Please Welcome Sassy Cassie To St. Louis

The flier on my desk says, "She's 2'10" of dancing, tumbling, pole-swinging dynamite."

Her name?

Sassy Cassie.

And, this weekend---starting tonight---the great Sassy Cassie will be performing two shows nightly at P.T.'s Brooklyn.

However, I'm pleased to let you know that "The Smallest Stripper In The World" will be joining "The Smallest Radio Host In The World" tomorrow morning on The ITD Morning After. Sassy Cassie will be in studio at 8:30 a.m., and for this special engagement, I've told The Non-Gay to fire up the webcast here on insideSTL.com.

For those of you curious as to what you can expect tonight through Saturday at P.T.'s Brooklyn, here's a preview from one of Sassy Cassie's shows in Connecticut:

Cinco de Mayo Washington Avenue Street Festival

If you listen to The ITD Morning After, you've heard me rave about Rosalita's, the new Tex-Mex restaurant on Washington Avenue. The thing that I'm addicted to at Rosalita's is a dish called the Cadillac Fajitas. These things are phenomenal: steak, shrimp, scallops, bacon, peppers, onions, and chile con queso.

Of all the Mexican restaurants I've eaten at, I can't recall anything like Rosalita's Cadillac Fajitas. So, if you're in the neighborhood, stop by Rosalita's and get these things. I'd wager you'll know exactly what I'm talking about after you dine upon this lovely feast.

Either way, that's not why I'm writing this. I'm talking about Rosalita's, because right out in front of Rosalita's will be the place to be for Cinco de Mayo today. Not only is The ITD Morning After bringing radio heat from Rosalita's from 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., but Washington Avenue will be shut down in front of Rosalita's (1235 Washington Avenue) for the festivities. And, these festivities will last all day long...and longer, actually. They start at 11 a.m. and go until 3 a.m. 16 hours of boozing on Washington Avenue for Cinco de Mayo. It's the first ever Cinco de Mayo Washington Avenue Streetfest, so if you're looking for the prime spot for boozing today, make sure to head over to Washington and Rosalita's.

A Moment of Seriousness Regarding Sports Coverage On The Site

Tough to include this in a column that leads off with a few paragraphs on a 34 inch stripper, but even though this site was built around The (then) Morning Grind and now The ITD Morning After, the truth is there are plenty of people who come to this thing for a variety of different reasons. The traffic stats show that plenty of creeps like to look at The Girl Next Door section, and plenty of voyeurs enjoy STL Nightlife. Some people hang out at the message board all day. But, there are some damn good writers who put some quality columns together quite often on insideSTL.com.

On this particular day, I want to call attention to the sports columnists...ranging from Pat Imig, who's been with insideSTL.com from the beginning, to Gabe De Armond with his Missouri coverage, to Scott Clark with his poker columns, to Timmy Klutsarits with his NFL and Rams' insight, to The Non-Gay (aka Kevin Lorenz) for his hockey knowledge and passion...to our newest writer, Nathan Grimm.

Nathan writes our Daily Redbird here on insideSTL.com, and he appears on The ITD Morning After everyday the Cardinals are in town. He's a young gentleman, and just a couple of months ago, he was interning at insideSTL.

One day, after I met him for the first time and told him to stay out of the sports journalism business, he wandered back to my office. He let me know that he'd like to get more involved with the site if there were any opportunities...and it just so happened that we were looking for a Cardinal writer. Nate had impressed JBoyd in his time here, so we gave him the shot.

And, so far, he's doing a hell of a job with his columns. Way more than we could've expected...not because he's some sackass, but because he's digging up shit you won't find anywhere else. Yesterday's column on Albert Pujols .231 batting average---and why he may be off to the slow start batting average-wise---is a prime example. Here's a little knowledge from Nate Grimm's Daily Redbird yesterday on Pujols:

According to FanGraphs, Albert Pujols' out-of-zone swing percentage of 20.9% is only 0.6 points higher than his career average. Not alarming.

His contact rate on those swings, unfortunately, is 85.4%, representing an 18.0 point increase from his career average. What it says is that while he hasn't necessarily started swingingly wildly at bad pitches, when he does swing he's unfortunately putting a lot more of those bad pitches in play. Unlucky? Maybe. But still not alarming.

