Series Preview: Mets vs. Cardinals Interview with C70 At The Bat

Posted on by Kerel Cooper

In preparation for the New York Mets vs. St. Louis Cardinals three game series this weekend, I chatted with Daniel Shoptaw of C70 At The Bat and the founder of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. Read below as we discuss Mark McGwire, Albert Pujols and the Cardinals World Series chances in 2010.

Q. Tell the viewers a little about yourself and C70 at the Bat.
A. Let’s see, I’m a CPA in Arkansas, married with a 5 1/2 year old son and an almost-three daughter. I joined my first Cardinal message board back in ’99, and the fresh McGwire run inspired my Cardinal70 handle. I started blogging at the All-Star Break of 2007 after watching Kip Wells destroy any momentum the team had going into the break. I’ve been plugging along since then, usually with game recaps and the occasional project such as the Playing Pepper series you helped me out with this year.

Q. The Cardinals are off to a good start this season. What are expectations amongst Cardinals fans for 2010?
A. If the Cardinals don’t win the NL Central, it’d be a major shock. They would seem, on paper, to be head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. When you get into October, of course, you gamble each and every time out. This team has the potential to win it all–whether they will or not obviously remains to be seen.

Q. If the Cardinals are going to go far this season (playoffs and possibly World Series), what’s one area of the team you’d like to see them improve?
A. The bullpen, hands-down. Ryan Franklin, even though he signed a big extension last year, doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence as the closer. The problem is, there’s no one really ready to step into the role. Jason Motte brings the heat, but that’s about it. When that’s all you have, big league hitters will figure it out. The LOOGYs in the pen (Trever Miller, Dennys Reyes) should be pretty good, and Blake Hawksworth and Kyle McClellan can give solid innings, but if there was a weak spot on this team, the pen is it.

Q. Has the return of Mark McGwire to the team (as Batting Coach) been a distraction at all?
A. Not really, and I’ll tell you why. McGwire, who is still the only player who had voluntarily confessed without a positive test hanging over him, came into camp and was open and honest about things. Not everyone agreed with his answers, but he’s not been defensive, he’s not hidden behind technicalities or “not talking about the past.” He had a 17 minute informal discussion with the press on the first day of spring training, and it would have gone longer but the reporters ran out of questions. He’s faced this head-on, which was more than I expected after seeing some of the other PR missteps the Cards have done in the past, and that has blunted a lot of the discussion and controversy.

Q. According to: Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Carpenter is signed through 2011 plus 2012 club option, Holliday through 2016, Wainwright through 2012. Any concern that the Cardinals won’t be able to sign Albert Pujols long term?
A. Until Pujols signs on the dotted line, there are going to be concerns. The Cardinals obviously aren’t the Yankees or even the Mets when it comes to payroll. They are going to have to be creative in their dealings with Pujols. I still think he stays and I don’t know if he’ll break A-Rod’s record with his next deal or not. I do think there will be some features of his deal that are unprecedented, though what they may be (ownership after his playing days? % of all Pujols jerseys sold?) I couldn’t tell you.

Special thanks to Daniel for taking the time out to answer some questions. Be sure to check him out over at C70 At The Bat.

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