The Cardinals play the Cubs tonight for the first time this season. This short 2 game series takes place at the “friendly confines” of Wrigley Field. The Cubs won’t be visiting the lovely, lush fields of Busch Stadium until June 17.
I live in southwestern Illinois, and when some people discover I’m a Cardinals fan, they say, “Well, you live in Illinois, so why aren’t you a Cubs fan?” For two reasons: 1. St. Louis is much closer to where I live than Chicago; and 2. Why would I, as a baseball fan, want to swear my allegiance and loyalty to perpetual losers like the Cubs? Then there’s the whole upstate Illinois/downstate Illinois thing, but that’s not relevant to this discussion.
It’s a friendly rivalry for sure, unlike the rivalry between the Red Sox and the Yankees, whose fans can be nasty and vicious at times. Cards fans drive up Highway 55 to see their team play at Wrigley Field and vice versa for the Cubs fans. The geographical closeness between the two cities make for a natural rivalry. When there’s a Cards/Cubs game at Busch, you will hear friendly razzing between the fans.
Occasionally, there will be a relationship where one spouse is a Cubs fan and the other spouse is a Cards fan. That makes me shake my head – why would you marry someone who doesn’t love the same baseball team you do? Love conquers all, I guess. Family members’ loyalties are sometimes split between the Cards and the Cubs, especially in central Illinois where the games of both teams are broadcast.
Let’s face it – the Cards have the upper hand in this rivalry. The Cards have won 11 World Series and the Cubs have won 2. The Cubs have a baby bear on their uniforms while the Cards have the beautiful birds on a bat, with the word “Cardinals” in red script (or “St. Louis” on the alternative jerseys). The Cards are playing in nice new Busch Stadium III, while the Cubs play in stodgy old Wrigley Field. The Cards also have more Gold Glover winners than the Cubs.
Several Cards players were once Cubs players, and vice versa. The most famous of these was the Ernie Broglio for Lou Brock trade on June 15, 1964. Some players who played for both teams include Bruce Sutter, Ryan Theriot, Joe Girardi, Rogers Hornsby, Dizzy Dean and Dennis Eckersley.
I got to wondering just how this rivalry started, so I thought I’d do a little research. The rivalry actually started before the Cardinals and Cubs were even teams. The economic trade rivalry between St. Louis and Chicago led to the founding of the Brown Stockings (STL) and the White Stockings (Chicago) in 1875. The Brown Stockings dissolved but reformed as the Browns in 1882 and they played the Cubs (White Stockings) in a couple of pre-World Series matchups between the American Association St. Louis and Chicago teams. The first series meeting between the two teams were in 1885.
When the American Association folded, the Browns moved to the National League and became the Cardinals. The Cubs dominated during 1906-1908, winning 3 straight pennants and 2 World Series (and they haven’t won a World Series since 1908). The Cardinals finally got it together and won their first World Series in 1926. The Cards have been winning World Series and pennants ever since, unlike the Cubs, whose last won a pennant in 1945, thanks to the Curse of the Billy Goat.
In 2002, Darryl Kile died on a Saturday when the Cards were to play the Cubs at Wrigley Field. Then-Cub 1B Joe Girardi (who became a Card for a while and who is now the Yankees’ manager) announced the news that there would be no game that day due to “a tragedy in the Cardinals family.” In 2007, the Cards were to play the Cubs when Josh Hancock died in a automobile accident and this game was postponed as well.
I have enjoyed the Cards-Cubs rivalry over the years. I once worked for an attorney who was a Cubs fan, because he grew up in Iowa. For Christmas one year, I got him a Cubs t-shirt. When his son was born, I bought him a photo frame with the saying, “Future Cubs Fan.” I work for an attorney now that is from Chicago, but he’s a White Sox fan. I told him I would really have given him grief if he had been a Cubs fan.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the Cards-Cubs rivalry. If you have any fun stories about the Cards-Cubs rivalry, please share by posting a comment. Thanks for reading! See you next time!
Bibliography: Wikipedia, “Cardinals-Cubs rivalry,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardinals%E2%80%93Cubs_rivalry
The previous UCB weekend was held last September (and blogged about here). The Cardinals decided to host us earlier in the season this year.
On Saturday evening, there was a UCB dinner held at Patrick’s in Westport Plaza. For the second year in a row, I didn’t make it to the dinner – I hope to rectify that next year. Dinner was sponsored by Blitzfest, Any City Sports Fan, and Out of the Park Baseball. There were giveaways from STL Sports Page, Bonfyre, Topps Baseball Cards, ISA Grading Service, and Fox Sports Midwest.
On Sunday, the blogger event was held in the conference room in Busch Stadium. I brought my neighbor, JoAnn Johnson, who was very excited.
We received our game tickets and Carlos Beltran bobbleheads. Ron Watermon was the master of ceremonies. Owner Bill DeWitt, Jr. and general manager John Mozeliak were the main speakers. Mozeliak said that they were pretty happy about what had happened in April. He mentioned the fact that several of our bloggers cover the minor leagues in depth and that he was appreciative of the fine coverage. Mozeliak said that the Cards have a good group of players at the minor league level that the Cards haven’t had to tap into yet, but he hoped they didn’t have to. Mozeliak said they take pride in the fact that the Cards have the best home grown talent in the major leagues. He then talked about Jermaine Curtis, the latest call up from the minor leagues.
