Posted on: November 8, 2011 3:56 pm

Berkman: Astros' move to AL 'a travesty'

Lance BerkmanBy C. Trent Rosecrans

Lance Berkman won a World Series with the Cardinals, but he'll still be identified mostly with the Astros, where he spent the first 11-plus years of his career in Houston and in the National League. Berkman, a Houston native, isn't happy with the idea that the Astros could move to the American League.

"I think it's a travesty," Berkman said during a news conference on Tuesday (via the Houston Chronicle). "It's a National League franchise. I think if they were going to do something like that, Milwaukee's the choice to go back to the American League; they're historically an American League franchise.

"It's a shame, I think, that Bud Selig is probably going to make that be sort of a condition of the sale. I don't like it. Even when I retire and live here in Houston, I don't want to go watch American League baseball. I'd like to have a National League team."

There could be an ulterior motive -- Berkman hit .425/.477/.900 with five home runs in 11 games against the Astros in 2011 and .196/.274/.304 with one homer in 15 games against the Brewers.

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Posted on: November 7, 2011 7:11 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2011 7:14 pm

Rangers employee leaked Washington's speech

Ron WashingtonBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Rangers have found the culprit of the leak of Ron Washington's pregame speech before Game 7 of the World Series, but have not said whether that employee was fired, according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

The employee, a member of the team's traveling support staff, sent it to a friend, who then sent it on with it ending up on the website JoeSportsFan.com, a blog for a St. Louis radio station on Sunday.

"It's unacceptable," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told the newspaper. "It's a private meeting for the team, and a privilege to be a part of and a privilege to be in the clubhouse and have access to it. Very poor judgment. That's not what the meeting was for."

The speech contained quite a few nasty words from Washington, along with speeches from Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Nelson Cruz. Washington urged his team to move on from the Game 6 loss and stick together to beat the Cardinals in Game 7.

Washington was reportedly at home in New Orleans this weekend with his mother, Fannie Washington, who died on Sunday at 90.

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Posted on: November 6, 2011 3:08 pm
Edited on: November 6, 2011 3:12 pm

Ron Washington's Game 7 pregame speech leaked

By C. Trent Rosecrans

You ever want to be in a clubhouse before Game 7 of the World Series? Well, the website JoeSportsFan.com has you covered, as they were able to get an audio recording of Rangers manager Ron Washington's pre game speech to his team.

Warning -- there is quite a bit of explicit language, do not click if you're easily (or even moderately) offended by bad language, including the F word and several other naughty words.

Things didn't turn out like Washington or his team wanted, but you can see why his players like him. I'm sure some fans -- especially Cardinals fans -- will take issue with things he said, but keep in mind this is supposed to be private and between just the players and coaches, it's not supposed to be for public consumption, even if now the public is consuming it.

H/T: @drewsilv 

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:46 pm

Agent: Mark Buehrle open to any team

BuehrleBy Evan Brunell

It's always been assumed that free agent starting pitcher Mark Buehrle would either return to the White Sox or bolt for his hometown Cardinals, but his agent assured Fox Sports that the left-hander is open to joining any team.

Buehrle should be in demand this winter as he is coming off his 11th straight season of at least 200 innings pitched. He doesn't have the stuff that makes him an ace, but he can chew up innings and with his sharp control, the 32-year-old will be coveted. Agent Jeff Berry is doing what he can to open up Buehrle's market and says he may even prefer to pitch in the National League.

“Mark is not going to eliminate any team from free-agent consideration,” Berry said. “But having pitched 12 years in the American League, the National League certainly will have some appeal to him. There is no DH. It’s obviously less of a hitter’s league. And Mark has had great success in his career against the National League.”

Buehrle has a career 3.32 ERA against NL teams, running up a 24-6 record in 271 innings with 164 strikeouts and 50 walks. Compare that to his career, which sports a 3.83 ERA. It's no surprise that Buehrle is more successful against the NL than AL as you can say that about virtually any pitcher. But the soft-tosser may especially be suited to the NL and if he lands in a situation where his home stadium is a pitcher's park as opposed to Chicago's launching pad in U.S. Cellular Stadium, he could be in line for some impressive seasons.

The only NL team that has been attached to Buehrle other than his hometown Cardinals are the Marlins, who are on the hunt for a starting pitcher and have as manager Ozzie Guillen, who oversaw Buehrle in Chicago for eight seasons.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 1:06 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2011 9:05 pm

Retired La Russa: 'Need to get back in baseball'

La Russa

By Evan Brunell

"I need to get back in baseball somewhere," recently retired manager Tony La Russa said on ESPN Chicago, as transcribed by SportsRadioInterviews.com.

Despite retiring, La Russa isn't ready to completely hang up the cleats. Rather, he'd like to be involved somewhere.

