Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:41 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 9:26 pm

MLB to allow Dirk Nowitzki first pitch

Dirk NowitzkiBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Update: MLB has invited Nowitzki to throw out the first pitch of one of the World Series games in Texas, ESPN reports. That would either be Games 3, 4 or 5. Spokesman Pat Courtney said that commissioner Bud Selig was unaware that Nowitzki was not involved, and felt he should be.

Read below for more on MLB not allowing Nowitzki to throw out a first pitch before reversing itself.

Apparently a guy dressed up as a cartoon character is OK for throwing out the first pitch in the NLCS, but an NBA player can't throw out the first pitch in a World Series.

Major League Baseball nixed a Rangers proposal to have the Mavericks' Dirk Nowitzki throw out the first pitch in one of the Rangers' home games in the World Series. Although a report by ESPN claimed it was because of the NBA's labor issues, an MLB official denied that was the reason when asked by CBSSports.com.

The MLB official said MLB oversees the selection of the first pitch honorees and they prefer not to promote other sports, but instead promote their own sport. Each team gives the MLB office 10-15 names they are thinking about having throw out the first pitch, and MLB takes a role in saying which ones they would like. Nowitzki was on the Rangers' list and was denied by MLB. Last year the Rangers scheduled two former players and two former presidents (including one that's a former owner of the team) throw out the first pitch during their four scheduled home games in the World Series.

Nowitzki threw out the first pitch at a June 25 game after leading the Mavericks to the NBA title. Teams control who throws out the first pitch in the regular-season, but not the postseason.

Game 6 of the NLCS between the Brewers and Cardinals featured a person dressed up like the character Sully from the movie Monsters, Inc., the inspiration for the team's "beast mode" meme. While MLB oversees who throws out the first pitches in the first two rounds of the playoffs, they give the teams more leeway in their selections in the two rounds leading up to the World Series.

Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush threw out the first pitches before last year's home World Series games at Rangers Ballpark.

Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter and Adam Wainwright will throw out the "first" pitches at Game 1 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:27 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 5:43 pm

2011 CBSSports.com World Series predictions

Since we didn't get it right the first time (be honest, you didn't either), here are the CBSSports.com updated World Series predictions:

2011 World Series predictions





World Series winner
in 5

in 7

in 7

in 6

in 7

in 6
Ian Kinsler

Nelson Cruz

Matt Holliday

Adrian Beltre

Albert Pujols

Mike Napoli

For more Eye on Baseball postseason coverage.
Posted on: October 19, 2011 5:14 pm

Theriot feels 'different' vibe in Cards clubhouse

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Prior to joining the Cardinals, shortstop/second baseman Ryan Theriot had been to the playoffs twice, but his ballclub was swept both times. So before the Cardinals started the NLDS this October against the Phillies, Theriot was 0-6 in career playoff games. Of course, that was with the Cubs, who haven't won the World Series since the Teddy Roosevelt administration.

Upon being traded to the Cardinals this past offseason, Theriot drew the ire of Cubs fans when he remarked that he was finally "on the right side of the rivalry."

The funny thing is, the 2008 Cubs were awesome. Seriously. If you don't remember, they were 97-64 and the top seed in the NL. Their offense led the NL in runs and OPS. Their pitchers led the NL in strikeouts and ranked third in ERA. But they just gagged in the playoffs, getting swept by the Dodgers and generally playing terrible baseball -- errors, no control from the pitchers, etc.

World Series coverage
It just makes one wonder if the Cubs were pressing. It was the 100-year anniversary of the last World Series championship and they entered the playoffs as heavy favorites at least in the NL, probably even the World Series.

Having experienced this and now experienced winning two playoff series for a ballclub that last won it all in 2006, Theriot's a good person to ask about the locker room feel for both clubs.

"It's just ... different," he said. "Over there (Chicago in '08) it was a given that we were going to be (in the playoffs). Here, we had to win almost every game down the stretch and didn't really have time to think about pressure."

Were the Cubs pressing, or feeling the weight of the world in 2008?

"I don't know about all that," he said. "It's just ... again, different here."

Does it feel easier to play in a city that's enjoyed so much more success?

"It's just a completely different atmosphere," he said again.

He wouldn't say anything more, likely out of respect for that 2008 Cubs team, but his continued emphasis on the word "different" spoke volumes.

