Orioles see themselves as AL's Cardinals; LCS predictions; Babe Ruth Museum event - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles see themselves as AL’s Cardinals; LCS predictions; Babe Ruth Museum event

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Conventional wisdom is that Mike Elias would like to pattern the Orioles after the Houston Astros, the team he worked for before coming to Baltimore. He wouldn’t mind mimicking the Astros’ success, but the Orioles’ general manager has said more than once that he also admires the work of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Elias began working in baseball as a scout for the Cardinals in 2007, and it’s St. Louis’ long record of consistency that he admires.

The Cardinals, who begin their National League Championship Series against the Washington Nationals tonight at Busch Stadium, are much more of a realistic model for the Orioles than the Boston Red Sox or New York Yankees.

According to currentresults.com, St. Louis’ metropolitan area was 2.81 million last year, about 100,000 more than the Baltimore area’s 2.71 million.

People who’ve lived in both St. Louis and Baltimore say that the cities are similar. Many have resided there for generations, and there’s a great passion for their sports teams.

Each city has just two major league sports teams. St. Louis has the Cardinals and the NHL Blues, who won their first Stanley Cup in June.

St. Louis has lost the NFL twice, when the Cardinals moved to Arizona, and three years ago when the Rams returned to Los Angeles. In the 1960s, the NBA Hawks moved to Atlanta.

Baltimore lost the Colts in 1984 and welcomed the Ravens 12 years later. In 1972, the NBA Bullets, who are now the Wizards, left town.

In recent years, St. Louis has had great baseball success and the Orioles very little.


The Cardinals last lost 90 games in 1990. Since then, the Orioles have done it 12 times. Not since 1908 have the Cardinals lost 100 games, something the Orioles have done the last two seasons.

St. Louis has never had the No. 1 draft choice in the June draft and has 12 straight winning seasons.

The Cardinals don’t get to the postseason every year. Before this season, they’d gone three straight years without playing in October. This is their first NLCS since 2014.

The Orioles can’t match the Cardinals in fan support. In every season but one since 1998, St. Louis has drawn 3 million fans. In 2003, the season the Cardinals didn’t, they attracted 2.91 million.

A consistently competitive team with excellent fan support playing in a smallish market. That’s what Elias would like the Orioles to become.

My NLCS pick: After the bizarre 10-run first inning, the Cardinals cruised to a 13-1 win over the Atlanta Braves in the National League Division Series, then watched the Nationals’ heart-stopping rally and extra-inning win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Nearly everyone, including me, picked the Dodgers to represent the National League in the World Series, and now baseball is left with an NLCS that few predicted.

The Nationals should be exhausted. After winning the wild-card game, they had two cross-country flights, and must begin the NLCS on little rest.

St. Louis advanced directly to the NLDS and had to travel only to Atlanta and had an easy fifth game.

But the Nationals, who along with Seattle are the only teams never to play in the World Series, have the better starting pitching.

Anibal Sanchez starts Game 1 against Miles Mikolas, and Nationals manager Dave Martinez has Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin available for Games 2-4.

While the Nats’ bullpen was horrible in the regular season, they pitched well enough to win both deciding games.

Nationals in 7

ALCS prediction: Seemingly everyone predicted an Astros-Yankees LCS, and that’s what we have.

Sure, the Yankees polished off the Minnesota Twins in three straight while it took five games for Houston to beat Tampa Bay.

But I love the three Astros’ starters. Gerrit Cole looks unhittable, and though he won’t be ready until Game 3, having Zack Greinke and Justin Verlander to start the first two won’t make for much of a disadvantage.

There’ll be lots of home runs by the Yankees, who also have the superior bullpen. The Astros’ bullpen isn’t as strong, but their starters are better.

Astros in 7

Orioles announce agreement: The Orioles announced an agreement with K-MOTION to become the Orioles’ Player Development Partner.

K-MOTION provides personalized 3D swing data.

