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

Eck joins Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams roster

As Major League Baseball gears up for the Postseason, Pepsi MAX announces the 2011 Field of Dreams Team – a who’s who of legendary players who will visit the hometown of one lucky winner for the ultimate fan face-off game. On September 14, Pepsi MAX will announce the four lucky fan finalists on mlb.com/pepsimax, who will each begin campaigning for their chance to take on this real-life fantasy team next spring with ten of their friends.

More than 2.5 million votes were cast from baseball enthusiasts across the country to determine the 11-man dream team, which includes some of the biggest names in baseball: Cal Ripken Jr., Randy Johnson, Ken Griffey Jr., Tony Gwynn, Reggie Jackson along with ex-Cardinals closer Dennis Eckersley, my interview subject back on July 13.

The team was selected from 30 player nominees who represent more than 20 Hall of Famers, 325 All-Star Game Selections, 32 World Series Championships, 20 League MVPs, 15 Cy Young Awards, and 119 Gold Gloves.

The Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team roster:

  • Starting Pitcher – Randy Johnson
  • Catcher – Johnny Bench
  • First Baseman – Frank Thomas
  • Second Baseman – Rod Carew
  • Third Baseman – Mike Schmidt
  • Shortstop – Cal Ripken, Jr.
  • Outfielders – Ken Griffey, Jr., Tony Gwynn and Reggie Jackson
  • Relief Pitcher – Dennis Eckersley
  • Designated Hitter – Edgar Martinez

“It was an honor to be part of the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams ballot,” said Tony Gwynn, baseball Hall of Famer and Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team outfielder. “These guys are some of the greatest baseball players of all time, and it’s truly humbling to be chosen by the fans for their Field of Dreams Team.”

Similar to how the 11-man roster was chosen, from September 14 through October 5, fans will have the chance to vote for which of the four finalists will host the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams Team, in their local community surrounded by family, friends and baseball fans.

Additionally, ESPN will air a one-hour special chronicling the Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams program, the fan-voted 11-man team and four consumer finalists on September 25 at 8:30 p.m. ET.

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58 Responses to “Eck joins Pepsi MAX Field of Dreams roster”

  1. friendmouse says:

    Interesting. I have seen those commercials a few times, but am in the habit of “clicking” to another channel when commercials come on. With that said, I’m wondering a little about this proposed “game” you say will be played next spring….WHERE will it be played / on a “regulation” field?…with regulation “rules?” …how many innings…etc. Could be fun…reminiscent of the Bobby Riggs vs BJ King match back in the 70′s…with weird, slanted rules and misappropriated importance. Maybe.

  2. Brian Walton says:

    Wednesday lineup: Furcal ss; Jay cf; Pujols 1b; Holliday lf; Berkman rf; Schumaker 2b; Molina c; Descalso 3b; Carpenter rhp.

  3. Bw52 says:

    Brian-any reasons given for the Non-callups of Matt Carpenter and Andrew Brown.If i recall Hamilton wasn`t recalled because Albert will get almost all the playing time.Kozma would have been the 3rd or 4th SS and the INF was pretty much full anyway.Could be management figured MCarpenter would just sit except for a few PH at bats anyway.Probably same with Brown.Any insight on how the FO feels about the mentioned players?

  4. blingboy says:

    Some interesting discussion the last few days. Appreciate it.

    Some random thoughts:

    I can live with Skip at 2B as long as he’s hitting .300ish. He may be getting a bit expensive though. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the org get serious about making Craig the new Skip next spring. There’s not going to be any payroll money for that position, and Tony won’t want to have one less .300 hitter.

    Coming up with the money to upgrade SS is far more important. It will be interesting to see what happens there.

    CF is the other position that’s worth thinking about. Nothing wrong with Jay except that we really need an arm out there. I mean really need one. Just a defensive replacement type would be OK. Nobody worries about any of our OF arms.

    Some kind of running game, or the threat at least, distracts the pitcher and disrupts the infield defense. This is a real benefit and I don’t think Tony factors it in.

    I think the team will sign Carp, but there’s no telling what he’ll bring next year. I’ll bet Shelby is plan B if Carp doesn’t pan out by around the all star break.

    Some time next year the org will decide what to do with Cox and Adams. Adams depends on Albert’s situation. Cox depends on whether he’s really an MLB third baseman, or just one in cards-farm lala land, like Wallace. Any insight about that would be usefull.

