CHICAGO -- Though David Freese prepared as normal for Friday's series opener against the Cubs, his mind was also with the family of a friend back home.
A Thursday night auto accident in the St. Louis suburb of Wildwood, Mo., took the lives of three teenagers -- Lauren Oliver, 18; Kathleen Oliver, 17; and Christopher Lenzen, 18 -- when their car veered off a road and crashed into a deck and a tree, according to a report in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. A fourth person in the car, Olivia Dames, survived.
Freese grew up playing summer ball with one of Lenzen's two brothers, Cory, and Christopher served as the bat boy for many of their games. Freese said he spoke over the phone with Cory on Friday morning and wanted to publicly send his condolences to all three affected families.
"My thoughts and prayers are going to the Lenzen, Oliver and Dames families," said Freese, who grew up in Wildwood. "I ask that people reach out to each of those families and help them as much as they can. I've known the Lenzens for a long time, and they are just wonderful people. This is a very difficult time for everyone in that community."
Cards brass pleased with proposed expanded replay
CHICAGO -- Before the quarterly Owners Meetings ended in Cooperstown, N.Y., on Thursday, representatives from all 30 teams were briefed on Major League Baseball's plans to implement a more expansive instant replay system.
Owners will vote on the issue during their meetings in November. The MLB Players Association and the World Umpires Association also have to pass the measure. Consider the Cardinals among those in favor.
"I think from a technology standpoint, there are ways to do better, so I'm definitely an advocate for that," general manager John Mozeliak said. "The way the proposal reads, I think, is exciting. I do think it could end up helping speed up the game, because it could eliminate some of those arguments on those close plays. In fairness, get it right."
The current replay system allows umpires to review home run calls on a monitor inside a ballpark tunnel. The new proposal would increase the number of reviewable plays to include, among others, fair and foul and calls on the bases. Balls and strikes would not be reviewable. All replays would be reviewed by umpires at Major League Baseball Advanced Media's state-of-the-art New York City headquarters.
As it is currently proposed, this new system would provide each manager with three challenges -- one that could be used during the first six innings and two more to be available from the seventh until the end of the game. If a call is overturned, the manager will retain that challenge.
"I think it's a great outcome to all of the discussion that we've had about instant replay and how it fits into the game," said Cardinals principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr., who attended the meetings in Cooperstown. "First off, plays that are close, we know they are going to be called correctly. And second, it also will be interesting to see how each manager uses his appeals. Does he save one? Save two? The strategizing of it will add to the game."
Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, who has been a proponent of increased instant replay, said that he expects teams to get creative in figuring out how to maximize the challenge system. For instance, someone in a clubhouse video room could relay what they see to Matheny within seconds to help him decide whether a call is worth challenging.
Matheny added that he may even tap into some outside resources -- including Jeff Fisher, head coach of the NFL's St. Louis Rams -- to glean additional strategy.
"I think everybody is going to look for an edge -- how can we know, how can it be quickly translated?" Matheny said. "I doubt people are going to use [challenges] just to use them. I know I wouldn't want to do that. I don't like slowing down the pace of game for our players. But I do know that we're going to have to step in at a time you think is an integral part of the game and a decision that was missed."
• The Cardinals had not planned Friday as a day off for Yadier Molina, but after asking him to catch for 12 innings in Thursday's win, the Cardinals decided to alter his schedule. Molina is expected to be back behind the plate over the weekend.
• For the first time this season, right-hander Chris Carpenter has joined the team on the road. Though Carpenter has not resumed throwing, manager Mike Matheny asked the veteran right-hander to consider making this trip with the club. He hopes Carpenter considers taking the final two road trips of the season, as well.
"I'm not trying to take him away from his family," Matheny said, "but I love having him around."
• A few more spots remain in Adam Wainwright's "Waino's World of Fantasy Football" charity event. Interested participants must sign up before next Friday, the date of the live fantasy football draft at Busch Stadium. For an entry fee of $2,500 -- all of which will be split between two charities -- participants get to play a full season of fantasy football against Wainwright, Freese, Allen Craig or Matt Holliday. For full details on the charity initiative, visit http://wainosworld.com.
• Matt Carpenter is on pace to pass Rogers Hornsby for the franchise's single-season record for doubles by a second baseman. Hornsby hit 46 in 1922. With his double on Thursday, Carpenter has 40 through the team's first 120 games.
• After Friday's game, Allen Craig had his left elbow wrapped at the spot where Jake Arrieta hit him with a 94-mph second-inning fastball. Craig said his elbow was sore, but OK.
"It could have been worse, for sure," Craig said. "It's just an annoying sore."
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.