A square peg still doesn't fit into a round hole

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

The phenomenon killing the Cardinals is no longer a fluke. It's an epidemic as big as SARS.

Since May 21, the Cardinals are 2-11 in one-run games. It's a statistic that screams bullpen deficiency. The pitching roster echoes that scream. It's full of more reclamation projects than the south side of Chicago.

Manager Tony LaRussa, even though he's playing who he has, cannot continue to cut and paste relievers until the rest of the bullpen is healthy. That's not healthy, especially for the starters.

It's like when you have your picture taken. The photographer twists your head around to the right until it feels like it's going to pop off. Then he twists your hips to the left so you feel like a sponge being wrung out, and your hands are contorted in a jumbled weave. Then she tells you to smile and "act natural." The picture comes out looking about as natural as a deaf guy at a rock concert.

Guys like Cal Eldred and Kiki Calero don't "fit" into closer roles because a square peg just doesn't go into a round hole. Someone has to go out to ACE Hardware and spend some money on a cylinder.

Walt Jocketty has yet to let down the Cardinals as their General Manager (Mark, Jim, Will, Chuck, Scotty). But he's letting us down now. A deal has to be made soon or the Cardinals will wind up like that guy in October saying, "What just happened?"

I can't tell you what just happened, but I can tell you what's going to happen in your week ahead:

Today

School's out for seniors, but there's still work to be done on local soccer squads. Jackson repeated as district champions last week and plays at 5 p.m. in sectionals. Notre Dame plays an hour later in the quarterfinals. Both are at the A-B Centre in Fenton.

Wednesday

Have you ever eaten at Chevy's Fresh Mex? I have, and an hour later I wound up in the bathroom feeling like someone ran over my pancreas with a Chevy. But I hear they make great magnetic schedules. Opening home night for the River City Rascals is Chevy's Fresh Mex schedule night. Call 636-240-BATS for tickets.

Friday

The Memphis Redbirds will do their part to increase highway safety when they wrap up the end of their homestand at 7:05 against the Omaha Royals. T-shirts will be handed out to the first 1,500 fans as part of the Governor's Highway Safety Office "Booze It & Lose It" campaign. So put on a T-shirt that says "Booze It & Lose It" right before you yell, "Hey beer man!" and drive home.

Saturday

The first 25,000 fans 21 and over receive a CD carrying case compliments of Budweiser. Nothing like giving the fans weapons to throw onto the field to enforce that "tightened" security. Pirates at Cards at 3:05 p.m.

David Wilson is a sportswriter for the Southeast Missourian and a student at Central High School. His column "The Week Ahead" appears every Monday.

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