    Maybe RC will take a guess at what Toronto will do about signing up Colby this winter. And i’d like to know what he did with his batting cage when he sold the house.

    • RCWarrior says:

      Here’s my take on your thoughts bling….

      Skip stays at the keystone but craig will be the super utility guy next year.

      Any player will be an upgrade at short….Furcal may be on the wish list, but I’m guessing he isn’t going to sign for nothing. At least 8 million a year is my guess.

      Jon Jay in CF is as solid as the cardinals need. Arm is accurate enough in my view. I worry about him when he gets the start for a couple months in a row because he wears down and really starts struggling. Allen can spell him if this happens though.

      TLR as the manager with those bats in the middle of the order plus the lack of real speed equals no running game.

      Carp resigns and if he keeps pitching like he did last night will want the entire option to be picked up. And I don’t blame him, no need to help the cardinals out with a sweetheart deal. If you earn the 16 mil then it is owed to you.

      As for Colby, why would you sign him? he hasn’t done anything to warrant anyone offering him any kind of contract. I can say that he speaks of Toronto like it is the holy land and that everything about it is an upgrade over where he was and that may cause him to consider something if it were offered. Anthopolos may offer him something similar to what Escobar was offered but it wouldn’t be anything of any significance imo.

      • WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

        As for Colby, why would you sign him? he hasn’t done anything to warrant anyone offering him any kind of contract. I can say that he speaks of Toronto like it is the holy land and that everything about it is an upgrade over where he was and that may cause him to consider something if it were offered. Anthopolos may offer him something similar to what Escobar was offered but it wouldn’t be anything of any significance imo.

        I’ve watched every at bat RC………. Toronto is taking a new approach………Colby is a part of that experiment……….. They’ve struggled of late…..without Colby……not so much based on his production…but of what he represented to the other players in the competition for leverage in the payday sweepstakes………… they will try to figure him out……they aren’t worried a few arbitration years……they are probably counting on them………they will do everything to keep his value up, which is a big plus for you all…………. by Colby continuing to try and take everything out front…..he is again dictating the easy pitching strategies…. he has to move off the plate at least 4 inches, if not 6….he has to give away the outside before he can take it back…..instead of just ignoring it…too many strikeouts….how many times have yous seen off speed up and in lately, just resulting in titanic pulled foul balls??? easy strike, setting up the out pitch…….. if they can’t change him…….they will trade him……if he believes in all the Organization propaganda…….and tries to bank it….and doesn’t adjust his approach……….he will be on the road by next July……….. the artificial turf fits his strengths like a glove………… but lets be clear…….if they can’t sell it……. he will be packing soon enough……they are very discipled and chemistry sensitive of late……. and they like to deal……..Kelly Johnson was just hanging there…. same deal…….they could be a great team with a little more pitching……..

    • CariocaCardinal says:

      “I think the team will sign Carp, but there’s no telling what he’ll bring next year. I’ll bet Shelby is plan B if Carp doesn’t pan out by around the all star break.”

      I don’t see Carp falling off the table. The question is will he pitch like a #1 starter (and be worth $15 million) or will be he pitch like a #3/#4 guy and be over paid. In other words, if he is healthy, It seems totally unlikely that Shelby would replace him in the rotation.

    • blingboy says:

      Appreciate the responses RC & CC.

      Carp had some pretty bad starts this year. I just worry that, given the mileage on his arm, there will be more of them next year. Ever since he came to STL, he’s given less than a hit per inning, except for this year. His ERA is up, too. He’ll be 37 so its reasonable to suppose those trends may continue and possibly accelerate.

      Toronto may be looking at Colby longer term, and not worried about this year. IMO, given his dissatifaction with the Cards situation, and as messed up as it had him, not much could be expected the last part of this year.

  5. blingboy says:

    From Heyman article:

    “The Cardinals are said by major league sources not to be overly confident that they will be able to retain superstar first baseman …….”

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jon_heyman/09/07/albert.pujols.cardinals/index.html#ixzz1XK2RaYuO

  6. Kansasbirdman says:

    T. Plush getting mouthy. Carp pitched a heckuva game. Why couldn’t we do that ffor the past couple of months?

  7. Kansasbirdman says:

    Congrats on getting to see a good game Crdswmn!

