Red Schoendienst is enjoying his 64th year of spring training.
"I just like still being around, seeing who's who and keeping up with what's going on," Schoendienst said while watching practice from a golf cart Tuesday.This spring, Chris Duncan has hit four home runs.
Schoendienst, 83, was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1989. He managed the Cards to a World Series title in 1967. In that memorable series Bob Gibson — who is in camp as a special instructor with the Cards — faced Tiger Denny McLain in epic match ups.
Want your own Fred Bird? Well, now you can. Or when you can. But you have to get to Busch Stadium first.
Build-A-Bear Workshop hopes to hit a home run with Cardinals fans and expand its baseball mascot business by opening a make-your-own Fredbird store inside the new Busch Stadium, the company said Tuesday.Jesse Schoendienst is taking after his great uncle.
The new location means that Overland-based Build-A-Bear will have five exclusive stadium mascot stores by the end of the year. The company opened its first mascot store in 2004 in Philadelphia's Citizens Bank Park and followed in 2005 with locations in Cleveland's Jacobs Field and Cincinnati's Great American Ball Park. In the upcoming baseball season it also will open a store in San Francisco's AT&T Park.
Shawn Bertani, a company spokeswoman, said there also are plans to open a regular retail store in Boston's Faneuil Hall Marketplace, near Fenway Park. It will be the only location where an exclusive mascot will be available outside a stadium.
"He hasn't made it out here yet," Jesse said on Sunday from Norfolk, Va., where the Monarchs had completed a three-game sweep of George Mason to run their record to 17-3 this season. "He's pretty busy with his family and everything. I went out to Illinois where I grew up in hopes of seeing him last Christmas, but he was away with his family."We have about three weeks to go before opening day.
Jesse said his great uncle works as a special assistant for the Cardinals and is in Florida for spring training.
The Cardinals made Jesse a 40th-round draft selection last June, although the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Schoendienst hit only .276.
Jesse was set to sign a contract with St. Louis, but the Cardinals wanted him to stay at Old Dominion for his final year of eligibility.
"They like my quick hands and my defense," he said. "But we basically had a deal. They wanted me to go back [to school] and get a little bit stronger and work on my hitting a little bit.
"I was basically ready to go, but they said, 'We'd rather see you play another full year there and after your season there, we'll probably try to work on something and sign you before you go back to the draft pool next year [this June].'"
On Wednesday, workers began laying Kentucky bluegrass for the new Busch. The work comes less than three weeks before the first game in the $400 million stadium - an exhibition contest between the Cardinals' top two minor-league teams, Triple-A Memphis and Double-A Springfield, on April 4.St. Louis beat Florida 2-0 in ten innings today. The Cards are now 8-6. I expect that they will have a better record once Albert Pujols comes back. Jason Marquis will start tomorrow against the Baltimore Orioles.
The first real game is April 10, the defending NL Central champions' home opener against Milwaukee.
By midday Wednesday, the infield was already a picture-perfect blue-green, with outfield work to follow.
Joe Abernathy, the Cardinals' vice president of operations, shielded his eyes and pointed to an outfield fully bathing in the sun's rays. Unlike the old Busch, the new stadium has an open plaza beyond the outfield walls, allowing in the sun and wind.
"In the old stadium, right field was a constant problem for us with the shadows," Abernathy said. "We think with the sunshine and the ventilation in this stadium, the grass will have a better chance of surviving."