Archive for August, 2013
Topping Off Ceremony Marks End of Structural Steel Work. Wolverine Partners to Outfit Construction Workers
ST. LOUIS (August 27, 2013) – The St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies held a formal topping off ceremony sponsored by Wolverine Boots & Apparel this morning to celebrate the completion of a significant construction milestone in the $100 million first phase development of Ballpark Village.
A nearly one-hundred foot long A-frame roof truss was carefully lowered into place on the northern end of the retractable skylight roof opening to symbolically mark the ceremonial end of the structural steel work on the project. Hundreds of construction workers, along with officials with the St. Louis Cardinals, the Cordish Companies and Ballpark Village construction manager Paric signed banners affixed to the beam before it was raised into place to help mark the occasion.
“While today marks a significant milestone, there is still a great deal of work to be done to be ready by Opening Day 2014,” said William DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals. “Today was really about pausing briefly to say thanks to all of the workers who are helping make Ballpark Village a reality.”
The construction team has made significant progress on the project since breaking ground earlier this year, including making significant street improvements around the site, demolishing the Bowling Hall of Fame and Stadium West Parking garage pedestrian bridge, removing the old Busch Stadium pile caps, grading the entire 10-acre site, and installing all of the underground utilities to support the development of the full 10-acre, seven square block project.
“Our structural steel work is nearly complete and the buildings will soon be enclosed,” said Chase Martin, Ballpark Village Development Director. “Our work moves inside as we focus on tenant build out.”
As one of the largest mixed-use development projects underway in the United States today, Wolverine is excited to outfit construction workers tasked with completing the project in time for the start of the 2014 baseball season. Wolverine’s partnership includes outfitting a portion of the construction team with Wolverine footwear and apparel. Nearly a thousand construction workers are working on the Ballpark Village project.
“For 130 years, Wolverine has helped to build some of our most iconic structures through the quality and innovation of our products, and we are proud to partner with the Ballpark Village construction teams,” said Todd Yates, President of Wolverine. “Their tenacity and commitment to their craft embodies what Wolverine is all about, which is what makes this partnership a perfect fit. They embody our guiding philosophy ‘Made True,’ Wolverine’s standard of excellence.”
Ballpark Village (#bpv)
The construction of Ballpark Village represents the next step in the Cardinals’ vision for their investment in downtown St. Louis that began with the opening of the privately financed, $411 Busch Stadium in 2006. Ballpark Village is a mixed-use retail, entertainment, office, and residential district being developed in partnership by the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies. Spanning seven city blocks on the 10-acre site just north of Busch Stadium, Ballpark Village will be the country’s first fully integrated mixed-use development designed to deliver the excitement and energy of the game day experience to a new neighborhood outside the stadium walls. For more information about Ballpark Village, go to cardinals.com/bpv.
The Cordish Companies
For generations, the Cordish family has grown The Cordish Companies into one of the world’s leading real estate development companies and a diverse group of successful entertainment-operating businesses. Cordish Companies’ entertainment and mixed-use projects include the Kansas City Power & Light District, Louisville Fourth Street Live, and The Power Plant & Pier IV in Baltimore.
Since 1883, Wolverine has taken pride in crafting durable boots with unrivaled craftsmanship and the highest-quality materials. With a pioneering nature and dedication to innovation, Wolverine provides dependable comfort and style to hardworking men and women all over the world. For those who believe in hard work and uncompromising commitment, Wolverine offers the footwear, apparel and accessories to get the job done. For more information visit www.wolverine.com. Wolverine is a division of Wolverine Worldwide.
(Minneapolis) (AP) – Kansas City’s James Shields is accustomed to pitching in close games this season.
He kept his team in the game until the Royals were able to break through late.
Shields was sharp for 7 1-3 innings, Alex Gordon had three RBIs, and Kansas City scored five runs in the eighth inning to beat the Minnesota Twins 6-1 on Tuesday.
“The way Shields was pitching, it was like, `Ok, just hold `em until we can break something open,’” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “Finally, in the eighth it got broken open.”
Shields – the key part in the deal that sent top prospect Wil Myers to Tampa Bay in the offseason – struck out seven and notched his American-League best 22nd quality start.
