm not here to question why Jason Isringhausen batted tonight. My job is simply to report he used a natural Marucci in his first plate appearance since 2004. It probably wasn't his personal model; I can't imagine the team packs any of Izzy's bats for road trips. Of course, I could be wrong... Miles used a black Max Bat... After using natural ash Rawlings for quite a while, Ankiel used a two-tone maple Max Bat in extra innings. He shattered it immediately.

July 27, 2008. Joe Mather went back to using his black handle, natural barrel Zinger bat... Kyle Lohse was swinging a natural LS M9, a new bat for him.

July 28, 2008. Joe Mather chose his black LS M9 today and immediately hit a home run. But, in the seventh inning, a foul ball snapped it in two and the barrel walloped the plate umpire in the head. The Cardinals announcers suggested Mather's bats have a -3 or -4 drop, which could be illegal soon. Let the maple bat debate reignite... Looper used both black and natural Marucci bats... Nick Stavinoha is back in the show and swinging an ash LS with a Hornsby finish and gold stamping.

July 29, 2008. Aaron Miles used a two-tone Max Bat tonight (Hornsby handle, black barrel)... I will attend the National Sports Collectors Convention in Chicago on Saturday. If you see a guy walking around in a white birdbats.com cap, stop me and say "hi." I'll most likely be hanging around booths that have bats and jerseys; I'll also make it a point to be at the Game Used Universe booth for a while.

July 30, 2008. Chris Carpenter made his return tonight wearing his customary #29. He used a natural Rawlings bat... Brad Thompson used a black LS ash bat... The gray Cool Base jerseys are not holding up well. In addition to the sagging placket problem, it now appears there are issues with the color. The jerseys looked darker than the pants tonight, and on some players (especially Kennedy), the armpit vent looked much lighter than the rest of the shirt.

July 31, 2008. Nothing new tonight... I finally got around to updating the uniform number database for 2008 numbers. I'd been updating the 2008 list, but hadn't addressed the alphabetical or numerical entries since the end of last season. Now we're ready for the September call ups.