The Monday Morning Scrappy Utilityman

Lots of stuff going on…involving every area team and all kinds of other events/fun facts plus playoff football. Let’s talk about them, if you please:

John Mozeliak on The Adam Wainwright Contract Situation

The Cardinal general manager appeared on the show Friday [AUDIO] and discussed the club’s mindset on Adam Wainwright’s contract situation. The Cy Young runner-up can be a free agent after this season.

Mozeliak said that the Cardinals want to roll up their sleeves in late January/early February and try and get something done with Wainwright.

Mozeliak acknowledged that the market shifted in Wainwright’s favor with some of the monster deals given to free agent pitchers, but I got the vibe in the interview and in the tone of Mozeliak’s answers that the Cardinals plan to lock the 31 year-old up.

Interestingly enough, many of our listeners didn’t get the same feeling and were texting into the show and tweeting at me that they got the feeling Mozeliak was hedging in his answers…and they feared the Cardinals were going to let Wainwright go.

We obviously heard the same interview, and I disagree with that. I got the feeling they’re going to get something done before Opening Day.

Here’s another tell, at least in my opinion:

When we asked Mozeliak about any concerns with signing a 31 year-old pitcher who’s had Tommy John Surgery within the last two years, the Cardinal GM said, “I’m not really concerned about it. He’s one of those unique players that will always find a way to be successful.”

5,500 Blues’ Fans Come To The Scottrade Center…To Watch Practice

Do your Allen Iverson impression here.

Coming off the work stoppage seven years ago, I’m not sure the Blues had 5,500 fans at a game.

But, the organization opened up the Scottrade Center for practice Sunday, and the fans in this town showed that they didn’t really care about the nitwittery that took place between owners and players over the last four months.

I suppose it helps to have a team favored to be one of the Stanley Cup contenders, but, at the same time, anyone who has lived around here for a few years knows that the Blues have a passionate, intense fan base.

I think even those who wouldn’t describe themselves as passionate fans of the Blues will get into the 2013 season’s abbreviated schedule. Not only do the Blues open up the year this Saturday at home against the Detroit Red Wings, but they’ll play the 48 games in 99 days.

No lull. No All-Star Break. And, unlike the last few years, the Blues actually finish with a bunch of games at home (seven of their last eight) as opposed to a rush of road games to wrap up the year.

Red Wings to start. Blackhawks to finish. And hopefully some games into June for the first time in franchise history.

Rammies’ Talk

-Will Rob Ryan be the Rams’ Defensive Coordinator in 2013? Howard Balzer says it’s going to happen, although he acknowledges the Rams say nothing is done. Ryan himself said Saturday he hadn’t talked to anyone around the league…including St. Louis. Fans seem to be polarized over the idea of Ryan joining Jeff Fisher here in St. Louis. I could be wrong, but I think more of that is rooted in fear of Ryan Brother Attention Whoring. I just don’t think Jeff Fisher would hire him if he felt like it was going to become some kind of shitshow.

-Fascinating article in the Post-Dispatch this weekend on a variety of locations around the area for the Rams to build a new stadium…should they build a new stadium instead of revamping The Dome. They listed three possibilities:

-The often talked about Chrysler Plant location
-Farmland toward the Missouri River in Maryland Heights
-The Bottle District location just north of The Dome

Personally, I want to see a new stadium. But, then again, I want to see myself at 6’3”.

I’d like to see something in the suburbs…as I don’t see the need to force it inside The City. Unlike baseball with at least 81 games, we’re talking about eight games with the NFL…or 10 if you want to count preseason…or hope for the postseason.

If it does become realistic, I’d like to see something that would allow fans to have a huge wide parking lot to tailgate in. If they can do that in The City, then I’m all for it. Right now, it’s choppy all over Downtown.

We really haven’t had a great tailgating setup with the NFL in St. Louis…relative to many of the other NFL venues that provide a full gameday experience where fans show up early to tailgate and stay late afterwards.

Some insight from former Cardinals’ president and the man who built Met Life Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, Mark Lamping. From the Post-Dispatch article:

“Tailgating,” said NFL senior vice president Greg Aiello, “is one of the great traditions in football.”

