Sunday Morning Coffee with Ray Mileur

It won't effect the outcome of a game, or make any highlight reels on ESPN, but sometimes, the best thing that is happening in a game, is taking place in the stands or in front of a giant screen TV a hundred miles from the ballpark.

I got to spend yesterday with my daughter Kelly, watching the Cardinals suffer a tough 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies.

I'm often asked in interviews, including one just yesterday, as I was getting out of the shower. My phone ring and, thinking it might be important, I answered it standing there sopping wet in my birthday suit, no tie, to discover on the other end of the line, was a reporter wanting to interview me right then for an article he was working on.

If you ever want to interview somebody, let me make this small suggestion, try to interview them, just as they are getting out of the shower. Trust me, you can't lie or even stretch the truth a little if you are answering questions, stark naked.

But the question often comes up about my favorite memories from the ballpark, most recently from Cooperstown, and my response is always the same, it's the time I get to spend with my family today at the ballpark, and the time I got to spend with my children growing up at the old Busch Stadium.

Divorce sucks, while it may be the right thing for a couple to do, being a divorce dad with daughters is a fate I wouldn't wish on a Mets or Cubs fan.

As a divorced dad, when your daughters get to that pre-teen stage, that apparently now begins around eight years old and then their teen years, it's always tough for them to find time for their dear old dad on his weekend's and holidays.

In the old days I would often enlist the St. Louis Cardinals and old Busch Stadium as allies of mine, as I would try to get myself worked into their busy schedules to get on their things-to-do list. When I was successful and it was not nearly as often as I wish, those weekends would come around and we would be off with the car doors locked and on our way to St. Louis about 100 miles from home.

Maybe it was 110 miles, I seemed to always take the long way to the stadium to try to steal those few precious extra moments, I could get out of life with my daughters who were growing up way too fast, right before my eyes.

As a private detective (in the real world), I've made people talk under some of the strangest circumstances, using some of the latest techniques from the famous Reid Institute. I actually had even one person during a three-hour interview, admit to a crime that they hadn't committed yet, and then the knucklehead actually went out and pulled the crime and then was surprised, we knew where it happenen and where they were stashing the goods.

You would think then with this experience and training, it would be easy for a dad, a private detective no less and a lawman most of his life, to get more than a yes or no answer out of his daughters, or that dreaded word, "fine".

Yet it was amazing as time and the ballgame worn on, how we found things to talk about, sometimes about the game, and sometimes something else, as three or four hours passed and it seemed like we were always together.

The long trek back to home would be filled conversation of shared memories of happiness of a St. Louis victory or in some cases, the shared sadness of a loss, but shared all the same.

It's been a few years since my daughters Kelly and Christina were teenagers, yet a Cardinal come from behind victory, a tough loss, an Albert Pujols home run, even a save or blown save from Izzy can cause my phone to ring and it will be one of my daughters on the other end of the line.

You don't see everything that goes on in a Cardinals game, trust me. Win or lose, it's a good day for a dad and his kids at the ballpark.

Back to the game, Saturday, I was very proud of the game Braden Looper pitched, I thought he deserved a much better fate and 95% of the time, he would have gotten a win, giving up just two runs in seven innings. There has been some talk of moving Braden to the bullpen, for the record, for what it is worth, I'd be against that move.

Ryan Ludwick hit another deep shot out of the ballpark yesterday, his 26th home run on the year. The FSN TV crews assigned to Busch Stadium, do a great job, perhaps the best job in all of baseball, but watching replays of that home run yesterday, they missed that one. I don't think anyone thought when that ball left the bat, it was going as far and as high into Big Mac Land as it did.

Yadier Molina, picked off another runner at first yesterday, what a season he is turning in this year. I'm high on Bryan Anderson in the minors, but if you want to be an everyday catcher in the near future, I'd look somewhere else other than St. Louis.

The Cardinals start the day in third place, five games back of the Cubs and a game back of Milwaukee in the National League Central and the Wild-Card race.


...Center fielder Rick Ankiel (abdomen) still isn't quite ready to play in the field, but did appear as a pinch hitter Saturday night, striking out in his only turn at-bat. The popular outfielder has missed seven straight starts. The Cardinals are targeting a Tuesday return to the starting lineup for Ankiel.

...On Saturday, the St. Louis Cardinals gave right-handed pitcher Matt Clement his unconditional release. Clement, 33, was signed over the winter with great hopes, but a shoulder shredded back in 2006 did not return to its past efficiency. The move opened up a spot on the Cardinals' 40-man roster, with 39 players currently under organizational control.

...OF Chris Duncan will have season ending surgery on Monday to relieve a herniated disc in his neck.

...RHP Jason Motte, the organizational Minor League Pitcher of the Month for July, and the Birdhouse's Minor League Reliever of the Month for the same month, is on the Cardinals 40-man roster and is blowing away hitters at the Triple-A level, if I had my way, he would get a shot to work out of the Cardinals bullpen before September.

...Ryan Ludwick homered for the third time in two games, his 26th overall, for the Cardinals. The drive landed in Big Mac Land, the third deck in left, and was estimated at 427 feet.

...Adam Wainwright threw a bullpen session of about 80 pitches on Saturday, and is close to returning from a sprained middle finger that has kept him on the disabled list for nearly two months. Wainwright is expected to pitch in a simulated game on Tuesday before beginning a rehab assignment.

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