Dear Dispatch readers—hello! I’ve enjoyed reading my colleagues’ mailbag newsletters, and I enjoyed reading your questions to me, and then I turned around and realized I’d locked myself into giving you answers. I hate writing about myself—part of the reason I’ve worked for Steve Hayes my whole career so far (other than my appreciation for him as a boss/publication visionary) is my crippling fear of cover letters. Nevertheless, I’ll give this my best shot. Haley started off with work questions last month, but you didn’t have many of those and I’m on vacation right now anyway, so let’s start with what’s top of mind:
Lots of people asked various baseball-related questions—being a Cardinals fan, my thoughts on the new rule changes, and so on—which I’ll quickly distill. (If baseball’s not your thing, feel free to skip ahead.)
I’m typing this on Friday morning, one day after the Cardinals lost a 10-9 heartbreaker of a home opener to the Toronto Blue Jays. It was unsettling to watch in a lot of ways—the pitch clock is bizarre to get used to, I miss watching pitchers hit, and what are we doing playing an American League team on Opening Day anyway? (From Canada!?) But at the end of the day, I was mostly just mad for the good old classic reasons, like terrible strike calls and diabolically unlucky bloop singles and blowing a lead in the top of the ninth, so my hunch is all the new bells and whistles will take less getting used to than I had originally feared. (But I wish they wouldn’t put the pitch clock on-screen.)
John Q. Public asked about last year’s Albert Pujols homecoming: It was magical. I was born in St. Louis, but moved to northwest Iowa for a big chunk of my childhood (my dad was then a parish pastor), so I mostly missed the Mark McGwire era. But we moved back to St. Louis in 2005, which means Pujols was the guy for me for most of my youth. I hated when we lost him, although I didn’t blame him for heading to sunny California (I’d move there!) and was relieved when the Angels footed the bill for his much less productive second decade rather than us. But getting him back at the end—and seeing him turn back the clock in a major way and help carry us to the playoffs? Pure poetry.