Minor League pitchers and catchers will report on Monday, March 5, with their first workout the next day. Position players will join them on Wednesday, March 7. Early camp players report earlier, on February 24.
The Jupiter complex offers great opportunities to get up close and personal with prospects. Most March mornings, players will be working out in preparation for 1:00 P.M. games that begin on Wednesday, March 14 and run through Sunday, April 1.
The players will work out together for six days before their first intersquad games on March 14. The first contests against external competition will be against their Jupiter cohabitants, the Miami Marlins, on March 15. Camp will break on Monday, April 2, in preparation for the opening of the minor league regular seasons on Thursday, April 5.
The Springfield club has an additional exhibition at Hammons Field against the major leaguers on Tuesday, April 2. Following the game, the major league Cardinals return to Florida for the April 4 regular season opener in Miami.
As usual, the farmhands of the Cardinals and Marlins face off frequently, six times. The good news is that the "road" trips are only to the Marlins' side of the RDS minor league fields. Against the Marlins, the Cardinals will field a second Quad Cities team, with five games scheduled those days.
The Mets are the only other MLB organization remaining in the area, in Port St. Lucie, 33 miles from Jupiter. They make up the remainder of the Cardinals schedule, also with six days' worth of contests. As has been customary in recent years, the Mets dates are split – as the Cards' Triple-A (Memphis) and Double-A (Springfield) teams play in one location while the Single-A squads (Palm Beach and Quad Cities) compete on the other organization's fields.
Because of the odd total number of teams in the area, the Cardinals will average a camp day every third day. Essentially, their Triple-A and Double-A squads will face off as will their Single-A clubs. In addition, the Cardinals second Quad Cities team will hold its annual game against the traveling Gildea's Raiders squad on March 24.
The best news that the limited competition provides is for fans. Not a single day will pass during spring camp – even camp days - in which baseball is not played on the back diamonds of Roger Dean. The biggest inconvenience is that four times, observers will have to walk to the Marlins' fields instead of the Cardinals'.
With the respective home plates on the RDS back quad, named in honor of the departed great George Kissell, arranged in close proximity to each other like in a softball complex, fans can easily move among the various games by taking just a handful of steps.
You never know who you'll see while there, and best of all, attendance is free! So, if you're interested in the Cardinals minor leaguers, make sure you catch the action this spring in Florida. You'll be glad you did!
2012 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Schedule
(All Cardinals home games start on or about 1:00 p.m. Eastern, unless they need to make a change, in which case, they will!)
|Date||Memphis||Springfield||Palm Beach||Quad Cities||QC 2|
|Th||15-Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Fr||16-Mar||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|Sa||17-Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Su||18-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Mo||19-Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Tu||20-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|We||21-Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Th||22-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Fr||23-Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Sa||24-Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets||Gildea's|
|Su||25-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Mo||26-Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Tu||27-Mar||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|We||28-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Th||29-Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Fr||30-Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Sa||31-Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Su||1-Apr||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Mo||2-Apr||Break Camp||Break Camp||Break Camp||Break Camp|
Link to the 2012 spring training version of the Roster Matrix, listing all players in the Cardinals system by position and level, including spring camp invitees.
Link to Cardinals major league spring training schedule. Games start March 5.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Catch his weekly minor column in-season at FOXSportsMidwest.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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