Archive for St. Louis Cardinals

N The Zone SEASON 2 FINALE

Posted in Football, nba, NBA Draft, NFL, Podcast, Special, Sports, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on May 22, 2017 by A-Train

Closing out the 2nd season of “N The Zone” with a bang! After announcing the sponsors and guests of the show, the final monologue of the season is delivered by The Livn Legend. Now, he hasn’t spoke out the newest public figure LaVar Ball, but he does this week after his encounter with Fox Sports 1 host, Kristine Leahy. Plus The Livn Legend gives his thoughts on sports journalist Jason Lee Whitlock. 

NOTE: The following contains language that some will find objectionable. Parental discretion is advised.

N The Zone SEASON 2 FINALE – Open and The Monologue 05-21-17

Tiera Dobbins returns to talk everything Pittsburgh Steelers that includes their AFC title loss to the Patriots, along with analysis on their recent draft picks and an early outlook at the team for the 2017 season.

N The Zone SEASON 2 FINALE – Tiera Dobbins 05-21-17

Chris Lollis of “Cardinals Nation 24/7” joins the guys talking how that got started along with the moves and transactions of the St. Louis Cardinals and the criticisms of manager Mike Matheny.

N The Zone SEASON 2 FINALE – Chris Lollis 05-21-17

Taylor Hay and Tiffany Pugh of the St. Louis Slam women’s football team joins the show. Taylor plays running back, while Tiffany plays middle linebacker on the Slam. They talk about how they got started with the team, their careers outside of football, also what they plan to do when their time in football is done. They are fresh off their national championship run last season and currently headed toward another playoff run this season, so they speak on the differences from this team to last year and they also give their favorite NFL teams and players.

N The Zone SEASON 2 FINALE – Taylor Hay and Tiffany Pugh 05-21-17

 

The View From Mt. Airy Special – The St. Louis Cardinals Nearly Made History

Posted in Baseball, Sports, St. Louis Cardinals with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2016 by MtAiryPhil

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@MtAiryPhil

PHILADELPHIA, PA

1947. Brooklyn, NYC. Jack Roosevelt “Jackie” Robinson takes the field for the Dodgers as MLB reintegrates after 35 years as an all-white entity. Yes, there were black ballplayers in the majors (and NFL) as the century began but were slowly weeded out as racist owners like Braves and Redskins owner George Preston Marshall gained power over the commissioner’s office.

We celebrate this day across baseball America. But there’s a backstory that is rarely told, and in my opinion, is just as important.

1942. St. Louis Missouri. The Cardinals win the World Series after a franchise record setting 106-win season. The team is stocked for the future and poised for an extended reign at the top of the National League. Virtually entirely homegrown, this elite unit was led by Manager Billy Southworth (former GasHouse Gang CF) who too was a product of GM Branch Rickey’s invention, the “farm system.” Despite their successes however, the Cardinals would average less than 7,000 paying customers in 1942 at Sportsman’s Park, and would outdraw their AL counterpart (and tenant) the lowly last place Browns by just over 150,000 fans enroute to their championship.

Dismayed by the Cardinals seeming inability to transfer their on field successes to the box office, GM Rickey conceived a brilliant and extremely covert plan to draw an entirely new audience while enhancing his team at the same time. Secretly he began to court, and sign in some cases the best talent he could woo from the Negro Leagues. History will debate forever who exactly signed Cardinal contracts amongst the Black players however what we know for sure is that they never played a day. Why? Dizzy Dean.

Dizzy Dean had created a legend in the Midwest by ’42.

Hall of Fame. 30-game winner. However, a sore arm had shortened his career and the Cardinal legend had been relegated to the radio booth. He longed for more and secretly yearned to be GM of his beloved St. Louis Cardinals. So when opportunity arose, he jumped in with both feet.

