John Jay A Cardinal Bright Spot

John Jay has been, not a revelation, but a bit of a bright spot in the Cardinals season so far. I know the Birds are still in the race and actually have a decent shot to win, but it has felt more like a frustrating season to this fan.

On the bright side, I have a friend at work who grew up in KC, likes his Royals, but does a lot of the shaking of the head when we talk. I shouldn't complain.

Jay is a rookie who has battled his way into the lineup, taking advantage of injuries to Colby Rasmus and Ryan Ludwick. Rasmus has not helped his cause at the plate, struggling while Jay keeps hitting.

I say let the kid play and package Schumaker and Rasmus in a deal to get some infield pop.

This article from the Post Dispatch has the pertinent data.

Where Can I Go From His Spirit?

As I went to run this morning, my lovely bride suggested that I think of something to pray about while running. Often, as I'm sure some of you do, things come to mind as you are going about your business and those thoughts turn into a prayer. I said OK and dove into the humidity.

Sure enough, I had things to pray about, especially my attitude concerning people driving cars on my running path.

When I returned Kathy asked me if I thought of things to pray and we talked about that a bit. Then she showed me a passage from a book she's reading and I enjoyed it so much, I thought I'd share. The book is Long Wandering Prayer by David Hansen. Here's how Chapter 2 begins:

Prayer comes to us from a people who spent the first thousand years of their existence living in tents. From Abraham to David, the Hebrews were a shepherding, moving folk. They lived out-of-doors easily, though not painlessly. Following the scent of green pastures, they passed through death valleys, ascended passes and crossed rivers. Wandering lay at the core of their psyche from the beginning, and it shaped their life with God.

The night sky fills their prayers. They praised God for heavy dew. They pleaded for deliverance from flash floods. Drought meant death. This caused their more settled cousin peoples, the Canaanites, to worship gods of storm and cloud. But during drought the Hebrews could move, and so they did. They never traveled to a place where Yahweh did not demonstrate His lordship.

Where can I go from your spirit?
Or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to the heaven, you are there;
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning
and settle at the farthest limits of the sea,
even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me fast. (Psalm 139:7-10)

This comforted and assured me in a great measure today and I trust it will do so for some of you. Happy Lord's Day

Mizzou's QB Gabbert's Got Guts

Mizzou football returns in a month or so and I for one am eager to see what the team's got this year. It's still baseball season, but college football is acceptable during the tailend of the summer game's schedule. The NFL, on the other hand, can wait until the World Series is over.

What appears to be true is the Tigers have a tough quarterback in Blaine Gabbert who is ready, willing and, hopefully, able to take the reins of the program. This article chronicles his ankle injury during last season and his bulldog attitude about getting on the field and leading the team when it would have been kosher to sit out for a game or two.

If the whole squad has this kind of guts, it'll be fun this year.


Cool Image Of The Moment

The Pacific 10 Conference has unveiled a new logo, or actually, a series of logos. The main one is shown at the right.

The Pac 10 has a new commissioner and one of his priorities is to push the brand and try to move the needle a bit regarding the general public's view of the league. Sixty percent of the TVs in the country are in the Central or Eastern Time Zones. The games out west generally start 2 or 3 hours later than here and the football is just not viewed with the same regard as in the SEC, the Big 10 or the Big 12, with the probable exception of USC.

One of the steps in changing the image is, well, new images. Hence the blue and white shield shown.

There are a number of things I like about this: the colors for one. I like the mountain in the center and the suggestion of the wave right below, portraying the variety and scope found in the conference's footprint. And I like the overall shield concept.

What I don't care for is the conflicting fonts. At least they appear to conflict to me. The PAC is just about stylized as far as it can be without looking bad all by itself. What is clear is that the 10 will become a 12 when Colorado and Utah join the league in the near future.


George Will: Not A State-Broken People

"Madison said rights pre-exist government. Wilson said government exists to dispense whatever agenda of rights suits its fancy, and to annihilate, regulate, attenuate, or dilute others."

The above quote sums up the spirit of Will's column, linked here. It is worth the time to read, I think. We are in a struggle in this country over what kind of country we will have.

As for me, I prefer the vision of Madison.


