A Night of Champions

Things that I will remember from Friday night:

Driving from my apartment with The Lady Friend to my buddy Mozzy’s house during the 7th inning, the streets of Dogtown deserted – the clerk at Patrick’s Liquor Store asking why in the world we were buying beer and weren’t watching the game. Had to reload, dude. Priorities.

Not being able to sit during the ninth inning, worried that the Tigers were going to pull off an improbable comeback, sending the Cards to game 6 and me to the hospital with a heart attack.

Watching Brandon Inge flail helplessly at Wainwright’s first pitch and saying “this guy’s a strike out waiting to happen. We’re actually going to do it!”

Screaming wildly and hugging liberally as soon as Yadi squeezed that last pitch.

Letting out an "IN YOUR FACE, SPACE COYOTE!" after we won, and wondering if it's odd that I am so ingrained with the Simpsons that I let out obscure non-sensical quotes during times of triumph.

Champagne. Lots and lots of champagne.

To Nick's Pub...

Irish Carbombs.

“Celebrate” by Kool and the Gang.

More Irish Carbombs.

Much more “Celebrate.” In total, I believe it was played twenty times continuously while we were at Nick’s Pub. Strangely, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Oh dear God... More Irish Carbombs.

A continuous barrage of high fives and hugs.

At least 10,000 text messages. Maybe more.

A congratulatory phone call from my buddy Nate, as hardcore a Cubs fan as there is. One of these years it will be your turn, bro.

Meeting up with old friends and making new ones.

Walking home in 30-some-odd degree temputure and not feeling an ounce of cold in my bones, completely and totally warm and content in the sweet, reaffirming warmth of a championship.

Waking up in the morning as hung over as I had ever been in my life; and never feeling better about it.

There are few moments that I can clearly recall in my life that made me feel as well or better. My high school basketball team winning the first Regional title in school history; flying into Peoria's airport for the first time after the war; watching the Illinois v. Arizona Elite Eight game in ’05; sneaking out of a wedding to watch the ND v. GaTech game with an old childhood friend that I randomly ran into; drinking wine at the lake house with TLF – those all come to mind.

I’m sure there have been others just as I am sure there will be more to come. But that Friday night – all weekend really – is going to stay in my memory for quite some time.

It's what we as fans live for… and it does not come often. This is the first Championship any of the teams I actively root for has won in my adult life. And with the shape most of them are in, I’m not exactly in the position to look forward to any more any time soon. So I’ll relish in it. Yes, paying hundreds of dollars on World Championship merchandise is a little foolish, but once every 24 years I think it is perfectly fine to be more than a little foolish.

Where does it go from here? I don’t know. In a perfect life, the Cards winning the title would coincide with me doing something weird, like boarding a plane for Fiji and joining a professional body boarding tour. This weekend would have been the perfect closure moment.

Alas; I’m back at work, rents due tomorrow, and life as before continues. Just without baseball for a few months.

It’s weird: We spend 8 months of the year watching these guys every night, reading about them every morning. They become, unbeknownst to them, a part of our lives. Carp, Scotty, Belli, Jimmy, Pujols – they’re there, in our living room, with us every night through the spring, summer and fall. Then they're gone for the winter.

But life goes on…

‘Bout 110 days till pitchers and catchers report, no?




Oh, That Tyler Johnson! He's Incorrigible!

I'll write something more for tomorrow morning -- honestly, my head is still awrapped in joy --my brain is still swimming in beers, champagne, and pinot.

Scenario... does not... compute... Scenario... does not... compute...

But I did want to drop this gem on you from yesterday's victory rally:

"I would also like to say that I was not personally responsible for the actions of Tyler Johnson and Chris Duncan between the hours of midnight and six on Saturday morning." - Tony La Russa, in what I believe has to be the quote of the year.

Also, the irony that Tony, a guy who wears sunglasses at night as if he was some sort of biker/vampire/Corey Hart combination, was not sporting shades on what was indubitably the brightest day in recent memory, is not lost on me.




Eleven Down, And That's Fucking It!


Speechless. Without Words.

More... Later.



Ten Down, One (!) to Go

Cards 5, Tigers 4

Dear America,

Please do not judge my fair town on what you have seen and heard at Busch Stadium over these past few nights. We do not normally listen to The Venga Boy's "We Like to Party" three times a day. Why someone chose that song and not, say, "Eminence Front" by The Who, or, hell, any other halfway decent non-suicide inducing songs; I have no idea.

Also, why we hear DJ Casper requesting 50,000 people to "Clap your hands" 27 times a game is beyond me. I am looking forward to this series being over as soon as possible, and a large part of that desire is so I can stop hearing horrible techno music, stop looking at people with felt taped their face, and stop dreaming about committing hate crimes against John Mellencamp.

Please, Cardinals, end this thing tonight at stop the insanity.

Alex Fritz
Chairman of Pretention /Good Music Division
St Louis (Dogtown) Chapter

[have a great, world series clinching weekend, kids. don't forget to vote on who sucks more: mencia or rapaport. it's neck and neck right now; results will be out next week. go cards!]




Battle of the Sucks

Last night's rainout did two things:
  1. Allowed me to take a much needed nap before heading into the office.
  2. Forced me to watch more of "The War at Home" than I had ever planned on watching. Which was about 10 minutes.
I loathe (loathe) Michael Rapaport. Have ever since he was on "Murphy Brown." A mid-90's "MTV Rock n' Jock B-Ball Jam" appearance (which I may or may not be imagining -- I put too much peyote into my pasta last night) didn't help matters and the "hip teacher role" he had on "Boston Public" sealed his place in my book: The man sucks out loud and is about as funny as getting punched in the crotch.

But about a year ago, someone just as horrible burst onto Comedy Central. He was being marketed as the latino Dave Chapelle -- fresh, edgy, funny, in yo-face! -- unfortunatly, most of his material was about as original as Gallagher smashing a melon and telling a Dan Quayle joke. His name, of course, is Carlos Mencia.

Two men -- neither of whom are even remotly funny -- who get paid (with money!) to make people laugh. And fail miserbly.

Now, after thinking it over, I can not decide who I like less. Steam is shooting out of my ears right now as I try to form an opinoin of who is less funny. The only thing I can think about is how much these two assclowns are ruining America. So I leaving this one up to you, Internets. Who ya got?



Quick World Series Thoughts

Belliard's afro disappearing before Game 3 is sad on too many levels to count.