According to Hall of Fame shortstop Ray Dandridge, he mistakenly mailed his contract to the general office of St. Louis baseball vs. the personal mailbox of Branch Rickey. A secretary and friend of Dizzy Dean’s opened it and shared it with him. An avowed racist, Dean immediately shared it with Cardinals owner Sam Breadon, exclaiming “he’s going to field an all nigger team Sam!” Breadon reached out to MLB Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis, who vetoed the plan and questioned how this could even occur without the knowledge of the owner. Despite 106 wins and the World Championship, Branch Rickey was fired. It would be 5 years before he would succeed where Dean couldn’t stop him. Hello Jackie Robinson. Welcome to Brooklyn. Now you know.

Follow me on Twitter at the link above…

Also follow @NTheZoneShow…and make sure you check out their weekly podcast.

It’s Always Been Business – Kroenke Made It Personal: The Unedited Version

Posted in Football, NFL, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 30, 2016 by thelegendkil

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ST. LOUIS, MO

@thelegendkil

Since the Los Angeles Rams moved west for greener pastures they continue to be the gift that keeps on giving, especially to the city they spent the last 20 years residing. Just recently USA Today’s columnist Luke Kerr-Dineen wrote a column in regards a new billboard in Los Angeles taking a shot at the city of St.Louis. The billboard for those who’ve haven’t seen yet uses the “Greater Than-Less Than” symbols associated with mathematics. Was it a cheap shot? Of course it was, but it’s the world were living in today.

But, the part in USA Today’s columnist Luke Kerr-Dineen article that really stood out was the following sentence. “There comes a certain point where bitter St.Louis fans will have to accept that, regardless of how the deal went down, the team now belongs in Los Angeles.” Now he’s right the Rams definitely belong in Los Angeles. The part where I completely disagree with is his misinterpretation on bitterness. What he and many other that do not reside in the region realize is that the bitterness and hate towards the Rams have zero to do with the players.

The bitterness is towards Rams owner Stan Kroenke who made sure he defecated over the entire region to the point that no other NFL team would even consider moving to St.Louis. He did it in such a manner that even Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis who sports a haircut like famed Three Stooges front man Mo Howard thumbed his nose at the possibility of moving the Oakland Raiders to St.Louis. And to pour salt on a gaping wound Kroenke is trying to get tax credits in city of Maryland Heights, and seriously trying selling Rams Park in Earth City for the low price of a $1. Again nobody faults a person for wanting to make money, but the way he went about it was colder than a mother-in-law kiss. Winning was never a priority, at least not on the field and loyal fans in St.Louis showed up for a team that had only four winning seasons in 20 years in St.Louis. The Rams missed the playoffs 80% of the time while here.

And Kroenke isn’t the only person that is at the root of this feeling of bitterness. Rams COO Kevin Demoff gives several meanings to words like “serpent,” “weasel,” or “fatherless child” as he admitted to be glad the Rams lost four games straight so they could focus on moving instead of getting to the playoffs. Then you toss in the shenanigans by the Rams PR Department that got more than upset at me, because I said in an article last year that Demoff was giving the fans mixed signals. And it turned out to be true the entire time. I still shake my head and think about that day I was at Herbert Hoovers Boys Club and it’s 90 plus degrees and the Community Relations Department is laying sod while Demoff and Kroenke continue their lust for money, with the city of Los Angeles acting as an performance enhancing pharmaceutical product.

I think it’s a little unreasonable to think that fans who did care and that did spend their hard earned money on a product that was basically tanking, not to feel more than just bitter about this. And even for those casual fans or your everyday citizen didn’t like how Kroenke defecated on a market that he does a lot of real estate business in. When the Big Red left for Arizona in 1988 they didn’t keep leaving bird droppings on St.Louis. They moved west and carried on.

It’s business and it’s always been business. Kroenke made it personal no question about that. And that’s something USA Today’s columnist Luke Kerr-Dineen don’t understand. St.Louis is flawed just like many other cities across the country, and some people are just sticking up for their hometown. It’s not bitterness. It’s love for your city and your region.

For more sport content please follow @NTheZoneShow and I can also be found on twitter @thelegendkil.

