* This is my 365th blog posting. I’m not sure what that means, except that it means that you could fill up year with my blog posts. I’m still not sure what it means.
* I’m not handling my nerves well today in anticipation of the Cardinals-Braves game later on today. I get hyper when I’m nervous. I start to talk a little bit like a teenage girl. As if. See, I told you. It becomes even harder than normal for me to focus and I snap at people on a whim.
* One of my friends called earlier about maybe going out and watching the game together. At a bar, I presume. Not a good idea. First of all, there are these nerves that seem to have lives of their own. Secondly, there is the alcohol-factor. Not that I consume great amounts of alcohol regularly, but even a small dose in tense situations makes my edge even more pronounced.
* I’m making myself sound like a basket case, which I’m not. I’m really a pretty grounded guy when it comes to watching the Cardinals. It’s not like I’m flipping out on every pitch. This has been such a difficult season because of the team’s numerous ups and downs. So I’m doing my best to view this game today as a bonus. I think I’ll be OK.
* Let’s switch to talking about the Kansas City Royals, perennial losers. I’m not sure why I threw in those last couple of words except that I’m on edge. And when that’s the case, I lash out. This is not a new development. Anyway, the Royals finished the season at 72-90 and we all agree the team needs to bolster its starting pitching staff to make significant improvement. Here are a few moves to get this staff in working order. 1) Do not allow Luke Hochevar to ever set foot again in Kauffman Stadium; 2) Sign St. Louis Cardinals free agent
Kyle Lohse to a four-year, $50 million contract. He’ll probably be looking for $60 million so perhaps you can meet him in the middle at $55 million. But Lohse (who happens to be starting today’s game for the Cardinals against Atlanta) is a quality pitcher who knows what he’s going; 3) Sign free-agent pitcher Jake Peavy, who logged more than 200 innings this season for the Chicago White Sox, to a three-year, $45 million deal.
* Lohse and Peavy give the rotation immediate credibility. Yes, they’re expensive. And neither is young. But they can anchor the staff while the young arms in the organization continue to develop. If the Royals were to open 2012 with a rotation of Lohse, Peavy, Felipe Paulino, Danny Duffy and Jeremy Guthrie/Bruce Chen, would that be the worst rotation in the world? No, it would have a chance to be a good rotation. But how much will owner David Glass go out and spend for pitching? That’s the key question of Kansas City’s off-season.
* The new “USA Today” design is growing on me. But I’m still not sure I like it.
* October is my favorite month.
* Hey, did you watch my St. Louis Rams play last night? Not bad, huh? The Rams look like a really good defensive team with a still-developing offense. I like a lot of what I see, but I’m still not sure about third-year quarterback Sam Bradford. I wish I was sure about him. I do like rookie wide receivers Brian Quick and Chris Givens. I think they’ll develop. And how about kicker Greg Zuerlein and punter Johnny Hekker, also rookies? Dare I say it’s an exciting time to be a Rams fan?
* I like Kansas State to beat up on Kansas pretty good tomorrow morning in Manhattan. But I don’t think it’ll be a blowout, unless you think something like 37-14 qualifies as a blowout. That’s a borderline blowout to me. I think KU’s running game – provided Charlie Weis doesn’t go away from it too early – can control the football for stretches. If Dayne Crist is forced into more than 25 or so passes, KU is in big trouble. Run, run, run is the only way the Jayhawks can be close in this game.
* Weis is very good for the Kansas-Kansas State rivalry. It’s great that he’s made mention of it so prominently in this week leading up tp the game.
* I’m thinking about going on an Alaskan cruise next spring or summer. Good idea?
* I’ve been around a bunch of coaches and athletes during my long newspaper career. But I find myself thinking about and wondering about Bill Snyder more than anyone I’ve covered. The man fascinates me. I’m going to work on a “Friends of Bill” column for next week, talking to some of the people who supposedly know him best. I’m looking forward to it.
* I also think about my wife a lot. Just to clarify. Wanted to make that abundantly clear.
* The season premiers of “Dexter” and “Homeland” on Showtime were outstanding. I think Clare Danes is on par with Meryl Streep as an actor. I have a feeling some of you are going to disagree with me on that one. But I stand by my opinion, which as an opinion writer is something we’re taught to do. It’s true that Danes doesn’t have the body of work of Streep. But she’s 30 years younger. Let’s see where Danes’ career goes. I have high hopes.
* Has anyone in Hollywood turned around a career more than Ben Affleck? Weren’t we thinking he was washed up a few years back? Now he’s not only one of the hottest actors, but one of the most successful directors. I’m very much looking forward to seeing his latest, “Argo.”
* I love Mumford and Sons. I just downloaded their new release, “Babel,” to my iPod. Yes, I know how to do that stuff, even at my age. I don’t remember liking a band this much in quite some time. Their musicianship is incredible.
* “Top of the World” by the Carpenters is stuck in my brain at the moment. Please don’t tell any of my macho friends. I don’t want them to think less of me.
* Come on, Kyle Lohse. Don’t let this be your last game as a Cardinal.
* College basketball season is right around the corner. As I was typing that, it struck me how much I don’t like the term “right around the corner.” But I used it anyway.
* I’m going to Lawrence next week for KU’s basketball media day to catch up with Perry Ellis. I think Ellis will have a very good freshman season for the Jayhawks, something like 10 points and six rebounds per game. The freshman at Wichita State I look forward most to seeing is Scott City guard Ron Baker, who was a red-shirt last season.
* I had a nice chat today with former Kansas quarterback David Jaynes, one of the inductees Sunday into the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame. Jaynes finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1973 and passed for 5,132 yards in his career. He’s made a bundle in real estate and is married to the widow of legendary actor Cary Grant. Interesting guy.
* Thanks for reading. I’ve hit you with a lot of stuff today as my mind wanders from the Cardinals to the Carpenters to Bill Snyder to chocolate pudding. At least I spared you the chocolate pudding banter. Have a nice weekend. I’ll be live and alive tomorrow in Manhattan for the 11 a.m. kickoff between KU and KSU.