“I’m an idea man Chuck, I get ideas, sometimes I get so many ideas that I can’t even fight them off!” Bill, from the 1982 movie, “Night Shift.” That’s what I’m feeling.
Problem: Josh McDaniels isn’t allowed to teach his offense to his offensive players. Idea: Have McDaniels learn what the Rams did last year. If it’s true that everyone really runs basically the same plays with different names, McDaniels is smart enough to learn the West Coast offense. Then, Sam Bradford and his mates can walk in, even with two weeks to prepare, with a foundation for what the Rams are doing. And, McDaniels can slowly implement his plays and terminology, developing what head coach Steve Spagnuolo calls the “Ram offense. Isn’t it easier for one guy to learn the offense in five months, if there’s a lockout, than for 20 to learn a new one in two weeks?
Problem: The Cardinals lose Adam Wainwright for at least the 2011 season to Tommy John surgery. Idea (although not a new one): Use a platoon starting pitching system. Cardinals manager Tony La Russa has tried it before, as was described in a July 20, 1993, Seattle Times article:
“The Oakland Athletics manager last night unveiled a platoon system for his starting rotation that he and pitching coach Dave Duncan have been sitting on since they first discussed it 11 years ago while with the Chicago White Sox.
“La Russa, who has 13 pitchers on his active roster, scrapped the traditional five-man rotation for a nine-man rotation divided into three-man platoons. Todd Van Poppel, Ron Darling and Kelly Downs are in the first group; Mike Mohler, Bobby Witt and John Briscoe in the second; and Bob Welch, Shawn Hillegas and Rich Gossage in the third.
“Dennis Eckersley remains the closer in a four-man bullpen.
“Limiting each pitcher in the platoon to between 40 and 60 pitches, the system allows La Russa to send out each group on two days rest.”
For the Cardinals, it wouldn’t be as dramatic. Use Chris Carpenter, Jake Westbrook, Jaime Garcia and Kyle Lohse as your starting four. And when a fifth starter is needed, plan on either Kyle McLellan or Brian Tallett to start, but only for 40-60 pitches. The one not starting would follow, with Fernando Salas and Raul Valdez knowing they’re going to pitch, too.
Mitchell Boggs, Jason Motte, Trever Miller and Ryan Franklin would know they’re going to be in the bullpen every day, and there’s your solution. Get the innings from multiple guys rather than one.
Problem: The Blues have had remarkably inconsistent goaltending, and are getting Jaroslav Halak back soon. Idea: When Halak is activated, auction off Ty Conklin, whose contract is up after this season, send Ben Bishop down to Peoria, and get an NHL look at Jake Allen. Allen is ninth in the AHL in goals against average at 2.28, and has a sterling .928 save percentage. He’s the only goalie in the system that’s capable of being a No. 1 in the NHL some day. I’m not saying bring him up for good. I’m saying get a look at him, and get him a taste of NHL life.
Problem: NCAA president Mark Emmert says of college players, “They are student-athletes. They are not our employees; they don’t work for us. They are our students, so we don’t pay them.”
Idea: The main focus should be that they are students, and that they aren’t allowed to work. Emmert talks about enjoying the college experience, but doesn’t that include going out on a date, or going out for some pizza once in a while? Normal students can work part-time jobs, so why not allow student athletes a stipend for playing? Time they would spend working is spent in practice or on a field or court. How about taking part of that $785 million a year you’re getting on that new basketball tournament deal, and providing the kids the networks are paying to show about $50 a week? The hypocrisy is remarkable.
Oh, yeah, one more idea I got it! Take live tuna fish, and feed ’em mayonnaise! Oh, this is great.