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.
Director of Communications Kyle Parkinson is at Spring Training this week which means updates from Jupiter on Chirp Chatter all week. This is the first official non-Ben and Alex post on this blog and I promise I will not use awesomeness in any of the headlines this week.
The Redbirds traveling party arrived yesterday in time to catch the majority of the ‘Birds loss to New Orleans and have dinner with athletic trainer Chris Conroy. It’s hard to believe we’ve already been here for two days. And when I say we I mean myself, President of Baseball Operations/GM Dave Chase, President of Business Operations Bill Harter and Broadcaster Steve Selby. The two days we
have been here have been action packed, we’ve seen the ‘Birds lose a game, win a game, talked with our field staff, caught up with former Memphis manager Gaylen Pitts and pitching coach Dyar Miller, watched a few innings of the Marlins/Twins and I already have a pretty good tan going which is tantastic.
Today’s game against Springfield was a great chance to see players that are on our team and players that will likely be on our team at some point in the future. Normally, we don’t get much of a chance to see the players on the Springfield roster due to them playing on another field at the same time the Redbirds are playing. Mitchell Boggs and Clayton Mortensen were both strong in their three-inning efforts. Boggs pitched against the Redbirds which was a little weird to watch him head to the other dugout after the inning. The ‘Birds
infield had a new look to it with Jarrett Hoffpauir at third, Tyler Greene at shortstop, Casey Rowlett at second and Nick Stavinoha at first. Out of those four only Greene played the position he played today for the Redbirds last season. It looks like the word for this camp is versatility.
The list of potential Redbirds got a little longer today as the Cardinals optioned eight players, trimming their Spring Training roster down to 37 players. Among those players re-assigned to minor league camp were pitchers Clayton Mortensen, Adam Ottavino, Jess Todd, and infielder Allen Craig. Outfielder Brian Barton and pitchers Mitchell Boggs, Charlie Manning and Matt Scherer were also optioned by St. Louis. Be sure to keep up with us as more information comes trickling out of Florida and Opening Day gets closer.