    • RCWarrior says:

      How about an excellent performance by Carp…..WOW! Crdswmn went to see Carp and she got to see vintage Carp. Nice win by the Birds.

      • crdswmn says:

        Yes, I got my monies worth that’s for sure. And I got a bench clearing, err, kerfluffle. :)

        • Brian Walton says:

          Did you catch any of the verbal exchanges from the stands?

          • crdswmn says:

            No, too far away. I saw Morgan with his hand in the air, and Carp’s back was turned. It wasn’t until after the game I learned Morgan had thrown his wad of chew at Carp. I thought he had given him the finger. I did see Morgan acting weird on second base after he hit the double. He was waving his hands and I saw his mouth moving but I couldn’t hear what he was saying.

            All I can say is that when I saw Morgan walk away and then raise his hand, Carp’s back was turned. If he said something, I don’t know how Morgan heard it.

            • Brian Walton says:

              There was some question about whether Carp said something immediately upon the strikeout, before he turned away. Obviously, there is history there, both from the past and earlier that evening. In a way, it is a shame these two teams are done this season as the Cards may have turned the corner against the Milwaukee club.

              Now their best hope is an Atlanta fold and the wild card. Currently, the Cards have a 3.5 percent chance of that. After getting swept in Philly, the Braves have to play two make up games today in NY, weather permitting, before headiing to StL. Interestingly, prior to Atlanta, Milwaukee has been the only winning team that the Cardinals have played in the second half. St. Louis’ record during that time is just 27-24.

              • crdswmn says:

                Well Carp was in the process of turning around as soon as Morgan finished swinging the bat. If he said something it would have had to be in a split second. It appeared to me that in the inning where Morgan hit the double, Carp was making a concerted effort to ignore him, so when he turned his back on Morgan so soon after the strikeout, I assumed he was again trying to ignore him.

                • Brian Walton says:

                  His public comments supported that.

                • RCWarrior says:

                  My bet is that Carp did say something, and imo there’s nothing wrong with him saying eff you to Niger. And there’s nothing wrong with Niger responding to what Carp said.

                  They are what they are…..Carp gets all jacked up and may say that same type of stuff to his own teammates so why wouldn’t he say something like that to Niger? Carp is an old school tough guy, although I’m sure he is more of a barker than a biter. When Rolen grabbed Carp last year Carp didn’t appear to be able to do much with him. Carp appears to me to be the guy who prefers yelling to actual fistacuffs.

                  But its nothing more than a redo of last years Cards/Reds thingy. Carp was in the middle of that as well but didn’t seem to be willing to do much actual fighting….just yelling. Same with Edwin Jackson earlier. Carp just wears his emotions on his sleeve.

                  Niger is just a guy who is trying to put a little NBA/NFL into MLB. It seems to be something that has Brewers fans excited so I say keep doing it. Now I wasn’t a fan of his running over Bryan Anderson last year but this stuff right here is just a little hollywood taking place.

                  Carp plays the bad Ass, and Niger plays the dumb Ass. I say there is a place for both. :)

                  • crdswmn says:

                    I have to disagree with you here, RC. Carp’s body language last night was different than what I usually see from him. It was much more restrained than what is normal for him. He has never been one for keeping his emotions in check, but last night it was obvious that is what he was trying to do. I would bet money Carp didn’t say anything to Morgan.

                    As to willingness to fight or not, I can’t say because I don’t know him.

                    • RCWarrior says:

                      I may be wrong, but I, like you, would bet money Carp said something. I’ve seen and heard so much first hand info about certain incidents and then read where the player said he didn’t say this or that to not believe much of what they say afterwards. I’m sure Carp would be back peddling after the fact because that may be seen as a suspendible offense so he would dare not admit to it if he even did it.

                    • crdswmn says:

                      When a credible source tells me he said something, I’ll believe it. Nyjer Morgan is not a credible source.

                    • RCWarrior says:

                      I agree 100% about Morgan and you may be right on the button about this incident to be perfectly honest. I would imagine it will disappear pretty quickly because after some digging I’m sure the truth probably wouldn’t be a good read in the papers. :)

              • Kansasbirdman says:

                The Redbirds are 6.5 back from the braves and we play 3 games against them still?

