Blog: 2016 Season

April 3, 2016. And we're back. Opening day! The website has certainly been on the back burner since I landed my current job, but I'm going to try harder to update it more often... The uniform number database has been updated to include today's game... I've also created a new bat use page for 2016... From what I could tell, Carpenter was swinging his typical Gwynn-finished Marucci. Pham used a Gwynn bat in his one appearance; I think it was a Victus, but am not sure. Holliday is still using Old Hickory, but today's bat was brown. Grichuk and Wong both had black Max Bats, but Wong's appeared to have two shades of black. Piscotty also swung Max Bat, but it had a Walker finish. Molina is back to using Nnwyg Marucci bats after using axe-handled Victus bats in the postseason last year. His bat today had a yellow grip. Gyorko used natural Maruccis. Wainwright was swinging a flame-finished Louisville Slugger with white graphics. I believe Adams was using a Nnwyg Dinger bat. Hazelbaker used a black Old Hickory in his debut. And Moss swung a Gwynn Marucci.

April 5, 2016. Two changes to the Cardinals uniform to note this season. First, Cool Base jerseys have been abandoned in favor of Flexbase jerseys. The new style features a side panel that runs from the armpit all the way to the bottom hem (note Wainwright's jersey, while Yadi appears to still wear knit jerseys). Eagle-eyed fans will note a new Majestic logo on the left sleeve. Though not visible when jerseys are tucked in, the Flexbase shirts also have a vented rear flap. The second change involves the pants, where the MLB logo is now included on the back belt loop. It will henceforth be known as the MLB tramp stamp... Moss switched to a Nnwyg-finished B45 bat... Aledmys Dias made his MLB debut wearing #36 and swinging a Gwynn Old Hickory... Wacha went to the plate with a natural Marucci bat.

April 6, 2016. Mike Leake is a rare bird. Not many pitchers opt to wear a single digit, but by donning #8 tonight, Leake joined a small club. He also is among a decreasing number of Cardinals swinging a Louisville Slugger (his has the brown/Hornsby finish). Three games into the season, Wainwright is the only other Redbird batter to use a LS... Greg Garcia used a black Marucci... Matt Bowman made his MLB debut wearing #67.

April 8, 2016. The Cardinals established a Major League record tonight with three pinch-hit home runs. Hazelbaker tied the game in the 7th (black Old Hickory), Diaz put the Cards on top in the 8th (Gwynn Old Hickory) and Greg Garcia added insurance in the 9th (black Marucci)... Jaime Garcia swung a Nnywg-finished Marucci.

April 9, 2016. Carlos Martinez used a natural Marucci bat. He's the last pitcher on the opening day roster to appear in a game. On the offensive side, the final bat on the bench, Eric Fryer, made his debut as a pinch runner and defensive substitute wearing #59. A 9th inning rally allowed him to get to the plate, where he promptly broke his bat on the first pitch. I couldn't see the brand, but it was a natural-finished bat... Moss used a black Louisville Slugger.

April 10, 2016. Noticed Holliday swinging a Gwynn-finished Marucci... Thanks to a 9th inning rally, Rosenthal--who entered the game in the 8th as part of a double switch--made his first plate appearance. He was using a black Max Bat with #15 on the knob, so it almost surely was Grichuk's bat.

April 11, 2016. Opening day at Busch... I was pleasantly surprised to see no patch was added to jerseys to commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Busch Stadium III. Personally, I think 10 years in a ballpark is a lame milestone to mark; fine for marketing and in-stadium entertainment, but it doesn't need to be acknowledged on the uniform. Kudos to the Cards for choosing class over a crass marketing opportunity... Around the fifth inning, balls used early in the game were brought out and sold at the Authentics Store. Common balls with the opening day logo were $100. Hit balls were more. I saw one that was more than $200. Diaz's 2nd inning double was $160... My favorite purchase of the day--two grip sticks (different colors) the players use on their bats, just $5 each...Wong was swinging a Rawlings with a black barrel and matte black handle... Fryer batted again, and again I could not make out the logo. I think it could be a Phoenix bat.

April 13, 2016. Today, MLB unveiled the special event caps and jerseys that will be worn in 2016. These are truly awful. At the risk of sounding like a grumpy old man, I miss the days when teams wore white at home, gray on the road and had one cap... Adams swung a matte black Marucci bat.

April 14, 2016. Wong was swinging a Victus bat with a cherry handle and black barrel.

April 15, 2016. For the 10th season, MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson day and the Cardinals all wore #42 in Robinson's honor.

April 17, 2016. Eric Fryer is definitely using a Phoenix bat, and he's using it well, going 6-6 so far this season.

April 18, 2016. Just a reminder: Voting for this year's Cardinals Hall of Fame ends at 11:59 p.m. on April 20. Recognizing that Chris Carpenter will run away with the top spot, I'm voting for Joe Torre and Keith Hernandez in hopes one of them can grab second place... Wong has switched bats again. This one has a black handle and brown barrel. Don't know if it's the Max Bat he's already used this year, or another brand.