Shields (9-8) went over the .500 mark and only allowed one hit through seven innings before running into trouble and leaving in the eighth.
While the wins haven’t been there for Shields, he’s pitched well.
“I’ve got a ton of quality starts this year and I feel like I’ve been pitching well all year,” Shields said. “The wins are going to come. I’m not really too worried about it. I’m just going to keep grinding out the rest of the season and hope for the best.”
Kevin Correia struck out a season-high seven over seven shutout innings, but ended up with a no-decision. Brian Dozier had the Twins’ RBI.
Seven consecutive Royals hitters reached base in a five-run eighth that broke open a scoreless game and handed reliever Jared Burton (2-8) his third loss to Kansas City this season.
The first two runs scored on a bloop single from Chris Getz and a Jarrod Dyson bunt.
Gordon followed with a bases-clearing double down the right-field line that made it 5-0 and sent most of the fans at a steamy Target Field heading for the exits.
Burton also lost Sunday in Cleveland.
“I’ll talk to Burton a little bit tomorrow about what he did and how he felt and what he was thinking, and then we move on,” Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson said.
Billy Butler hit his 14th home run in the ninth.
After losing seven straight and damaging their playoff chances, the Royals have won three in a row.
“You have to fight through it,” Dyson said. “That’s the great part about us. We fight through everything.”
After walking Ryan Doumit in the second, Shields retired 14 of the next 15 batters and held the Twins until the offense got him some support.
Wade Davis, the other pitcher Kansas City acquired in the Myers’ deal, hasn’t been nearly as effective and was demoted to the bullpen on Tuesday.
Danny Duffy will be called up on Wednesday from Triple-A Omaha and take Davis’ slot in the rotation.
The Twins have struggled to score since All-Star Joe Mauer went on the disabled list a week ago with a concussion.
Minnesota had a chance to cut into the lead after Dozier’s double chased Shields and made it 5-1 in the eighth. But Will Smith struck out Chris Herrmann and Justin Morneau with runners on second and third to end the threat.
The Twins struck out 11 times and were 1 for 9 with runners in scoring position.
“Good ball game until we got into the eighth, and then things kind of unraveled there, we couldn’t really stop them,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. “The ball kept going their way, bunts, you name it, everything, stolen bases, bloops, and there you have it, a five spot.”
(St. Louis) (AP) – Matt Holliday was hit by a ball three times while he was in the batter’s box. He was sore from head to toe.
Of course, he did have a great big smile on his face after another important victory for St. Louis.
Holliday drove in a run for the seventh consecutive game, helping Joe Kelly and the Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 6-1 on Tuesday night.
St. Louis won for the sixth time in seven games, including the first two of its three-game series against third-place Cincinnati. The NL Central-leading Cardinals moved 1 1/2 games ahead of Pittsburgh, which lost to Milwaukee, and 4 1/2 games up on the Reds, who won the division last year.
Kelly (6-3) scattered eight hits and allowed one run in six innings. He also walked three but managed to improve to 6-0 since rejoining the starting rotation on July 6.
The 25-year-old Kelly has won each of his last three starts and five of his last six overall. He has a 2.08 ERA in 34 2-3 innings this month.
“I made pitches when I had to and I enjoyed that,” Kelly said. “My arm felt good. They got guys in scoring position a couple times, I just tried to bear down and leave those guys out there.”
St. Louis manager Mike Matheny is impressed with Kelly’s recent run.
“Joe did a good job, he had great life again,” Matheny said. “He just keeps making good starts for us.”
Shin-Soo Choo homered for the Reds, who lost for the fourth time in five games. Cincinnati’s last 13 batters went down in order in its third consecutive loss to St. Louis, making it 4-10 against the Cardinals this year.
The hot-hitting Holliday had a rough game at the plate, at least physically. He fouled two separate pitches off his foot and toe in different at-bats. He also was plunked on the shoulder by a pitch from Alfredo Simon in the eighth.
The last blow signaled the end of his day.
But he went 2 for 3, including an RBI single against Mat Latos in St. Louis’ two-run first. He is batting .346 with three homers and 10 RBIs over his last seven games.
