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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

Cardinals shadowy complaints reflect badly

Several of the St. Louis Cardinals hitters complained about the late afternoon shadows at Busch Stadium on Monday afternoon in a game visiting Milwaukee took by a 4-1 score. Among the team leaders expressing concern were Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday, joined by the Brewers’ MVP candidate, Ryan Braun.

All seem to agree that an earlier (or later) starting time than the 3:15 P.M. CDT first pitch on Monday would provide safer conditions for the players. While some mid-afternoon games are dictated by MLB’s national contract with the FOX Network, the Labor Day game did not fit under that umbrella. In other words, the start time was apparently a local decision.

My concern is not with the issue itself, as the players seem to make a legitimate point, but with the manner in which it was handled. Instead of being quietly addressed in-house, by the players going to the media, the situation went national.

The Cardinals are taking additional heat in some quarters for voicing these concerns. The team is already not on level ground in the court of public perception due to previous complaints about the environment in other parks in matters such as lighting, inequitable strike zones, rubbing up of baseballs and the like.

The Cardinals players could have instead handled this in a discreet manner, bringing the concerns to their management directly, or alternatively, using their agents or even the Players’ Association. Only if they received no satisfaction through regular channels should it have been necessary to speak out in the press.

Rightly or wrongly, by doing what they did in the way they did, especially after another game lost in a season during which they have consistently underachieved, they come across to some as excuse-makers. This only furthers a growing negative external perception of the organization in its entirety.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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16 Responses to “Cardinals shadowy complaints reflect badly”

  1. Brian Walton says:

    Tuesday lineup: Furcal ss; Jay cf; Pujols 1b; Holliday lf; Berkman rf; Freese 3b; Schumaker 2b; Molina c; Lohse rhp.

  2. Bw52 says:

    So Ryan Braun expressing his concerns doean`t matter.Its the Cards that come across as whiners.Yeah thats fair and balanced in the court of public perception.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Perception is not always fair. Braun is a visiting player. The Cardinals players took exception with their own management and as noted, it wasn’t the first time their complaints have reached the papers.

      P.S. After I posted, someone forwarded me the link to the Post-Dispatch’s opinion piece on the matter, called “Cardinals continue to play the crying game.”

      I don’t see it as crying, just that it could have been handled smarter.

      • crdswmn says:

        I am opening myself up for BW’s biting rebuttal 🙂 , but this whole “whiner” reputation was never an issue with the Cardinals before TLR took over. It is a result of a culture that TLR has fostered. Red Schoendienst, Whitey Herzog, and yes, even Joe Torre, would never make excuses or complain about external factors the way TLR does. That “ribbon light” BS at Miller Park was downright embarassing. Not to mention him suing Twitter two years ago because of a fake account. What a joke that was. If it is not throwing temper tantrums at press conferences it’s calling opposing fans “idiots” or mocking Cardinals fans in public for having opinions about his lineups. Other than Ozzie Guillen, I can think of no current MLB manager who is more controversial or more farcical.

      • friendmouse says:

        Right your are, Brian. Wasn’t it a Jimmy Connors Canon commercial (or something like that) which made the statement that “Perception is Reality.”…? Or, perhaps it was a politician, which sounds about right! 🙂
        Anyway, it is not fair, but take a number…life is full of “unfairness.”
        I liked D. Goold’s remarks on the P-D piece you linked, Brian. 100% right on the money.

  3. crdswmn says:

    By the way, I am going to the game tomorrow night. I wasn’t going to buy any more tickets, but I made an exception so I could see Carp pitch in person one more time, in case he isn’t back next year. He will probably have a start in the last series against the Cubs, but I wasn’t sure I could make it for that series because of a prior commitment. I got pretty good seats behind the Cardinal dugout fairly cheap on Stub Hub so I decided to go for it.

  4. Brian Walton says:

    TLR’s comments on the shadows issue, as posted at

    “There’s something to it, but you’re vulnerable talking about it because it’s the same for both teams, No. 1,” La Russa said. “And No. 2, you can point to games during the season where we played at 1 o’clock where we didn’t score. And there’s games at 3 o’clock where we did score. … There is definitely an issue. Nobody disagrees that there’s an issue. But you’ve just got to deal with it, man. And I don’t know how much room there is to change it. That’s a process I’m not familiar with.”

  5. JumboShrimp says:

    Great job by a rested Lohse. Also good to see Jon Jay reach double digits on HRs.

    I would love to see Shane take a southpaw deep before Sept 28.

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