Tuesday, April 04, 2006

First Game at Busch

The Memphis Redbirds and Springfield Cardinals played an exhibition game at the new Busch Stadium today. Springfield won 5-3.

Some firsts:
Pitch: Sidney Ponson at 7:10 eastern
Run: Chris Duncan (He scored the last run at old Busch)
Home Run: Shaun Boyd
Attendance: 32,255

MLB.com writeup is here. The article says that Springfield is now AAA and Memphis is now AA. Did I miss that change over the offseason? I think it may be a typo. Turns out that the Brian Doolittle who wrote that has a blog. Not only did FSN Midwest carry it but you were able to stream it live on MLB.com for free.
An hour before the game, crowds were scanning the pavement outside the stadium in search of bricks with their name on it. As part of a promotion, people were allowed to purchase in advance small bricks that displayed one or more names. However, it seemed the specific location of these bricks was unknown.

Despite the Cardinals being in Philadelphia, managing partner and chairman Bill DeWitt and GM Walt Jocketty were on hand and before the game could be seen proudly showing folks around the field.

Also adding to the big-event atmosphere was the abundance of TV cameras. Though FSN, the Cardinals' primary television network, originally planned to use the game as a rehearsal, it decided to go ahead and televise the game. High ratings are expected for the broadcast, which could not even be set up until game day because of ongoing construction.

FSN hopes everything will be smoothed out by next Monday.

"That will be the largest single production in the history of FSN Midwest," said Mark Hulsey, FSN's executive producer.

Before heading on their current road trip, the Cardinals took batting practice on Sunday. Albert Pujols launched a homer that cleared the bleachers in left field and reportedly landed somewhere near Clark Street.

"It might have bounced there, sure," La Russa said on Sunday. "If it bounced much, it certainly did. ... We just had a perfect workout. The field was -- spectacular, really."

The Cardinals end April with 17 of 20 games at new Busch.
Cardinals GM Walt Jocketty is breaking his cardinal rule this season when it comes to negotiating.
"We have so many free agents, particularly in pitching, that we're going to have to take a different approach," Jocketty said Monday before the Cardinals took the field for opening day. "I'm not sure what we're going to do. We're going to wait a period of time before we do anything. We have a lot of things to address, because if we do one, what does the other guy think?"

Particular deftness will be required with four of the five-man starting rotation playing on contracts that expire. Only Monday's starter, Chris Carpenter, is signed through 2007. And each of the four is a far different situation: Jason Marquis is set to be a free agent for the first time; Sidney Ponson is working to gain career traction; Jeff Suppan has excelled on a winning club; and Mark Mulder has the stuff and resume of a bank buster.
Jocketty spivey'd big time and my fantasy baseball roster shows that. Spivey has since been DFA'd.

Tony La Russa shows that it is not just the fans but the Cardinals organization as a whole is a class act. You remember how it was with Big Mac in 1998? Well, Jimmy Rollins is going to be going through the same thing for the next several games.
Tony La Russa watched too many teams pitch around Mark McGwire to let it happen to Jimmy Rollins.

Rollins' hitting streak was on the line when he came to the plate with two outs in the eighth inning and the Philadelphia Phillies trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 13-5 in the season opener Monday.

Reliever Adam Wainwright's first three pitches were out of the strike zone, and those remaining among the sellout crowd of 44,614 at Citizens Bank Park booed each one.

Before the next pitch, La Russa got catcher Yadier Molina's attention and signaled for a strike. The right-handed Wainwright threw a fastball down the middle and Rollins ripped it down the right-field line for a double to extend his hitting streak to 37 games.

"You have to play the game. We can't walk him in that spot," La Russa said.[...]

La Russa was in his third year managing the Cardinals in 1998 when McGwire hit 70 homers to break Roger Maris' single-season record of 61. It was frustrating for La Russa to see McGwire often get nothing to hit from pitchers, especially in tight games. He didn't want Rollins' streak to end with a walk when his team had an eight-run lead.

"Some of that is him, but mostly it's about us," La Russa said. "I wouldn't want the St. Louis Cardinals to walk him in his last at-bat. That's not what we represent."[...]

"Obviously a guy who plays as hard as he does and gets a streak going like that, I respect that," Wainwright said. "It's kind of a pitcher's duty if a guy has something going like that to give him a chance at it."

A three-time All-Star shortstop, Rollins ended the 2005 season with a 36-game hitting streak, the ninth-longest over one season in big-league history and the longest in the majors since 1987, when Paul Molitor hit safely in 39 consecutive games.[...]

DiMaggio accomplished his feat in the same season in 1941. The major-league marks for longest hitting streak in one season and longest hitting streak spanning two seasons are separate records.

DiMaggio holds both with his 56-game streak in 1941, but there is a difference in the NL records: Pete Rose (1978) and Willie Keeler (1897) share the NL mark at 44 games. However, Keeler got a hit in his final game of 1896, so his run of 45 games overall is the first record Rollins is chasing.
In Kansas news, don't expect a final four anytime soon.
Jackson County voters split Tuesday on a pair of tax measures to fund upgrades to Kansas City's sports stadiums, approving a sales tax for renovations and refurbishments but rejecting a separate business tax for a rolling roof at the Truman Sports Complex.

With 100 percent of precincts reporting, the three-eighth-cent sales tax passed 49,362 votes to 44,300. A $200 million plan to install a rolling roof at the complex failed by a narrower margin, 48,673 votes to 44,778.

The sales tax is expected to raise $425 million over 25 years to renovate Arrowhead Stadium, home of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, and Kauffman Stadium, where baseball's Kansas City Royals play. That money also would fund such new amenities as a pavilion behind Kauffman Stadium, similar to the one behind Arrowhead.

The rolling roof would have moved between the two stadiums, providing climate control.

The NFL had said Kansas City would get the Super Bowl in 2015 if voters approved the rolling roof, and baseball had also promised the city an All-Star Game sometime after 2010 if both measures are approved.

Supporters argued that passing both questions was the only way to guarantee Kansas City's sports future, while opponents said the teams' owners should not be asking for so much public money.
That's all for now.

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