April 19, 2016. Ruben Tejada made his Redbirds debut tonight wearing Jon Jay's old #19. He swung a natural Louisville Slugger, becoming the second position player on this year's team to use a LS. The 131-year-old bat maker has a new logo this season, but so far, only Leake's bats have featured the updated center brand... The bases on the field tonight during pregame BP honored Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock.

April 30, 2016. Congratulations to the Cardinals Hall of Fame 2016 class. Nobody was shocked that Chris Carpenter breezed in during his first year of eligibility, but I was pleasantly surprised that Joe Torre was also selected by fans. If you've read my tweets the past few weeks, you know I was voting for Torre and Keith Hernandez. Also pleased to see Terry Moore and Sam Breadon earn admission. Moore was Jim Edmonds before Edmonds, and Breadon was the team's president for nine pennants and six world championships. A solid class... Aledmys Diaz is still using bats from spring training; his spring #73, though crossed out, is still visible on his bat knobs.

May 8, 2016. Once upon a time, not so long ago, a game on Mother's Day meant a few guys would use pink bats. This year, it meant special jerseys and caps, along with a variety of personal touches. I wasn't able to see the entire game, but here's what I did see. Players using pink bats included Piscotty (Max), Hazelbaker (Old Hickory), Wong (unknown), Gyorko (Marucci) and Grichuk (Max). Nearly everyone, with the notable exception of Molina, wore pink undershirts. Guys with pink cleats included Carpenter, Piscotty, Holliday, Moss and Wacha, while Hazelbaker's shoes had a flower pattern to match his wristbands. Wong also had flowered wristbands and batting gloves. Pink wristbands were worn by Carpenter, Molina and Grichuk. Gyorko and Holliday had pink batting gloves. Molina had a pink elbow guard.

May 14, 2016. Dean Kiekhefer made his MLB debut today wearing #60.

May 15, 2016. Yesterday and today, players on the Cardinals and across baseball sported temporary "Play Ball" patches on their jerseys. It was part of a marketing campaign by MLB to engage young fans.

May 18, 2016. The Cardinals Authentics store received its first batch of 2016 broken bats from the clubhouse and sent collectors an email today with costs and descriptions. If these prices were set by the Mariners or Rockies, I might understand; after all, weed is legal in their states. But, more than $500 for Moss and Gyorko? More than $300 for Tejada and Fryer? More than $2,500 for a Piscotty because he hit a random home run with it? I'm being serious here -- if you buy a bat from this list, I'd love to hear which one and why. Because I just can't understand the rationale behind this pricing in a world where Ozzie Smith bats can be had for $500, Ted Simmons bats are $350 and Willie McGee sells for $200. I was fretting this past weekend because I splurged for a late-'60s game-used and signed Curt Flood bat. After seeing that Piscotty bat, I feel like I got a bargain on the Flood.

May 22, 2016. Matt Bowman got a chance to swing the lumber tonight. He used a natural Louisville Slugger.

May 29, 2016. During the last homestand, I had my first opportunity to examine the new Flexbase jersey being worn this season. The Authentics store had a Matt Carpenter alternate (now available at auction). In addition to the new jock tag, they've changed the location of the jersey's data tag. Since 2013, it's been located below the jock tag, but it's now located vertically inside the placket. The new placement is consistent on knit jerseys, as seen on this Molina shirt. There's a new code this season -- it's "SCAA" on the Carpenter jersey and "CARA" on the Molina. I have no idea what the code means... Also saw a couple interesting bats in the store. This Wong bat has "HI. LIFE" etched on the barrel, surely a nod to his native Hawaii. And this Dean Anna bat from spring training is stamped "MEAN DEAN." Love it.

May 30, 2016. It's Memorial Day, which means it's time for the awful camo caps and jerseys again. The Cards had the misfortune of being on the road, so they were clad in gray, which looks even worse than white with the camo crest slapped on it... The Molina and Carpenter jerseys mentioned in yesterday's post did not meet their reserves at auction. In fact, seven of the last eight jerseys auctioned online by the team have not hit their reserves. Has the supply of jerseys finally exceeded demand? Has the team run out of customers willing to pay $3,500-4,000 for Molina shirts? It will be interesting to see what happens when the Father's Day and Independence Day jerseys become available in coming weeks. The game-used market is beginning to resemble what happened to baseball cards in the '80s -- overproduction and multiple varieties are flooding collections. For those who were around then, you'll recall that it was great for a while. Today, though, way too many closets are stuffed full of cardboard pictures that can't be sold for even a fraction of what they cost three decades ago. Greed sucked the fun out of the hobby and collectors bailed in droves. Many of those who remain focus on vintage cards. Will that be the fate of the game-used jersey hobby?