Mozeliak turned the floor over to Bill DeWitt. DeWitt gave a report on Ballpark Village. He said they were on track for completion of Ballpark Village by next spring. The basic timeframe is that by July, there will be parking on the west side of the site. The three main tenants will be Cardinals Nation, which will be a bar/restaurant/store/Hall of Fame Museum and will have a seating deck with a party room attached to it. In the middle of Ballpark Village will be the Live Marketplace, and the third tenant will be Anheuser-Busch. DeWitt spoke at length about the new Hall of Fame Museum. The old Hall of Fame, which was located in the basement of the old Bowling Hall of Fame (which was demolished for Ballpark Village), just had plaques of the Cardinals who were in Cooperstown, but the new Hall of Fame Museum will have more Cardinals players featured. DeWitt mentioned that they had been purchasing memorabilia for the new Hall of Fame for fifteen years, at a cost of almost $2 million dollars.
The question/answer session then ensued. The first question was about whether the DH would ever come to the National League. Mozeliak said that he didn’t see it on the horizon. Mozeliak said from a strategy standpoint, it would add another bat to the lineup. He’s not overly concerned if the NL switches to the DH, but he hopes that they don’t. DeWitt said that there had been no discussions at owners’ meetings about the DH.
The next question was to Mo about his thoughts on Shelby Miller’s performance this April. Mozeliak knocked on the wooden podium, making us all laugh. “Damn good,” he said. (Of course, this was before today’s game.) Mozeliak said that although Shelby had some bumps along the way in his minor league career, he was destined to be a good major league pitcher. Mo stated that Shelby is ready to contribute every fifth day and that in the future, he could be a front of the rotation pitcher. Someone then asked an analytics question and asked whether the Cards relied on an analytic computer program.
A question was asked about the strategy of the minor league system as to infielders as opposed to pitchers. Mozeliak said that 3 or 4 years down the road, there’s no one that jumps out at shortstop, so the organization would have to draft or look to the international market to complement that. From a strategic standpoint, the organization needs to look at what they’re good at and what they’re weak at and in the draft and/or international market, they’re going to be looking at players up the middle to address that.
A question was asked about criteria in selecting players. Mozeliak said they like guys who hit the ball hard and often. A question was asked whether there was a comparison between Oscar Tavares and Vladimir Guerrero. They’re both Dominican, free swingers, and takes rips. Oscar is a little more disciplined than Vladimir was. At age 20, Mozeliak compares Oscar to Pujols and J.D. Drew. Mozeliak said there are lots of reasons to be excited about Oscar as a player. A blogger from Joplin asked about whether he should run over to Springfield to see Carlos Martinez. Mozeliak said he had better get over to Springfield quick because Carlos may be in St. Louis soon.
The next question was Mozeliak had ever picked Stan Musial’s brain about his experience as a general manager. Mozeliak said no, but his mentor was Bing Devine. His interactions with Stan was in a social setting and Mozeliak wasn’t the GM at that time. The next question was about the draft and the process involved. Mozeliak stated that they would address needs and that draft picks can’t be traded up or down. They want to draft players that can make it to the big leagues. The Cards have 2 picks in the first round of the draft. They would like to address needs, but Mozeliak doesn’t see a lot of shortstops in this draft.
A question was asked about how often Mozeliak and Mike Matheny get together and talk about the players in the minor league system. Mozeliak said that Matheny takes a great deal of interest in what goes on in the minor league system and they talk daily. They maintain a depth chart on a daily basis. Mo stated that Michael Wacha could pitch at the major league level today, but since he’s only a year removed from college where he pitched only once every 7 days, and he needed to get used to a 5 man rotation.
The next question was about Trevor Rosenthal and the process used to decide to move him to the bullpen. Mozeliak said that it was a seamless process. He spoke about how pitching velocity has increased in the last 4 or 5 years. The pitchers are getting the ball quicker out of their hands. Trevor gets in trouble when he leaves fastballs out over the plate instead of pitching more chase pitches. Trevor is still making the adjustment to the major leagues.
The final question was from Dennis (Pitchers Hit Eighth), who wanted to use Mozeliak’s office to trade Ty Wiggington. Mozeliak said that you can’t develop a bat off the bench in the minor leagues and that Ty does have a value to the team. Mozeliak would like him to hit better than what he currently is, but it’s tough to train a guy to just come off of the bench and they were hoping that Ty would fill that role. If a year from now, he’s still hitting .150, they’ll reassess.
Stephanie Spargur, the director of retail for Sportsservice, was then introduced. She presented a display of items that can be purchased in the Team Store at Busch Stadium.
There are various items that can only be purchased at the Team Store, and they have a special label on them. Neon colors are popular this year, so there are items available for purchase in these colors. See the selection below. There are also pet items available for purchase.
There are also some items for purchase that can be personalized, which would make great wedding, anniversary or Christmas presents.
This photo is a selection of items for lady Cardinals fans, perfect for Mother’s Day.
