Blog: September 2012

September 3, 2012. I spent Labor Day knocking Cardinals games off the DVR, the price for being away from the bat cave for several days. All entries since 8/23 were updated today... The Cardinals held a jersey-off-the-back event this afternoon, with proceeds going to Cardinals Care and MDA. Back in the day, Labor Day jerseys had special patches. Unfortunately, today's shirts had no special identification. If you won a shirt, I'd love to hear about your on-field experience today.

September 4, 2012. The Cardinals recalled Ryan Jackson and Adron Chambers -- who both have appeared in the majors this season -- and top pitching prospect, Shelby Miller. When Miller makes his debut, he'll be wearing #40, the number Brian Fuentes abandoned when he left the team... Here's my takeaway from this eBay listing -- back in 2003, a Cardinals employee with access to jersey blanks, numbers and a sewing machine was producing bogus Pujols jerseys and selling them under the table as game-used shirts. Perhaps that explains the abundance of 2001 home Pujols jerseys, 2002 road Pujols jerseys and other early Pujols shirts. It bears repeating: Pujols kept most of his Cardinals jerseys. So, if you see a Pujols without rock-solid provenance, be skeptical and, as always, do your homework.

September 5, 2012. Shelby Miller made his MLB debut today wearing a Cool Base jersey with #40 on the back... Ryan Jackson swung a Max Bat with a Gwynn finish.

September 9, 2012. Skip Schumaker is swinging a Louisville Slugger M9 with a black handle and natural barrel... Tony Cruz used a black bat with a center brand I couldn't make out. It sure didn't look like Marucci or BWP, two other black bats he's used this season... This Ken Boyer bat looks good and certainly is a pro model, but there is no evidence on his shipping records of Boyer receiving a D2 model after 1955. From 1959 through the end of his career, the primary bats on his records are the U1 and O16 models. The only exception is an order for M169 bats with cork grips in 1968. His bats also were consistently 36" long until 1966. Did H&B forget to record an order of D2 bats? Did it mistakenly brand Ken's name on one of Clete's bats? There must be an explanation, I just don't know what it is.

September 10, 2012. Shelby Miller made his first MLB plate appearance tonight. He swung a black ash Louisville Slugger and wore a traditional batting helmet... Steven Hill is back with the big club. He batted tonight using a natural ash LS... Bryan Anderson used a Gwynn-finished Marucci bat.

September 11, 2012. Two years ago, the team wore its Stars and Stripes cap on 9/11. Last year, players wore flags on the jersey's back collar and on the caps above the left ear. This year, only the cap flag was worn. I'm assuming it was attached with a temporary adhesive and removed after the game, but don't know for sure.

September 12, 2012. I've avoided any mention of Jon Jay's argyle socks, mostly because I loathe pajama pants and want to hold onto the far-fetched fantasy that players are wearing sanitary socks and stirrups underneath. But, now the team is posting photos on Facebook and there's even a YouTube video. Jon, you were one of my favorite players, but it's very hard to respect anyone who would wear those socks on the field of play.

September 13, 2012. Another round of jerseys, caps and batting helmets have hit the auction block on cardinals.com. Matt Holliday's jersey started with a bang; it's already approaching a grand. Jerseys worn by Greene, Rzepczynski, Anderson, Salas and Maloney are still waiting for bids. Several caps are available: Westbrook, Lohse, Kelly, Garcia, Lynn, Matt Carpenter, Schumaker, Cruz and Dyar Miller. The two available batting helmets belonged to Holliday and Chris Carpenter. The "game-used" Carpenter is especially interesting because a.) Carp has not played in 2012, and b.) MLB authentication attributes use to Yadier Molina on 7/8/12. Molina wasn't even with the team at the time because he was on the bereavement list. So, how could an authenticator have seen Molina wear Carpenter's helmet? NOTE: I asked the team about the helmet; the authentication number should be EK 183529. It was entered incorrectly on the listing and will be changed soon. EK 183528 is a Molina helmet; it will be auctioned beginning 9/20. Even with the error corrected, it's interesting to note that the Carpenter is still considered "game used," in spite of him not playing in 2012. Also interesting that MLB is calling the Molina "used" even though he wasn't in the country. The use is obvious and the clubhouse staff says the helmet is the only one Yadi used through 7/8 -- so authenticating it as "used" makes sense. But, it's certainly a departure for MLB, which typically calls items "team issued" unless they go straight from the field to the authenticator's hands.

