There is one St. Louis Cardinal who received a contract this offseason that is making a HUGE impact! Yadier Molina is a beast this season. He is earning every penny of that fat contract extension he received in the offseason. Not only is he a top-notch defender, he has shown marked improvement at the plate. To top it all off he has stolen four bases.
I had the opportunity to witness a great game last night in person. My daughter’s honor choir sang “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. The kids and all in attendance were treated to a great game. Between Adam Wainwright’s pitching performance and the run support generated by the Redbirds it was a fun game to watch. The Cards bullpen made it a little uncomfortable late, but I will take a win any day.
Now Yadi is no Vince Coleman and I wouldn’t call what we have seen with this club “Whitey Ball”. It is nice to see the boys much more aggressive on the base paths this season. Yadi stealing multiple bases in a game is not something I expected. As a former catcher there really isn’t a much more disheartening feeling than having the opposing team’s catcher stealing bases. Fortunately I was on the base stealing side more often than the stolen against. The catcher is typically the slowest player on the team. I would say this is true about this squad.
I couldn’t remember the last time a Cardinal catcher stole two bases in the same game. I did a little research and discovered that no Cardinal catcher has done this since, well, Yadi did it in 2005. Before that it was Eli Marrero in 1998 and 1997. Tony Pena accomplished the feat in 1989. Hall of Fame broadcaster Tim McCarver did it twice in 1967. I tried to explain how historical this was to my 8-year-old baseball player son. All he cared about was the bomb that Matt Holliday hit last night. Holliday has been his favorite player. This placed him at odds with everyone else in our family until this past offseason. I’ll leave that to you to figure out who we were all fans of (not that we didn’t like Holliday, he just wasn’t the favorite). My little guy wears number 7 with pride when he takes the field. He is coming around to liking Yadi more and more though.
Yadi has now taken over second place on the Cardinals all time catcher’s stolen base list with 29 thefts. He trails Jimmie Wilson (1928-1933) by a mere 12 steals. Is this history in the making? Only time will tell at this point. I am conflicted about Yadi stealing bases though. I am certain that this will not become a regular occurrence. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that Yadi won’t steal 20 bases this season. I would be extremely upset if he were to injure himself stealing a base. I understand all about small ball and how important it is to advance the runner to get them in scoring position. I just don’t want Yadi, who is having a phenomenal season to get hurt and end up on the shelf. He is too important to the club right now. Yadi leads the team in doubles and is tied for second in RBI’s with Holliday trailing only David Freese. He leads the team in Total Bases. I understand his contract extension more and more every day and am glad he will be here for the rest of his career.
As I have stated before this is a fun team to watch. Last night was a perfect example of that. Between the power display by Freese and Holliday, the continued timely hitting of Rafael Furcal (who also added a homer), and Yadi’s base burglary it was the best game I have seen in person in a long time. The atmosphere at the game was light. I spoke with my family about how empty the ballpark looked at the beginning of the evening. It filled up a little after that but nothing like what I have normally witnessed. This was Tuesday evening game, not a weekend and it was the Pittsburgh Pirates who were playing our beloved Redbirds. So I guess this was to be expected. The weather was perfect and the Cardinals lit up the night sky with fireworks due to homeruns and a win. Waino looked solid. I thought he only threw to bad pitches, both of which ended up in the seats. Yadi was the featured act. Even though KMOX awarded the player of the game to Freese, I believe everything that Yadi did warranted that prize. Yadi went 2 for 5 with a double. Scored 3 times and stole 2 bases. It was also great to see Holliday have a great night as well.
I love it when I have the opportunity to attend a ballgame. It is a passion that my entire family shares. I can’t remember the last time my dad and I were at the same game together. While we were all there to watch my daughter and her choir, it was great to spend time with my entire family (Dad, Mom, Wife, Kids, Brother, Sister In Law, and Mother In Law). I am not sure when that will happen again but I am already looking forward to it. It was made even more special with a Redbird win and lots of fireworks. I love fireworks. I hope some day my son understands how special last night was. It wasn’t just Yadi and the stolen bases, but time together with our family at a ballgame sharing a Cardinal tradition. I think I may have to purchase a Molina jersey.