June 1, 2016. Trevor Rosenthal was wearing Monday's camo jersey during the National Anthem today. Rosenthal apparently didn't realize he was wearing the wrong jersey until he received a text from broadcaster Jim Edmonds.I have a hard time believing nobody else noticed and suspect his teammates were enjoying the SNAFU... I've noticed Molina is swinging a Gwynn-finished Marucci.

June 7, 2016. Jhonny Peralta is off the DL and back in the lineup. He was swinging a black Marucci... I noticed during the last two games of the home stand that Molina's batting helmet had a cheek guard, similar to the one worn by Jason Heyward last season. In Cincinnati tonight, he's wearing a navy version with the same guard. He says it's just a precaution and that he's not wearing it because of an injury.

June 19, 2016. For the first time, the Cardinals wore special uniforms for Father's Day instead of simply adding an adhesive blue ribbon. They look strange, especially with red batting helmets, but I can't say I hate them.

June 21, 2016. The Father's Day jerseys are now available from Cardinals Authentics. Their prices seem a little more reasonable than recent releases. No caps are being made available to the public... The Cards will play a TBTC game in Seattle on Saturday. Both teams are throwing back to 1984, which means St. Louis will be decked out in Victory Blue again.

June 30, 2016. Catcher Brayan Pena made his Cardinals debut wearing #33. He swung a Nnwyg-finished Max Bat, and apparently was so excited to be off the DL that he had his equipment neatly arranged on the bench before the game.

July 1, 2016. Noticed Diaz is now swinging a Nnwyg-finished Marucci bat.

July 3, 2016. Sam Tuivailala was called upon to make his first pitching appearance of 2016. He wore the same #64 he has donned since 2014.

July 4, 2016. Another holiday, another set of special event uniforms. Honestly, the jerseys weren't terrible, especially from a distance, because the elements that were supposed to be red essentially were. And, I have to admit (again) that the narrow font used for the names on the back is growing on me. It's a very clean look. Now, the hats are another matter. Woof! Maybe the most unattractive cap the Cardinals have ever worn, and that's saying something.

July 7, 2016. Catcher Michael McKenry made his Cardinals debut as a pinch hitter, wearing the #19 surrendered by Ruben Tejada upon his release June 1. The third catcher on the roster, Alberto Rosario, is still waiting to see game action. When he does, he'll wear #68.

July 9, 2016. Albert Rosario made his debut and, as expected, wore #68.

July 21, 2016. Miguel Socolovich made his 2016 debut wearing #63 again this season.

July 23, 2016. The ghost of Frank Lane made an appearance at Busch Stadium this evening. Diehard fans will remember Lane for his stint as general manager in the late '50s. His nickname, "Trader," was a nod to his reputation as a wheeler dealer; many felt he made trades just for the sake of making them, with no real strategic purpose. He dealt 1955 rookie of the year Bill Virdon two months into his sophomore season, shipped icon Red Schoendienst to New York, and even tried to swap Stan Musial for Robin Roberts. Perhaps his most egregious act, though, was replacing the birds on the bat crest with a generic rendition of "Cardinals" on the team's 1956 jerseys. Lane was a guy who liked to shake things up and do things his way, and the new jerseys were one more way for him to say, "I'm in charge." Let's be honest--it didn't look terrible. But, it wasn't popular, either. So, the birds returned in '57. Tonight, the team threw back to those '56 duds, and they looked good. Yeah, Sluggerbird didn't look quite right (where was his black face mask?); the elements were tackle twill, not felt; and Majestic's logo just HAD to be on the sleeve. But, they did forgo the MLB logo on the back and, thanks to their navy road caps, had both helmets and caps appropriate to the era. The Cards lost to the Dodgers, which means the players probably won't remember these throwbacks fondly. Which is kind of appropriate.

July 24, 2016. Mike Mayers made his MLB debut wearing the #59 made available by Eric Fryer's release earlier this season.

July 30, 2016. Jerome Williams made his Cardinals debut wearing #38 and a pink glove. Here's the story behind that.

August 2, 2016. Newly acquired reliever Zach Duke made his Cardinals debut wearing #29. He's the first Redbird to don those digits since Chris Carpenter's retirement.

August 9, 2016. Highly touted prospect Alex Reyes made his debut wearing #61.

August 13, 2016. Luke Weaver made his MLB debut wearing #62.

August 27, 2016. In honor of Cardinals HOF inductee Sam Breadon, the team turned back the clock to 1926 for tonight's game. However, because the '26 uniforms were so plain, they decided instead to go with the 1927 home uniform that featured the World Champions logo on the chest. Not a bad effort overall. The uni numbers on the backs are a concession to the modern game, but at least they didn't use names -- and even the MLB logo is missing from the collar. The letters on the front appear to have been embroidered like the originals, but the bird itself looks to be a patch. Likewise, the old English STL on the sleeve also was sewn on, not embroidered. All things considered, one of the better throwback uniforms the Cards have worn.