“Our partnership with K-MOTION allows us to quickly build a smarter, more efficient foundation for our player development programs,” said Sig Mejdal, vice president and assistant general manager for analytics of the Orioles.

“From Single-A all the way to the majors, we expect K-MOTION Baseball to accelerate our goal of creating the sustainable, long-term success that will bring a World Series title back to the city of Baltimore.”

Babe Ruth Museum Event: I’ll be appearing on a Fan Forum panel with Orioles broadcaster Mike Bordick and former Orioles pitcher Ross Grimsley on Saturday from 1:30-2:30 at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum.

The Museum is at 216 Emory Street, a short distance from Oriole Park.

Admission to the event is free to Museum and Birdland members.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. CalsPals

    October 11, 2019 at 7:40 am

    Cardinals are a better model, in my opinion than the astros, I think it would be cool for a special uniform to have two Orioles sitting on a bat, we need something waiting for them to get better…go O’s…

    • ballmer bruce

      October 11, 2019 at 1:17 pm

      The Cardinals draw sellout crowds for every weekend home series consisting of fans from the Midwest who plan a whole weekend in town. The goal to create a quality scouting and development system will help but will not put O’s over the top while playing against tow large market teams. The AL East is the only division with two such teams.

      • Jbigle1

        October 16, 2019 at 12:23 am

        Well that’s just not true. The San Francisco Giants and Dodgers can spend money with the best of them. Those markets are real large.

  2. deqalt

    October 11, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I like the idea and concept of the Cards as a model and understand the concept. They are a terrific franchise and wonderful loyal fan base. If you put the Cards in the AL EAST their not anywhere close to be being this successful. With the exception of the Maddon years the Cards were able to play and win a weak division with the Pirates, Cubs, Brewers.(Brewers have had a couple good years) They won their division with 91 wins. They averaged 89 wins in last ten years, That’s with playing in that division. Have them play the Red Sox and Yankees 19 times and tell me their win totals. Need to be as consistent as the Cards, but will have to win like the Astros

    • Orial

      October 11, 2019 at 10:34 am

      Agree. Recent Cardinal success would be lessened in the AL East.

    • CalsPals

      October 11, 2019 at 10:41 am

      Almost anyone’s would be lessened in the AL East…go O’s…

  3. Orial

    October 11, 2019 at 8:30 am

    Interesting read Rich. Never realized the similarities between the 2 cities. Other than the Yankees it has been baseball’s most successful franchise. The perfect model. The attendence issue between the 2 cities really stands out. Besides the Cardinals continuous winning,not having another franchise 40 miles away has to factor into that and will be a difference maker going forward. Agree Cards over Nats(yes Nats have to be emotionally spent) BUT unfortunately the Yankees are above everybody else this year(yuck). Cards/Yankees WS.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 11, 2019 at 8:44 am

      Orial, if there’s a Cardinals-Yankees World Series, it would bring back memories of my childhood and the wonderful 1964 World Series, which pained this young then-Yankees fan.

      • Orial

        October 11, 2019 at 10:31 am

        Rich I was at the game(Yankee Stadium) that Ken Boyer hit the grand Slam. Landed about 10 rows in front of me. Also in that game Mantle got picked off of 2nd BUT redeamed himself the next day with a game winning homer off of Barney Schultz. Rooted for the Cards myself. That was the end of a Yankee era.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 11, 2019 at 10:37 am

      Orial, I’m afraid you’ve got that reversed. Mantle hit the game-winner in Game 3. Boyer hit the grand slam in Game 4. Tim McCarver hit a three-run home run in Game 5.

  4. Greazy Tony

    October 11, 2019 at 9:16 am

    I would’ve loved to be in the meeting at the Babe Ruth Museum where they were like: “What former players can we get” and someone said “What about Ross Grimsley?”

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 11, 2019 at 9:44 am

      Tony, as you probably don’t know, Ross has commented on the Orioles for 105.7 The Fan and other outlets. Sorry you won’t be joining us tomorrow.