There was time for a couple more questions for DeWitt. A question was asked about if Stan Musial family’s had contributed items to the new Hall of Fame and whether there was competition from the Baseball Hall of Fame for items for the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame. DeWitt said that Stan had contributed a substantial amount of his memorabilia to the Cardinals organization back in the late 1960′s-early 1970′s. DeWitt said that they do cooperate with Cooperstown a little bit, and they mainly come around when something big happens, like a World Series win and asks for a jersey, a bat, etc. Will, DeWitt’s son, had a question and asked if there will be any events outside the season at Ballpark Village. DeWitt told his son that if he had been listening earlier instead of of playing on his phone, he would have heard that they’re planning a lot of events, about 150 a year on average. DeWitt was then asked about the situation about the Memphis minor league affiliate. DeWitt replied that the Cardinals had a good relationship with Memphis and that they weren’t leaving. DeWitt mentioned that the ownership situation in Memphis is complicated – there’s a non-profit organization involved, and there’s some bondholders involved.
A discussion was held about the color of the hats the Cards wear on the road. DeWitt explained that the team wears the blue hat when they play against teams that have red as one of their colors and they wear the red hat when the other team doesn’t wear red. A question was asked about the dynamic pricing for seats. Group sales ticket blocks are held back from dynamic pricing. DeWitt talked about the relationship they have with StubHub for season ticket holders who would like to sell the tickets they won’t use. The club works with the ticket brokers when they buy tickets from them.
There was a question about the First Pitch program. DeWitt said that the team loves the program because the tickets allocated to the opposing team that aren’t used can be sold. These tickets can’t be put back in the general inventory because they are returned at the last minute.
Mr. Waterman then mentioned the special Stan Musial lapel pins that the Cardinals family are wearing this season. They look like the Stan Musial patch that the players are wearing on their uniforms this season. Mr. Waterman said that there were Stan Musial pins available for all of us because they consider us all a part of the Cardinals family. We were all very touched by this statement, and there might have been a few tears shed.
Next, we heard from Alex Eusebio, the luxury suite chef. He gave us the menu for today’s party room, which included pulled pork, beef brisket, G&W Sausage bratwurst and hot dogs, 4 handed nachos, potato salad, and a pasta station, which featured DeWitt’s favorite pasta, penne prosciuto chicken with a tomato cream sauce. There was a Mediterranean tapas station for the vegans among us (Baseball fans vegans? Really?). Mr. Waterman finished up the presentation and told us that they appreciated what we do.
I really appreciate how the Cardinals organization treats the bloggers. I’m not sure what kind of relationships other major league teams have with their bloggers, but I’m certain it can’t be as good as the Cardinals have with us. It was great to be able to talk to an owner and the general manager and have them be so open and forthcoming with us.
We got over to the party rooms just in time for the game to start. There were lots of good conversations and lots of great food. Unfortunately, the game itself wasn’t so great – the Cards lost to the Pirates, 9-0. Maybe the Cards will bring us a winner next time. Here’s a photo of all the bloggers in attendance:
Can you find me? LOL! The Cardinals had professional photographers at the event and you can see photos from the conference at this link: Photos. (You may want to copy the link and open it in Internet Explorer; I couldn’t get it to open in Firefox.)
Thanks for reading! See you next time!
Opening Day in downtown St. Louis is an unofficial holiday. And since it is a holiday, there are parties, better known as pep rallies. I thought I’d write a post about the various Opening Day pep rallies, for those out of town or those locals who are nowhere near downtown on Opening Day. I work 2 blocks from Busch Stadium at 8th and Market, so it was an easy walk for me to most of these rallies. I spent my lunch half-hour (okay, more like 40 minutes) visiting the rallies. The photos posted below are from my cell phone, so I apologize in advance if the quality is not the greatest.
The first pep rally I went to was the official Opening Day pep rally (the one that the Cardinals sponsor) was located in front of the Team Store at Busch Stadium this year. This rally used to be held at the corner of Broadway and Clark Street, but now that Ballpark Village construction is underway, the pep rally had to find a new home.
There was a band playing.
Fredbird signed autographs.
Hardee’s had a food booth and if you bought a combo deal, you got a free t-shirt.There were Dunkin Donuts and Krispy Kreme samples. The Muny had a wheel you could spin to win free tickets to see a musical. That line went down most of the block on Clark Street and since I was on my lunch break, I didn’t join the line.
You could get your photo taken with Yadi Molina’s Gold Glove and Platinum Glove. But that line was long also, so I just settled for taking a photo of both Gloves.
Next, I walked over to the pep rally sponsored by local TV station KSDK at Joe Buck’s Restaurant at 10th and Clark, which was located behind the restaurant. They gave away harmonicas in memory of Stan Musial. The line for those was very long, so I didn’t get one. There was a band playing here too, and the station also gave away a pair of tickets to the home opener. I got in there just in time to see Mike Bush and Sara Dayley (yes, she’s Ken Dayley’s daughter) interview Lou Brock. I was within 5 feet of him, the closest I’ve ever been.