Every day I go into work, I drive by my company's skywalk over I-44 which has glowing letters reading "GO CARDS." And almost everyday of the playoff's, we have been allowed to wear Cardinals jerseys and tees into work. Hell, even The Lady Friends company, which abides by a strict business-business dress code, is letting their employees wear Cards stuff this week.

It's as if the entire city of St. Louis is one giant High School and the World Series is cause for one giant pep-rally.

I love this fucking town.

Someday, I will go through puberty. And when I do, I can not wait to grow a playoff beard. With the exception of Chris Duncan's Klopek-esque monstrosity, I am thoroughly enjoying the playoff beard phenomenom here in the StL.

Since it is highly likely that Game 5 will be Jim Edmonds last game at Busch wearing the Birds on the Bat, I really do hope that Jimmy Baseball gets a standing O for every single thing which he does during the game.

If you're in attendence, please make it happen. Even though I am 26 years old and it's weird to be such a fan of a guy who is pretty much my age; Jimmy Baseball has officially reached the point of "My Favorite Cardinal Ever."

He has been so clutch since 2000 and given so much of himself to the team and to the city... Lets remind him of why he signed that "Hometown Contract" right after he got here.

I honestly doubt we will ever see a better CFer roaming the lawn for the Cards again any time soon... if ever.

And good God has he ever come up clutch in this postseason?

If this week is indeed his swan song, let him hear it, Cards fans.

We will miss you if you leave, JimE. Even if you wear eyeliner, belly shirts and a jacket under your jersey.

Thanks for being around now.



I'm not saying Fernando Rodney was high as all shit-out during last night's game, but the last time my eyes were that bloodshot, I ate 22 tacos, drank 9 Sprites, and jerked off into a pile of leftover breakfast casserole.

Johnny Cougar: I used to love ya, man. I saw you at Farm Aid '97 and after Neil Young got done lecturing the whole crowd and brought us all down below the Earth for being nothing but a crowd of wasteful and ugly Americans; your Americana folk rock set was just what the doctor ordered.

I also saw you play a show at Assembly Hall in Bloomington, IN during the Little 500 in Spring of '98. It knocked my proverbial socks off.

That being said, this whole hostile takeover of the World Series by you and Chevy is too much. I'm cutting ties with you and your entire catalog for the next five years.

It will be better that way.

I can't wait for the musical stylings of one Billy Ray Cyrus tonight.

And, no, that's not a joke.

(Actually, the "I can't wait for it" part is a joke. The fact that Billy Ray will be performing at Busch tonight is not.)

Seriously,… can any of you actually believe that this Cardinals team is two wins away form a Championship? Unbelievable.

What a weird freaking season.

Between FOX's radar gun picking up Suppan at 92 and Zumaya at 103 during their respective CS's... and now with Anthony Reyes clocking out at 85 and Zoom at 99, I will not be shocked if FOX has Soup throwing a -28mph changeup tonight.

Do you want to know how inaccurate the "FOX TRAX" box is? They actually have me being listed as sober when this picture was taken:

As always, Go St Phils Tigers... Go St Louis Cardinals!

(And, since that pic was taken while doing a super rock out to ELO's "Showdown" and drinking a strong to very-strong vodka-lemonade on an unforgetable but barely rememberable Saturday night: "Go Dogtown House Parties!")




Nine Down, Two to Go

Cards 5, Tigers 0

Bravo, Carp. As I wrote earlier this summer, when he's on, he's the best there is. Tonight was vinatge Carpenter; Limited Edition World Series '06 Blend.

It's now a four game series. All the Cardinals have to do is manage a split, and they're the World Fucking Champions.

Good Lord, that sounds weird.



Keys To Game Three

For the Cardinals to win Game Three, they must concentrate on four things:

  1. Get to Nate Robertson early. His last long lay off start was post All-Star break, when he had a ten game layoff and gave up six runs over 6 & 2/3 innings.
  2. Somehow get Todd Jones into the game. If I was a Tigers fan, I probably would have framed him for arson by now, just to keep him from closing out games.
  3. Let Juan Enc and P-Dub have a game off. Both of them have looked horrendous both at the plate and in the field the last two games. Let Speeeeze and So get a start. Or wait until game 4 and let J-Rod and Duncan tee off against Bonderman.
  4. To win the game, they must vanquish fear. To defeat fear, they must....

Wrestle Cousin Mose to the ground!

Okay, you don’t have to wrestle... Just get in the coffin.





Ah, Saturdays...

Quit yelling at me, Kenny Rogers!



Eight Down, Three to Go

Cards 7, Tigers 2
I have a hard time believing this is actually happening.




Ya Mo Be There


This is what I wrote on August 16th, not too long after the Cards had finished off their second eight game losing streak:

“Are they going to make the playoffs? I’d say yeah, but probably only by default, since the rest of the NL is just flat out terrible.

Are they a World Series caliber team? Well, if the ‘04 squad wasn’t good enough to win it all, I don’t see how this team possibly could be.

But here’s the catch: Maybe, just maybe, come October, Cardinal Nation’s hopes will be rewarded. I’m not saying it will happen, but every year there is some stupid fucking storyline for a team in the World Series; be it the 2005 Astros who had been left for dead in the regular season or the 2004 Red Sox who had been left for dead in the ALCS; or the overachieving Marlins in ’03 and Angels in ’02.

That’s the rub: That if this struggling Cards squad could put it all together at the right time, get all of their pistons firing and get hot, they could very well make a run to the Series...

It would be that stupid fucking storyline that the rest of the country gets sick of by the second day.

That could be us, Cards fans... Annoying the whole lot of America!

So, um… Go Cardinals!”

Much like when Homer predicted that the doomsday comet would burn up in the atmosphere and end up being smaller than a Chihuahua, I got that one right. And, again like Homer Jay, that scares me.

But you know what? Fuck it, we’re here. World Series. With this bunch of underachieving cast-offs and chumps.

Thank you, Yadi. Thank you, Soup.

Thanks, Randy. And thanks, Wainer.

Unfuckingbelievable. The highlight of the night? Stepping out onto my balcony to scream obscenities at Neighbor Matt after Wainwright broke Beltran’s ankles on a patented nasty deuce to lock up the series, only to see drunken kids running up and down the street yelling, folks on balconies pounding alcohol, and all around shenanigans reigning supreme.

I fucking love my neighborhood.

