For the 18th consecutive year, the back diamonds of Jupiter, Florida’s Roger Dean Stadium (RDS) complex, known as The George Kissell Quad, should be a mandatory destination for any St. Louis Cardinals fan heading to spring training. There and on the surrounding fields, located at the upper right of the above aerial view, well over one hundred minor leaguers will be preparing for 2015 competition.
Following the completion of STEP Camp, those 23 early arrivals will be joined by the full complement of minor leaguers expected to compete for one of the four full-season clubs. Pitchers and catchers will report on Monday, March 9, with their first workout the next day. Position players will join them on Wednesday, March 11 and will take the fields on the 12th.
For the fifth consecutive year, the Cardinals will be running the early camp for selected minor league players. That group will arrive on Friday, February 27 with their first workout the next day.
Other minor leaguers may join this group later. The Major League club has announced its slate of 18 non-roster invitees to big-league camp. With the Cardinals sporting a major league roster that is pretty much set, almost all of the NRIs will likely not make St. Louis out of spring training.
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 Thursday, March 19 and run through Thursday, April 2.
The players will work out together for seven days before their first official games on March 19. Their first external games will be the next day against the New York Mets. Saturday, March 21 marks the first meetings with their Jupiter cohabitants, the Miami Marlins. Camp will break following the games of Thursday, April 2, in preparation for the opening of the minor league regular seasons one week later, on Thursday, April 9.
As usual, the farmhands of the Cardinals and Marlins face off frequently, five times. The good news is that the “road” trips are only to the Marlins’ side of the RDS minor league fields. If past years are any indication, the Cardinals may also field a second Peoria team against the Marlins, with five games possible those days – assuming both sides have ample pitching in need of work.
While Houston and Washington are still working to secure all the necessary approvals for a plan to build a new two-team complex in the West Palm Beach area, the facility would not open until 2017 at best.
Currently, the Mets are the only other MLB organization remaining nearby, in Port St. Lucie, 33 miles from Jupiter. The Mets make up the remainder of the Cardinals 2015 schedule, also with five 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 Peoria) compete on the other organization’s fields. That means only half of each system’s players have to take the requisite bus ride to the other’s fields on those dates.
Because of the odd total number of teams in the area, the Cardinals will have a camp day roughly every third day. That would be when the Mets and Marlins meet. Typically on those camp days, the Cardinals’ Triple-A and Double-A squads will face off as will their Single-A clubs.
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 – weather permitting, of course. The biggest inconvenience is that three 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.
While games typically start at 1 p.m. each day as noted above, impending weather can lead to last-minute changes. For example, if afternoon rain appears likely, morning workouts may be truncated with games moved up to 10 a.m. It is always best to check when you arrive.
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!2015 Cardinals minor league spring training game schedule
(All Cardinals home games start on or about 1:00 p.m. Eastern)
|Date||Memphis||Springfield||Palm Beach||Peoria||Peoria 2?|
|Th||19,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Fr||20,Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Sa||21,Mar||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|Su||22,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Mo||23,Mar||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Tu||24,Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|We||25,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Th||26,Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Fr||27,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||LI Storm|
|Sa||28,Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|Su||29,Mar||vs Mets||vs Mets||@ Mets||@ Mets|
|Mo||30,Mar||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day||Camp Day|
|Tu||31,Mar||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins||@ Marlins|
|We||1-Apr||@ Mets||@ Mets||vs Mets||vs Mets|
|Th||02,Apr||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins||vs Marlins|
|Th||03,Apr||StL exhib||Break camp||Break camp||Break camp|
(Note: Bold text indicates the club will not be in Jupiter for those contests.)
There was a change on Friday, March 20 between the locations of the games against the Mets. Also an external contest was added against the Long Island Storm traveling team on Friday, March 27. The above has been updated to reflect these changes.
Other related resources
Non-roster invitees to Major League camp.
Link to the Roster Matrix, listing all players in the Cardinals system by position and level as they ended the 2014 season, as well as every player transaction, all year long.
Link to Cardinals major league spring training schedule, including evolving television and radio coverage details. Big-league games start Thursday, March 5.
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