The View From Mt. Airy

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football, Special, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 26, 2016 by MtAiryPhil

AND NOW…INTRODUCING…THE VIEW FROM MT. AIRY, and here to show you the view, HIS view, Phil Allen.

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PHIL:

That’s right Palmer….warn them……pack that radio in ice…….it’s going to get heated!!! 

Because somebody gotta tell me how, just how, Jose Oquendo is STILL the 3rd base coach after 17 years…..

How about this?

The year Mike Matheny was drafted by the Brewers , Jose hit .291 and played 163 games…… .994 fielding pct. Top 10 in hits, triples and OBP….

Let us not forget he was Whitey Herzog’s “secret weapon” and played 8 positions as a Cardinal in ’87 including throwing 3 shutout innings against the Braves (he lost in the 19th on a double by Ken Griffey, Sr.)

The very week he got the Cardinals 3rd base coaching job, Mike Matheny was released by the Blue Jays, could not hit, average defensive player who couldn’t beat out Darren Fletcher……
Comes to McGwire country and all of a sudden….he’s IRONMAN?

Hmmmmm?

Poor Jose. He stands in the 3rd base box for 14 seasons while Matheny goes to SF as a free agent, retires and is
coaching little league! Yet HE gets the call over Oquendo?

Yeah, let’s talk Cardinals….the conversation, unlike the team, will not be vanilla. See, we pay attention out here to “baseball heaven” and we have watched as the Cardinals have gotten very melanin free over the past decade. The franchise of Gibson, Flood, Brock, Ozzie, “Shake & Bake” McBride, Jeff Leonard, and more has how many black players today?

Hmmmmm?

While we’re asking questions, am I alone when I look at the rise of Oregon Ducks basketball and wonder when the sanctions hit? Ok, the rise of football at OU made them more high profile the resultant publicity aided recruiting and, Voila!!

NOT.

That would be that same program which is currently under investigation again and whose former head coach Charles (Chip) Kelly is banned from coaching in the NCAA for another year, and even then would have to apply for reinstatement? I also give you the Davin Bellamy and a group of coeds cuddled up on a couch with a bong. Prosecution rests with this final statement. I understand when a program lands a 5 star kid who elevates the team to new heights, we love that. An Artis Gilmore here, an Xavier McDaniel there. I get it. However, when you’ve add three or four over an 18 month period, my alarm breaks. Isolated campus plus success should not equal shenanigans but……..

MLB 2016 kicks off in a week. Here in Philly we’ve prepared for the 100 loss death march the Philadelphia Phillies wilk embark upon in April. This is a team in transition (no bullpen, bad outfield, thin starting pitching) and I’ll watch the kids like Mikael Franco and Nick Williams. There is a future here. The good news is the Phillies know there bad. They are offering a monthly pass. Cost $50 and gets you into every home game in April. There are 12, so thats $4.50 per game. Begging the question, would you rather win games at full price or get MLB at 1980 prices?

They should include a heated blanket and brandy for the icebox that Citizens Bank Park is at night until May! But if you are that hearty a soul get yours here. By the way, I heard its the Year of The Cubs? Can it be?

http://m.phillies.mlb.com/tickets/info/spring-pass

and that’s the view from Mt. Airy….

Follow me on Twitter: @MtAiryPhil

Follow N The Zone on Twitter: @NTheZoneShow

Welcome, Phil Allen!

Posted in Special, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 25, 2016 by MtAiryPhil

cb9f3ea3-fbfe-43ef-840a-ef2d53cb8474The A-Train here. I am very excited because we have added another contributor to the N The Zone family. We are continuing to grow and ready to take on the “City to City, State to State, Worldwide” theme as it’s said on our podcast.

So folks, I present to you Phil Allen! Allen, aka @MtAiryPhil is a long suffering Philadelphia sports junkie, journalist and broadcaster who spent nearly a decade as the Eagles postgame show host, and ESPN RADIO Philly weekend studio host. He is also a special contributor at 900AM WURD and was featured in E-A-G-L-E-S The Movie!

But enough about that, I’ll let him do the talking for sure.  Take it, Phil.