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:42 pm
Edited on: October 19, 2011 5:15 pm

Rangers, Cards set World Series Game 1 lineups

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The lineups for Game 1 of the World Series have been officially released. Here they are:

Rangers Cardinals
No. Name Pos No. Name Pos
1 Ian Kinsler 2B 1 Rafael Furcal SS
2 Elvis Andrus SS 2 Jon Jay CF
3 JoshHamilton CF 3 Albert Pujols 1B
4 Michael Young 1B 4 Matt Holliday LF
5 Adrian Beltre 3B 5 Lance Berkman RF
6 Nelson Cruz RF 6 David Freese 3B
7 Mike Napoli C 7 Yadier Molina C
8 David Murphy LF 8 Nick Punto 2B
9 C.J. Wilson LHP 9 Chris Carpenter RHP

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 4:26 pm

Eye on Photos: St. Louis going Cardinal Crazy

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- The city of St. Louis has experienced many Cardinals runs to the World Series, but none more unlikely than this one. Amidst the rain, I got the chance to walk around and take some pictures that illustrate the excitement out here. Despite the bad weather, the streets were already teeming with Cardinals fans -- all decked out nearly from head to toe in Cards' garb. There's certainly a city-wide excitement, as one would expect.

Click on any photo below to enlarge.

Stands with World Series merchandise at set up in multiple street locations. 
Street light poles are sporting the images of Cardinals throughout the downtown area. 
The water's running red ... 
Setting up for a pre-game concert/rally.
Businesses all around the city are showing solidarity with the local team. 
A shot of the open part of the stadium ... this picture was taken in a steady rain. Sigh.
Statues of local heroes outside the team store.
Stan the Man. 
The home plate entrance, again, notice the wet ground. 
Um, OK.  
We get it, you've been here before. 
A view of the scoreboard, taken from right behind home plate. 

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Posted on: October 19, 2011 3:55 pm

Weather to impact World Series Game 1

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Stupid Mother Nature. Leave us alone. Game 1 of the World Series between the Rangers and Cardinals is set for Wednesday night at 8:05 p.m. ET, but it's weather permitting. And as you can see from these two pictures, that's a big question mark right now. The good news is there are still several hours until game time.

The bad news is the forecast. From Weather.com:

"We can't rule out the chance of a rain delay in Game 1, if the rain bands wrap around and pass over Busch Stadium. Even if the rain remains light, temperatures will be in the 40s and winds will be between 20 and 30 mph."

So even if the game is played without any delay, weather is going to have a huge impact. Specifically, it's pretty hard to hit in conditions like that, so the high-powered offenses could be held down -- not necessarily by opposing pitchers, but by the rain and wind.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: October 18, 2011 7:06 pm

Rangers, Cardinals tentatively line up pitching

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Neither World Series manager would commit to a firm plan in terms of how their respective starting rotations would line up in the series, but both do have a good idea what direction they are going.

Rangers skipper Ron Washington said that after C.J. Wilson -- who has already been announced as the Game 1 starter -- he would go with Colby Lewis in Game 2 and "we're still up in the air as to where we'll go after that, but Colby will throw the second game."

Matt Harrison and Derek Holland have been in the postseason rotation behind Wilson and Lewis, but Washington hasn't made any decisions for anything beyond Game 2.

For the Cardinals, manager Tony La Russa has named pitchers through Game 4, but it's still subject to change.

World Series coverage
"We are going to announce that Jaime (Garcia) is pitching Game 2, and right now (pitching coach) Dave (Duncan) is home, will be back tomorrow, and I know that we're going to look at it closely. But I think we'll be penciling in Kyle Lohse for 3 and Edwin (Jackson) for 4, but that might change when we talk a little more."

A major concern for both teams was the ineffectiveness of most starters in each respective LCS. The Rangers' starters had a 6.59 ERA in the ALCS while the Cardinals starters have a 5.43 ERA in the entire playoffs.

The Cardinals were reportedly having an additional scare, too: Chris Carpenter's elbow was recently said to be a problem. La Russa attempted to alleviate some of that fear.