And those numbers help explain this one: his batting average on balls in play through Monday is .213, a full 100 points lower than he averages. Alarming. The line is an easy one to draw - you swing at bad pitches, you make bad contact. Cause, meet effect.

Here are some more effects of hitting bad pitches: his 13.9% line drive rate is the lowest of his career. His ground ball rate of 48.5% is the highest of his career. More dots, more lines. Easy enough.

But I don't think bad pitches are the entire story. Pujols isn't just hitting bad pitches poorly; he isn't hitting any pitches well. Against fastballs, Pujols has never been below 31 runs above average in a single season. The fastball, after all, is the most fundamental pitch - they say you get to the big leagues because you can hit fastballs, you stick because you can hit everything else. This season, Pujols is actually -0.5 runs against fastballs. And he's not any better against the rest.

When pitchers feel confident that they can get you out, they pitch to you. Hence, his walk rate is down. His on-base percentage is down. His OPS starts with a 7. He looks...human.

Nate is a University of Illinois Journalism School Graduate, and while I don't like people from The University of Illinois, and I really don't like people who graduate, he's done a hell of a job. If you're a Cardinal fan, I'd recommend reading The Daily Redbird...daily. (that was fucking awful...but I didn't know how else to finish it. Perhaps if I would've graduated, I would've been able to figure it out).

Cardinal Knowledge

It's tough to continue to write this...especially when the team is only three games over .500...but I'm amazed by:

a) how the Cardinals could've/should've won every game they've played since the start of the Giants' series on April 8th. They've literally won or lost by two runs or less in all but one of the games since then. But, the problem is that they've lost a Major League-leading eight one-run games already. It's a "nice" stat if you're winning them. It's a miserable stat if you're losing them. And, so far, the Cardinals only have three one-run wins.

b) the offense continues to put up big numbers...and the team continues to lose when they do. In the last four losses, the Cardinals have scored at least five runs in every game. However, in each one of those four losses, a member of the bullpen has taken the L. And, even more frustrating...the Cardinals have nine errors combined in those four defeats. If you go back to their last six losses...all lost by members of the bullpen...the Cardinals have 12 errors in those six games. The combination of some ragged defense and bad bullpen outings are negating the best offense---statistically---in Major League Baseball. As a matter of fact, the Cardinal run total on the year (168) is comfortably ahead of the next best total in the game, which belongs to the Reds (154). But, Cincinnati has played two more games. To not have a better record than 17-14 at this point with the offensive production they've gotten is a real shame.

Now, whether or not pissing opportunities away with defense or the bullpen will actually become more of a problem than a shame is still to be determined. Personally, unless the Reds get healthy---both in their rotation and with Rolen---I'm not sure I see another team emerging to contend with the Cardinals. But, the x-factor that can't be predicted...as always...is health. And, we've seen the Cardinals suffer a loss already with Freese. If they lose one of the big bats in the middle of the lineup even for a couple of weeks, it'll have a major impact (see what Holliday's absence did in the first week of the season). And, it'll be at that point that the pissing away of one-run games because of the bullpen and/or defense will sting even more than it already does.

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# afanger
Thursday, May 05, 2011 8:19 AM
you should have joshua perform while sassie cassie dances. the moment would go down in history..... for something...

the cards are fun to watch because they are hitting the ball. if we didn't add berkman this team would be absolutely miserable to watch right now, and we would proably be a couple of games below .500. this season has disaster written all over it. lets not forget the skipper who kept running franklin out there in save situations. that cost us 6 games or so. the writing was on the wall and he couldn't see it. he should/could have saved a couple of those wins, but his stubbornness wouldn't allow it.
# mike8585
Thursday, May 05, 2011 10:12 AM
Typical American League baseball. I understand there's more to the catcher position than physical play (calling pitches, etc.) but Yadier Molina has gotten a free pass for the last two years. He has been horrible behind the plate. But I guess if you pick a few guys off and throw runners out a few times a year you just automatically get gold gloves. Helps when your last name is Molina too.

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