Well, as they say, all good things must come to an end and our Spring Training trip is no different. The Redbirds traveling party disbanded this morning with the important people (President/GM Dave Chase and President Bill Harter) leaving first thing this morning and the not quite as important people (Broadcaster Steve Selby and myself) sitting in the Palm Beach Airport right now waiting to fly back to Memphis. (Side note: the trip is already off to a great start as they just announced our flight is delayed by nearly an hour.)
The last day of the Spring Training trip is always a little bittersweet. First, you don’t want to leave the baseball behind and second, no one wants to leave the sun and the fun of southern Florida. But the end of the trip always comes with a silver lining, especially this year. Baseball at AutoZone Park is only one week away with the ‘Birds and Cards kicking off the 10th season of AZP next Friday at 7:05.
I will say one thing about this trip, it has made me more excited for the 2009 season than any other since I started working for the Redbirds in 2005. There are still a few roster spots to be determined but even with those spots still up in the air the ‘Birds Opening Day Roster is going to be packed with young talent. The pitching staff will arguably be one of the best in the Pacific Coast League with the majority of last season’s rotation and part of the bullpen returning. Memphis posted the best ERA in the league last season and will be a serious threat to do it again. With Mitchell Boggs, P.J. Walters, Clayton Mortensen, Jess Todd and Blake Hawksworth penciled in as the starting five it should help what could potentially be a really young bullpen. There are no big boppers for the offense this year with David Freese looking more and more like he’ll be in St. Louis with each passing day. So look for a little more running on the basepaths and a lot more small ball this year…at least to start the season.
We’ll see you at the yard.