Mark Lamping, the former Anheuser-Busch and St. Louis Cardinals executive, said that was foremost on his mind when he was tapped to build the new MetLife Stadium for the Giants and Jets.

The stadium’s owners wanted centrally located land with easy access to roads and public transportation. They sought to control the property. And they looked for enough space for tailgating. A downtown atmosphere, with bars and restaurants surrounding the stadium, wasn’t the fans’ first priority.

“They love to tailgate,” Lamping said. “So building a stadium in an urban setting would never work.”

Tailgating lengthens the day and minimizes the importance of the game result, Lamping said. A losing game, then, doesn’t necessarily equal an unhappy fan. Moreover, it binds the fans to their teams.

“When you go to Jets and Giants games, you’re surrounded by thousands having the same experience,” Lamping said. “If, on the other hand, you’re tailgating in the third level of a parking garage, with five or six cars around you ...”

Quick Hits

-Ole Miss is a good basketball team. And Laurence Bowers is a damn good college basketball player. But, I don’t think too many people expected the Tigers to get blown off the floor like they did Saturday night in Oxford. Biggest concern: over the majority of the last few games, the Tiger defense has looked a bit shaky. And, shockingly, they’ve been outrebounded three straight games. When it gets down to it, however, I think the perspective that the Tigers have only lost to three likely NCAA Tournament teams (one on a neutral site and two on the road)…and one without their leading scorer…is important to keep. But, to each their own. If you want to panic, I would understand. This team sure isn’t as pretty as last year’s, and in the SEC, they won’t be tested as often as they were last year. I’m not sure Missouri fans will know what they have with this club…even two months from now going into the NCAA Tournament. With injuries and Jabari Brown not joining the team until The Braggin’ Rights’ Game, they’ve played few minutes with the roster they expected to have back in November.

-What in the world happened to Illinois in Madison? Much like Missouri, the Illini got out of the gate slowly and never recovered. They were down 27-7 at Wisconsin…and it never got much better in 74-51 loss.

-Saint Louis U’s loss at Temple wasn’t as big of a surprise as the disasters from the Tigers and Illini, and at least the Billikens were in it until the final few minutes when Temple pulled away. Considering Temple’s a good team, and considering Saint Louis U. had its worst night of the year shooting (FG, 3 pt FG, and FT), the fact that they only lost by 10 is rather surprising. Technically, the Billikens shouldn’t have to play a conference game against Temple again…as the Owls are leaving the conference for whatever is left of the Big East. But, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the two teams meet again late in the A-10 Tournament.

-San Francisco’s a three-point favorite over the Falcons. The Patriots are a nine-point favorite over the Ravens. One home underdog. One monster home favorite. I know NFL wagerers (new word) are Prisoners of The Moment, but based on Matt Ryan and the Falcons shitting the bed in the playoffs once again---yes, I know they won...but that was a bed-shitting---and based on the fact that the Ravens would be watching the game at HotShots on Manchester with the rest of us for The insideSTL AFC/NFC Championship Party if it weren’t for whatever Rahim Moore was doing at the end of regulation, I think we’re going to see the 49ers and Patriots in New Orleans.

-Friendly reminder: This Sunday is The insideSTL AFC/NFC Championship at HotShots on Manchester in Ballwin.  It’s our sixth one…but the first time we’ve been in West County. So, perhaps for those of you who reside in the suburbs, you can make an appearance and see Larry Nickel in action. Here’s your captain’s log:

-The Ryan Kelley Morning After cast will be on hand doing a live broadcast on 590 The Fan KFNS at 1 p.m. The NFC Championship kicks off at 2 p.m.

We’ll have some ladies partaking in a bikini contest at halftime of the first game and in between the games.

-And, Larry Nickel will be on hand to co-host and judge.

On top of that, we’ll have the following food and drink specials:

-$0.35 toasted ravioli

-$6.95 spicy chicken nachos

-$4.95 bratwurst and pretzel combo

-$4 360 Vodka drinks

-$7 AB domestic pitchers

-$12 AB domestic buckets

Log-in to post your comments, or you can email me at tmckernan@insidestl.com.

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