Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Happy Spring Training Day!

As the calendar turns the corner into the New Year, baseball fans begin to see the light at the end of winter’s tunnel.  Like the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve, we baseball fans begin the countdown to the first day of spring training, and we at Diamond Diaries have been counting the days too, as you can see in the sidebar to the right of your screen. After Opening Day, the first day of spring training is the second most important day on the baseball fan’s calendar.  I am celebrating the first day of spring training by wearing my World Series T-shirt, my Cardinals watch and my Cardinals necklace. :)

Although it may be cold and snowy where you are, in Florida and Arizona, where spring training is headquartered, the weather is warm and sunny, reminding us that spring and a new baseball season is right around the corner. “Pitchers and catchers report” are the words that get me through a cold and gray February.

On the first day of spring training, all teams are on equal footing.  Fans of teams who made the playoffs and World Series will dream of repeat appearances.  Fans of perennially losing teams will wonder, Is this the year? Could it all gel together this year?  (In the case of the Cubs, probably not.) Cardinals fans have a lot to think about this spring training season.  Let’s take a brief look.

1. Subtractions.  The first big loss was when manager Tony LaRussa announced his retirement.  The Player Who is Not to be Named defected to the Angels.  Then Dave Duncan decided to take a leave to take care of his wife.  Those losses could take down a less disciplined team than the Cardinals.

2.  Additions.  Tony’s replacement is Mike Matheny, who is a well-loved former Cardinal, but who also has no big league managing experience.  Cardinal killer Carlos Beltran is on the prowl in right field, and we’re grateful his bat will be used for us instead of against us.

3.  Variables.  How well will Lance Berkman play at first base?  Will his bat be as hot this year as last?  Will Matt Holiday play and hit better once he’s out of #5’s shadow?  Second base is wide open – who will be the starter in that slot, Greene, Descalso, or Schumaker?  How well will the players adapt to a new manager, especially one who used to be one of their fellow players? Can Derek Lilliquist perform the same magic with the pitching staff that Dave Duncan did?

This spring training promises to be an interesting one, considering all of the above.  I can’t wait to see the boys in uniform again, listening to Mike Shannon and John Rooney on KMOX, and watching the games on TV.  Hurry up March 5th!  Let’s go Cards!

As always, thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

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