The largest pep rally was held in Kiener Plaza, which is located between Broadway and 7th Street. There were food vendors, beer and alcohol vendors, and various businesses with giveaways. There was a band playing at this pep rally too. This pep rally was the most crowded of all the pep rallies I attended. The water in the Kiener Plaza fountain was dyed red in honor of the Cardinals’ Opening Day.
KMOX sponsored a pep rally called Kegs & Eggs. What an odd name for a pep rally, you think. But brunch (eggs) and beer (kegs) were served at this rally. This is the only pep rally that had an admission fee. It was held on the parking lot of the Tums factory on South 6th Street. Good thing the Tums factory is next door – you might need some of their products if you eat too much food and drink too much beer.
Here’s a few tips for you, should you decide to go to Opening Day pep rallies next year:
- Get there early. The rally at Busch Stadium started at 11 AM but the other 2 rallies started at 10 AM.
- Wear your walking shoes, especially if you plan on attending all the rallies. There’s some hiking involved.
- Travel light and tight. Bring the bare minimum, such as your cell phone and your wallet. A jacket with pockets, a fanny pack or a cross-body bag are ideal. There are lots of people at these rallies and it’s easier to get through the crowd when you don’t have to worry about carrying a large bag.
- Bring cash. Not a lot, just enough to purchase food and drink. The vendors probably don’t have credit card readers and if they did, using them would hold up the line behind you. If you’re also planning on going to the game, you’ll need cash for the beer vendors if you choose to imbibe.
- If you’re sensitive to loud music, wear earplugs. The volume of the bands at all three locations were very loud.
- Bring a pen to fill out giveaway entries faster.
- If your cell phone doesn’t have a camera, bring your camera.
- If possible, take the MetroLink train or MetroBus. Although the Hyatt offers some free parking meters, downtown parking tickets are expensive. Stadium Garage parking is $20.00 a car. There are other parking lots within walking distance of the stadium, but they’re not cheap either.
- Observe traffic lights and only walk when there is either no traffic or you have a walk light. I can’t tell you how many people I saw today crossing the street in front of cars. I’m really surprised no one got hit.
- Have fun!
The Cards lost 12-4. It sucks to lose on Opening Day. Hopefully, the next 2 games will go better.
Thanks for reading! See you next time!
Something came up last night, so I was unable to post my NL Central predictions. (Sorry, Dan. Hopefully this won’t ruin my chances to sing the National Anthem at UCB weekend.) So I thought I’d pull a doubleheader and post both my NL Central and NL West predictions tonight. So here we go:
2013 National League Central
1. Reds – I predict the Reds will finish first in the division again this year. If Joey Votto and and Todd Frazier have a good year, no one will be able to touch them.
2. Cardinals – Just like last year (and perhaps forever now), the Cards are without Chris Carpenter’s mighty arm. And just like last year, the Cards were plagued with injuries to starting players during spring training – Freese’s sore back, Beltran’s broken toe, and Motte’s arm injury. The backup players will have to hold down the fort until the injured players return. It was good that the Cards signed Wainwright to a long term contract.
3. Brewers – The Brewers signed Kyle Lohse, and we see how that worked out with Jeff Suppan. Ryan Braun’s steroids accusation may overshadow the Brewers. Nyger Morgan is not with the team anymore, however – he is far, far away in Japan.
4. Pirates – Andrew McCutcheon is a great centerfielder, but one player does not a team make, and the Pirates will once again not make the playoffs. The last couple of years, the Pirates have had a great first half of the season, but collapsed down the stretch.
5. Cubs – The Cubs are the perennial last place finisher. Even drawing Theo Epstein away from the BoSox didn’t help the Cubs last year. Ex-Cards pitcher Edwin Jackson should boost the starting rotation and young slugger Anthony Rizzo should help the offense, but once again, it’s not the Cubs’ year this year.
2013 National League West Predictions
1. Giants – They have won the 2 of the last World Series. When the Giants are healthy, they’re a potent team. They need Tim Lincecum to find his happy place and pitch like the Cy Young winner he is.
2. Dodgers – Magic Johnson now owns the Dodgers and he likes to win. Will our old friend Mark McGwire be an effective hitting coach for the Dodgers? Will Skip Schumacher finally find a home? We’ll find out the answers to those questions.
3. Diamondbacks – The D’backs could not repeat as division champions last year, and they won’t be in the playoffs this year, either. They did make some moves in the offseason, however.
4. Padres – The Padres play in a pitcher’s park and they have do have some good hurlers, but it won’t be enough to go to the playoffs.
5. Rockies - The Dodgers’ offseason acquisitions made the NL West a tough division, so there has to be a team at the bottom of the heap and that’s the Rockies. There are no players in the farm system to provide help.
NL Playoff Projections
Wild Cards – Cardinals, Braves
NLDS – Nationals v. Cardinals, Braves v. Giants
NLCS – Cardinals v. Giants
World Series – Angels v. Cardinals; Cardinals win World Series
I hope you have enjoyed my predictions. Who’s to say whether they come true or not? I’m just happy that the regular season is just a few days away and soon we’ll be able to watch baseball! Thanks for reading and see you next time!
The United Cardinals Bloggers’ March assignment is for each blogger to post their predictions for 2013. Yesterday, I made my predictions for the American League. Over the next three days, I will take a look at each division in the National League and make my predictions.