Now it’s onto the Tigers. Longtime friends of the blog Michelle and JTL have long been loyal Detroit fans, and I enjoyed watching the Tigs play all season; and realizing it has certainly been a magical summer for the good people of Detroit, I’m sorry that the Cards have to be the ones to finish it off for them.

Actually, all I want is a seven game series and for Joel Zumaya to be secretly traded to the Cardinals this afternoon. And a BLT. And a beer.

Is that too much to ask for? I think not.

[have a great world series weekend, kids. go cards.]



Seven Down, Four to Go

Cards 3, Mets 1
"What's the deal with airplane peanuts?" Jeff Suppan, NLCS MVP and stand up comedian.
Congratulations to your National League Champions, the Saint Louis Cardinals.




The 2006 NLCS Game 6: Mets 4, Cards 2

"I can recall nothing else that I have coveted for two decades (what else is there that can reasonably be coveted for that long?), nor can I recall anything else that I have desired as both man and boy. So please, be tolerant of those who describe a sporting moment as their best ever. We do not lack imagination, nor have we had sad and barren lives; it is just that real life is paler, duller, and contains less potential for unexpected delirium." - Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch

And last night's game makes can make it all the fucking sweeter tonight.

Go Cards.

Go Soup.




Six Down, Five to Go

Cards 4, Metros 2

I'd love to say that this is exactly where we, as Cards fans, want to be: Up three games to two and with all the momentum in the Midwest pushing the Cardinals charter plane a couple hours northeast to Shea. Hell, we are right were we want to be... gotta win one of the next two, and while the Mets are throwing out the likes of John Maine and some sort of frankenstinish combination of Darren Oliver/Oliver Perez, we've got our best two pitchers going.

And one of those guys' luggage is extra heavy because he's weighed down by the many pitching awards he has won over the last two seasons. The other fella? He has balls the size of honeydews, once got a blumpkin from Roger Clemens, and has bedded more women than you have even heard of. Plus, our closer's gotta bigger crotch than anyone this side of Kyle Farnsworth.

That's good odds for the men in red, but heeeeres what worries me: These are the last three "big momentum" games from the last two NLCS's'ss's(s):

  1. Game 5 of the 2004 NLCS - Jeff Kent's walkoff against the Cards, which led to:
  2. Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS- Jimmy Edmonds' walkoff against the Astros.
  3. Game 5 of the 2005 NLCS - In which Albert Pujols ate Brad Lidge's career like a bag of Sun Chips and washed down his soul with a grape soda (fuck, I'm hungry).

Of those three games, the team with all of that precious momentum which the national press cares ever so much about has won their next game only once. So all the "mo'" in the world isn't going to help the Cardinals at Shea tonight

As the late, great Earl Weaver* once said "momentum is only as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher."

Luckily, the Cards got Carp going tonight.

I'll be down at Nick's Pub with the kids if youse St Louis folks wanna party...Should be fun.

"What about work, Al?" you wonder.... Well, let's just say "I think I'm getting the black lung, pop... [cough, cough]"

*Note - Earl Weaver is not actually dead.




Your Wiki Article For The Day

An excerpt from the genius that is the Ultimate Warrior's Wikipedia page (this is in regards to the Warriors failed comic book venture):

"The comic's most enduring issue, and the one which has received the most ridicule and is now worth the most money, is one of the final issues, which breaks away from the main storyline into a Christmas tale. The plot of the comic is hard to decipher, as it contains no dialogue, monologue, or text boxes. Inexplicably, Warrior attacks the North Pole, usurps Santa Claus' authority over the elves*, and in the final frame, which gained the comic its enduring popularity, a sweaty Warrior forces Santa into bondage gear and poses beside him. The apparent sexual undertones, lack of an actual plot, and non-sequitur nature (nothing from the previous issue served to segue into the Santa attack issue) gained the comic cult popularity, especially on the internet. Though nothing sexually explicit is depicted in the comic, some fans have come to describe it as the "santa rape" issue; more commonly, it is referred to as "the one where Warrior puts Santa in bondage.""

*I can not read through this article without losing my shit when I read that line.



Sarcasm at the Ballpark

There have been three times in my life where I have either said or done something so utterly ridiculous at the perfect moment for such action, that I look back on it not only the next day; but for weeks, months and years to come and still bust out laughing.

The first would be at my senior year prom in high school, when I stood up at my table after our meal, got everyone in the banquet halls attention and said "I'd like to give a toast... To the worst steak I've ever had!" followed by a deafening silence by the wait staff of the restaurant and the chaperones in attendance, which was broken only by a few of my friends laughing at what a jackass I was.

The second time was when I was in the Marines, living on a boat, and frankly a little crabby. Some kid came out of nowhere, wanting me to do some manual labor or something and asked me what my job was. My response: "I'll tell you what I don't do... I don't ask stupid fucking questions. But do you want to know what I do do? I mind my own fucking business." That kid never bothered me again.

The last time I honestly entertained myself was when I was in Spain and walked up to an old Spanish couple and said "Donde esta la biblioteca?" They promptly answered my query, at which point I smiled at them and said "Did I say biblioteca? I meant discoteca!" And then I started dancing around them and ran away. Yes, I had been drinking.

Now, I'm not saying any of those three instances were funny in their own right, but they were three times when I either said or did exactly what the situation called for, and for whatever reason, they stick out in me memory.

Which brings me to last nights beisbol game. Mozzy and I were sitting out in the left field bleachers, the Cards were getting their asses kicked, the sound crew at Busch were playing unbelievably bad techno music the whole time, we were surrounded by idiots, and I was kind of hoping that my head would explode, not only so I didn't have to watch the game anymore, but so the morons around us would have to wash not only their face paint off after the game, but also my blood, tissue, and brain matter. (too much?)

Anyway, with the Mets ahead 5 to 2 in the fifth inning, NY pitcher Oliver Perez came to the plate with two on and two out. Randy Flores was pitching for the Cardinals and he let Perez get ahead in the count when one of the hicks sitting behind me said "Come on Flores, get this guy... this guys swings the bat like...a guy... who... doesn't swing a bat real well."

"Or," I said, "he swings a bat about as well as you make an analogy."

And that was the fourth time in my life I have said exactly the right thing and at exactly the right moment. I leaned forward in my bleacher seat and shared a laugh with the guys around me. I took a nice cold pull off of my Budweiser and relished in the sarcastic moment. I could not have been any prouder.