PHIL ALLEN:

Excited? Yup! Intimidated? Little bit. I mean, it’s the A-Train, Arlington Lane and a brother aptly named the “Legend Killer” Palmer Alexander, whom I watched hold the St. Louis Rams front office, the City Council, and pretty much all of Missouri’s feet to the fire as the process that culminated in the Rams exodus to LA played itself out. Finally, it’s in N The Zone Radio/Podcast and as a listener, I can hear the coals roasting (along with some guests) on the fire. Let’s keep it 100, I can’t wait. I’m honored to contribute to N The Zone.

So what do I bring? I don’t know. The pain of a lifetime waiting for a Super Bowl Champion? 42 years without a Stanley Cup Title? Season tickets to an NBA team currently 9-62 that is 33 years removed from it’s last parade?

Here’s what I know for sure. We will create broadcasts that are memorable, informative, and I believe, have the air of a world heavyweight title match in the moments when the ring is empty, and the combatants stand poised in the entryway, awaiting music, pyrotechnics, and the dulcet tones of Michael Buffer.

The Sound of Philadelphia meets the Blues of St. Louis…the East Coast rat race merged with the Midwestern drawl and the history shared by Eagles-Cardinals long time rivalry, the recent detonation of Phillies baseball dreams by the DeScalsos’, Ecksteins’, Schumakers’ plus a heaping dose of Chris Carpenter.

I could go on. I won’t.

Ten For Tuesday: March 1 Edition

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football, Los Angeles Rams, MLS, NFL, Sports, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams, St. Louis Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2016 by Shane Gray

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(St. Louis, MO)

Shane Gray (@RealShaneGray)

Welcome to my new weekly column entitled “Ten for Tuesday”. I hope you all will enjoy the debut edition, which touches on yesterday’s Rams feature, the St.Louis Cardinals, why I’m not necessarily hyped about the prospects of MLS to STL, what Mizzou Football must do to regain elite their elite status, the good and bad of the NFL Combine, the mystery of NBA Pre-Draft Measurements, the wonder that is Stephen Curry and much more.

With that said, I hope you will enjoy week one of “Ten for Tuesday”.

Let’s get to it:

1- For those who missed it, I penned a feature yesterday named “Monday’s Missile: Los Angeles Rams Not Worthy of St. Louis’ Support”. It has proven to very controversial and his elicited very strong, passionate responses from folks all over the nation. If you haven’t yet taken a look at the rather brief read, I’d love for you to take a moment to do so. Whether you love it or hate it, I’d enjoy hearing your take on the feature. Hit me up on twitter via @RealShaneGray and let me know how you feel.

While on the topic of the aforementioned feature, I’d like to make a couple things clear that I didn’t touch on yesterday:

One, I wish no ill will whatsoever towards the Rams players. Obviously, they had nothing to do with the move. I interviewed several of them on different occasions over the last few years, and think the world of guys like Pro Bowl defensive end Robert Quinn, free agent wide receiver Brian Quick and former Rams linebacker James Laurinaitis, all of whom were great people, great interviews and wonderful assets in the community.

Two, I wish to congratulate any and all CLASSY fans from L.A. who will get to watch the Rams return to Cali. I don’t blame them for being excited. Not at all. As for those who want to bash St.Louis and the fans here, however, well… that’s another story altogether.

2- With the Rams moving on, I plan to turn more attention back to the St. Louis Cardinals. I will be honest and admit that much of my focus turned away from the Redbirds after the Rams came to St. Louis. As a child, though, I was an absolute die-hard, live-and-die Cardinals fan. They were my first true love in regards to a sports team. Somewhere along the way, though, I lost my passion for the game even after playing it in college.

As probably everyone is aware by now, the Redbirds are in the thick of Spring Training in preparation for the 2016 Major League Baseball campaign. Can they hold off the rival Cubs? Will the Pirates again make major noise in the division? That discussion will come on another day and I look forward to diving into some Cardinals coverage this year.

