MLB's Matt Carpenter Pujols Won't Be Booed In STL Return ... He's A Hero

EXCLUSIVE
A HERO'S WELCOME
TMZSports.com

In St. Louis and thinking of booing Albert Pujols in his return to Busch Stadium this week??

Don't do it ... so says Cardinals star Matt Carpenter, who tells TMZ Sports Pujols deserves to be treated like a king in his first game back in STL.

"Like a hero coming back to town," Carpenter says.

Of course, The Machine famously put together a Hall of Fame career for the Cards from 2001 to 2011 ... but he didn't leave for the Angels on the best of terms following the '11 season.

Some have thought he might be welcomed with a bunch of boos because of that when he comes to town with the Halos this week ... but Carpenter says fans should stand up and cheer nonetheless.

"That guy had arguably one of the 10 best seasons that have ever been played in St. Louis," Matt says.

First pitch Friday is at 5:15 PM PT ... Pujols is expected to step into the batter's box in either the first or second innings.

#CantWait

Cardinals' Mike Shildt Blues' Stanley Cup Magic ... It's Inspired Us!!!

EXCLUSIVE
GREAT TEAM, GREAT STORY
TMZSports.com

The St. Louis Blues' Stanley Cup run will HELP the city's baseball team ... so says Cardinals manager Mike Shildt, who tells TMZ Sports the hockey champs have "inspired" his guys!!!

Of course, nobody gave the Blues a chance to win Lord Stanley back when the season began ... but they improbably made their way through the league to hoist the trophy Wednesday.

When we got Shildt out in NYC just a couple days later ... he told us the Blues' season is motivating as hell -- and the Cardinals are definitely taking notice!!!

"We're always inspired by great stories," Schildt says ... "And the Blues are a great story."

Schildt added, "[The Blues] had heart and grit and kind of represent the city of St. Louis."

The extra motivation is good news for the Redbirds ... they could use it -- they're just a few games out of 1st place in the NL Central!!

MLB's Marcell Ozuna On Big Papi Attack ... I Have To Watch My Back In D.R. Now

EXCLUSIVE
ON HIGH ALERT
TMZSports.com

Cardinals superstar Marcell Ozuna says he ain't scared to return to the D.R. after David Ortiz was shot Sunday ... but he tells TMZ Sports he will have to watch his back in his home country now.

"I'ma be careful," the 28-year-old Santo Domingo native admits.

Ortiz was sitting outside of a bar over the weekend when a man walked up from behind and shot him at point-blank range.

The attack stunned everybody ... and had Dominican natives like White Sox phenom Eloy Jimenez openly admitting he's now scared to go back home.

Ozuna tells us he's not ready to go that far with his feelings on the D.R. yet ... but says he will have to be on high alert when he's back home now.

"I'm not afraid," the outfielder says ... "But I'ma be careful."

As for Big Papi ... his wife, Tiffany, says he's continuing "to make progress" in his recovery from the shooting.

Nelly Begs Bryce Harper To Sign With Cards ... At Florida Georgia Line Show

Breaking News
LETS MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Good news, Cardinals fans ... Nelly's gonna get Bryce Harper to join the squad!!!

At least, that's what the rapper says -- 'cause when he grabbed baseball's top free agent backstage at the Florida Georgia Line concert Saturday ... he gave his best St. Louis pitch.

"Listen, Bill, Mr. DeWitt, call me! I got this. Alright? I'm doing all the negotiations. He just need a little convincing, man! That's all!"

Bryce's response -- he didn't say no!!

Of course ... Bryce has a TON of suitors these days -- even ones just as famous as Nelly ... 'cause when he hit the FGL concert with his old pal, Kris Bryant -- you know Cubs talk went down there too.

Bryce is playing his free agency card close to the vest -- with the Nationals, Phillies, Cubs, Cardinals, Yankees and more all being rumored to be his next spot.

We spotted Harper in L.A. a few weeks ago and he hinted that the Cubs and White Sox could have an edge because Chicago is his favorite city ... when it comes to restaurants!

FREE AGENT FRENZY
TMZSports.com

So, who's actually the favorite in the race? Not sure at this point ... but we know the dude is about to get PAID -- reports say his next deal could be worth $400 MILLION!!

Jon Hamm Revels in Jason Bateman's Sadness ... at Dodger Game

You can tell who won the Dodgers vs. Cardinals game just by looking at Jon Hamm and Jason Bateman.

Hamm -- easily one of the biggest Cards superfans on the planet -- had a front row seat for St. Louis' 5-2 win over Bateman's Dodgers on Tuesday ... and he made sure J.B. never heard the end of it.

The Dodgers are currently in a tight race for the playoffs ... but have lost 7 of their last 10 games (which might explain why Bateman looks like he just saw a dog get hit by a car).

It wasn't all sadness for Bateman, though ... at least he got to see Manny Machado hit a dinger.

Yay?

Andy Cohen Begs Giancarlo to Pick the Cardinals ... We'll Worship You!!

EXCLUSIVE
CARDINAL CALL
TMZSports.com

Here's Andy Cohen schooling MLB on how to pitch soon-to-be-traded Giancarlo Stanton on playing for your baseball team ... layin' it all on the line for the superstar slugger.

FYI, it looks like the Stanton sweepstakes is down to the Giants, Dodgers and Cardinals -- so, when TMZ Sports got Cohen -- an STL superfan -- out in NYC ... he made sure Giancarlo knew all he'd be getting.

"We will love on you like NEVER BEFORE. We are your team! We are waiting for you!" Andy shouted.