As for the game itself? Lets just say it made me want to puke. And not in a figurative kind of way.

But this little league-esque picture of Juan absolutely kills me:

Look how happy he is!




Five Down, Six to Go

Cards 5, Metropolitananananas 0




Four Down, Seven to Go

Cards 9, Mets 6

"So Taguchi's coming out party" - Pat Imig

"Maybe he has some secret Japanese steroids that we don't even know about" - The Lady Friend

"Best game ever" - Al Fritz

By the way, and I don't know if anyone out here in the Internets can answer this question, but what song does Adam Wainwright have play when he comes in to close out games at Busch? Whatever it is, he needs to have it replaced with My Morning Jackets "One Big Holiday."

Why? Because this song makes me want to run through a fucking brick wall. That's why.




Al Fritz v. A Terrorist

Way back when, in the days before I was officially labeled a “nuisance” by the city of Tera Haute, IN, I held a top-secret national security clearance. Apparently if you wanted to spend your time in the Marines sitting on your ass playing video games and watching “The Postman,” it was required.

So, I had one. Didn’t really do much with it, natch, but it was there. When I did use it is was normally to browse the gov’s version of wikipedia and find out all sorts of cool scat. One day I happened upon this cat, who has recently popped back up in the news, and read over his file on the gov-wiki.

What did I learn? Simply put, Adam Gadahn was a nerd growing up. That’s all there is to it. A lot of kids who grow up as nerds simply feel the need to belong later in life. Some will join gangs, others be summer camp counselors. Some will go all fucking Columbine on their classmates, others will study computer programming and become insanely rich. Some, like Adam Gadahn, will join al queda (!) But no matter what, they will still be nerds at heart.

I should know. Because for the last 26 years, I too have been a nerd.

So I got to thinking… Are Adam Gadahn and I really so different?

Yes. Yes we are. But which one of us is better? That's a better question... Let’s break it down, tale of the tape style:

Al Fritz versus Adam Gadahn

Was Raised:
Al Fritz: Irish Catholic in Peoria, IL
Adam Gadahn: Jewish/Christian (original last name was“Pearlman”) on a goat farm in Cali
Winner: Al Fritz - Sorry, goat farms of America. You aint got nothing on the 4am bars of P-Town.

Now Practicing:
AF: Half Buddhist/Half Catholic (mainly for the fish fries and beer busts)
AG: Essentially Wahhabism
Winner: AF -Fish fries and drinking canned beers will win any battle.

As a teenager:
AF: Listened to a lot of Phish
AG: Worshiped satan
Winner: AF -Satan, huh? Yeah, that's well adjusted.

Current job:
AF: Systems Administrator
AG: White dude in cave
Winner: AG -It may not look that great on a resmue, but "white dude in cave" does impress the ladies

AF: St. Louis, MO
AG: A hut, blank-istan
Winner: AF - St. Louis may not quite be the greatest city in the world, but it's pretty much better than any place in a blank-istan (With apologies of course to Kickassistan)

AF: A Honda Accord
AG: His hut mates crazy with his incessant Cat Stevens quotes
Winner: AG -Hondas aren't that cool to begin with, and when you compare them to Cat Steven's "Wild World" it's not even close.

AF: Like a king
AG: Like an al queda foot soldier
Winner: AF -I pretty much eat better than anyone I know, so I'm going to go out on a limb and guess I eat better than a dude who is probably living in a cave.

AF: Like a champion
AG: No booze for him. More for us infidels.
Winner: AF -Come on...

Gets Laid:
AF: Pretty much whenever
AG: Maybe, but they ain’t clean shaven!
Winner: AF - Another no brainer.

Internationally Known:
AF: No, but is known to rock a microphone.
AG: Yes.
Winner: AG -International fame bores me, so I chose not to do it. More power to 'ya, though.

Refers to God as:
AF: Pujols
AG: Allah
Winner: AG -But only because Pujols went 0-for-3 with a baserunning mistake last night.

Will be remembered by history for:
AF: Being a corrupt mayor of Peoria and freeing Tibet in 2038.
AG: Being killed.
Winner: AF -Freeing Tibet will be awesome. In your face, Richard Gere!

Has traveled to:
AF: Mexico, Cuba, Spain, Kuwait, most US states
AG: Pakistan, Afghanistan
Winner: AF - I have also seen a million faces, and I have rocked them all.

Facial Hair:
AF: Jeff Weaver's Soul Patch
AG: Jon Fishman's Weird Beard
Winner: AG -Someday, when I go through puberty, I too will have a beard.

AF: Thomas Dolby
AG: Usama bin Laden
Winner: AF -"Science!"

Favorite Albulm:
AF: Warren G, “Regulators… G Funk Era”
AG: Willa Ford, "I Wanna Be Bad"
Winner: AF -"This DJ, he gets down, mixing records while they go round... To the hip to the hop, you just don't stop, produce some funky tracks till it makes you drop."

Bares a striking resemblance to:
AF: A young Richard Dean Anderson
AG: My buddy Vince’s cousin Tony
Winner: AG -Cousin Tony destroys MacGyver in a smoke-off.

Is considered by many:
AF: Slightly overweight
AG: Bat shit insane
Winner: AG -Bat shit insane sounds kinda fun.

Lost his virginity in the hotel lobby of a Pensacola, FL Howard Johnson:
AF: Yes
AG: No
Winner: AF -I win that round against almost everyone.

And there we have it. 12 to 7, I am the clear winner here. In your stupid face Adam Gadahn!

We may have both grown up as children of the ‘80’s, but I clearly went on to have a better life. So let that be a lesson to you kids out there: Being a terrorist may look all flashy and glamerous on the TV, but it’s not. Get into computer networking… That’s where the real party is at!

Also, don’t get caught masturbating to your mom’s Family Circle magazines, you little shit.

[have a great chilly weekend everybody. go cards!]



"In Southeast Asia we'd call this kind of thing bad karma."

The Top-5 Rainouts of All-Time

5. July 9, 1989 – A skinny ballplayer already on his way to his second season with 40+ stolen bases in three years, Tony Gwynn discovered the novelty candy “Fun Dip” during a three hour rain delay against the Pittsburgh Pirates. By the end of the season, Gwynn had ballooned to 245 pounds due entirely to Fun Dip and Dad’s Rootbeer.

