Sunday, June 3, 2007

Despite Slow Start Cardinals Intend to Keep Fan Interest

For those of you who haven't noticed, the beginning of this season has been a tough one for the defending world champion Cardinals. Six and a half games back of the Brewers, six games under .500, who are you, the Cubs? The month of May was an improvement, but still 12-15, come on [some may note that the Reds temporarily occupy the sixth place position in the Central, temporarily]. The author is by no means a Cardinal supporter, but last season's championship when combined with the Reds domination of the season series between the two clubs made Cincinnati, by proxy, the best team in baseball. That's a positive end result any way you look at it.

With the season in disarray, Steve Phillips of all people nationally scrutinizing Pujols' swing, your manager either passed out in his car or dressed like a giant rabbit, not to mention Scott Spezio still on the roster, some things needed to change to ensure that people would still show up to watch you lose. Nothing better than a Reds sweep in front of a full house at that nice new Busch stadium. Fortunately, certain members of the coaching staff and front office have devised some interesting ideas aimed at keeping the fanbase out of the garage with the car length of garden hose.

Last week during a loss to the Nationals, Manager Tony LaRussa, dissatisfied with pitching coach Dave Duncan's performance, allowed fans in attendance the opportunity to choose Duncan's replacement for the game. The options were Bronson Pinchot, Jaleel White, and Jerry Van Dyke. It was no surprise when Van Dyke was chosen. He did not disappoint. His knowledge of the situational matchups and the mental aspect of pitching, satisfied the expectations of even the most informed baseball fan.

Additionally, during select telecasts this season, Cardinal fans will be given the opportunity to help broadcast extraordinaire Joe Buck decide what to be offended by. Once the lucky fan determines the subject, Mr. Buck will do what he does so well, editorialize, then publically berate the person over the air. It's just another attempt to stimulate fan interest by directly including them in the game's many facets. Offensive topics this season have included the scoreboard operator, a t-shirt with thinly veiled sexual inuendo, and the sparrows living in the stadium rafters. "Completely and utterly disrespectful." Nice job, Joe.

Also, in addition to the fusing the usable parts of Jim Edmonds and Scott Rolen together to create a sort of below average Frankenstein monster baseball player, Cardinals fans have a number of notable prospects currently marinating in AAA to look forward to. The further the team falls out of contention, the greater the likelihood these future stars will get an extended look this season. Some of the author's best memories are the early at bats of future stars. Just check out these guys and yes that is a roadrunner.

In-game fan interaction is not the only area Cardinal brass has changes in the works. Just consider some of the promotions and fan giveaways planned during the Reds upcoming series in St. Louis.

Tuesday, June 5th - "Mark Mulder Appreciation Night" join the Cardinals in celebrating the illustrious career of your favorite southpaw. He has not only stabilized the rotation but banished Danny Haren and Kiko Calero from the organization forever, because their arms were haunted. All fans will be signed to a 2 hour, $13 "contract" for doing nothing other than sitting on their collective asses, in recognition of Mulder's offseason deal with the team [two year, $13 million]. Free rotator cuff consultations with the team physician.

Wednesday, June 6th - "Scrapbook Night" bring in your photos and newspapers clippings and we'll provide everything else to get you started on your 2007 St. Louis Cardinals commemorative scrapbook. Cherish the memories of baseball at it's finest as the Cardinals defend their world championship. "Hey, I was there the night Kip Wells lost his tenth game before the month of June, that is something I will remember fondly."

Thursday, June 7th - "Preston Wilson Collectable Photo Night" the first 10,000 fans will receive this beautiful autographed portrait of your favorite reserve outfielder. The kids will just love it.

Should be a fun series, now how about a sweep?

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