1. Nationals – The Nats were the beast of the East last year, and they should finish in first place again this year. They will learn from their mistakes in the playoffs. Hopefully, ace Stephen Strasburg will be able to pitch more than his “pre-determined” innings limit.
2. Braves – The Braves made some nice moves this offseason by upgrading their outfield with B.J. Upton, Jason Heyward and Justin Upton. The new look outfield and the strong pitching will make them contenders, but nothing will stop the Nats.
3. Phillies – This year will not be kind to the Phillies. Roy Halladay needs to have a good season and with the exception of Cole Hamels and Ryan Howard, the players are getting old.
4. Mets – The Mets are still paying Johan Santana’s salary, which will limit them in getting good players. They also lost Carlos Beltran, Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey, and they are now in rebuilding mode.
5. Marlins – The trade of most of their good players to the Blue Jays will surely hurt the Marlins. They are in a rebuilding mode. A large stadium with few fans attending games will not help morale.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading my predictions. Wish I could predict the winning lottery numbers! Thanks for reading – see you next time!
Spring has sprung on the calendar (Mother Nature obviously can’t read, because she sent us 12” of snow yesterday), but it isn’t spring to me until Opening Day, and that’s only one week from today! The Cards’ home opener is two weeks from today. The United Cardinals Bloggers’ project for March is predictions of the standings for 2013. Today’s predictions are for the American League. Full disclosure – this post was written with the assistance of my husband. He knows more about the American League than I do. So here are my predictions, with comments on a few:
1. Rays – Outstanding pitching and a smart manager. What more do you need?
2. Blue Jays – They were the recipients of Florida’s largesse. A change will do these players good.
3. Yankees – This is Mariano Rivera’s last season and he’d like to go to the playoffs one more time, but the Yanks have a bunch of old players. Steinbrenner’s son is more economical and doesn’t spend money like his dad.
5. Red Sox – Like the Yankees, the Red Sox have several players at the end of their careers.
1. Tigers – They’ve won the division the last two years and this year will be no exception, since the AL Central is a weak division.
2. White Sox
3. Royals – The Royals have made some improvements, but they’re not ready for the big time yet.
1. Angels – With all the money that management has spent, winning the division should be a given, but this division is wide open.
2. Rangers – The Rangers were this close to a World Series championship a couple of years ago, but the loss of Josh Hamilton will hurt.
5. Astros – It’s going to be a rough year for the ‘Stros, even with the addition of some ex-Cards players and other ex-Cards folks. The main problem will be getting used to the AL style of play.
Wild cards – Blue Jays, Rangers
ALDS – Rays v. Tigers, Angels v. Blue Jays
AL Champion – Angels
Thanks for reading! Tomorrow’s post will be the 2013 National League East predictions. See you then!
“People ask me what I do in the winter when there’s no baseball. I look out the window and wait for spring.” – Rogers Hornsby
Like Rogers, we baseball fans too wait for spring training all winter long. It’s a sign that the regular season will soon be here. Spring training is well under way now. But have you ever wondered about the history of spring training? I did, so I decided to do a little research.
An unlikely character first came up with the idea of spring training. Newspaper articles from 1869 report Tammany Hall head man William “Boss” Tweed first came up with the idea of spring training when he sent his team, the amateur New York Naturals, to New Orleans to shape up for the 1869 season. The Cincinnati Reds, who became the first professional baseball team in 1869, followed suit in 1870 by opening their season in New Orleans and playing their first few games of the season across the South. The White Stockings (n/k/a the White Sox) also went to New Orleans in the spring of 1870.
During the 1870s, many teams from the then new National League and other professional and amateur clubs headed to New Orleans to get ready for the season. Savannah, Georgia and Charleston, North Carolina were other popular destinations for teams. In 1885, Chicago White Stockings player-manager Cap Anson, after witnessing one of his pitchers down 8 beers in one fell swoop, decided to take his team to Hot Springs, Arkansas to sweat the winter fat off of his players.
Spring training first came to Florida in 1888, when the Washington Senators held spring training in Jacksonville. The accommodations for the players, however, were less than desirable. A boardinghouse finally agreed to take the players in, giving them food and 2-to-a-bed sleeping arrangements in return for the ballplayers not mingling with the rest of the guests. Since ballplayers were a rowdy lot back then, this arrangement didn’t quite work out.
Even though the Civil War had only been over for a little over 20 years, Southerners were still smarting over their losses. All those drunken Northern ballplayers surely didn’t make a good impression on them. In the early 1890s, the Cubs were kicked out of Waycross, Georgia because one of the players allegedly flirted with the hotel manager’s wife.
The weather was great down South, but the facilities left a lot to be desired. Most teams practiced wherever they could find a large patch of land, like a farmer’s field. Spring training in the 1800s was more about getting the winter fat off of the players than practicing hitting and fielding, however. Team owners held a tight rein on spring training expenditures. They made some of their money back by holding exhibition games.
Spring training as we know it today started in 1894, when Baltimore Orioles manager Ned Hanlon took the team to Macon, Georgia and drilled them in fielding and hitting. The Orioles won the pennant that year and the next 2 years after, and other teams sat up and took notice.