Now THIS Is How You Catch A Frisbee

Reasons To Leave A Church

Having lived in 3 other states and 13 different houses it goes without saying that we have changed churches numerous times. Unfortunately, we haven't always changed because of moves. There have been other reasons, and frankly, we might have been hasty in a case or two.

I found this article from Kevin DeYoung at the Gospel Coalition to be instructive and I recommend it.

The Prodigal God, The Text

The place to begin blogging through Timothy Keller's "The Prodigal God" is where he begins, obviously. That place is the text from Luke 15:11-32.

Here it is from the English Standard Version:

And he (Jesus) said, "There was a man who had two sons. And the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that is coming to me.' And he divided his property between them. Not many day later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living. And when he had spent everything, a severe famine arose in that country, and he began to be in need. So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, who sent him into his fields to feed pigs. And he was longing to be fed with the pods that the pigs ate, and no one gave him anything.

"But when he came to himself, he said, 'How many of my father's hired servants have more than enough bread, but I perish here with hunger! I will arise and go to my father, and I will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be call your son. Treat me as one of your hired servants.'" And he arose and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. And the son said to him, 'Father, I have sinned against heaven and before you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.' But the father said to his servants, 'Bring quickly the best robe, and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet. And bring the fattened calf and kill it, and let us eat and celebrate. For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.' And they began to celebrate.

"Now his older son was in the field, and as he came and drew near to the house, he heard music and dancing. And he called one of the servants and asked what these things meant. And he said to him, 'Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf, because he has received him back safe and sound.' But he was angry and refused to go in. His father came out and entreated him, but he answered his father, 'Look, these many years I have served you, and I never disobeyed your command, yet you never gave me a young goat, that I might celebrate with my friends. But when this son of yours came, who has devoured your property with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him!' And he said to him, 'Son, you are always with me, and all that is mine is yours. It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.'"

When I think of this story, it reminds me of my dad. Once dad had gone on some church-related "retreat"-like event. When he returned he brought gifts for my younger sister, my brother and me. I don't remember what Patricia got, but David and I were given books. On book was, as you can guess, The Prodigal Son. The other one was David and Goliath. I was standing there when Dad took the books out and I immediately claimed the David and Goliath book. I knew that story and liked it, but I had no idea what the other book was about. Dad said the David and Goliath book was for my brother because I already knew that story. Dad wanted me to have the book about the Prodigal Son. I remember being mildly disappointed, but I received the book he gave me. Soon thereafter I became familiar with the Prodigal Son and was happy to have that book instead of the one I thought I wanted.

My father knew just what to bring me.

first post in this series.


What This Election Is About

Realigning Baseball According to Class

Something that people are always going on about concerning baseball is the perceived competitive imbalance in the two leagues. I say perceived because the last time we had a champion that successfully defended it's title was the Yankees about 10 years ago. Granted, it seems the participants in the post-season is a fairly static group and the same could be said about the teams who are clearly non-contenders in a given season.

Steve Phillips, former Mets executive has proposed a unique solution that deserves some discussion. His idea is to realign the baseball divisions by payrolls. To do that a number of traditions and assumptions go by the wayside, but I think it might be OK, and this is coming from a traditionalist.

Usually when you trade your problems away you wind up getting a new set of problems in return. I think that's what would happen here. Although there would be some fresh blood being able to compete, I think some teams, like the Tigers and the White Sox, accustomed to winning would find themselves trailing the Yankees and the Red Sox.

Still, it's an interesting idea that deserves some consideration in my view.


Dorrel Norman Elvert Herzog, Hall of Famer

You know him better as Whitey.

Here's a good article from ESPN.

UPDATE: Just watched Whitey's induction speech at MLB.com and it was a lot of fun, but I wish he had told more stories about Casey Stengel and talked about the good teams he had.

Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch has a nice tribute here.


Spurgeon on God's Sovereignty

I read this today and it did my soul good.

