While Busch Stadium was Weinberg's stomping grounds for 14 years, he has a new role in 2012 as the organization's Senior Medical Advisor. It is a job that regularly puts him on the road. Just last weekend, I chatted with Weinberg during an extended spring training (EST) contest on the back fields of the Cardinals Jupiter, Fla. complex.
This is the 54-year-old's first year overseeing the minor league training staffs, a job that he admits he is "still learning."
|Moth incident: La Russa, Weinberg and Matt Holliday last August|
While I knew Weinberg came to St. Louis a couple of years after La Russa, I didn't know that he had been brought to Oakland in 1982 by his former boss with the New York Yankees, Billy Martin. In other words, Weinberg was already the A's head trainer when La Russa and Dave Duncan arrived in 1986.
|Weinberg with the "Red" EST club in Jupiter last weekend|
When I asked what he has to teach the new trainers, his reply was "Everything – from what to carry in their pouch to where to sit in the dugout during the game."
His pouch comment, made just as hitter David Washington was struck by an errant offering from a Marlins pitcher, reminded Weinberg of a story from his days with the A's that he shares with his charges about always being ready. Not surprisingly, he makes himself the example of what not to do.
While at the plate, diminutive infielder Mike Gallego was drilled on the elbow by a fastball from the hand of flamethrower Roger Clemens. Weinberg met Gallego at first base, pulling out his can of aerosol spray intended to numb the area of pain.
Unfortunately for both men, the can was empty. The trainer had forgotten to change out the used one from the last time he needed it. Still in considerable pain and with no relief provided, Gallego looked at the trainer in wonderment. The embarrassed Weinberg suggested they pretend all was normal. Gallego wasn't sure about going along with it, exclaiming just four words. "But he's Roger Clemens!"
It isn't surprising that Weinberg's experience is so valuable to the new Cardinals employees. After all, there is probably no "trainer's manual" upon which to rely.
One of Weinberg's new students has a familiar name, though it isn't the same individual as the former Cardinals pitcher. Anthony G. Reyes, one of newly hired-athletic trainers, has been assigned to the Gulf Coast League Cardinals. The Nova Southeastern University graduate was previously the trainer for Dade Christian High School in Miami.
Reyes is one of the many who have soaked up as much knowledge as possible from the veteran trainer.
"Barry Weinberg has done a great job helping me day to day with our athletes by explaining how to address the various common injuries that occur on a daily basis," Reyes explained.
Without prompting, the young trainer confirmed Weinberg has delivered the proper advice regarding what supplies to load into his pouch.
"He has also instructed me on how to prepare myself for games, to communicate well with my manager and coaches, and to always carry the essential items that the athlete will require," Reyes added.
Chances are that Reyes' final remarks would be echoed by all who come into contact with Weinberg.
"Barry has also been instrumental with helping me with proper evaluation techniques and the overall proper care for our athletes," Reyes said. "I look forward in continuing to work with him in order to achieve and gain as much experience as possible."
Fortunately, Reyes and his peers are able to call on one of the very best.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com. Also catch his Cardinals commentary daily at The Cardinal Nation blog. Follow Brian on Twitter.
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