Tag:Stan Musial
Posted on: February 17, 2011 6:50 pm

McLouth comeback essential to Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. -- There is no surefire, guaranteed path to success for the Atlanta Braves this season. But one sure way to make things easier is center fielder Nate McLouth bouncing back from a miserable 2010 and again becoming the player he once was.

McLouth last summer suffered a concussion, played in only 85 games and batted a career-worst .190 with a .298 on-base percentage. Both were career lows.

"I'm thankful for a clean start," McLouth says. "I'm ready to get this season kicked off and move on. Last season was tough, but the minute I stepped out of the clubhouse, I left it behind.

"I actually backed off of hitting a little this winter because you get so many swings down here. I backed off what I've done in the past."

The hope, he said, is less is more. No more paralysis by analysis. Even in baseball, sometimes there is such a thing as overpreparing.

"I'm definitely guilty of that," says McLouth, whom the Braves project as their center fielder and No. 2 hitter (behind Martin Prado). "When I don't feel right, I tend to overdo it. Last year, I wasn't feeling right and I almost paralyzed myself I was working so much."

McLouth, whom the Braves acquired from Pittsburgh in June, 2009, for pitcher Charlie Morton and two minor leaguers, suffered the concussion last June 9 (he was hitting .176 with a .295 on-base percentage at the time) and didn't return until July 21.

"The main thing I noticed was, I wasn't ever close to full strength after that in terms of endurance and body strength. For a month or two after, I couldn't lift of work out. I felt slow.

"It was nice to be able to work out this offseason."

There's no guarantee that McLouth will be able to return to his 2008 form, when he hit .276 with a .356 OBP and led the NL with 46 doubles, but if he can get close, the Braves will take it.

"I think we're all optimistic that Nate's too good a player, and has been over the course of time, to think what we saw last year is what should be expected," Atlanta general manager Frank Wren says. "He's another guy where we've seen him over the course of the winter, and his demeanor and his presence ... everything's changed from a year ago."

Sunblock Day? There already have been more nice days in the first week in Florida than all of last spring combined. Sunny and mid-70s. Pass the sunblock.

Likes: Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. on Hall of Famer Stan Musial and what he means to St. Louis: "To think of what he has meant to the Cardinals, not only during his playing days, but subsequent to when he played. And every time he comes on the field and makes an appearance, the place reveres him and lets him know that." ... The Sweet Potato-Encrusted Yellowtail and the Pumpkin Coconut Whatever at the delicious Leftovers Café in Jupiter, Fla. The fish was excellent, and with a name like that, you had to order the dessert. Think pumpkin pie without the crust. ... The ribs and bread pudding at Lee Roy Selmon's Barbecue in Tampa. Mmm, mmm, mmm. ... Really liked True Grit. The girl, Hailee Steinfeld, was incredible, especially given all of the difficult dialog she had to deliver. ... Dog show in Lakeland, Fla. Over 4,000 dogs here. Not going, just like hearing it. My dog, Slugger, would be so proud.

Dislikes: Oh, Miguel Cabrera. ...

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"May the good Lord shine a light on you
"Make every song you sing your favorite tune
"May the good Lord shine a light on you
"Warm like the evening sun"

-- Rolling Stones, Shine a Light

Posted on: July 26, 2009 8:16 pm

A Rose is a Rose is. ...

COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. -- A dominant question here for the past 20 years has been the specter of Pete Rose's status, and there appears to be no end in sight.

Commissioner Bud Selig deflected a question at the All-Star Game about possibly giving the banned Rose another hearing, saying his status remains "under review."

Here in Cooperstown this weekend, some wondered whether the number of Hall-worthy players stained by steroids could actually help Rose's candidacy in coming years.

"I don't know," Hank Aaron said. "I think the Pete Rose thing is a little different than the steroids. To me it is. From what I gather, from commissioner to commissioner before Bud Selig was in, they think that the [anti-gambling] rules were so obvious on the [clubhouse] doors. I don't know how they eliminate that, really.

"If I had been Pete, I think I would have asked for forgiveness many, many years ago. And I've got a feeling that this country, the most forgiving country in the world, people would say, 'Hey, everybody makes a mistake.' He made a mistake, let's go on with something else.

"I would certainly like to see him in. He belongs in."

Is it too late for forgiveness?

"His career has been one that, I think, he needs to be dead in the middle of all of this," Aaron said. "I know Pete, he's a friend of mine. I sometimes feel sorry that he hasn't made it yet."