"There is no attribute more comforting to (God's) children than that of (His) Sovereignty. Under the most adverse circumstances, in the most severe trials, they believe that Sovereignty has ordained their afflictions, that Sovereignty overrules them, and that Sovereignty will sanctify them all. There is nothing for which the children ought more earnestly to contend than the doctrine of their Master over all creation - the Kingship of God over all the works of His own hands - the Throne of God and His right to sit upon that Throne. On the other hand, there is no doctrine more hated by worldings, no truth of which they have made such a football, as the great, stupendous, but yet most certain doctrine of the Sovereignty of the infinite Jehovah. Men will allow God to be everywhere except on His throne. They will allow Him to be in His workshop to fashion worlds and make stars. They will allow Him to be in His almonry to dispense His alms and bestow His bounties. They will allow Him to sustain the earth and bear up the pillars thereof, or light the lamps of heaven, or rule the waves of the ever-moving ocean; but when God ascends His throne, His creatures then gnash their teeth. And we proclaim an enthroned God, and His right to do as He wills with His own, to dispose of His creatures as He thinks well, without consulting them in the matter; then it is we are hissed and execrated, and then it is that men turn a deaf ear to us, for God on His throne is not the God they love. But it is God upon the throne we love to preach. It is God upon His throne whom we trust." - Charles Spurgeon


Cool Image of the Moment

The Charlotte Checkers play in the American Hockey League and are affiliated with the NHL's Carolina Panthers.

Typically the Checkers colors are red and black, like the parent organization. This version is called 'Go Green' and I can only guess it has some environmental application.

Whatever it is for, it looks great!

And that is the point.


The Prodigal God

I recently read "The Prodigal God" by Timothy Keller. It is, as you might imagine, about the parable of Jesus as recorded in Luke 15 that we know commonly as "The Prodigal Son."

However Keller does not treat the parable in the way we commonly understand it, or have heard it preached and so the title of the book gives us a clue that surprises are in store.

I don't want to give it all away at this point, but I will say that this book made an impact on me as I read it and not just for a different look at the parable, but for what a difference that difference makes in our understanding of what Jesus was teaching.

The book was sent to me by a vendor after he told me how impacted he was by it. My pastor has also commented on what a remarkable work it is. I recommend it to you.

And to whet your appetite, I will post some excerpts here at Central Standard in the days ahead. I'm looking forward to going through "The Prodigal God" one more time.


9th Inning

You can almost taste it. The NL has to get 3 more outs to win the All Star Game. It's been a long time.

After a quiet top half of the inning, the bottom half explodes when David Ortiz singled sharply to start. Right away we wonder if A Rod will come off the bench. No. Adrian Beltre stands in, strikes out and sits down. Pitcher Jonathan Broxton, whose facial hair reminds me of old Dodger Mike Marshall (right), gets Buck to dink one into right. Byrd comes in but can't catch it. Ortiz had to wait to see if it was caught, gets thrown out at second by Byrd. What a big play. Probably turned the inning around. Ian Kinsler flies to center and it is over.

Your All Star Game winner is the National League and it's about time.

I haven't seen the results but my guess would be that Brian McCann is the MVP.

I'm going to bed.

8th Inning

Scott Rolen hit again this inning. Man, I miss him, what a terrific hitter. There's a reason why those Cardinals of '04 and '06 won two pennants and a World Series while having a dangerous offense. A big part of that reason is playing third base for the Cincinnati Reds these days.

NL 3, AL 1

7th Inning, Wainright Edition

I forgot to report on the bottom of the 7th, but this will just give me an opportunity to highlight St. Louis' Adam Wainright who pitched it.

He came in blazing, striking out Nick Swisher on a sharp curve. He looked to be 'on' tonight from what I could see. John Buck hit a deep fly that went off Holliday's glove in left - probably should have been caught. I wondered if this was going to come back to bite the NL. Kinsler next, walks, bringing up Vernon Wells. Oh boy . . . .

Wells grounds slowly to short and Kinsler is forced at second.

Torii Hunter strikes out, and that's all she wrote. Good job out of Wainright.

NL 3, AL 1

7th Inning

With one out in the 7th, the National League gets something going. Scott Rolen, former Cardinal, singles to center. He's followed by current Cardinal Matt Holliday, obtained largely because LaRussa got rid of Rolen, who singles to center and Rolen manages to get to third. Chris Young delivers a pop out, bringing Marlon Byrd to the plate.

Yes, the fate of the National League in the hands of a Cub.

But he walks! The bases are loaded for McCann who scorches a bases-clearing double into right putting the NL up 3-1!