4. August 13, 1992 – Chicago Cubs rain delay. WGN shows an episode of “Charles in Charge” in which Jamie Powell gave me a boner. I was twelve at the time, so it’s not creepy or anything.

3. Early Summer, 2006 – I can’t remember the exact day, but the Cards had a lengthy rain delay earlier this summer and KTRS ran an earlier taped segment which featured Mike Shannon getting absolutely bombed and carrying on with a crew of other former players. It was some of the funniest radio I have ever heard. Although, really, that’s not saying all that much.

2. Somewhere, 1989 – Ray Peterson, Mark Rumsfield, Ricky Butler, and Art are unable to find incriminating evidence as to whether or not their new neighbors, the Klopeks, are indeed murderers when a downpour keeps them from rummaging through the Klopek’s trash.

(And I stand firmly behind my claim that “The Burbs” is the funniest movie not titled “The Jerk” ever made.)

1. October 11, 2006 – Cardinals v. Mets, Game 1 NLCS: Bumping the whole damn series back by one day, Chris Carpenter can now throw games 2 and 6 instead of 3 and 7. Game 6, if it gets that far, will be far more critical than game 7 as the Cards will either be up 3 to 2, or down 3 to 2 – it’s either a clincher or an elimination game. Either way, it's best to have your best pitcher start it.

And luckily for the Cards, their best pitcher is also the best pitcher still playing baseball.

Now, play ball! All of this waiting around in Boooooring.



A Day in the Life of Jose Vizcaino

We all knew that J-Rod has a playoff blog going on, but did you guys know that Jose Vizcaino has one, too? (I think it's down for maintenance or something right now.) Well, he does!

Here's his post about yesterday's off day in New York:

7:00 - Alarm goes off. Hit snooze.

7:35 – Finally woke up when I got a call from my old friend and teammate Willie Wilson (I can tell it’s him before I even answer because my phone plays “Quality Time” by Hi-Five whenever he calls.) Him and Shawon Dunston were out at a club last night and were talking about how they couldn’t believe I was still playing professional baseball. Well, I am. Bitches.

7:37 – Listen to “Hey Jealousy” by the Gin Blossoms on my Sony Discman. That’s my cut.

8:00 – Morning meeting with Toucan Sam and Harry Hood. Aunt Jemima is invited, but fails to show, as the Hampton Inn’s continental breakfast does not include hot items.

8:00 – 10:00 - Saved By the Bell reruns. Isn’t it weird that Zack was only of Indian descent for one episode? Also, I’m pretty sure “Max” was a pedophile.

10:00 – Called Tony La Russa and reminded him that I was 9th in the league in both singles and sacrifice flies in 1993. Tony loves stats, and I think this helps my case to start at short in the NLCS.

10:00 – 11:00 – Price is Right on CBS. If I was on Price is Right, I would hope for either “plinko” or “cliff hangers.” I’m really good at game shows, though. I actually got signed by the Dodgers after one of their scouts saw me win the physical challenge on Double Dare in 1986.

11:00 – Called Tony and reminded him of that home run I hit at Shea this year. That was a BOMB! I'm totally starting this series!

11:30 – Went down to Jimmy Johns and got the Sorry Charlie with extra sprouts. For some reason, the manager there kept asking me if I want a job. I kept telling him that I have a job (as a professional baseball player!) but he didn’t believe me. He said I retired eight years ago. I didn’t!

12:00 – Nap.

1:00 – Karate lessons.

2:00 – I headed down to the stadium to get ready for our workout. The security guard at Shea wouldn’t let me in. He said I haven’t played since 1996. I reminded him about my GAME WINNING HIT IN THE 2000 WORLD SERIES FOR THE YANKEES, and he told me I was crazy. Luckily, Preston Wilson was nearby and he could vouch for me. But then he just walked right past me, like he didn’t know who I was. I had to call Joe Pettini to come and get me.

5:30 – It took him three hours to show up, but Coach Pettini is a man of his word and he finally came to the gate and got me. He was on his way out though, and by the time I got to the locker room, everyone was already gone. That’s okay, though. When you’re a veteran like me, you don’t really need the practice. I’ve been here before.

6:00 – I made it back to my hotel. I wish I could stay at the same hotel as the rest of the guys, but they said it was sold out. That’s cool, though. This is a good chance for me to use those Hampton Inn points I’ve been saving up. Since I missed the workout at Shea, I decide to get some exercise.

6:45 – I finished up with my daily workout of 8,000 calve raises. If you kids out there want to play pro ball, you got to have strong calves, and nothing strengthens calves like calve raises. Some people will say the core muscles are most important. NO! It’s calves.

7:00 – Dinner time. Apparently the McDonalds here aren’t doing $1 Big Macs on Cardinal game days like they do in St Louis. That was how I was planning on making the $8 a day per-diem the team is giving me go the extra mile. Now I’ll have to think of something else.

7:10 – The Hampton Inn has free mustard packets and some leftover banana nut muffins from this mornings continental breakfast. Jose likes both of those things!

7:30 – Banana nut muffin and mustard sandwich not nearly as good as Jose thought it would be. Jose needs to lie down.

8:15 – Called WFAN to see if they want to talk about my GAME WINNING HIT IN THE 2000 WORLD SERIES FOR THE YANKEES. They do not.

8:17 – While I’m thinking of it, I call Tony and reminded him about my GAME WINNING HIT IN THE 2000 WORLD SERIES FOR THE YANKEES. I went straight to voice mail, but he is always checking his messages (at least he is whenever I try to talk to him) and I think reminding him that I am both CLUTCH and a PROVEN VETERAN will help my case for making the NLCS roster.

9:00 – Murder She Wrote is on!

10:00 – Called Tony again and reminded him that I hit .303 in 2002. Jose’s playing ball this fall, I just know it!

11:00 – Matlock.

12:00 – Writing this! Then it’s off to bed. I hope I start tomorrow. I know David Eckstein is scrappy and all but did he have a GAME WINNING HIT IN THE 2000 WORLD SERIES FOR THE YANKEES? NO! But guess who did? JOSE VIZCAINO!

Goodnight, fans!





Internet Playoff Tickets: A Battle For Good v. Evil

Once, as an idyllic teenager, I believed not only in the inherent goodness of the human race, but in the community integrity of America. While playing the role of Military cop, I quickly learned that when people are pushed back against the rope, they will turn on each other with the ferocity of a hungry wolf.