  8. Kansasbirdman says:

    For those who want the true story behind Tony Plush. Nyjer morgan’s cult following was built by someone else:
    http://mobile.slate.com/rss.jsp?rssid=411&item=http%3a%2f%2fwww.slate.com%2fdefault.aspx%3fdisplaymode%3d201%26id%3d2301477%26device%3drss

    • friendmouse says:

      No offense, Kansas, but I couldn’t care less about that thug, and I’m certainly not going to go trying to read more about him. He is a disgrace to the game. I hope Torre takes firm action to communicate to players that such behavior will not be tolerated, and there are consequences. That’s part of his job, I believe.

      • Brian Walton says:

        You mean like Carlos Zambrano, Milton Bradley, etc? MLB will do nothing unless there is an action severe enough to warrant a suspension. Nothing happened last night to justify that. However, I believe it is only a matter of time until Morgan self-destructs.

        Athletic talent and self-control are two different animals. One way they are the same, IMO, is that you either have it or you don’t.

      • Kansasbirdman says:

        The article isn’t about him. Its about a writer (bored) who created the Tony plush persona and how morgan has capitalized on it and completely changed it.

  9. friendmouse says:

    Personally, last night’s performance by Carpenter confirms even more that TLR’s decision a couple of weeks back to pull Carp in the 9th with his shutout in tact was a MISTAKE then!!! I’ll contend that had that mistake NOT been made, then last night would have been Carps second CG shutout in two weeks. Furthermore, while I believe Carp to be of strong mental toughness, I’m not convinced the move by TLR then did not inflict some damage to Carp’s psyche, resulting in subsequent sub-par starts the next two times. Maybe not.

  10. friendmouse says:

    At the risk of elevating my blood pressure to unsafe levels, I want to vent just a tiny bit more as it relates to nyjer-type behavior. In my observations, I believe there are certain individuals who, for whatever reason, wear the term “thug” as a perceived badge of honor. They truly WANT such a reputation and distinction. We see this attitude often in the NBA, the NFL, and the NHL. It could be argued that, to some extent at least, this is part of what sets MLB apart from (and ABOVE, imo) those other sports. Such behavior traditionally has NOT been tolerated nor encouraged nor emulated. I, for one, hope that never changes. If we cater to, and encourage, and even go so far as to RECRUIT those types of personalities, then the game we know and love will lose its appeal and stature to many of us fans. And that would be too bad.
    Okay, I’m done with that topic.

  11. CariocaCardinal says:

    The Angels’ strategy to set a deadline for Weaver paid off for them. While Weaver had the impression he could be traded by the Angels in the winter if he didn’t agree to the deal, Angels people suggest they still would have tried to resume talks next year if he didn’t agree now. In any case, Weaver, a Simi Valley and Long Beach State product, was desperate to stay with the Angels due to strong local roots.

    Read more: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jon_heyman/09/07/albert.pujols.cardinals/index.html#ixzz1XNNKXh1S

    Just what the Cards should have done with Albert and what they should do with Yadi immediately after the season. they need to come to an agreement ASAP with Yadi or trade him.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Interesting. Thanks for sharing. While I get the concept and agree it can be effective, I think they need to resolve Albert before pushing Molina. Yadi’s strongest ties to the club are not the same as Weaver’s with LA.

      Regarding Albert, it is too early to even guess how it will play out, but I sense there is a decent chance that his ultimate dollars and (maybe) years may be less now than they would have been a year or two ago. We certainly can’t believe media reports 100 percent, but USAToday and SI both said Pujols wanted a Mauer deal last winter, not an A-Rod deal.

    • RCWarrior says:

      Albert and Yadi are tied at the hip so Yadi may want to wait to see what Albert does before agreeing to an extension. Tony is also a big player in this. Tony allows both Albert and Yadi liberties that they may not be able to match elsewhere.

      So signing Albert may secure Yadi as wanting to return, and I’m sure the club continues to know that keeping Tony in St. Louis is a key to keeping Albert happy so thats why Tony has been told that he can stay as long as he wants. So Tony is back next year, Albert must be signed at whatever cost, and Yadi’s option will be picked up but Yadi may very well be offered an extension at some point during the next year. Yadi is like Albert, he’s not going anywhere. Those two guys are the two most beloved players in St. Louis and they know it.

      • CariocaCardinal says:

        So you think we should have signed or traded Albert early but don’t think the same about Yadi? I for one am not looking forward to another player holding the team hostage and lsoing any trade value he might have.