John McGraw became the manager of the New York Giants in 1902, and spring training changed forever thanks to his influence. McGraw worked the players like Hanlon, his mentor, but he also treated his players like royalty, making spring training the spectacle it is today. McGraw moved the Giants to Memphis for spring training in 1903. He was also an astute marketer – he had reporters cover spring training and their stories were printed in Northern newspapers, giving fans baseball fever so that the box office would be booming on opening day, much like spring training coverage does now in 2013.
Other teams took note of McGraw’s success and they began to emulate his methods. Newspaper reporters from every paper covering major league baseball sent reporters to spring training. Baseball players were now seen as celebrities instead of ingrates, and Southern cities began to compete to hold spring training and to make money from it.
In 1910, Al Lang moved to St. Petersburg to escape the stifling air in Pittsburgh which exacerbated a respiratory ailment that he suffered from and his doctors told Al he only had 6 months to live. The air in St. Petersburg must have agreed with Al, for he lived for another 49 1/2 years. Al’s friend Barney Dreyfuss owned the Pittsburgh Pirates and Al tried to persuade Barney to have the Pirates hold spring training in St. Petersburg. Al wasn’t discouraged, however – he gathered some of the civic leaders and raised enough money to build a spring training facility. The only team that would snap at the bait was the St. Louis Browns, whose general manager was Branch Rickey, a name known to most Cardinals fans. The citizens of St. Petersburg gave the Browns a great deal in 1914 – they paid for the team’s transportation, their food and lodging and paid for reporters to accompany the team. The Browns must have been less than impressed, however, because they moved spring training to Houston in 1915.
Al was not deterred – he approached the Phillies and the A’s and the Phillies held spring training in St. Petersburg in 1915. They eventually won the pennant, giving the credit to spring training in St. Petersburg. Al was elected mayor that year and he developed Ft. Lauderdale into a modern city and Florida’s major tourist attraction at that time. The Yankees, among other teams, held spring training in St. Petersburg. The Cardinals started holding spring training in St. Petersburg in 1936. The Yankees left St. Petersburg in 1960, but the Mets moved in. The Cardinals held spring training in St. Petersburg from 1936-1942 and from 1946-1997, when they left for Jupiter – Florida, that is.
Teams began to hold spring training in other Florida towns in the late 1920′s such as Bradenton, Clearwater, Sarasota, Fort Myers, Orlando, Winter Haven, and Lakeland. Not only were Northern reporters writing stories about spring training, but they were writing about how warm and sunny it was in Florida, making them winter destination spots. By the mid-1930′s, teams stopped migrating from town and settled in one spot.
The term “Grapefruit League” for the spring training teams was first coined in 1923 when a Syracuse, NY paper reported that then Commissioner Kenesaw Landis was “touring the orange and grapefruit league.” The term didn’t take off until after World War II, when more exhibition games began to be played.
The Cactus League began in 1947 in Arizona, started by the Cleveland Indians. The then Brooklyn Giants also started training there that same year, and the Cubs joined them in 1952, after having trained in California on Catalina Island for thirty years. The Orioles, the Red Sox and the Angels followed. Boston and Houston, however, went back to Florida to train by the mid-1960′s. The A’s, the Padres, and the Seattle Pilots (now known as the Milwaukee Brewers) began to hold their spring training in Arizona.
During World War II, teams held spring training in the North due to travel restrictions. The Cardinals held spring training in Cairo, Illinois. After World War II was over, spring training once again was held in Florida. Segregation reared its ugly head in 1946 when Jackie Robinson and African-American teammate John Wright could not stay with the rest of the Dodgers and had to stay in a private home. Branch Rickey eventually moved the Dodgers’ spring training to Vero Beach and built a facility called “Dodgertown.” The Dodgers trained in Vero Beach until 2008, when they moved to Arizona.
Segregation, unfortunately, got worse as more African-Americans baseball players trained with the major league teams. The African-American players were not allowed to stay in the same hotels as the white players because of racial prejudice in the South. They were forced to stay in private homes or in other hotels. It was hard to get players to mesh as a team when some of the players had to room somewhere else. In the early 1960′s, due to efforts by Bill White and others, segregation finally came to an end.
There is more spring training history than can fit in this blog post and I hope I haven’t bored you too much. You can read more about the history of spring training in the book listed in the bibliography below. Thanks for reading! See you next time!
Bibliography: Under the March Sun: The Story of Spring Training by Charles Fountain, Oxford University Press 2009
Once again, it’s time for the February United Cardinals Bloggers Roundtable. Yesterday was my day to ask the question, although I didn’t actually post it until last night, thanks to the text from Daniel reminding me. Here was the question that I asked to my fellow roundtable members:
After baseball players retire, they often become coaches or managers. I guess they can’t get baseball out of their blood. Hmm, isn’t that why we blog about Cardinals baseball? LOL! Veterans Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee and Jim Edmonds came to spring training this year to work with the current players. However, just because someone is talented in a particular area doesn’t mean they can teach it to others.
So here’s my question. What former or current Cardinal player would you like to see become a coach and why? My answer is Chris Carpenter, not just for his technical skills, but because he can teach attitude and sportsmanship. He worked with Trevor Rosenthal over the winter, so he has some experience with coaching already.
