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The Westboro Baptist Church has announced plans to picket Games 3 and 4 of the World Series at Busch Stadium this weekend.  

The Kansas-based church has been banned in some states from protesting near the funerals of servicemen and women and is known for disrupting services of private citizens as well.

The church is calling for protesters to demonstrate against "the worthless strutting peacocks of these two baseball teams...glorifying themselves instead of God".  

St. Louis city police have said security downtown will be heightened for the Fall Classic.

Police Chief Sam Dotson met Monday with officials from the FBI, ATF, Homeland Security, and the Missouri Highway Patrol to discuss extra safety measures.

Cardinals' farm system produces World Series team

Monday, 21 October 2013 22:17 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- The lessons begin in rookie ball.

Every team emphasizes fundamentals and preparedness, both physical and mental, in the hope it all becomes second nature as players climb through the farm system.

One organization's philosophy always seems to stick out. Everyone knows about The Cardinal Way.

Even before opening day this year, St. Louis was hit hard by season-ending injuries to longtime ace Chris Carpenter, closer Jason Motte and shortstop Rafael Furcal. As the summer wore on, the setbacks kept coming.

But the Cardinals kept dipping into the minors for replacements who did more than their share for a team that's back in the World Series for the fourth time in 10 years.

The kids they plugged in, most by necessity, weren't wide-eyed at all. They remembered the teaching and just let their ability flow.

"There's definitely nerves that are going on," 22-year-old pitcher Michael Wacha said after beating Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw twice in the NL championship series. "You've just got to be able to control them and try to use them to your advantage out there.

"Just not let the moment get too big, just take deep breaths."

The Cardinals are in the postseason for the 10th time in 14 years. Fresh off their 19th pennant, they'll go for their second championship in three years when they open the World Series against the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night at Fenway Park.

Since new ownership took over from Anheuser-Busch in 1996, only the Yankees have more playoff victories than St. Louis.

The pitching staff is deep, thanks to the farm system.

Shelby Miller had a 3.06 ERA this season and led major league rookies with 15 wins. Yet when the playoffs rolled around, there was no room for him in the rotation.

Wacha is 3-0 with a 0.43 postseason ERA, and fellow rookie Trevor Rosenthal seized the closer's job in September when Edward Mujica faltered. Carlos Martinez stepped into the setup role, Seth Maness induced 16 double-play balls to lead NL relievers, and left-hander Kevin Siegrist posted a 0.45 ERA.

None of them shake off catcher Yadier Molina, himself a product of The Cardinal Way.

"The minor leagues, they're doing a good job teaching them how to pitch, teaching them how to control the emotions," Molina said. "Whenever they move up here, they're ready. Mentally, they're ready from the get-go."

No doubt, they've gotten a little lucky, too.

General manager John Mozeliak appreciates the organization-wide recognition, but couldn't have predicted most of the prospects would come through this quickly. Wacha's sudden dominance is a pleasant surprise, and the same goes for Rosenthal and fill-in first baseman Matt Adams.

John Gast arrived with zero expectations and won his first two career starts. Tyler Lyons, hardly a name on the tip of any fan's tongue, won his first two starts as well.

"None of that would have seemed right. Right?" Mozeliak said. "Our expectations were not for them to have so many fingerprints on this club.

"It's a great commentary on the organization."

Most of the World Series roster is homegrown, a strategy emphasizing scouting expertise and consistency in instruction that allows the Cardinals to keep running with the big spenders.

When longtime slugger and franchise icon Albert Pujols left following the 2011 title for a $240 million contract with the Angels, Allen Craig stepped in at first base and blossomed into a big RBI guy at a fraction of the price.

When Craig went down with a sprained foot in early September, Adams supplied power during the stretch drive.

Sure, the Cardinals aren't the only team surrounding a highly paid nucleus with products from the farm system. They're just one of the best at it.

"Even in lean years, these guys find a way to be there," Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington said this summer. "It doesn't matter the personnel, this is what's expected, and they find a way to get it done."

During his 16 seasons in St. Louis, manager Tony La Russa regularly paid homage to those who laid the foundation. There's a plaque honoring the late George Kissell, a minor league instructor who schooled Joe Torre in the 1970s on a position move from catcher to third base, and duplicated that with Todd Zeile in the mid-90s.

Second-year manager Mike Matheny came up through the Milwaukee system. He blossomed into a four-time Gold Glove catcher with the Cardinals, and that helped land him the job as La Russa's successor without managing a game in the minors.

