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It is the time of year when we all reflect on the last 12 months of our lives and take stock of where we are.   We then, with all good intenti0ns, outline several life changes that we will make, and maybe they will last until the final college football game is played.   I see no reason why an obsessive Cardinals blogger shouldn’t do exactly the same thing.

So here are my New Years Resolutions for 2011

1. Learn to love the designated hitter

Yeah, I’ve been so close minded on this topic, going all the way back to when it was first proposed in 1966.   Pretty much all of my notions about baseball go back to that period, and that’s just wrong.  What does a 6 year old know about anything ?   I didn’t realize that the Lance Berkman signing was John Mozeliak’s way of getting me to change my mind about the most divisive rule difference in baseball.  Thanks, John.  All I needed was a little push, and I am so grateful that he did that just for me.

Yes !!!! Edgar Martinez for the Hall of Fame – and I can’t wait for David Ortiz to become Hall eligible!

2. When using Cub as a noun, don’t automatically follow with the verb Suck

It is time to put all of the animosity towards the Cubs in the past and bury it forever.   Time to admit that you love Cubbie Blue and you really wished the Cardinals outfield consisted of Alfonso Soriano, Kosuke Fukudome and Milton Bradley (oh why oh why did my new beloved team trade away Milton Bradley – he was so close to becoming my new favorite player).    It is time to embrace the Zambrano and admit that your legs twinge every time Ryan Dempster does that little glove flick in his delivery.   And finally, you have to admit that you miss Thom Brenneman, Bob Brenley, Dewayne Staats and Steve Stone – and you would love it if they brought back Chip Caray, just so you could hear another round of “fisted into left field” – that’s music to my ears.

I might even get carried away and start a Cubs historical blog, just to show my appreciation for a team that has given me so many wonderful memories.

Once again, a big thanks to John Mozeliak for working so hard during the winter meetings, acquiring a former Cub, Ryan Theriot, so that I have a reminder every day of how much I love the Cubs and what a fool I have been this last half century.

3. Learn to love the long ball

We all know the phrase “chicks dig the long ball”.  Well, maybe it’s time that we dudes do the same thing.   Nothing says baseball like watching a muscle-bound Michelin Man hit a baseball into the night sky and watch it vanish into nothingness.   Oooooh ahhhhhh, that’s baseball.

That form is so .... 2011

Kevin Costner’s character in Bull Durham got it right when he said, “strikeouts are boring.  Besides that, they’re fascist.” And with the new infield the Cardinals will be sporting in 2011, we will all fall in love with the ground ball, nearly as much as the Adam Dunn moonshot.  All of those years when we could have appreciated his at-bats in Cincinnati and Washington, now he will play with the White Sox and we’ll never get to see him swinging for the fences again.

2011 will be a new year where we will all eschew the 1-0 pitchers dual.   Those are boring, like watching paint dry.   We’re going to fall in love with the 4 hour entertainment extravaganza that only the Red Sox and Yankees can deliver with regularity.   We will yearn for the 12-10 blast-a-thon, hanging on to every pitch hoping that someone hits it to that little vanishing point in the darkened skies.

4. Embrace SABR advanced statistics

After all, baseball is best played on a calculator and spreadsheet and not in the neighborhood playground.   Fantasy baseball is so much better than the boring thing that the National League calls a game.   I just can’t wait until the random number generator comes up 0.9821024084389481985912385308 and my simulated cleanup hitter hits the simulated ball out of the simulated park.   That’s what makes fantasy baseball -e i * pi.   I think I’ll call my new simulated team the Euler’s  (ok, if you aren’t a mathematician, you might have to look that one up).

Bwahahahahahahahahahahaha

Yeah, right – like any of these are going to happen ????  Not a chance.

Some time for some real resolutions – ones that I might actually have a chance at keeping.

1. Tweetups

I have to make it to some more tweetups or other social media gatherings.   It’s been a blast meeting some interesting folks on Twitter, but it is time to turn more of those into real friendships and sit around a real table having a real discussion.   In the last year or so, I’ve only met a few tweeps and I cherish the times we’ve been in the same room, and the subsequent conversations.   They take on a different dynamic when you know there is a real person behind the avatar.

A good start will be the Writer’s Conference that Bill Ivie from I-70 Baseball (and Baseball Digest) will be putting on in February.   I hope to meet many of you at that event.

Quite frequently, business takes me to St. Louis and I get a chance to take in a Cardinals game or two.   Maybe with a little bit better planning, we can do some additional tweetups, battl or some other social gathering.

2. Attend a Spring Training game

Last year I came close to pulling this off, but close doesn’t count.  This year it will be different.  Somehow, someway, I will find my way to Jupiter or some other neighboring planet to catch a spring training game.

3. Read at least one non-Cardinals baseball book per month

This will start with Roger Maris: Baseball’s Reluctant Hero – that counts, right ????   OK, at least let me ease into this one.

4. Don’t add to the Cuss Jar

I’m glad there isn’t an August resolutions tradition – this one would have been broken immediately.   My daughter has asked me to do this frequently, and in her honor, I shall.   Fortunately, this one is a lot easier to do today than before the Insight Bowl game last night (the jar runneth over in the last five minutes) !

5. Hit blogging deadlines and learn to be brief

I have to give a big thanks to Bill Ivie for giving me an opportunity to contribute at I-70 Baseball.   I love the work that the other contributors do, and I’m proud to be a tiny little part of that.   I also have to give Bill a huge thanks for being so understanding when I don’t hit deadlines – which seems to be about every week.   For a historical writer, there’s absolutely no excuse – it’s not like these things just happened !   Oddly enough, it is frequently something in the news that triggers an idea, but there’s no reason not to have a cornucopia of articles ready to go, so Bill doesn’t have to stay up late and do his editorial things to my work.   After all, he has an infant and sleep might be somewhat high on the priority list for the new mom and dad.

Another thing I’m trying to learn is brevity, and it’s hard.   There is always so much context that you want to share, but too often it gets in the way of the actual story you are trying to tell.   I know from my own experience that I’m less likely to read a blog that goes on and on and on (sort of like this one, at almost 1200 words right now).  So I’ll start this resolution now and close.

But before I do, I want to thank all of you that take the time to read the material here and over at I-70 Baseball.   It means a lot, and I do appreciate it. I am even more grateful for those of you that take the time to leave a comment, especially one that kicks off a discussion here or someplace else like Twitter or the Google Wave.

And now, my final three words for 2010 ……

Happy New Year

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