The 2005 Cardinals: Year of the "WHO?"

Ladies and Gentlemen, the defending National League Champion Saint Louis Cardinals:

Outfielders John Rodriguez, Skip Shumaker, and John Mabry! Third Base Man Scott Seabol! Short Stop Abe Nunez! Second Baseman Hector Luna! Catchers Mike Mahoney and Einar Diaz!

Wait a second... who the fuck are these guys?

I had been meaning to write some sort of "Cardinals season-so-far" review for quite some time, and I thought about just changing some names and dates from last year's column, but I decided after last night's weird loss to Hammerin' Henry Blanco and the Cubs that this strange cast of characters now carrying the burden of the broken down superstars warrants a definite mentioning.

So here we go...a run down of the less-talented, less-injury prone role players who are propelling the Cardinals to what looks like another National League Central Championship:

Skip Shumaker- He came up for a cup of coffee in May, then was immediately sent back down to AAA Memphis, probably to never be heard from again. I have no idea why.

Mike Mahoney- For a catcher, the ability to call a game might be the most valuable skill one can have. And Einar Diaz might call the worst game this side of Cody McKay (FYI... Aside from Fernando Ramsey, Cody McKay is arguably the least talented player in the history of Major League Baseball. Just warrants mentioning.) If it wasn't for that, Mike Mahoney would not be in the big leagues. On the plus side: His name reminds me of Steve Gutenberg in Police Academy and if you Google " Mike Mahoney", you get this guy, who really likes bowls.

John Rodriguez- Nice fucking nickname. "J-Rod?" Real effing original. How about we just call you "Cocky Ass Douche-bag" until you erase your contrived, already-jumped-the-shark nickname off the backs of your shoes. Other than that, lightning in a bottle. Keep it up, dude.

Scott Seabol- He seems like a nice guy. Good citizen. Quiet. Keeps to himself mostly. Nobody ever suspected that he paid Hee-Seop Choi $15,000 to ruin Scott Rolen's shoulder.

Abe Nunez- You're telling me this guy couldn't start on nearly any other team in the bigs? Balderdash, I say. Abe Nunez is a pimp. If there was a math equation to describe him it would be: Hustle+Base Hits+tilde=Nunez.

Hector Luna- Hector enjoys cooking, reading romance novels, and traveling. Also, he really likes pinch-running and scoring. And I really like him doing that.

John Mabry- Another guy who could probably start on half the teams in the bigs, Johnny, as always, has been a steady contributor all season. Johnny Baseball also can hit opposite field triples, apparently. So he's got that going for him. Which is nice.

Einar Diaz- I'm going to do a compliment sandwich on this one. Einar, 1) Your name is really fun to pronounce, especially when I've been drinking. 2)You suck. You never know what pitch should be thrown and the pitchers can't read your signs, anyway. 3) I gave you a standing ovation when you hit that home run a week or two ago. I had a good time, you did a curtain call, good times were had by all.

There you are, kids. Those are the unsung heroes. God speed, gentlemen.

I considered doing a quick rundown of the bullpen, but I'm really fucking tired of hypertexting.

So there.

I've always admired John Mabry in the way I've admired Vlad Guererro, Moises Alou, Randall Simon, and (this one goes back a few years) Rance Mulliniks.

Can you guess why?
I'm going to go ahead and guess that you love the Mabes because he hates batting gloves.

Funny...Vlad has tough hands because he was made to pull cattle uphill by a thick rope as a child...Moises has tough hands because of his down right dangerous love affair with golden showers...So, why does Mabry not need gloves?

Also, Mark Grace really needs to be added to that group. Anyone who chain-pulls 4 packs of Camel Lights a day has hands way too tough and rugged for batting gloves.

I would add Jorge Posada to the list but... adding a Yankee to a list of players I admire would be like putting a Toto song on a mix-CD.
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