September 14, 2012. Kozma has started swinging a black Sam Bat.

September 16, 2012. In the auction that ended tonight, Holliday's jersey fetched $1,630. Rzepczynski's jersey drew the next highest bid of $500; others sold for $200-330. Maloney's shirt received no bids. At $530, Holliday's helmet topped Chris Carpenter's lid, which sold for $240. Only four of the available caps sold, ranging from $100 (Westbrook) to $177 (Schumaker). Caps worn by Miller, Cruz, Garcia, Kelly and Lohse did not attract minimum bids.

September 18, 2012. I noticed Chris Carpenter in the dugout applying white tape to the handle of a Gwynn-finished Rawlings bat. Wonder if we'll see him swinging that during his 2012 debut on Friday.

September 19, 2012. Carlos Beltran is using a black Tucci Lumber Company bat. I contacted Pete Tucci, the bat company's founder, and asked about players using his bats. Pete says the Cards have placed orders for Matt Adams, Ryan Jackson and Rafael Furcal, but not Beltran -- so he must be using another player's bat. Pete says more than 40 big league players have used Tucci bats this season, so his company is beginning to make inroads.

September 20, 2012. Here's a photo of Beltran using a Tucci bat today... Another auction began tonight on cardinals.com. Jerseys this time around include shirts worn by Cleto, Marte, Robinson, Dyar Miller and Jamie Pogue. None received bids out of the gate. Batting helmets available include Molina's and one of Berkman's. The Molina helmet was discussed in my 9/13 blog entry. There's also a Molina cap in the auction; it's the only cap with a bid so far. Other caps were worn by Chris Carpenter, McClellan, Boggs, Salas, Oquendo and Mike Aldrete. The auction ends Sunday.

September 21, 2012. After spending the season on the disabled list, Chris Carpenter made his 2012 debut today at Wrigley. He wore a Cool Base jersey, a COOL FLO batting helmet, and swung a Gwynn-finished Rawlings bat... Anderson pinch hit using a natural ash Louisville Slugger.

September 23, 2012. The team's online auction ended this evening. Shane Robinson's jersey was the only one that attracted multiple bids, selling for $280. the Cleto and Marte shirts each received one bid, while the two coaches' jerseys went unclaimed. Molina's batting helmet was the most active, fetching 18 bids and a final price of $665. Berkman's lid sold for $436. Molina's cap also did well, selling for $205. Caps worn by Salas and Chris Carpenter received one bid each. The remaining caps received no bids... I was in Louisville this weekend, so I made the obligatory visit to the Louisville Slugger factor and museum. The museum has been redesigned since my last visit, so here's my review: If you're a bat collector, you'll be disappointed that the many old bats that used to be displayed are in hiding. The new exhibits are geared to the casual fan -- and that's fine, since most people who pay admission are not bat nerds. Photos are not allowed on the factory floor, but the most interesting thing I saw was an entire pallet of 219 bats being made for the retiring Chipper Jones.

September 26, 2012. Holliday went back to using a natural Sam Bat, but after an 0-3, the black Old Hickory resurfaced in the ninth inning... If you're looking for a unique bat collection at a reasonable price, here's one for you. It consists of 10 Cardinals bats that all have players' nicknames on the barrels. These were very tough to find and the collection took years to build -- but it could be yours instantly. If you're interested, just let me know.