One of Rose's ex-teammates, Hall of Famer Tony Perez, definitely misses him.

"Pete should be in the Hall of Fame," Perez said. "I always say he should b in the Hall of Fame."

Likes: It was a very emotional Dave Stewart who watched his boyhood friend, Rickey Henderson, be inducted into the Hall of Fame on Sunday. Stewart, the longtime major league pitcher, called it "one of the proudest moments in my life. I feel like my brother is going in." ... Former manager Sparky Anderson sitting next to former Yankees great Whitey Ford on the stage during Hall of Fame induction ceremonies Sunday. Sparky, Whitey, the shock of white hair atop each man's head ... perfect. ... The legendary Stan Musial was missed again -- he hasn't been able to travel here the last couple of years -- but they rolled a video of him playing Take Me Out to the Ballgame on his harmonica from several inductions ago and it was very well done. ... Wonder how Jim Rice would have done as a football player? The University of Nebraska offered him a scholarship back in the day. ... Former broadcaster Tony Kubek gave a very nice speech accepting the Ford Frick Broadcaster's Award. Among other things, he told Hank Aaron, "You've overcome, just like Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King and President Barack Obama." Kubek also said of Cooperstown, "This place is magical. Somebody put this here with a purpose." ... And finally, congratulations to friend Nick Peters of the Sacramento Bee, inducted into the writer's wing of the Hall. Peters, recounting his days when he was named as Alaska's Sportswriter of the Year, quipped that the best thing about being in Alaska was that he could see Russia from his house.

Dislikes: Not here in Cooperstown, on Hall of Fame weekend. Pure baseball, and a terrific place.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"Oh baby, don't it feel like heaven right now
"Don't it feel like something from a dream
"Yeah, I've never known nothing quite like this
"Don't it feel like tonight might never be again
"We know better than to try and pretend
"Baby, no one could have ever told me about this"

-- Tom Petty, The Waiting

Posted on: July 15, 2009 2:51 am

Sometimes you feel like a nut

ST. LOUIS -- The Hawaiian Punch, as Shane Victorino became known during last fall's postseason, had a treat waiting for President Barack Obama on Tuesday.

When he singled in the second inning of the American League's eventual 4-3 win, Obama was in the broadcast booth with Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.

"By the way," Obama told them. "Since I grew up in Hawaii, this kid, while we were down in the clubhouse, he actually gave me some macadamia nuts from back home."

Victorino smiled following the game after a night which he called a "wonderful experience."

"It went well," he said of Obama's clubhouse visit. "He was very appreciative. It was nice to see a fellow Hawaiian and give him his gift of Aloha."

Victorino said Obama held the nuts aloft, showing his gift to the rest of the NL players.

Though Obama did not wear his White Sox jacket into the NL clubhouse, nobody in there seemed offended when he wore it onto the field.

"You have to honor the fact that he's true to his convictions and loyalty," Milwaukee closer Trevor Hoffman said.

A member of the Secret Service briefed the NL team about 20 minutes before Obama's arrival, explaining which door he would enter through and what the procedure would be. He visited the AL clubhouse, too.

"When you see the president in the room you're in, it's pretty cool," Hoffman said. "I enjoyed it."

Likes: Very cool seeing Stan Musial driven in from right field during pre-game ceremonies. Stan the Man looked pretty good. ... The pre-game ceremony, which also included Cardinal Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Red Schoendienst, Bob Gibson, Bruce Sutter and Ozzie Smith, was nicely done. ... Carl Crawford as the game's MVP. He's a good guy and he's sure put in his time for some bad Tampa Bay teams before reaching the pinnacle. Plus, he was hurt down the stretch last year and couldn't even contribute much when Tampa Bay finally turned in a winner. ... Sheryl Crow singing the national anthem. Great voice, seems like a real sweet gal. She smiled and said hello to me as we passed in a hallway under the stadium before Tuesday's game. .... Good weather, no rain. ... St. Louis was one big party this week. Very festive downtown, and the people wearing red, my goodness! Colleague Danny Knobler observed that at most All-Star Games, you see fans wearing all sorts of different team T-shirts and caps. Not here. It was one big red sea. ... The Arch and the Mississippi River never get old. ... Whatever your political persuasion, it is very cool to be in the same place where the president is throwing out a first ball. ... A few post-All-Star break days off.

Dislikes: No baseball on Wednesday.

Rock 'N' Roll Lyric of the Day:

"I too am lost
"I feel double-crossed
"And I'm sick of what's wrong and what's right"

-- Bob Seger, Roll Me Away

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