Holliday’s RBI string is tied for the second-longest in the majors this season. Arizona slugger Paul Goldschmidt had an eight-game RBI run in early June.
Latos (13-5) gave up four runs and nine hits over six-plus innings. He has dropped two of his last three starts.
The Cardinals went 4 for 11 with runners in scoring position.
“That’s the type of team that we are,” Holliday said.
Holliday admitted that he was sore after the rough night. He even joked he would soon be wearing a catcher’s shin guard to the plate to prevent any further damage.
The Cardinals needed just 14 pitches to take a 2-0 lead. Matt Carpenter and Carlos Beltran began the first back-to-back singles. Holliday then singled in Carpenter, who scored his major league-leading 100th run. Beltran scored when Allen Craig bounced into a double play.
Choo hit a leadoff drive in the fifth for his 100th career homer, but the Cardinals answered with single runs in the sixth and seventh and scored twice in the eighth.
Craig pushed the lead to 3-1 with a run-scoring double in the sixth, giving him 96 RBIs on the year. Carpenter brought in Jon Jay with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
“A loss is a loss, you’ve just got to play better baseball,” Cincinnati manager Dusty Baker said. “There are a few things we’ve still got to learn about playing winning baseball.”
Baker was particularly upset with a baserunning error by Zack Cozart in the fourth inning. Cozart and Jay Bruce ended up on third base at the same time after Bruce was held while rounding third on a hit by Latos. The play ended the inning.
Had Cozart stopped at second and noticed Bruce was being held up, the Reds would have had the bases loaded for Choo.
“It’s my (mistake) definitely,” Cozart said. “It was a bad play. You have to keep your head up. When I got to third I was surprised Jay was even there. That was a big part of the game.”
Baker was not in a forgiving mood.
“Sometimes guys have got to be held accountable for their actions,” he said. “They’re all big boys, they’re all getting paid here.”
Lyons is 2-4 with a 4.73 ERA in nine games for St. Louis, and allowed one earned run in five innings with no decision in a win over Cincinnati. He’s 7-2 with a 3.39 ERA in 16 starts at Memphis.
Salas has appeared in 19 games with St. Louis, going 0-2 with a 4.79 ERA, and is 1-2 with a 1.90 ERA and 12 saves in 22 games in the minors. The former Cardinals closer has eight saves and a 1.64 ERA this month.
(Kansas City) (AP) – The question wasn’t even fully asked before Eric Berry shut it down.
“I’m not talking about last year,” the Pro Bowl safety said.
Doesn’t matter whether the query had to do with the 14 losses that the Kansas City Chiefs endured in 2012, or the countless off-the-field distractions. Heck, it could’ve been about some trivial issue such as the length of practices, Berry wasn’t going to bite.
Really, there’s not much reason to anymore.
After one of the most dismal seasons in franchise history, the Chiefs have hit refresh. They have a new general manager in John Dorsey, a new coach in Andy Reid, and a new quarterback in Alex Smith leading a new-look team into its season opener Sept. 8 at Jacksonville.
“We’ve got standards for ourselves,” Berry said, “so we have a lot of stuff to prove to ourselves. We’re not worried about outside opinions or factors or anything like that. We’re just focused on coming in, jelling as a unit, a team, and just taking from there.”
That’s been a tall order this offseason. The Chiefs had more than 50 newcomers on the 90-man roster that reported to training camp, and just five of the 22 on their two-deep were in the same spot as they were for the final game of last season.
So whether it’s Berry trying to learn how to work with new defensive backs Sean Smith or Dunta Robinson, or Smith trying to get on the same page with wide receivers Dwayne Bowe and Donnie Avery, the eight months that have transpired since last season have been all about work.
“I think every team in the NFL has positive expectations right now, every single one,” Smith said. “It’s a fresh start. It’s a new beginning for everybody. It’s what team is going to put in the work and take the steps necessary to get better?”