“I think I don’t really want to retire immediately and just make a ceremonial visit here and there," he said. "I don’t want some kind of idle job that doesn’t do anything. I like responsibility. I like to wake up in the morning with something to do, so if there's some fit there somewhere, hopefully you get an opportunity then you prove you are really willing to work and you have something to contribute and then maybe you get more responsibility. That’s the way it is supposed to be, so I am not asking for any favors; just a chance.”

It sounds as if while La Russa is done managing, he isn't necessarily done being involved in baseball operations. Retiring as manager allows La Russa to do something different, as well as travel less and not have to worry about the day-to-day demands of a manager, but it's clear that his fire has yet to wane, if it ever will. La Russa, who began his career as White Sox manager, has been linked to the White Sox in an advisory capacity given his strong relationship with Chicago owner Jerry Reinsdorf, but La Russa doesn't see a fit in Chicago given the talent in the front office.

"I think they are really set up. I think that’s the problem," La Russa said. "You don’t want to go into some place that already has it figured out. They got it figured out.”

While La Russa waits for a job, he will be dropping the ceremonial first puck on Friday in an NHL game, when the St. Louis Blues host the Vancouver Canucks.

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Posted on: November 4, 2011 12:32 pm

Cardinals great Bob Forsch passes away at 61

ForschBy Evan Brunell

Just one week after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to Game 7 of the World Series, Cardinals legend Bob Forch has passed away.

Forsch collapsed at his home near Tampa, Fla. Thursday night and died suddenly. The 61-year-old suffered an aneurysm in his chest, wife Jan told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The right-hander pitched 15 seasons for the Cardinals from 1974 to 1988, winning 163 games to make him the third-winningest pitcher in Cardinals history. While he never sniffed winning a Cy Young, he did toss two no-hitters in his career, in 1978 and 1983. He also won two Silver Slugger awards in 1980 and 1987, but was not a good hitter beyond those seasons.

Forsch finished his career with the Astros, traded for Danny Walling on Aug. 31, 1988. Forsch did not pitch well with the Astros, but spent another season with them before hanging up his cleats at age 39.

Forsch ranks behind Bob Gibson (251) and Pop Haines (210) in Cardinals victories. He was an important cog for manager Whitey Herzog in the 1982 World Series victory, winning the first game of a best-of-five NLCS that ended in a Cardinals sweep. Unfortunately, he dropped two games in the World Series, but the Cards pulled out the series victory anyways. He also appeared in the 1985 and 1987 World Series for St. Louis.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 10:23 pm

Verlander tops at Players Choice awards

By Matt Snyder

Major League Baseball Players Association held its annual awards show Thursday night on MLB Network to reveal winners in 10 different categories. Tigers ace Justin Verlander was the big winner, taking home both the AL Pitcher of the Year and the MLB Player of the Year awards. This on the same night he announced he will grace the cover of a video game in the spring, so it was quite a night for Verlander.

Here's a complete list of the winners:

MLB Player of the Year: Verlander
Marvin Miller Man of the Year: Michael Young, Rangers

NL Outstanding Player: Matt Kemp, Dodgers
NL Outstanding Pitcher: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers
NL Outstanding Rookie: Craig Kimbrel, Braves
NL Comeback Player: Lance Berkman, Cardinals

AL Outstanding Player: Curtis Granderson, Yankees
AL Outstanding Pitcher: Verlander
AL Outstanding Rookie: Mark Trumbo, Angels
AL Comeback Player: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox

It's worth noting that this was the second time in three years Young has taken Man of the Year honors, which is given to a "player who inspires others to higher levels of achievement by his on-field performances and contributions to his community." The other nominees for that award were Paul Konerko of the White Sox and Adam Wainwright of the Cardinals.

Click here to view a complete list of the nominees on MLBPlayers.com.

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Posted on: November 3, 2011 3:50 pm

Rangers moving visitor's bullpen

Tony La RussaBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The visitor's bullpen at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington will be reconfigured next season to run parallel to the left center field fence, the same as the Rangers' bullpen, as opposed to perpendicular as it currently stands.

The noise in the visitor's dugout, of course, was a major sticking point in Game 5 of the World Series when Cardinals bullpen coach Derek Lilliquist couldn't hear manager Tony La Russa's instructions to get closer Jason Motte warmed up in the eighth inning of the Cardinals' loss.

CBSSports.com senior writer Danny Knobler wrote after the incident that one American League coach told him he understood how the mixup could happen, noting the bullpen at Rangers ballpark is hidden and there's no TV in the dugout showing who is warming up, as there is in other bullpens hidden from the dugout, like Cleveland's Progressive Field.

The team announced other changes, including new restaurants and a kids zone, as well as replacing some bleacher seats with individual seats.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com