With nothing to gain by beating the Arkansas Travelers in the five-game homestand that began last Wednesday, the Springfield Cardinals played their best ball of the season. And, the fans showed up in sell-out crowds each night. The Cards wound up the year drawing a grand total of 526,561 fans, the ninth highest total in Texas League history and second on the year in all of minor league baseball (falling short of the Frisco RoughRiders--also in the Texas League.)
And in a special ceremony held before Sunday's game, Hammons Field was honored by Joe Mock and Ballparks.com as the best ballpark in Minor League Baseball and named Hammons Field the 2005 Ballpark of the Year.
The Cardinals ended the season with a 70-70 overall record and a 35-35 second-half finish for sole possession of second place in the Texas League East. The Travs finished with a 37-33 record (good enough for first place). The Wichita Wranglers wound up their season in third place with a 33-35 record while the Tulsa Drillers, winners of the first-half of the season, came in last place with a record of 32-38 (go figure).
In the Texas League West Division, the Midland RockHounds finished in first place with a record of 39-31 (best in the league) and were also first place winners in the first-half of the season. The San Antonio Missions wound up in second place with a 38-32 record. The Corpus Christi Hooks claimed third place with 37-33 record and the Frisco RoughRiders claimed the basement spot with a record of 29-41.
The play-off schedules have been set and begin today, Sept. 6, at Tulsa and San Antonio. The schedule is as follows:
Division playoff schedule:
Sept. 6-7 Arkansas at Tulsa; San Antonio at Midland
Sept. 8-10 Tulsa at Arkansas (9-10 as necessary)
Sept. 8-9 Midland at San Antonio (Sept. 9 as necessary)
Sept 10 San Antonio at Midland (if necessary)
Sept 11 Travel Day
Sept 12-13 East Division Winner at West Division Winner
Sept. 14 Travel Day
Sept. 15-17 West Division Winner at East Division Winner (16-17 as necessary)