United Cardinal Bloggers May Project: UCB Mailbag


For the month of May, the United Cardinal Bloggers project is a reverse roundtable where bloggers are asked questions instead of one blogger asking the question.

Bill Ivie: Through Redbird Rants, you do a lot of interviews and book reviews.

I’m curious…what interview did you personally enjoy the most and what book has become one your favorite books to read?

Daniel Solzman: I wish I could tell you it was my 2013 interview with Kolten Wong but after hanging up our phone call, I realized I forgot to press record on my digital recorder. In September 2012, I bought a new recorder that came with a UCB port so that I could be able to transcribe after replaying bits and pieces on my computer as opposed to replaying the entire call over and over. Transcribing my Shelby Miller interview was not that easy!

Through Facebook, Twitter, and the MLB Draft, I have gotten the opportunity to interview a number of prospects. Some through Facebook, some Twitter, and quite a few on the phone.

There are some interviews that come my way by chance, such as Ozzie Smith as he was playing in a game sponsored by PepsiMax. There was a limited window and because of class in the morning, I had to be one of the earliest to interview him before leaving the house.

With the release of One Last Strike, I knew I would be able to interview Tony LaRussa but it was all a matter of timing. I always enjoy interviewing Hall of Famers and would love the chance to talk to Bob Gibson or Lou Brock! I once mailed a letter to Whitey Herzog about interviewing him but got nothing in response.

As far as my favorite book? I don’t know. Triumph Books and Sports Publishing release so many baseball books througout the year.

I enjoyed the George Vecsey bio of Stan Musial but Brad Meltzer is my favorite author at the moment and he’s got a nice thrilling series relating to the Culper Spy Ring, which explains why I have enjoyed watching Turn on AMC. Every book that he writes, I am unable to stop turning pages.

The funniest book I have read in the last several years remains Lunatics by the very funny Alan Zweibel and Dave Barry.

Mark Sherrard: Who do you see the Cardinals using as trade bait come July and what hole(s) would they try to fill via trade?

Daniel Solzman: The biggest questions are first base and right field and this is because of Oscar Taveras. In prior years, it seemed that Taveras would be the center fielder of the future. This was before the ankle injury and the trade for Peter Bourjos.

With Taveras likely to be positioned in right field, it means choosing between Allen Craig or Matt Adams at first base. The Cardinals will have to decide what the best return value for one of them will be.

Kevin Reynolds: How has blogging about baseball changed your experience of baseball?

Daniel Solzman: Aside from the usual armchair managing, I don’t think it has changed my experience of the game all that much. If anything, it’s led to a wider network. The 2011 World Series run changed everything. That’s when I got discovered by Fansided and I’ve been at Redbird Rants ever since.

Matthew Phillip: Just a few days ago, the sky was falling in Cardinal National. Then the Cardinals ran off four wins in a row. Specifically what or who most and truly concerns you about the team for the rest of the season?

Daniel Solzman: The bullpen is of serious concern. Is Mike Matheny going to run Trevor Rosenthal out of a job or will Jason Motte slowly throw his way back in to the closer’s role? The good old answering a question with another question trick!

Ben Chambers: How does your faith affect how you follow the Cardinals, especially with Shabbas?

Daniel Solzman: For that, I take you back to Game 162 in 2011. That crazy baseball night happened to coincide with the first night of Rosh HaShanah. I was in Chicago and staying at a hotel for that long holiday weekend. I was very thankful that the USA Today was dropped off every morning, sans Saturday. The first thing I did upon waking up that Thursday was glance at the scores before coming back after lunch to read all of the paper.

Is it rough being a religious sports fan? Yes, yes it is. For example, the Kentucky Wildcats will likely be playing during the Final Four in Indianapolis in 2015. I was all set to go up there for the festivities on that Sunday before discovering that Passover started on Friday night–meaning that I won’t be watching the basketball game until Sunday night on the DVR.

Until the Cats get better at football over the next few seasons, it’s hardest during college basketball season with so many afternoon games on Saturday. It’s not quite as hard during baseball season–it just means studying the box scores and recaps before I write the game story!

Dan Buffa: What is a fair yet firm expectation for Jason Motte as he is activated off the disabled list this week?

Daniel Solzman: Adam Wainwright struggled in his return to the starting rotation so I am going to take Motte’s return one day at a time.

Daniel Shoptaw: Who would you most likely dub the “face of the franchise”, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright, and why?

Daniel Solzman: Molina. There’s a reason why he’s been voted by the fans as the Face of the Cardinals the past two years on Hot Stove. His offense is steadily rising year in and year out to go along with the top-notch defense of his. Wainwright might be the ace of the pitching rotation but it’s Molina in the line-up most of the time.