The Chiefs clearly believe they’ve put in the work, but there are dozens of other factors that could dictate whether they have a bounce-back season. Here are five more:
SMITH AS A STAR: The Chiefs’ first major move in their rebuilding job was to trade with the 49ers for Smith, finally stabilizing the quarterback position for the first time in years. Smith was considered a bust as a No. 1 overall pick for the first five years of his career, and then emerged as a star under 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. The Chiefs are betting that Smith was a late-bloomer rather than a product of Harbaugh’s offense.
“Listen, I thought Jim did a nice job with him out in San Francisco,” Reid said, “but here, everybody’s on board. I’m asking him to do a ton of things and he’s handling it.”
CHARLES IN CHARGE: Pro Bowl running back Jamaal Charles expects to be utilized the same way that LeSean McCoy and Brian Westbrook were used by Reid in Philadelphia – both were as dangerous catching passes out of the backfield as they were taking handoffs. Charles ran for more than 1,500 yards last season, despite missing most of the previous year with a torn left ACL. But he’s shown plenty of ability to catch the ball, too.
“They’ve seen how athletic I am and I can do more than just running the ball,” he said.
ATTACKING DEFENSE: Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton has promised an attacking defense this year, and that’s good news to players weary of their previous bend-but-don’t-break style. The Chiefs tied for last in the NFL with seven interceptions last year. They only managed 27 sacks, tied for 29th out of 32 teams, and only recovered six fumbles all season.
“I definitely think this team has underachieved,” cornerback Brandon Flowers said. “We always had talent, but the wins didn’t add up. But that’s the past. This is a fresh start.”
BIG PICKS ON BIG UGLIES: The Chiefs have invested high draft picks on their offensive line the past few years, and that includes spending the No. 1 overall pick in April on Eric Fisher. The rookie out of Central Michigan is expected to start at right tackle opposite Branden Albert, the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 2008. Center Rodney Hudson and guard Jeff Allen were each second-round picks, and fellow guard Jon Asamoah went in the third round. Their ability to protect Smith and pave the way for Charles will be critical.
REJUVENATED REID: Reid had a tumultuous season of his own in Philadelphia last year. Along with family issues, the Eagles went just 4-12 – his worst finish in 14 years as their coach. Reid was shown the door after the season, but it was in many ways a mutual decision. Reid was eager for a fresh start and Chiefs chairman Clark Hunt was happy to supply it in Kansas City.
“I sincerely mean this, he’s having more fun,” Dorsey said. “I see a more vibrant person – I see Andy, the coach I used to know. He’s over here doing receivers. He’s over here with the tight ends. He’s working with the tackles. He’s jumping the quarterback, and that’s good.”
(St. Louis) (AP) – The Robert Griffin III trade helped speed the St. Louis Rams’ arc from sad sack to respectability. In coach Jeff Fisher’s second season, they’ll be counting on more high-profile youngsters they’ve stockpiled to take the next step.
Surplus picks from the deal with Washington for the second overall pick in 2012 gave the Rams confidence to trade up for wide receiver Tavon Austin this year. Austin and fellow first-rounder Alec Ogletree will start for a team that improved to 7-8-1 last year with two rookie starters on defense and both specialists as rookies, too.
While the Redskins made the playoffs last year, the Rams had more needs to fill and they’re getting Washington’s first-rounder next year, too. They remain among the NFL’s youngest teams, so expect more learning on the job that’ll require patience at the top.
There are increased expectations, fed in part by the addition of free agents Jared Cook and Jake Long. There’s a feeling the Rams belong in a stacked NFC West, too, after going 4-1-1 in the division, but will have to show it over the long haul to post the franchise’s first winning record in a decade.
“Now is when you’re got to learn grit,” general manager Les Snead said. “They’re going to know we’re coming.”
If the Rams were playing on the PGA tour, Snead last year they’d have been satisfied making the cut. No more.