This is a big moment. Not only has the NL been winless since '96, but the last four year the AL has posted come from behind one-run wins. It's been brutal. Maybe the time has come.

NL 3, AL 1

6th Inning

One of the reasons that I'm so far behind the game is that the Pregame entry took so long to write. Too many commercials that didn't last very long and too much time taken on things I didn't really want to write about.

The sixth is pretty uneventful. Adrian Gonzalez' swing reminds me of Keith Hernandez.

I've got TV issues. The picture is going out I think. It's been acting up all weekend. I've only had this one 10 years or so. We used to have 20 and 30 year old TVs just go and go. This one is a Panasonic and is pooped after 10. I'm just glad I didn't pay for it.

AL 1, NL 0

5th Inning

I understand that somebody's giving me grief on Facebook because I'm about three inning behind the game on my Live Blog. All I can say is you can't rush quality.

National League lets a scoring opportunity get by after two hits gave them runners on first and third with one out. The Giant Leprechaun swings and misses a ball outside for the second out and Brian McCann flies to right to end it.

The AL takes advantage when Longoria walks and the Twins Joe Mauer chops one to the pitcher who promptly threw it to Disneyland putting runners at first and third. Robinson Cano hits a sacrifice fly to left and the AL is on the board.

AL 1, NL 0

4th Inning

Pujols had another at bat, but came up empty, striking out.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ryan Braun makes a tremendous diving catch in left. It was the kind of catch that a guy might back off of in an exhibition game. Good for him.


3rd Inning

Milwaukee's Corey Hart, who looks like a giant leprechaun, strikes out in this inning against Andy Pettite.

Yadier Molina, who is struggling offensively this year, rips a single up the middle. Cardinal hitting coach Mark McGwire is no where in sight.


2nd Inning

In the twilight the pitchers have the advantage as the ball is hard to see. So, not much offense.

Evan Longoria of the Rays gets a ringing double to left, but he's stranded. Still no score.


1st Inning

The National League has not won this game since 1996. It would be nice if that changed, but these things go in cycles.

Albert Pujols will hit this inning. He wound up scorching one to right where Ichiro caught up with it.

Bottom of the first a very nice touch having a recording of longtime Yankee Stadium public address announcer Bob Shepherd introduce Derek Jeter. Shepherd passed away over the weekend and Jeter has requested that a recording of Shepherd introducing him be played for the rest of his career. Fox Sports announcer Tim McCarver on the deaths of Steinbrenner and Shepherd, "Rest assured there will be two more monuments added to Monument Park (in Yankee Stadium)."



I fixed my supper during the All Stars Among Us nonsense. I suppose it's nice, but it really interrupts the flow of the game presentation.

I got just a bit frustrated when the All Star players came and showered love on these people. Why? This love was denied to Stan Musial last year in St. Louis. Musial, overshadowed in his career by Ted Williams and Joe DiMaggio early on and Willie Mays later, was reduced to ferrying the baseball for President Barak (I've Written Two Autobiographies) Obama for the first pitch. Would have liked to have seen Musial get the attention Williams did in Boston a while back. This clip is from the day Williams died, but has a bit at about 1:38 from that All Star Game. Good for him. Too bad Stan didn't get some.

Very nice with a moment of silence for George Steinbrenner who passed today. Probably the greatest sports owner of all time, at least that's what they are saying. He frustrated those of us who rooted against him because he came out on top so often. But that's the point, right?

And very cool to have Rod Carew throw out the first pitch, which I anticipated. He played in Anaheim from 79-85 or so, after beginning his career in Minnesota. The player who caught the first pitch? Tori Hunter, who began his career in Minnesota and is now playing for Anaheim.

2010 All Star Game Live Blog

Here comes a live blog of baseball's All-Star Game. It's actually going to be quasi-live as I will post during commercials. Who knows how this will go?


One Road Diverged

Monday the second Diverging Diamond interchange in the nation was opened at National Avenue and James River Freeway, also known as Highway 60 right here in Springfield, Mo. The first one, shown in the photo, is located at Kansas Expressway and I-44.

Incidentally, we have a Kansas Avenue here in town but no one is ever confused if someone says, "Take Kansas south to Battlefield." We know it's the expressway that is indicated. And while we're at it, we would know that Battlefield Road is indicated not Battlefield, Mo., nor Wilson's Creek Battlefield, both located just southwest of town.