"If he wasn't sound, he wouldn't be pitching (Wednesday)," La Russa said, when asked if Carpenter's health was sound. "I think what I understand is that way back in August every once in a while he would find -- his elbow was a little stiff, so he would monitor his bullpens, but he also finished really strong. He's been getting treatment, and I know put his hand on the Bible the other day, a couple days ago, with the trainers and the doctor, and they all feel he's good to go."

Carpenter seemed a bit annoyed that talk was centered on his health.

"I'll speak about it one time, and that's it," he said. "Coming out of that start in Milwaukee, I had 200-something innings, 4,000 pitches or whatever and it's the middle of October. Everybody has got soreness and everybody has got aches. I got some treatment on my elbow. My elbow is fine. Tony and 'Dunc' would not throw me out there if it wasn't, and neither would the trainers or doctors. I would have been fine to pitch two days ago or yesterday, whatever day Game 7 would have been, and I'm fine to go Wednesday. I wouldn't go out there if I wasn't. That wouldn't help my team anyway."

That's about as emphatic as one could be, so it would appear he's perfectly fine.

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Posted on: October 18, 2011 6:38 pm
Edited on: October 18, 2011 6:57 pm

Berkman connected to Rangers by rumor, comment

By Matt Snyder

ST. LOUIS -- Just as Scott Miller already wrote, the Cardinals' run to the World Series has been one of the most amazing runs in memory. Even more amazing was that the Cardinals and their opponent, the Rangers, were connected in a rumor in late August that would have declared St. Louis a "seller," not to mention the fact that the rumor involved someone who angered at least one Rangers player before the season even began.

On August 28, Rangers right fielder Nelson Cruz left the game with a hamstring injury. He only missed a few weeks, but at the time the Rangers weren't really in a position to mess around. They were only three games ahead of the Angels in the AL West. Meanwhile, the Cardinals weren't even in the playoff picture, and right fielder Lance Berkman had cleared waivers -- meaning he could be traded if the Cardinals chose to do so. Rumors connected the two teams for a few days before no move was made and Berkman then signed a contract extension.

World Series coverage
All reports from the time indicated that Berkman really didn't want to leave and ultimately the Cardinals would not trade him if they couldn't get him back for the 2012 season. It ended up that the rumor was pretty much all speculation and it never really got close to happening, but that was now twice this year that some Rangers fans had felt slighted by Berkman.

All the way back in January, Berkman was asked about signing with the Cardinals instead of the Rangers. He said that without Cliff Lee the Rangers were merely an "average" baseball team. Berkman also said the Rangers "reached" in their deal to Adrian Beltre, insinuating he wasn't worth what they paid the All-Star third baseman. Rangers ace C.J. Wilson took particular exception to the comments and fired back.

Obviously, Berkman had to field questions about any possible bad blood with the Rangers during Tuesday's World Series media day, and he was nothing but patient and apologetic.

"I didn't intend for it to be disrespectful to the Rangers organization," he said. "Obviously some of that has been proven incorrect. It's not the first time I've been wrong and it won't be the last. When I'm asked a question, I always try to answer it honestly. Sometimes I shouldn't. Sometimes I should just pass the question and I'd be better off."

Berkman was patient, too, because as new media members appeared and asked the exact same question, Berkman was basically repeating himself over and over. But he never once grew impatient, he even kept a sense of humor throughout the questioning.

"I was just thinking I was on a Houston radio station, so I was OK. I forgot they had the Internet," he said with laugh. "That kind of thing would play well in Houston, but not so much up in Dallas."

Had Berkman chosen to sign with Texas or been traded -- and, again, the rumor was speculative -- we wouldn't have this World Series matchup. The 35-year-old slugger was rejuvenated this season, winning the NL Comeback Player of the Year award and making the All-Star team. And while his defense isn't great -- "I'm not exactly Willie Mays out there," he joked -- he's says he has gotten more comfortable out there. Berkman was also huge down the stretch during the Cardinals' big run. He hit .339 with a .446 on-base percentage in the Cardinals' last 31 games.

And if the Rangers fans want to boo him and give him -- as one reporter phrased it -- the "Nyjer Morgan treatment?"

"I'm a native son," he said emphatically (he was born and raised in Texas and attended Rice University). "And the good thing is, the crowd gets so loud ... how long can you really sustain a 'boo?' Fifteen seconds or so? I'll probably be able to handle it."

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com