The reality TV host checked all the boxes ... guaran-damn-teeing a hardcore fan base, a boatload of cash and even a championship ring!! And the cherry on top ...

"I have my Instagram -- I'm waiting to follow you, dude!"

Advantage, Cards? Maybe, maybe not ...

COME HOME, GIANCARLO!!!
TMZSports.com

St Louis Cardinals Latin Trap Dance Party ... Boppin' On Team Plane

Breaking News
MILE HIGH TURN UP

Here's Yadier Molina and his St. Louis Cardinals teammates showing that winning is a whole lot of freakin' fun ... having a Latin-flavored dance party on the team plane on the way to Boston.

The Cards played the Red Sox earlier this week, and even though they dropped two to the Beantown boys, they're still 7-3 in their last 10, gaining on the Cubs in the Central, with a lot to celebrate.

Seems like the guys had it all planned out and ride the drop perfectly as they bruck out in unison to the song, "Krippy Kush" by Farruko ft. Bad Bunny.

Yeah, we've never heard of those guys either, but the song is pretty lit.

Feel free to turn up (it's Friday).

Lou Brock Diagnosed With Bone Cancer

St. Louis Cardinals legend Lou Brock has been diagnosed with bone cancer and is currently receiving treatment for multiple myeloma, the team announced Thursday.

Brock -- a 2-time World Series champ -- was a first ballot Hall of Famer in 1985 and currently serves as a special instructor coach for the Redbirds.

The 6-time All Star was scheduled to make a guest appearance at a team event later this month, but canceled due to the treatments.

"Jackie and I appreciate the prayers and support we have received from our many friends and fans in the Cardinals community," Brock says.

"We count ourselves blessed that I am receiving the best possible medical treatment and we look forward to seeing many more Cardinals World Series Championships in the future."

MLB's Carlos Martinez Calls BS on STD Lawsuit ... '100% False'

EXCLUSIVE

St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Carlos Martinez is ferociously disputing a lawsuit -- in which the 24-year-old is accused of giving a woman non-life threatening STDs ... after swearing he was clean.

The woman behind the suit, filed in district court in Miami, claims she began a romantic relationship with Martinez in 2012 -- and the two had an on-and-off relationship for years.

According to the suit, the two reconnected last year -- and began having sex again on Dec. 16th. Two days later, the woman claims she began to feel ill and later tested positive for multiple STDs.

The woman claims she had grilled Martinez about his sexual health before they hooked up and he "swore to God that he was not infected with any sexually transmitted disease."

Soon after the woman informed Martinez about her condition, he allegedly bolted for the Dominican Republic and never called her back.

Now, she's suing him for battery, negligent transmission of sexually transmitted diseases, fraud and more ... and she's demanding more than $1.5 million in damages.

We spoke with Martinez's attorney Ruben Scolavino who tells us Carlos adamantly denies the allegations.

"I can tell you most assuredly the allegations are 100% false."

AZ Cards' Calais Campbell Defends Carson Palmer 'He Had One Bad Day'

EXCLUSIVE
WE'LL BE THERE NEXT YEAR
TMZSports.com

Carson Palmer's teammates still have his back -- especially superstar defensive end Calais Campbell -- who says the QB is still a WARRIOR who just had one bad day at the office.

Palmer got all sorts of heat after throwing 4 picks in the NFC championship game -- but clearly, his teammates aren't throwing him under the bus.

But the best part of this encounter is when the 6'8" 310 pounder admitted he tried STAND-UP COMEDY a few years ago!

Turns out his brother Jared Quay is a professional comic -- and says he's trying to get Calais to get back onstage. Question is ... will he do it? Check out the clip.

NO MORE FUNNY BUSINESS
TMZSports.com

Jeb Bush I Ain't Got Time for Baseball ... I'm Runnin' for Prez!

EXCLUSIVE
TOO BUSY FOR B-BALL
TMZSports.com

Gotta respect when a politician is honest ... like when Jeb Bush admitted to us he didn't know about the MLB hacking scandal yesterday because as he put it: "Man, I'm running for president. I've been busy!"

The former Gov. was leaving NBC in New York when we asked about the FBI investigation into the St. Louis Cardinals for allegedly hacking the Houston Astros to steal top secret information.

Bush has a serious MLB connection, considering his brother George W. was a co-owner of the Texas Rangers.

By the way, we also asked if he's still a fan of the Astros considering he grew up in Houston ... but he shot that down and said there's only ONE team he roots for nowadays.

Ex-NFL Star Ottis Anderson Busts Pre-Game Sex Myth Banging Won't Slow You Down

The "no sex before a game" theory for athletes is TOTAL BS ... so says former NFL superstar Ottis Anderson -- who tells TMZ Sports, he wasn't exactly celibate back when he won Super Bowl MVP.

The St. Louis Cardinals all-time leading rusher was being herded around NYC today ... when we asked him if abstaining from sex before games actually gives you a noticeable testosterone boost.

Ottis -- who also played for the NY Giants -- tells us he thinks it's a complete myth that dumb people are buying into ... and encouraged athletes to bang away.

Check out the clip -- Anderson's a living legend ... and hilarious.

Mike Napoli vs. Jason Motte Whose Beard Is Better?

The Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals are facing off on the field tonight for Game 1 of the 2013 World Series -- but the real battle is between two bearded baseballers.

Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli is the proud owner of this girthy World Series scruff (left) -- while Cardinals pitcher Jason Motte has his own facial field of dreams (right).

With beards like this, both teams are clear winners.

The question is...