It's Play Ball In Springfield MO - Go Cardinals!

Can it possibly be less than three days until the Springfield Cardinals take the field for the very first time in there brand new ballpark. Ouch! Yes, that pinch hurt, so no dreaming involved here. The stadium is primed, the roads leading to the ballpark are open and ready for traffic and the starting pitchers for both exhibition games against the parent team have been announced.

Jamie Cook, a right-hander who went 8-3 with a 4.19 ERA last season at Double-A Tennessee will face St. Louis starter Matt Morris. a 15 game winner in 2004, in Saturday's game. Sundays matchup will see Buddy Blair, a left hander who went 11-10 last season with High-A Palm Beach with a 4.40 ERA in 26 starts, go up against former Oakland A's standout Mark Mulder.

The remainder of the Springfield Cardinals to play against the major league St. Louis Cardinals this weekend will most likely be:

Catching duties will be handled by Gabe Johnson

First base is still up for grabs between Andy Schutzenhofer and John Lindsey, but look for Schutzenhofer to play because of his left-handed bat.

Second base will go to Matt Demarco.

Shortstop will be handled most likely by Milko Jaramillo.

Third base will be Travis Hanson's well-earned duty.

Left field will be handled by Shaun Boyd.

Centerfield goes to Reid Gorecki.

Rightfield should see Papo Bolivar who just missed making a Triple-A squad.

Heads up on traffic and parking: It may not be the choice of experts in traffic flow but, it is the choice of this Springfield home-boy. Those fans who are coming from the east (St, Louis, Rolla, Lebanon) should take I-44 west to the U.S. 65 south exit. Those coming from the south (Branson, Arkansas, Ozark) should take U.S.65 north. Those coming east (Tulsa, Joplin, Mt. Vernon) should take I-44 east to U.S. 65 and those driving from the north (Kansas City, Bolivar) should take Mo. 13 south to I-44 east to U.S. 65 south. Everyone should exit U.S. 65 at Chestnut Expressway west. Take Chestnut Expressway to Trafficway (careful here, after you cross the intersection at Barnes Avenue you will need to quickly pull over into the left turn lane). You will be leaving a four-lane expressway (Chestnut) and entering a two-lane street (Trafficway). Trafficway will take you across National Avenue and right in front of Hammons Stadium.

There will be several parking lots including a parking garage available for fan parking. On-street parking will also be available. Look for signs and people directing traffic.

Game time Saturday is slated to begin at 3:10 p.m. with pre-game festivities beginning at 2 p.m. which will include the introduction of the new team mascot. former St. Louis and Springfield Cardinal legend Stan Musial will also be on hand.

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