People are not good by nature. They are hungry, scared, and angry. Brutal.

Since then, I have seen the kindness that Americana can provide, the type of life and passion for others that Kerouac could ramble on about for dozens of pages, but those moments have been few and far between. When driving home for the final time from North Carolina, my car broke down in Appalachia. I got help from strangers, but it defiantly cost me more than it should have. Inherent goodness mixed with capitalism; the new American century.

I thought this weekend while waiting at baggage claim at the airport that the baggage carousel is truly the last bastion of hope for integrity in America. In reality, anyone could walk into baggage claim and probably take any and all bags that they see. But it never happens. Why? I have no idea.

So with those thoughts of integrity and honesty still fresh in my mind, I bought two tickets to Sunday’s NLCS Game Four. Bleachers, good seats. The rub? The guy who has them lives in Cali and is mailing them. I live in The Lou and am mailing my check.

The thought of doing anything worthy of monetary transfer on the Internet worries me. The lack of accountability and the prolific use of fake names concerns me to no end. That is the reason why I use my real name. I feel that people should be responsible for their own words and published thoughts, no matter how sophomoric they may be. If you used your own name, you would be more inclined to NOT write dumb ass shit. I know that this is not a viable option for all, but it is for me and I like to think it is what keeps me honest.

Anyhoo, I hope that my faith in buying tickets through this dude in Cali is rewarded. I spoke to him on the phone, he seemed on the up and up, so let’s hope he comes through. His address is also from a rather swanky region in San Fran, so either he has made his money scamming fly-over-staters like me, or he is just trying to pass his tickets off to some good, Cards loving fans.

Let’s hope it’s the latter.



October 6th-8th, 2006: A Successful Weekend

The Lady Friend and I recently completed our tenth and final wedding of 2006 up in the Twin Cities. Obviously, after eight or so weddings, things get old; repetitive and rather boring. I can only take so much dry chicken, bad wine, and cheesy music in 12 months, ya' know? Plus, if I had to drive out to the bastion of bland that is St Charles, MO for another freaking wedding, I was just going to snap.

So it was nice to head out of town for last weekend's festivities, a meeting of love between long time friends of the program Cookman and The Double J. TLF and I hopped a flight Friday morning, had a nice little lay over in Chicago where we nearly missed our flight (I actually did an OJ Simpson style jump over a suitcase while running between the K and H terminals in O'Hare, easily one of the top five most athletic moments of my life), and got into MSP around three. The good people at Enterprise had this beast waiting for us, and if you are in the market for an awesome SUV that gets 12 miles-per-gallon, I wholeheartedly endorse the 2007 Jeep Commander.

Things went well from there, besides the fact that I got lost approximately 18 times in one half hour (if Minneapolis had any more roads, I would have puked). We went into downtown and had dinner at one of TLF's clients restaurants, Solera. As per usual after eating at a tapas place, I somehow spent $90 on a meal for two and was still fucking starving afterwards, but I'm a chubby little bitch, so that's that. Good food, great wine, and better people. Thumbs up all around.

Afterwards we met up with friends and got cocked in the hotel bar, then did a tiny afterhours party featuring TLF, my buddy Tito and his blushing bride, Gulia, and myself, some wine, bud light, and a bottle of crown. As always, stupidity won in straight sets.

Saturday began well as a serendipitous blend of Cardinals baseball, Notre Dame football, and chicken wings all meshed perfectly together. Those good sporting times would be short lived, however, as we made our way to the church for some nuptials. It was a mixed-faith ceremony, with a non-denominational pastor representing the bride's side and a Catholic priest for the groom.

Before the ceremony started, the contrast in the two sides of the church was striking. While the bride’s side sat reverently and quietly; the groom's side, mostly Irish and Catholic, were busy cracking jokes, talking about the ND game, and bragging about how much whiskey they would drink that night. We're a fun bunch.

Cruised out after the ceremony, had some pre-gaming beers before the reception and took the shuttle over to the party. The reception starts off in high gear as the best man, Cookman's little bro, closes out a high-larious speech with the classic Jon Favreau Rudy quote "Who's the wild man, now!" From there, the night gets a little dangerous with a two man acoustic rock set followed up by a four hour dance-a-thon.

By the time midnight struck, I had a belly full of whiskey and wine, a dance floor crowded with some of my bestest childhood friends, and the inhibitions of a toddler. So when The Dan's "My Old School" hit, I (as well as many around me) lost it. Which led to this:

I am the dude in the pink tie, next to the Dennis Quaid looking gentlemen (that actually is Dennis Quiad). And not only is that the weirdest picture I have ever seen of me, it may be the worst photo ever taken. Of anyone. I'd like to thank Steely Dan, Jim Beam, and my patented photogenic skills for making it all come together into a nice, disturbing little package.

I'd love to say the night ended soon after, but it did not. We went hardcore afterhours, deep into the morning, bustling around the Marriot like only a hundred or so drunk, stoned and lively 20-something's can, much to the chagrin I'm sure of the Marriot staff.

How did the evening end? Like many a nights lost in my memory but vaguely familiar, with Tito dry humping some dude (in this case, my buddy Nate) while he tries to sleep:

Classy, as always. Did I mention that Tito is a lawyer? A slightly homoerotic lawyer with dependency issues, yes. But a lawyer through-and-through.

When I woke up Sunday morning, with The Lady Friend on one side of my pillow and a slice of pizza on the other, I knew it must have been a good time. And with that, and one last hungover trip home, with a stop in the ever generic airport bar at MSP, which I'd complain about any other time, but it's likeness to every other airport bar in America was ever so familiar and a welcome sight at the time; Wedding Season '06 was history.

And not a weekend too soon.

[Also, at this time I would like to thank my buddy Ryan Meismer who recommended grabbing My Morning Jackets "It Still Moves" albulm for my travels. I did and it rocks. "Mahgeetah" has been stuck in my head for five days now and I wouldn't have it any other way. I suggest you dear readers give it a listen. I also informed Ryan that I quite often get visitors to this here Internets rag by people googeling "Ryan Meismer", and, as it turns out, almost all of these searches are being done by a bat-shit crazy psycho ex-girlfriend of his. So, if you're reading this psycho ex-girlfriend of Meismer, yes, I know Ryan Meismer. He is a man among men, can run surprisingly fast, and he has a baby arm in his trousers. And he does not miss you, you freaking psycho.)


A Post With a Really Bad Segue!