    • Bancells Moustache

      October 11, 2019 at 10:25 am

      Ross is the man. I’d like to see him get a more permanent role as a color guy on the Orioles radio broadcasts. He knows his stuff and his voice is radio gold.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    October 11, 2019 at 9:48 am

    Elias clearly reads this site, as I have said the exact thing about the Cardinals multiple times in this very forum. Hurray for me.

    Like everyone here but Rich, what with the shocking Yankee fan revelation, Im in full ‘Anybody but New York’ mode. I’m taking Washington all the way. I realize the bullpen isn’t great shakes, but they have that “team of destiny” shine to them.

  6. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    October 11, 2019 at 9:54 am

    My wife and I went to St. Louis in 2017 to see the city and catch a Cardinals game. It’s a great ball park and their fans are passionate about baseball. Ironically we saw them play the Braves. I remember watching the 64 series. I thought Ken Boyers grand slam off Al Downing was the turning point- erasing 3-0 Yankees lead. Nice article.

  7. The Cartoon Bird

    October 11, 2019 at 10:18 am

    I am optimistic if the Orioles use the Cardinals as a model to emulate going forward. I would recommend to Orioles fans to read The Cardinals Way. Sig Mejdal is featured prominently and I can see the comparisons between what Sig contributed to in St. Louis and what he and Mike want to build in Baltimore.

  8. jimr62

    October 11, 2019 at 11:19 am

    Wasn’t the St. Louis Cardinals organization fined 2 million dollars and loss of their two top draft picks a few years ago for hacking into the Astro’s scouting system? MLB administered the punishment because they were caught red handed. Chris Correa …their scouting director was said to have been the ”lone” hacker and no one else knew of the plan. Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. last year had blamed the hack on “roguish behavior” by a handful of individuals. No one else was charged.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 11, 2019 at 1:41 pm

      If the Cardinals and Astros meet in the World Series, that might come up, Jim.

  9. ballmer bruce

    October 11, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    The Cards have an excellent system but they are a wild card team at best in the AL East.

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 11, 2019 at 1:39 pm

      A wild card might look pretty nice to a lot of fans about now, Bruce.

    • Bancells Moustache

      October 11, 2019 at 1:45 pm

      That’s a fair argument, though navigating through Milwaukee and Chicago this year wasn’t exactly a cakewalk, and the Pirates and Reds, while not playoff contenders, were better teams than Baltimore and Toronto.

  10. Boog Robinson Robinson

    October 11, 2019 at 7:54 pm

    To compare Baltimore to St. Louis simply because there is only about a 100,000 person difference in population is misleading. I drive the arduous journey from DC to Texas each summer and listen to the radio most the way. And who’s ball games do we get once we’re west of Knoxville (Reds country) through the most of the 4 hours driving in Arkansas? The Cardinals. Their radio network is vast. I’m assuming that their TV network would be as well. Tennessee, Arkkansas, Southern Ill., Mo, Alabama, Western Ky, Mississippi .. all this real estate is Cardinal country.

    They are a nationally or at least multi-regionally followed franchise. Sort of like when all of Va and N.C. was oriole country … only much bigger an area. An ENORMOUS fan base exists for the Cards. Hey .. move a team into a city such as Nashville maybe .. and see what that does to their TV $$. Sound familiar anyone?

    In any case….St. Louis has waaaaaaay deeper pockets that Baltimore. Not a fair comparison at all.

    • Orial

      October 12, 2019 at 8:20 am

      Boog that is an excellent counterpoint. That territory is historical(western most team years ago). Yes it does sound familiar. Wondering where their “deeper pockets” come from? Investors,advertising,ownership,sponsorship?

      • ballmer bruce

        October 13, 2019 at 10:27 am

        They have a huge contract with Fox Sports Midwest because of wide following of fans all through the Midwest.