Looking forward to your answers!
Daniel Solzman, Redbird Rants:
The no-brainer answer is Chris Carpenter. He said so himself that he can’t envision retiring. The best thing to do now is to lock him up to a personal services contract.I’m not going to lie that I was very jealous to see guys like Jake Lemmerman and Carson Kelly tweeting about being able to meet Ozzie and Willie.
I am going to go with Rick Ankiel. I have no idea if he can teach, or if he is good with the young guys or anything like that. I just have to think, with everything that Ankiel has been through both as a pitcher and as a position player, that he would have a lot to share about the mental aspect of making it to and playing in the big leagues.
He could also teach a mean, nasty hook to lefties and maybe show outfielders how to throw a pill from the wall to third base on a line.
Scott Rolen. I have no idea whether he is interested in it, or has any skill at it (like the other suggestions so far). What a talented guy, though. To have him around the clubhouse in a mentoring and training capacity would pass along a winning attitude, and he has no shortage of skills others could benefit from. He’s got Cardinal heritage, and he knows what it’s like to play with a top notch ballclub. As his career draws nears the end, I’d love to see him join our coaching ranks.
I would have to go with a current Cardinal and pick Yadier Molina. I think that, after LaRussa and Dave Duncan left the Cardinals, Molina has became more of a coach on the field. In addition, catchers tend to make good managers, just look at Mike Scoscia, Joe Girardi, Eric Wedge, Bob Melvin, Clint Hurdle and of course Mike Matheny.So, it would not surprise me if Molina ends up the bench coach for the Cardinals when he retires and eventually replaces Matheny as the manager.
Chris Carpenter for sure, and I’ve thought that for years. I remember when Shelby Miller was at Busch Stadium after he was drafted and seeing Chris standing in the bullpen watching him. He just seems to have an interest in coaching and working with other pitchers, plus he has not only the pitching knowledge to share but also the experience in handling injuries and adversity (unfortunately). And he certainly seems to have the respect of his teammates.
I definitely like the suggestion that Wes made on Scott Rolen, for the reasons that he said.
I’ve been on the Chris Carpenter for pitching coach bandwagon for as long as I can remember, and I’m not getting off it now.
Lots of great answers here. I do think we’ll see Carp as a pitching coach or some sort of instructor somewhere down the line and he’ll likely be a good one. And anything that gets Scott Rolen back into Cardinal red gets my full-throated endorsement.
I think it’d be nice to see Matt Holliday as a guest instructor in spring after his playing days are done. We’ve seen him take players under his wing on his own initiative, so getting some official time with new Cardinals could only benefit them.
I think I read recently that Rolen has no interest in coaching. Combining that with statements from other media-types that Rolen always had a real problem with authority and was never shy about his feelings about Tony in media sessions, etc., and I think Rolen as a coach would never really be able to settle in and be a “team player” for an organization, whether that means under a GM or a Manager. It’s sad, because stories of Rolen’s leadership role at times, and his experience, could make him a decent to great coach – and he was my favorite Cardinal when he was here .To me, Carp’s experience mentoring young pitchers and “teaching” players like Ryan proves he has not only the ability to coach but also the desire to guide young men. Also, hearing Carp talk about continuity regarding the teachings of Dave Duncan made me think he would be the ideal candidate for a coaching job within an organization that wants to foster Duncan’s philosophies but worries about doing so without Dunc’s everyday presence. At WWU a year ago, Carp was steadfast and resolute in his belief in what he’s learned and could pass on.But, there’s a problem, and the problem is actually Chris Carpenter himself.
Carp has stated several times that he really struggles with being a leader when he can’t contribute on the field. He’s even referred to that sort of role as “not being a part of it.” That would have to change. Carp would have to force himself into a tough transition that would see his perspective shift from player to coach. It would also have to lead to a shift – not change, really, but shift – in how he leads. What Carp senses instinctively is the fact that non-players aren’t really effective when they try to lead like players – yell, lead by example, pull players aside, be the “enforcer”, etc. Instead, non-players have to lead a different way…a more subtle, “I’m available” kind of way while also mixing in just the right amount of self-initiated intervention and accountability. Consider Jim Edmonds’ recent comments about his awkwardness and hesitation when trying to learn that balance with young outfielders – when do you step in and say something and when do you wait for them to ask you a question?Ultimately, Carp would need to realize and accept what everyone else already realizes…the greatest asset Carp can offer the team is simply himself…Carp…The Ace. His presence within the organization can have significant impact. For a guy like Carp, that can be humbling and a little hard to believe/accept…especially for a guy who will likely feel like he’s not doing enough to help his team.
I hope you enjoyed reading my question and all the answers! If you would like to read some of the other questions in the roundtable, just go here. Thanks for reading! See you next time!
The United Cardinals Bloggers (of which this blog is a member) have once again put out an annual retrospective of the Cardinals’ last season (and some on this year). Here’s the press release for the book:
PART 2012. PART 2013. ALL CARDINALS.