3- Switching gears, a group of prominent, local investors — including Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt and former #STLNFL Task Force co-head Dave Peacock, among others — recently united to form #MLS2STL and are exploring the possibility of bringing an expansion MLS franchise to St. Louis. (In case you missed it, here’s the full story.)

While I have nothing against MLS and am all for anything that would be a positive for the region, I do have one significant reservation about bringing an MLS team to the city.

Why am I so lukewarm on the MLS2STL? Here’s why:

I don’t believe St. Louis is currently viewed by many as a four team region. If true — and I have reason to believe that is indeed the case — I’d prefer our third professional club to be something other than an MLS franchise.

With the MLB and NHL deeply rooted in the Gateway City, that realistically only leaves room for one other major pro sports league/team, and I’d personally hate to reduce or remove any future hopes for an NFL expansion team with truly committed local ownership and a 30 year plus iron-clad lease, or even a chance at an NBA franchise at some point down the road in exchange for MLS. I could be wrong, but I think the presence of MLS would greatly reduce any chances of eventually making a run at having a team from either of those two more prestigious leagues,and if that is indeed true, that bothers me.

As for the NBA, keep in mind that Stan Kroenke relative Bill Laurie nearly locked up an expansion team even WITH the NFL and three other pro teams in town. With that considered, IF a legitimate effort were made at a time when there are but two major pro teams in town rather than three, I think it could certainly get done.

4- Speaking of the Association, Stephen Curry continues to amaze me. To me, he’s the best player in the League right now. He’s the best scorer and best shooter, he’s money in crunch time, he’s a willing and effective passer and he can D up when the chips are on the line.

In short, if there’s one guy in pro basketball that I’m paying to watch play right now, it’s Curry… and nobody else is a close second at the moment.

5- Last year, the Missouri Tigers football program fell off and fell off hard, going 5-7 in a year filled with off-field controversy, on-field struggles and the eventual resignation of Head Coach Gary Pinkel, who ran the show at Mizzou for 15 years, leading the Tigers to ten winning seasons, 10 bowl games, six bowl wins and a combination of five Big 12 North/SEC East Division championships.

After a down year, what does Mizzou need to do to get back on track?

To me, the most glaring hole on the Tigers roster a year ago — and something that was always a strong point during Missouri’s best years within the Pinkel era — was a deep, productive receiving corps.

Last season, the Tigers lack of depth and overall talent at receiver was undeniable, and the offense struggled to produce points and generate big plays largely because of it.

If Mizzou is going to get back to its winning ways and again become a power in the SEC, they need to get their wideout talent back to something close to the level it had been prior to the 2015 debacle.

6- I have always enjoyed the annual NFL Combine, and watched it extremely closely when covering the Rams and preparing for draft-related articles from 2011 through 2015.

That said, the Combine can be either a blessing or a curse for NFL talent evaluators and NFL teams — depending on how it is utilized.

When game tape is kept as the priority, the combine is a fine tool to further evaluate prospects. When the combine is used strictly as a complimentary tool to hone in on what a player has done on the field and fine tune evaluations, it is great.

But when scouts and teams take the bait and move someone up or down a draft board based more upon the combine than what a player or players actually did on the gridiron, teams are asking for major problems.

The combine is fine to help refine grades on a given player, but when the grades become based more upon the combine stats than the football stats, teams are begging to end up drafting busts.

7- Speaking of the combine, the NBA Combine has always been fascinating to me in regard to the measurements, and — more specifically — the height measurements.

At the NFL Combine, players are measured only once, and in their bare feet. But at the NBA Combine, prospects are measured early in the morning (when players are 1/2 to 3/4 of an inch taller than they would be late in the day), and are measured both in their bare feet and in their shoes.

As many of you are probably aware, in-shoe heights are commonly used on rosters in college or pro basketball. One can argue about whether that makes sense or not, but its been a common practice in recent decades to either list players in roughly their shoe heights or add anywhere from a half-inch to over two inches to a player’s barefoot measurement.