Matheny said he's just part of the package.

"We're very, very proud of what our development system, our scouts have done to choose the right kind of guys that can handle coming up here at a young age without a lot of experience," Matheny said. "Our coaches and roving staff prepares these guys to come up and not be overwhelmed, but be ready."

Leadoff man Matt Carpenter led the majors in hits, runs and doubles this season. He also was a quick study defensively in transitioning to an opening at second base.

Slick-fielding shortstop Pete Kozma hasn't let offensive woes bother him on defense, where he's shined all season. Shane Robinson came off the bench to add a spark in the NLCS.

Wacha sped through the same system, making it to the majors less than a year after getting drafted in the first round out of Texas A&M. Just like the rest of them, he showed up playoff-ready.

"Without those guys, we wouldn't be where we are," chairman Bill DeWitt Jr said. "We wouldn't have won 97 games, we wouldn't have beaten Pittsburgh, we wouldn't have beaten Los Angeles. It's a great feeling."

Rams QB Sam Bradford out for season with torn ACL

Monday, 21 October 2013 22:15 Published in Sports

 

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Sam Bradford is done for the season, and the chances on this being the year the St. Louis Rams post their first winning season in a decade changed dramatically.

They insist the season is far from over.

Coach Jeff Fisher told players to keep their chins up on Monday, referencing a book by an inspirational speaker as a rallying point for the final nine games.

"We're going to see a lot of people step up," defensive end Chris Long said. "And we're going to see a lot of people step up that you might not expect."

One of them needs to be Kellen Clemens, who'll be making his 13th career start in eight seasons next Monday night against the Seahawks.

Clemens has been the backup the past two years and was with offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer with the Jets, too, so he knows the scheme.

Plus, he's the only other quarterback on the roster.

"Somebody's got to play," Clemens said. "So I'll go out there and do the best job I can and try to help this team win some games," Clemens said.

Bradford will have season-ending surgery for a torn ligament in his left knee after getting hurt in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 30-15 loss at Carolina that dropped the Rams to 3-4.

The Rams feared the worst on the return flight and on Monday announced results of an MRI.

Surgery will be done in the next 2-3 weeks once the swelling goes down and Fisher was confident Bradford would make a complete recovery in time for next season.

"Very disappointing," middle linebacker James Laurinaitis said. "I thought he was putting up a strong season. It's a long grind now for him."

The Rams will be auditioning quarterbacks this week but Fisher said they won't make a trade, which means Clemens is likely set for his first extended opportunity since he made eight starts in 2007 for the Jets.

At his regular day-after news conference, Fisher did his best to dismiss all rumors and said he wasn't "at liberty" to discuss any names. One potential name is Austin Davis, released at the end of training camp.

"There's a lot of speculation out there, everybody's talking and everybody knows more than we do right now OK?" Fisher said. "Trust me, we have a process in place and we're going through that process."

Clemens pointed out the coincidence that his first game with the Rams was a Monday night loss at Seattle in December 2011, days after signing a free agent deal. He did not play against the Seahawks but then started the final three games of a 2-14 season, all losses.

"It's a different team, it's a different set of opponents, different everything," Clemens said. "I am excited for the opportunity."

Bradford tore his anterior cruciate ligament when he landed on his knee after being shoved out of bounds by safety Mike Mitchell. Teammates feared the worst once they saw him carted off the field and on crutches in the locker room.

Bradford has 14 touchdown passes and just four interceptions this season. Still, he has his detractors, critics who insist he has not measured up to the billing of a No. 1 overall pick.

"He was playing very, very well, not only yesterday but was just improving weekly," Fisher said. "The challenge is obvious in this world when you have an impact player go down.

"He was off to a great start, so it's unfortunate but he'll be back. He's our quarterback."

In his fourth season out of Oklahoma, Bradford has been nudging his way up the ladder, among the top half of the league's best quarterbacks. He's been taking charge and minimizing mistakes - exactly what the youngest team in the NFL needed.

Bradford threw for 255 yards and a score Sunday, with one interception and two sacks. He has thrown a touchdown pass in 11 consecutive games. St. Louis had won its previous two games, with Bradford throwing three TD passes in each.

Bradford is no stranger to injuries. He missed six games with a high left ankle sprain in 2011. He had season-ending shoulder surgery in 2009 when he was at Oklahoma.

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