THE 2013 UNITED CARDINAL BLOGGERS ANNUAL: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY
Compiled and Edited by Christine Coleman (Aaron Miles’ Fastball) and Daniel Shoptaw (C70 At The Bat)
Foreword by Will Leitch
The 2012 St. Louis Cardinals was a team that was hard to figure. Playing without their Hall-of-Fame manager and longtime first baseman, expectations for the squad were mixed. However, Mike Matheny led his charges into October and then, via a playoff road never before traveled, within one game of repeating as National League Champions.
Throughout the year, the team was covered by the intrepid band of Internet writers known as the United Cardinal Bloggers and, with that season in the books and a new one about to begin, the UCB has put together a look at what happened during the season from their unique points of view.
With a foreword by Will Leitch, founder of Deadspin and now a columnist at Sports On Earth and New York Magazine, The 2013 United Cardinal Bloggers Annual recaps not only the regular season but every round of the playoffs as well as providing features on such players such as Chris Carpenter, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright.
Along with the player profiles, there are other examinations of the season including the work of the bullpen and Matheny’s bunting habits as well as a summary of the minor league season for each level of the Cardinals’ farm system. The annual also includes a tribute to St. Louis icon Stan Musial.
Contributors include Drew Silva, known for his work at NBC Sports’ Hardball Talk blog; Matt Philip from Fungoes, a part of ESPN’s Sweetspot blog network; Bill Ivie from I70 Baseball, which covers both of Missouri’s professional baseball teams; and a host of other Redbird writers.
The 2013 United Cardinal Bloggers Annual brings you work from 18 Cardinal bloggers and also includes a capsule for every player who wore the Birds on the Bat in 2012 with their projected role for the next season, as well as an overall look ahead at the 2013 season. No stone is left unturned by this group of writers!
The 2013 United Cardinal Bloggers Annual is available as an e-book at the Amazon Kindle store for $4.99. The book can be read on any of the devices in the Kindle family as well as by downloading Amazon’s free reading apps for your computer, tablet or smartphone.
About the Authors
The United Cardinal Bloggers was founded in 2007 as a way to foster communication and collaboration among the many Cardinal blogs. Members participate in various blogging projects throughout the year as well as interact via Twitter and email. The UCB also produces UCB Radio Hour, a one-hour weekly look at the Cardinals on Blog Talk Radio, maintains a website at www.unitedcardinalbloggers.com and can be found on Twitter at @utdcardbloggers.
Christine Coleman is the senior writer at Aaron Miles’ Fastball, part of the Aerys Sports blog network. While Christine started life as a Cub fan, she eventually saw the light and now is fully immersed in Cardinal Nation. She can be found on Twitter at @ccoleman802.
Daniel Shoptaw is the author of C70 At The Bat, part of the Blogs By Fans blog network. Daniel is also the founder and leader of the United Cardinal Bloggers as well as the founder and past president of the Baseball Bloggers Alliance. He can be found on Twitter at @C70.
If you’re missing baseball (even though pitchers and catchers report in a couple of weeks), this book should help chase the doldrums away. See you next time!
Since I couldn’t go to Stan’s wake, I decided to go to the ceremony at Busch Stadium today. I rode the Metrolink train over from Illinois. In the same car with me was a young man wearing a white hooded jacket and a Cardinals knit hat. I knew where he was going. He had a rose in his hand. I wish I had thought of that. But then I thought, flowers die, but blog posts live forever.
I arrived at Busch Stadium around 10:40 AM. I found a good spot to stand across the street from Stan’s statue. I was lucky enough to stand next to a man with a pocket size TV. He told me he was at the double header that Stan had hit 5 home runs at. What a lucky guy! We watched some of the funeral on the TV.
More and more people showed up as time went on. A guy came along handing out buttons, but by the time he got to me, he still had buttons left but he said he was going to give them to kids. So I had to settle for taking a photo of one, which you will see above.
The St. Louis Fire Department hung a big U.S. Flag between two hook and ladder trucks. It was a beautiful sight.
All of the Busch Stadium ushers filed in. They stood in front on gate 3 and on the bridges above gate 3. There was a Clydesdale horse brought in. The handler brought him up behind the statue. He was a well behaved and very photogenic horse.
We knew the procession was getting close when the St. Louis Fire Department guys and the St. Louis County Police Pipes and Drums band got into place at the statue.
The funeral procession arrived around 1:45 PM (or thereabouts – I was too cold to check my watch and my phone was dead).
The family got out of the limousines to applause by the fans and proceeded to the statue. Each family member was given a rose to put into a vase at the statue.
The band played “Amazing Grace” as the family put their roses in the vases. As the family went back to the limousines, a couple of the family members patted the hearse.
The crowd spontaneously started singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and applauded the family. Several of the family members thanked the fans for being there.
As the hearse drove off, we all started saying, “Goodbye, Stan!” I cried. But I’m a woman, so I cry at funerals, weddings, sappy movies – oh, never mind. Here’s a photo of the casket in the hearse:
If you would like to see a video of the ceremony, you can go here. It was cold and a long wait, but I’m so glad I went today. As a longtime Cardinals fan, I felt it my duty and an honor to say farewell to one of the greatest Cardinals baseball players ever. So so long, Stan. Thanks for sharing your life and your career with us. You will never be forgotten.