    • CalsPals

      October 12, 2019 at 8:59 am

      Probably a little of all of those…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 12, 2019 at 9:08 am

      Baltimore doesn’t have the corporate headquarters that St. Louis has. St. Louis has 10 Fortune 500 companies while Baltimore has none.

  11. ballmer bruce

    October 12, 2019 at 11:49 am

    Place the Cards in AL East in place of Orioles and you would have at team that averages about 85 wins per year and a Wild Card place about once every five years. Compared to way we are now that would work for me. Teams like O’s can only compete with Skanks and Redsux if they out scout and out developed them.

  12. ballmer bruce

    October 12, 2019 at 11:53 am

    Superior scouting and development is the reason O’s were the jewel of MLB from 1965 to 1975. Hoping to see a return to that as lifelong O’s fan. Go Elias and go O’s.

    • Birdman

      October 12, 2019 at 4:48 pm

      It can be done … the Rays, in an even smaller market, have won 90 or more games 7 of the past 12 seasons.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      October 12, 2019 at 7:35 pm

      I like your attitude Ballmer .. where have you been all year?

      • ballmer bruce

        October 13, 2019 at 10:22 am

        In the desert 30 miles west of Phoenix for last ten years. But lifelong Marylander before that. Go Ravens and go O’s.

  13. Borg

    October 12, 2019 at 12:56 pm

    The Cardinals draw regionally and always have. The Os now have to draw locally since the Nats drew off a good bit of their southern market. The MASN dispute is probably the only thing I’ve ever been in agreement with Angelos about, and no amount of money now is going to change the loss of a potentially huge market there. Northern VA has exploded population-wise, and now that market belongs to Washington instead of Baltimore.

    The arguments about the divisions are valid but moot; unless baseball decides to realign it isn’t going to change. The Os will need to be excellent at scouting and development, get their own players, keep one or two stars at the end of their early contracts and then be faced with dealing most of the others for more young players to develop. It can work, but it means there is very little margin for error. That being said, I think most Os fans would settle for averaging somewhere in the mid-80s every year (wins) and being in contention three out of every five years for the postseason, providing they actually make it there every four or five years. Expecting much beyond that when playing Boston and New York so much is just unrealistic IMO.

    • CalsPals

      October 12, 2019 at 5:55 pm

      They need to go back to the old schedules, playing within your division so much is boring, a more balanced schedule & some inter league, not really a big inter league fan, but I like seeing other teams instead of the east what seems like all every other series…go O’s…

    • ballmer bruce

      October 12, 2019 at 7:37 pm

      You nailed it unless we strike lightning and develop three starters from our system that can each go 180 innings per year with sub 3.5 ERA.

  14. Bhoffman1

    October 12, 2019 at 7:04 pm

    I don’t care how much you love the O’s you gotta love what your neighbors are doing

    • Bhoffman1

      October 12, 2019 at 7:04 pm

      Hope you agree Rich

    • Rich Dubroff

      October 12, 2019 at 8:07 pm

      Bruce, I enjoy watching the postseason no matter who is playing and don’t care who wins. I do enjoy watching well-pitched games in the postseason.

      • ballmer bruce

        October 13, 2019 at 10:25 am

        I am with you on that Rich. I am actually pulling for Nats because of Zimmerman.

    • Bhoffman1

      October 13, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Interesting Rich so you can’t root for any other team besides Baltimore in the playoffs. It could be awhile but I hope not but it seems Elias is very conservative how he wants to build this team. The pitching on the Nats is unbelievable and Steven S is next. Soto and Rendon are real superstars. They surely don’t miss Harper. Zimmerman should teach CD how to age.

      • Rich Dubroff

        October 14, 2019 at 9:42 am

        Bruce, there’s an old saying, “No cheering in the press box.” I watch intently, but don’t root for anyone.

    • Bhoffman1

      October 13, 2019 at 6:07 pm

      I mean conservative with going with our young players in our farm system. I think we will basically have the same team next year and won’t see a change till 2020

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