I don’t write about my fantasy teams and or gambling endeavors very often, mainly because why in the name of Ronnie Belliard would you care about my fantasy teams (?), but also because… well, seriously, why in the hell would you care about my fantasy teams?

But, I will write a lil’ bit about them today, because I actually have good news and it will be the catalyst to one of the choppiest segues ever written. My “Lou Basso” team (named after the famous Peoria area soccer legend who went by the same ridiculous name) came in second place in my money baseball fantasy league (I’d like to thank Jon Papelbon, JJ Putz, K-Rod, Brandon Webb, Scott Kazmir, Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett, Kenny Rogers, Brett Meyers, and a host of rotating young starters for giving me one of the deepest fantasy rotations ever and allowing me to be competitive with zero to no offensive production) and if I can ever find a Bank of America ATM (I’ve gone five days without seeing one now. How is that possible?) to deposit my winnings, I will be a little bit richer.

And with Monday night’s Denver Broncos win, I officially went 14-0 in this week’s pick ‘em league and will be getting a nice three figure sized check for my efforts. What will I be doing with my new founded recreational gambling windfall? Normally, I would spend it all on whiskey, adult themed reading materials, and lotto scratch offs, but this year I think I’m going to splurge on some playoff baseball tickets.

As awful as this sounds, I found myself rather indifferent to getting playoff tickets when they went on sale this year. Maybe it was jadedness from going to so many in the past few years, maybe it was subliminal disapproval with how this Cards season ran its course, but I wasn’t really that upset when I received the electronic mail telling me to “go fuck yourself Al, no playoff tickets for you” (it may have been worded differently – I can’t remember).

But with this new swagger-ful Cardinals lineup, with their tiny beards and chewing tobacco, wicked sliders and do rags, the precision guided laser cannon that is Yadi’s right arm and Adam Wainwright’s intensity of ten cities… I don’t know where these guys were for the last four months, but I’m as happy as Josh Hancock at Ponderosa that they're here now. And I want nothing more than to see them live, in all of their cocky glory, in this new-fangled park of theirs, in the NLCS.

Watching the Cardinals locker room celebrate after Sunday night’s win from the home turf bar that is Nick’s Pub, it started to don on me that this is quickly becoming one of my favorite Cardinals teams ever. When within the span of five minutes, Fox 2 (whose helicopter is only half as good as Chopper 4) showed Chris Carpenter polishing off his Bud Light before answering any questions, a be-goggled Yadier Molina running amok, and Juan Encarnacion spraying one of the reporters with a bottle of Ten Bucks from a good twenty feet away and then walking towards him, laughing manically, before dumping the whole bottle on his head, I decided I really like this group.

After seeing the Wainer polish off a tall, cold Budweiser during one of his interviews, longtime friend of the show Mozzy turned to me and said “These guys are just a bunch of assholes.”

And he’s right. At least it sure as hell seems like it. These new look Cardinals are going out on the field with an air of “I don’t give a fuck” confidence to them. Belli, Yadi, Preston, Jimmy, Spiez, Enc, Weavs, and the bullpen brats are all playing as if there is nothing to lose. In the playoffs, sometimes it’s best to be loose; to play with no fear of letdown. They weren’t supposed to be here to begin with and they’re playing like it. It’s a thing of beauty.

And of course, without Carp or Albert, they wouldn’t be here. Hell, they wouldn’t be in the playoffs period without those two, let alone the NLCS. To make it to the Series, we will probably have to have a replay of the DS, with El Hombre getting 2 GWRsBI and Carp notching dos W’s. I’m also calling for more awesomness from Belliard, a breakout game or two from Chris Duncan, and Wainwright notching four saves. Cards in 7.

And with my newfound gambling success, hopefully I can make it into the stadium for one or two of those wins. Aside from a gold plated rocket car, and because “paying off bills” is a little too responsible for me, I can’t think of a better way to spend my disposable income.

Or, I could buy a bunch of lotto tickets and triple my winnings! Maybe I’ll just do that. I'd be an idiot not to!

[And yes, in the pic of Scott Rolen blowing his load (of bubbly), he is wearing a half shirt. Belly shirts and shoulder injuries will now define Scotty Ballgame's career. Awesome.]




Three Down, Eight To Go

El Hombre likeys el beers.
Tony is a towel head.
Muck the Fets.




"Why don't you purify yourself in the waters of Lake Minnetonka?"

I'm off to the Great White North to witness some nuptials -- Cookman and The Double J (loyal FYC readers have cyber-met them before) are finally tying the knot -- and I get to use my vast experience with playoff chokery to help out some ailing Twins fans. So I'll leave you with what I think about whenever I think of Minnesota: That funky little Johavan chap we call Prince.

Or, more specifically, Prince playing basketball.

[have a great playoff weekend, kids. go cards. go twins. go yanks. go a's. go tigers. go mets. go dodgers... fuck, go everyone! lets have some great cold baseball this weekend, huh? oh, and cards... serve the pods up like pancakes.]



Two Down, Nine To Go

Cardinals 2, Padres 0
Jeff Weaver... Big game pitcher?



NLDS Game 2 Preview

David Wells has gout. I once developed gout as well. Actually not me – my character on The Oregon Trail. In fact, I think I once died from it. Although that may have been scurvy or dysentery or one of those other pirate-esque ailments. I get them all mixed up.

Regardless, David Wells has gout and he is San Diego’s starting pitcher today.

This reminds me of my grandma’s last words. While lying in her hospital bed, she motioned for me to sit down next to her. She pulled me close and whispered frailly into my ear: “If you can’t beat a guy who missed his last start because of a case of gout, your team does not deserve to win the World Series.” At the time we thought grandma was just bat-shit crazy, but her words seem to ring rather prophetic now.


Let’s break this one down, Homer buying cursed dolls and frozen yogurt style:

The Cardinals are a paltry bunch when facing lefties like Ned Flanders, Hitler, and (unfortunately) David Wells. This is the Cards line against southpaws:

.264 Avg., .330 OBP, .401 SLG, .731 OPS. That’s bad.

But they are now 38-19 in day games. That’s good!

The Cardinals, on the other hand, start Jeff Weaver whose line against lefties is:

.340 Avg., .396 OBP, .609 SLG, 1.005 OPS. That’s bad.

But we still have Pujols, who is hitting at a .333 clip against Wells. That’s good!

But it’s in a ridiculously small sample size of 9 Abs. That’s bad.