The Rams have been here before only to fall back, winning seven games in 2010 only to crash the next season, losing their first six, going 2-14 and getting Steve Spagnuolo fired. It shouldn’t happen again under Fisher, and here are five things to know about the Rams heading into the Sept. 8 opener at home against Arizona:
FISHER’S TEAM: The roster overhaul has been drastic, with eight undrafted free agents among the 18 rookies to play last year. There are about a dozen holdovers from the failed Spagnuolo and Scott Linehan regimes that combined for just 15 wins in five seasons, the worst stretch in NFL history. A few have been simply too good to show the door. Middle linebacker James Laurinaitis has led the team in tackles all four of his seasons, defensive end Chris Long is the top pass rusher and though Sam Bradford has yet to crack the NFL’s elite cadre of quarterbacks, the Rams are satisfied with him. They’ve had a while to adjust to the biggest camp setback, plugging in veteran Will Witherspoon at outside linebacker the first four games. Though Jo-Lonn Dunbar’s suspension was announced in early August, the team had known it was coming barring a successful appeal for some times.
REPLACING JACKSON: The biggest question heading into camp, finding a successor to Steven Jackson, was settled prior to Week 3 of the preseason when Fisher named Daryl Richardson the starting running back. Richardson was the next-to-last pick of the 2012 draft but is no surprise anymore, beating second rounder Isaiah Pead for the backup job last year and impressing this summer with quickness and decisive moves. Two rookies, fifth-rounder Zac Stacy and undrafted Benny Cunningham, are also in the mix.
SPEED SPEED SPEED: For years, the Rams ignored wide receiver. Now they’re well stocked. Austin showed game-breaking potential at Denver with an 81-yard punt return and will be used all over the field to keep defenses guessing. Both Austin and Stedman Bailey are coming off prolific seasons at West Virginia. Incumbent Chris Givens won a number of foot races as a rookie last year after emerging ahead of Brian Quick, chosen two rounds earlier in the second round. Quick has shown promise in the preseason he’s ready to handle more. The rookies must adapt, though, to a more complex playbook.
BRADFORD BREAKOUT?: For the first time since getting picked first overall in 2010, the quarterback didn’t have to spend the offseason learning a new scheme. A second season with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer’s scheme should help expand the options for Bradford, who is coming off his best statistical season.
“It seems like now I’ve just had so much more experience and I’ve seen things that it’s rare that I see something that catches me totally off-guard,” Bradford said.
FRONT LINE: The Rams have a pair of former No. 1 overall picks on offense, with Long (2008) protecting Bradford’s blind side at left tackle. Center Scott Wells was among the top additions last year and is healthy after a delayed debut in 2012 and right guard Harvey Dahl is durable, efficient and feisty. Chris Williams and Shelly Smith, alternating starts at left guard during the preseason, are both solid. Former left tackle Rodger Saffold is an upgrade on the right side after an inauspicious start, injuring his shoulder on the second snap of the preseason. He returned for Week 3.
(Minnesota) (AP) – Danny Duffy will be recalled from Triple-A Omaha on Wednesday to replace Wade Davis in Kansas City’s starting rotation.
Duffy has allowed four runs over his last 22 innings in Omaha while recovering from elbow surgery. The lefty made two starts for the Royals this month, allowing two runs over 9 2-3 innings.
Davis has allowed 11 runs in his last two starts and will move to the bullpen. Since coming to Kansas City in the trade that sent top prospect Wil Myers to Tampa Bay, Davis is 6-10 with a 5.67 ERA.
Duffy will start Wednesday’s game against the Minnesota Twins, bumping Bruce Chen back to Thursday.
The Royals also signed Carlos Pena to a minor-league contract and traded for minor league right-hander Clayton Mortensen. Pena, 35, hit .209 with eight home runs in 85 games for Houston this season before being released July 31.
Quintin Berry – acquired off waivers from Detroit in June – was sent to Boston in exchange for Mortensen, who went 1-2 with a 5.34 ERA for Boston before going on the disabled list with a hip injury. He returned on June 29 and was designated for assignment.
Both Pena and Mortensen were assigned to Triple-A Omaha.
(Kansas City) (AP) – The challenge was laid down. All that’s keeping Royals outfielder Jarrod Dyson and Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles from deciding the fastest man in Kansas City sports is about 300 yards of parking lot between Kauffman Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium.
Probably the folks in charge of their teams, too.
The idea of a match race came up when Dyson and a bunch of other Royals dropped in to watch part of a Chiefs practice last week. In his typical bravado, Dyson proclaimed that he could beat any of them in a foot race – including Charles, their Pro Ball running back.
