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Topic: Now I'm mad

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Subject: Now I'm mad
Date Posted: 12/17/2007 1:10 PM ET
Member Since: 8/15/2005
Posts: 4,469
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It's hard to say goodbye to a Jim-dandy CF ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH Below is the link to the story. http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/sports/columnists.nsf/berniemiklasz/story/48AE1A519B272699862573B300155548?OpenDocument Here is the story. We're going to miss the ballet in center field, the Jimnastics, the swan dives for the baseball. We'll miss the way he'd jump to his feet to proudly display the grass stains and the dirt that were smeared across his uniform. We'll miss the theater, and his actor's sense of timing as he tracked that elusive fly ball. The way he envisioned and marked the landing spot ahead of time, knowing just how far he had to go, and arriving just in time to deliver that extra suspense, that extra drama. All of the web gems, the web Jims, he created. And after crashing to the turf, or into a wall, he'd milk the moment by immediately sinking to his knees, roll over and writhe in pain, going down as if he had just been smacked on the forehead by a wrecking ball. Miraculously, he would rise, and slowly trot back to the Cardinals' dugout, taking a little extra time to let the applause wash over him and heal his bruises, his psyche. And then there was the swing: so fluid and sweet and so smooth that it did not disturb the summer breeze. And the mood swings were almost as fun. It was all so very entertaining: his good-natured heckling of the unwashed press corps; his self-deprecating style; his crabbiness on a hot day at the ballpark after a short night, and the compelling psychodrama of a relationship he had with his stern manager, Tony La Russa. Jim Edmonds was the good boy, the bad boy. Most of all, he was the boy of summer who would never grow old. Sadly, Edmonds did wear down. After averaging 34 homers and 96 RBIs in his first six seasons as a Cardinal, Edmonds' productivity the last two seasons dropped to a rate of 14 homers and 55 RBIs. After running down all of those line drives in the gaps, he couldn't outrun his age. He'll be 38 next season, and hopes to kick-start his career back home in SoCal. Jimmy Baseball has gone away. "The friendships will last forever," Edmonds said Saturday. "And I'll always cherish those friendships. And I will never lose them." The Cardinals agreed to his request for a trade, so Edmonds is off to join the San Diego Padres. In return the Cardinals get David Freese, a strapping third-base prospect who grew up in St. Louis, cheering for Edmonds, just like most folks. As he departs, how do we frame Edmonds' career? If we consider the combination of offense and defense, Edmonds was the best overall center fielder in Cardinals history. That's no hype or phony, parting-gift praise. Edmonds played eight seasons here. And among all hitters in franchise history he ranks fourth in homers, 12th in RBIs, and sixth in combined on base-slugging percentage. No other Cardinals center fielder comes close to matching the wattage of that offensive production, and Edmonds won six Gold Gloves in eight St. Louis summers. Jimmy's flamboyant way of getting it done an crucial ways came through many times, especially in the 2004 National League Championship Series against Houston. There was the winning homer in Game 6, and the saving catch in Game 7. The kind of stuff that gives you chills. Edmonds was the all-around performer who gave us an extended thrill ride after arriving unexpectedly from the Angels in the spring of 2000. Edmonds played a leading role in transforming this franchise, fueling the Cardinals' offense and defense with an abundance of natural talent. The baseball gods gave Jimmy a gift, and he shared it with the Cardinals and fans during an eight-season run that produced six trips to the playoffs, two National League pennants and a World Series championship in 2006. If getting Edmonds from Anaheim represented perhaps the best trade made during Walt Jocketty's regime as general manager, the trade that sent Edmonds to San Diego became the most awkward move of John Mozeliak's early days as the new GM. Let's not be confused by what this means: The Cardinals are making it clear, even without stating it clearly, that they're not going to be able to replenish their deteriorating talent base at the major league level in a big way in 2008. The free-agent market is lean. And with fast-track center field prospect Colby Rasmus deemed untouchable, there are few tradable commodities. That's just the reality. So they played ball with Edmonds, set him free, and picked up a prospect who may help them down the path. Replacing Edmonds' declining offensive numbers at the CF position shouldn't be difficult. With NL Central rivals throwing money around and taking their best shot at 2008, the Cardinals are going to hold their fire in 2008 and try to be more aggressive for 2009. This approach is understandable considering the problematic makeup of the current Cardinals roster, which has big money tied up in injured or unproductive players. But fans don't want to hear it, and it's not as if the team cut its high ticket prices for 2008. So Mozeliak and chairman Bill DeWitt will stand accused of high baseball crimes and misdemeanors. "From a fans' standpoint, I can see that they want us to challenge by adding, growing and getting better," Mozeliak said. "That's our goal. But how do you get there? You have part of your team on the disabled list, certain contracts that are being unproductive, it's just not as easy it seems. And I'd just ask for a little patience as we go through this. We do have a plan, but I just don't know when we can actually pull the string on it to make it all go forward." The truthful answer: 2009. _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________________ All content copyright (c) 2007, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, L.L.C. All rights reserved. 900 N. Tucker Blvd, St. Louis MO 63101 You received this email via STLtoday.com's Email a Friend feature. If you want to block any future stories from being sent to you via STLtoday.com's Email a Friend feature, please send an email to: EMAF_Blocklist@stltoday.com

Date Posted: 1/18/2008 2:28 AM ET
Member Since: 3/31/2006
Posts: 28,593
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I feel your pain, Lynn.  The Oakland A's are having yard sales.  All players must go!  No deal refused.  Haren, Swisher, Kotsay...I don't know if anyone will be left by spring training.