For example, Cleveland Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love was measured at 6’7″3/4 without shoes at the 2008 pre-draft camp, but has been listed at 6’10” throughout his pro and college career.

Former Cavs guard and rumored lover of Lebron James’ mom Delonte West was measured at 6’1″1/2 barefoot, 6’2″3/4 with shoes while being listed at 6’4″ for portions of his pro career.

John Starks, who starred for the New York Knicks during the Patrick Ewing era, admitted to a 6’2″height while playing with a 6’5″listing.

Finally, former Oklahoma State standout Byron Houston — from way back in the Big 8 days — measured just 6’4″ barefoot while being listed at 6’7″ both in college and the NBA.

On the other hand, there are always a few players who use their barefoot heights and are even taller without shoes than their listed heights. Longtime legend Kevin Garnett is one of those players, listed at 6’11” while being been measured at 7’1″ in shoes. Another future Hall-of-Famer, Kevin Durant, is listed at 6’9 but stands close to 7 foot on the hardwood in shoes.

In general, when you see a player’s height on a roster, you can bet it is either an in-shoe listing or roughly an inch to an inch and a half above their barefoot height, but it’s always interesting — to me at least — to see the extremes of the over-inflated listings or the few who utilize their barefoot measurement.

8- With the concussion issue coming to the forefront in the NFL, particularly after Will Smith’s blockbuster “Concussion” movie, has it changed how you feel about your son, brother, nephew or cousin playing the game?  I’d love to hear your take on the topic. Hit me up on Twitter (@RealShaneGray) and let me know how you feel about your loved ones playing football.

9- Speaking of movies, let’s play make believe for a quick second and pretend that YOU are going to star in a sports-related feature film. If you were the star and had your pick of women to play the role of your wife or girlfriend, tweet me her name and why you chose her using #NTheZone and #MyLeadingLady. It will be interesting to see what women y’all have been scoping out.

10- Finally, on next week’s N The Zone Podcast with Palmer Alexander (@thelegendkil) of the St. Louis American and Arlington Lane (@TheATrainSTL), we will be introducing a new segment entitled “Ask Shane/Get at Gray”. For those following me on twitter, DM me your question/questions, and I will answer a few of them over the air next Sunday. For those whose answers are chosen, we will let you know by tagging your twitter handle when tweeting out the segment. I look forward to the inquiries.

Thanks for reading…

 

The A-Train Rant 20th Edition!

Posted in Baseball, Basketball, Football, NFL, Special, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 1, 2014 by A-Train

Ranting-Homer

 

It’s not really the 20th edition of the “Rant,” I’ve done a lot of special rants for this blog as well. So there is more but this is my regular rant and I’ve done 20 of them. May not mean much to you but it means something to me. I’ve been able to break out and do this. So ladies and gentlemen…the 20th…A-TRAIN RANT!

  1. We may have seen the last of Stephen A. Smith on ESPN. It’s a shame too. Plus it goes to show you that we can’t speak our minds.
  2. The NFL will only protect the stars…if a bench player done this, he’s gone automatically.
  3. Women in media are not happy with the NFL.
  4. With that previous statement, Roger Goodell is officially the worst commissioner in sports.
  5. As a Bulls fan, I’m scared for Derrick Rose. Plus he needs to shut up and just play basketball.
  6. The Cardinals, Tigers and Athletics are the winners of the July 31st trade deadline.
  7. Dustin Johnson needs help.
  8. The NFL season is just around the corner.
  9. Shoutout to Aeneas Williams, well deserved member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Also to the other inductees going in on Saturday.
  10. Who do you get when they holdout, get no new deal, return to camp and still not get a new deal: Marshawn Lynch. (UPDATE: He finally got a bump in pay)
  11. This is why people don’t watch baseball…the game is watered down.
  12. Dallas Cowboys continue to be the laughingstock of the NFL.
  13. Brady Quinn knows when to say, “I’m done.” Tim Tebow does not.
  14. Damn shame there will not be an EA college football game this season.
  15. The San Antonio Spurs will be back in the Finals next season.

The A-Train

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