“I’m not afraid to race nobody,” said Dyson, who had swiped 25 bases in 60 games heading into the Royals’ game Tuesday night in Minnesota. “I’ll tell you that straight up.”
The race is unlikely to ever happen in the city that produced former 100-meter world-record holder Maurice Green. There’s too much injury risk to line them up just for fun.
Sure is a compelling conversation piece, though.
Dyson is the fleet-footed base-stealer best over shorter distances – say, the 90 feet that separates bags on a big league infield. Charles is the speedy back who excels with a nice runway to get going – say, the 100 yards from one end zone to the other.
“If he puts a show on, I’m never going to back down,” Charles told The Associated Press after Tuesday afternoon’s practice, when asked of Dyson’s challenge. “Track’s my first love.”
If both of them are up for it, might as well try to assess the most intriguing match race in these parts since Seabiscuit took on War Admiral.
Dyson says he doesn’t put much stock in 40-yard dashes, but the 5-foot-9, 160-pound sparkplug thinks he could run it in 4.3 seconds. Charles, at 5-11 and nearly 200 pounds, turned a 4.38 when he was clocked at the NFL combine in 2008, following his senior year with the Longhorns.
Dyson isn’t as polished a sprinter as Charles, but he certainly has speed to burn.
The big league average for a player running from home to first base is 4.2 seconds for left-handed hitters. Dyson covers the distance nearly a half-second faster. The average time for a good base stealer taking second is about 3.2 seconds. Dyson can do it in about 2.6.
Royals manager Ned Yost said he’s “definitely the fastest” player in the big leagues, and Yost has seen some quick ones. He broke into the big leagues as a player in 1980, and as a coach watched the likes of Otis Nixon and Kenny Lofton – No. 15 and No. 16 on the career stolen bases list, respectively – when he was an assistant coach with the Atlanta Braves.
Even the Twitter handle that Dyson uses sounds fast: (at)mrzoombiya.
Don’t get it? Say it out loud.
“I don’t care if you’re a sprinter or whatever,” Dyson said, “you’re not getting past Mr. Zoombiya. You’re going to have to come at me over some distance.”
Turns out that’s precisely where Charles has an advantage.
He was a bronze medalist in the 400-meter hurdles at the 2003 world youth championships, and won state titles in the 110- and 300-meter hurdles at Memorial High School in Port Arthur, Texas.
Charles took his speed to Austin, where he was an All-American multiple times over for the Longhorns. The former junior Olympian was fourth in the 60 meters at the NCAA indoors in 2006, and fifth in the 100 at the outdoors later that summer. Among those who edged Charles in the 100 was Walter Dix, a two-time world silver medalist and two-time Olympic bronze medalist.
Even now, Charles lights up when he’s asked about his “pretty elite” track career. He openly thought about returning to it during the NFL lockout a couple years ago.
“Not pretty elite. I was junior worlds,” Charles clarified. “It’s not that I’m fast. I have track history. Track is my first love. I’m not going to back down from a race.”
Not against Dyson. Not against anyone.
“It’s maintaining your sprint all the way through. It’s not how fast you are, it’s your strength and how conditioned you are,” Charles explained. “You can be fast, but if you don’t have the strength to maintain the speed, you’d better hold on.”
Chiefs general manager John Dorsey laughed when asked who he’d put his money on in a race between Dyson and Charles. He wouldn’t give an answer on the record, but with a bias that’s only natural, Dorsey did say, “I’m going to stand by my guy.”
So, the lines have been drawn in a race to determine the fastest man in Kansas City sports.
All that’s left is to bring the rivals together.
The Lady Eagles volleyball team will participate in a 4 team scrimmage Tuesday, August 27th @ 6 pm @ Houston. Cabool, Houston, Liberty & Willow Springs will all be there.
The Lady Eagles will host their annual Meet the players scrimmage on Thursday, August 29th @ 5:30 at the Liberty High School. Admission is a sports drink, water or granola bar.
The first game will be September 5th @ 6 pm. The Lady Eagles will host the Lady Bears of Willow Springs.