        • Brian Walton says:

          CC, don’t fall into the trap of confusing what an observer might WANT to do if given the chance with what we think the team WILL do. The former is interesting discussion fodder, but when all is said and done, the latter is all that really matters.

          I suspect you are on the former and RC is on the latter.

        • RCWarrior says:

          Now CC……you are surely not comparing Yadi to Albert in terms of being valuable to the team, are you? I like Yadi to be sure but his value to the team is not even remotely close to that of Alberts. You most definitely couldn’t trade Yadi for a package that would be earth shaking.

          Albert is not only the face of the franchise but of MLB. He should have been forced to sign early imo or been traded for a package that would have put the Cards in a position like the Rangers are in. But I do see that Albert is soooo valuable in terms of making money for the DeWitts that he has to be dealt with differently I guess. Knowing what I know today I know that the Cardinals cannot let him go no matter what so its not as big an issue as I thought it was before. In other words the cardinals will not allow themselves to get two draft picks for Albert because they can’t let him go….so it doesn’t really matter.

          Yadi is not that big a player. He is a top ML catcher but he’s not Albert in terms of what he makes the club in $$$$.

          • CariocaCardinal says:

            I can’t say with certainty what Albert means in dollars but in terms of recent championships its pretty clear.

            • friendmouse says:

              Yes, there is that “cynical” view that if we can miss making the playoffs WITH Albert, then we certainly can do the same without him, with a reduced payroll to boot. I don’t always agree with that argument, but it does apply definitely to the cellar-dwellers.

  12. friendmouse says:

    RC, on Brian’s “What Course…” thread of a few days back, I inquired as to whether or not there is an approach, or technique, or something which Big Mac could instruct our hitters to adopt when the opponent is playing for the double play. Maybe there is not, but I was thinking there could be. Perhaps (and I truly do not know) Mac and the team have the philosophy to just swing very hard and hope for the best, and this results in excessive DP’s.
    Obviously, there are some ways to avoid the DP…and one is to simply leave the bat on the shoulder…provided the runner isn’t going on strike 3! Another “safe” way would be to bunt, yet that doesn’t work all the time, either, as I’ve seen many bunts result in the DP. And, of course, there is NO WAY Albert, Matt, or Lance are going to be bunting! (Actually, Berkman has not hit into that many DP’s…just 6, which is 2 fewer than Colby!!)
    I guess if someone really did have the magic solution/answer to that question, they’d be getting paid handsomely somewhere as hitting coach, huh?
    Do you have any ideas?

    • Nutlaw says:

      Stop swinging at low pitches, I’d guess.

      • friendmouse says:

        Yeah, well then, like King Felix says in that ???commercial, throwing baseballs at the lead milk bottles at the carnival, we should “…gib it a shot!” Sounds simple enough.

    • RCWarrior says:

      Friend, I actually believe that the hitting philosophy tends to have an impact on DP’s. Big Mac preaches an opposite field approach and ground balls and line drives are the preference. And the second year of everyone working on that technique it would seem to me that you would see progress in that style of hitting. Jay, Skip, Freese, Yadi, Craig, Theriot, Descalso, and Holliday are primarily oppo hitters. Albert is with two strikes as well but albert will take half swings with two strikes as will Yadi to prevent striking out, hence the large number of DP’s. I believe the oppo hitting style will lend itself to higher averages but more DP ground outs as well.

      The two strike approach that is taught is making contact with two strikes so as to just put it in play verses striking out is a must also would make you think that DP’s may increase. But I would think most teams would preach shorten up and punch it with two strikes. Strike outs may be a better alternative to grounding into more DP’s but I believe Tony will be on you if you don’t take a different approach with two strikes. His fav’s are the players who do as their told, which is as it should be.

      Lance does his own thing and is oblivious to TLR and I believe Lance to be an exceptional guess hitter. If he’s looking for a pitch and gets it he will pound it. Even with two strikes. So you don’t see the high DP numbers for Lance as he is one who can hit like he wants to and not feel the heat so to speak from TLR.

      Now that just my personal opinion and we all know that its not worth two pennies rubbed together……..but its what I’ve thought all year and had numerous discussions about with other baseball guys.

  13. crdswmn says:

    Brian, would the HPU from last night write a report about the Morgan incident even if there no likelihood of MLB punishment? I would assume if anyone heard Carp say anything it would be the umpire.

  14. RCWarrior says:

    Braves win game one against the Mets, Kimbrell with yet another save.

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