I didn't go on the new interchange today, though I was in the neighborhood. I was having blood work done at the clinic just about a block away and I had forgotten that the road was open for business after having been closed all weekend. There is the aforementioned clinic, a major hospital, various offices and businesses located near this interchange and traffic used to back up through the lights every evening. The diverging diamond allows unimpeded turns in either direction onto the highway from the street and so relieves a great deal of the back ups. It seems to have worked marvelously on Kansas and I anticipate it will on National, too.


The Next Cardinal Manager

Saturday night I dreamed that Tony LaRussa would resign as Cardinals manager on Monday. That would be all right with me.

I have such conflicted thoughts about LaRussa. There is no denying his successful record while managing St. Louis. And I know many fans would love to have a guy with his record in their teams' dugout. I honestly don't mind the success.

What I don't like is the way he does it and I can't even describe that very well. It seems he plays a lot a station-to-station baseball. He doesn't steal much, doesn't bunt much. Generally doesn't force the action. He just likes to wait for someone to hit a big homer. I like Cardinal home runs as much as anybody, but they don't always come around when you need them to. It just seems a bit like needing a '3' for a large straight in Yahtzee. You can do it, but you probably won't.

Someday LaRussa won't be manager and there is a fair chance the club won't be as successful. Maybe then I will appreciate what he's doing now.


NBA Player Holds Press Conference

The made for TV event orchestrated by LeBron James where he announces who he will play for next season is set to air on ESPN shortly. It is guessed, by many professional guessers, that James will say Miami, though most are hedging their bets.

If you read this blog you know that on this matter I have not hedged. I have been saying Miami and I've been saying it since May. We will know within the hour.

I may be wrong or I may be right. But hedge I have not.


The Caine Mutiny

I finished reading this book a week or so ago. It's one of the best books I've ever read, and I was surprised by it in that regard.

As I posted before, I was familiar with the movie having seen it a half a dozen times or so. I liked it pretty well, the end was always satisfying, but it always felt a little strained. It always seemed that some pieces were missing in the story and that the movie was just trying a bit too hard.

Having read the book, it's obvious that the movie was trying to cover way too much ground and suffered a bit as a result. That's not to say that the movie's no good because it is good and remains a popular film to this day.

The book, on the other hand, is so rich, so well written. I was very struck by what a good writer Herman Wouk (pronounced woke) is. He is a Navy veteran himself and it is clearly evident in his storytelling. I'm sure I wasn't expecting it to be poorly written, but it is so outstanding in my opinion that I can't help comment on it.

You could order one here.

One last thing - as I read the book, the dialogue for Queeg sounded like Bogart and Maryk sounded like Van Johnson and Keefer sounded like Fred MacMurray and Barney Greenwald sound like Jose Ferrar and I think I liked it that way.

It could have been worse.


Cool Images of the Moment

You will want to follow the link and see vintage national parks posters from the 30's. Love the colors, the composition and the fonts.

There are eight or so posters shown at the National Geographic website, but a Google search yielded the images of many more, and sites where you could buy some. It would be nifty to find some items like these in a local shop or flea market. They would look nice in office here at the house.



What Is A Prokhorav?

With the current NBA free agent frenzy going on now, this article about one of the key persons in the drama was interesting to me.

Mikhail Prokhorov is a billionaire from Russia and he now owns the New Jersey Nets, which will soon be the Brooklyn . . . uh, . . . . whoevers. The fact that there will be a team in Brooklyn some day is pretty neat, as far as I am concerned.

I am intrigued by how a person who is as successful as this guy is thinks and what makes him different. I found one of his statements very interesting:

"I don't use a computer. We have too much information and it's really impossible to filter it."

You there, reading the computer! What do you think?

You can read the article here. Language warning applies.

Taste and See

My lovely bride and I were reading a selection from John Piper's Taste and See the other day. One portion was especially good for my soul and I'd like to share it. It's a quote from John Owen.

"The revelation of Christ deserves the severest of our thoughts, the best of our meditations and our utmost diligence in them . . . "

There was more, of course, but this was enough to spur my heart and prick my conscience.