But he’s still El Hombre. That’s good!

But don’t forget Jeff Weaver is still Jeff Weaver. That’s bad.

Also, Jim Edmonds is apparently trying to become an ambiturner. That’s good!

Too bad his line against lefties like Josef Stalin and David Wells is:

.156 Avg., .198 OBP, .281 SLG, .479 OPS. That’s bad.

Since I’m off of work the rest of the week, I can drink all of the beer in St Louis without a care in the world. That’s good!

So, in conclusion, this game will have a lot of ups and downs, ins and outs, and what-have-yous. My prediction? Padres 8 – Cardinals 6. That’s bad.

If you need me, I’ll be at Nick’s Pub, eating approximately 2,000 chicken wings and drinking a million beers. That’s good!




One Down, Ten To Go

Cards 5, Padres 1



161 Games From Hell (Or, The Cardinals 2006: A Season in Review)

A look back on the most memorable games of the season through the eyes of me, a 26 year old professional idiot:

April 12 – Brewers 4, Cardinals 3: The Carlos Lee Game. I remember this one mostly because John Rooney effed up and called Juan Enc’s fly out in the bottom of the 10th a homerun (in fairness, it was absolutely robbed by Lee) prompting many, many Cardinals fans to celebrate way too early. I learned that afternoon that John Rooney is hands down the most over stimulated man on the planet. He woke me up from at least a dozen naps this summer just calling a ground out to third.

April 16 – Cardinals 8, Reds 7: The first of many “Did That Just Fucking Happen” moments involving Jose Albert Pujols this season, his three homerun escapade on Easter Sunday led to a barrage of text messages and a lengthy phone call from Neighbor Matt, because sometimes talking about El Hombre is more fun than celebrating the resurrection of Christ. (and yes, Matt, you have now had your status officially changed from “Roommate” to “Neighbor.”)

(I love communicating with specific people over the Internets.)

June 2nd – 4th – Cardinals v. Cubs : I was in Kansas City for this weekend and it reminded me of what I hated the most about living out East: The inability to watch a Cardinals game at a bar. Luckily the Saturday game was on Fox, but still, chances are if I’m at a bar and the Cardinals are playing somewhere in the world, I do not want to conversate. I want to watch baseball. (Jesus… how in the world do I have any friends?)

June 28th – Cardinals 5, Indians 4: The end of the first of two seperate eight game losing streaks, this game is known around the area as "Seat Cushion Night II." Because you should really celebrate after your "closer" gives up three runs in the eighth and it takes an error by the other teams short stop in the ninth for you to win your first game in ten days.

July 16th - Cardinals 11, Dodgers 3: I threw up seven times on my way to, while at, and on my way home from the game that day. And lemonade was most definitely a BAD choice.

August 3rd – Phillies 8, Cardinals 1: The game which finally made me throw my hands up in disgust and just make fun of the team.

Marge: “Homer, it’s easy to criticize…”
Homer: “Fun, too.”

August 5th – Cardinals 4, Brewers 3: The end of the second of two separate eight game losing streaks, The Lady Friend and I actually had SRO for this game, but decided on our way out that it would be too depressing to go and see them lose another fucking game. Since it was also my birthday, we stayed home, listened to Shannon and Rooney call the game on the radio, and had friends over. I drank whiskey barefoot and acted like an all around madman. Because that’s not depressing.

September 30th – Cardinals 3, Brewers 2: The list both begins and ends with dramatic games between the Brewers and Cards. It’s like 1982 all over again! Last Saturday’s game was one of the best games I have ever been to. Just a fun freaking game. I literally, and I have no idea why, had complete and total faith that the Cards would somehow pull it out. This was not a feeling that I had too often this season, but on Saturday I was sure of it. I had faith in them. And when The Spiez hit a bases loaded triple in the bottom of the 8th, and bedlam ensued inside of New Busch, for the first time all season “The House that Hardees Built” finally felt like home. (Also, I would like to apologize to the rather timid man who was sitting next to me that I apparently freaked the hell out of after that triple. I had a couple beers and got excited, it happens. But I’m sorry that I hit you with a high five of death. Sorry.)

Then the season ended Sunday with a decidedly anti-climatic thud. The Redbirds lost, but it didn’t matter cause the Astros lost, too. My Division-clinching celebratory bottle of bubbly was popped, and that was a season.

A season from hell, sure. But a season nonetheless.

But Saturday’s game still has me riding high. Expectations are obviously lowered, but hope endures.

Hope that come the end of October, my liver will be a brick, my voice will be gone, and I’ll shake just typing. I will gladly be a shell of a man if it means a World Series championship.

Hope that “The Heat is On” is played repeatedly around the Lou, that Red tees will still be in style, and that drunken, celebratory make outs will be plentiful.

Hope that El Hombre can carry Cardinal Nation, that Carp can pitch as brilliantly as he is capable of, that Jimmy Baseball and Scotty Ballgame return to form.

Hope that Wainwright is everything we want him to be, that the role players can all somehow, someway put it together, that Chris Duncan hits a few balls 700 feet.

Hope that these bastards can do it. That they can muster up eleven wins in the next month.


Just freaking hope.




6 Out of 7 Aint Not Bad

I know how you feel:

Happy. Confused. Settled. Hungry. Drunk. Content. Horny. Delighted.


It's Monday. The Cardinals (somehow) won yet another Division Championship and are headed to the postseason for the sixth time in the last seven years. But, for the first time since 2001, they are going into October without something.


There's no pressure with these guys. It's just a bunch of kids (Yadi, The Bulge, PaDuncaDunc, El Hombre, B-Rad, Reyes, Kinney), bad asses (Juan, Ronnie, Scotty, Weaves, Preston, Scotty Spiez), and vets (Soup, Carp, Wild Turkey, Miles, Eck, Jimmy Baseball) going out there and playing ball. No, they weren't the best team in baseball.

In fact, they probably weren't even one of the best 15 teams in baseball. But, ya know what? Fuck it, mang.

Go out there and play ball.

You win 11 of your next 19, you're the World Champs.

Nothing to lose, Redbirds.

Go have some fun.

[I'll have some more about this based balls playoffs for you interntets loving kids later tomorrow, in the meantime remember that the Cards are far and away the most cursed team in this year's playoffs. Scary scat, right there.]


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"I'll be dead in the cold, cold ground before I recognize the state of Missouri."