Memphis/Springfield Exhibition Observations

One of the attendees of the first game at the new Busch Stadium Tuesday night offers some first-hand thoughts.

In the first game at the new Busch Stadium Tuesday night, the Double-A Springfield Cardinals rallied to defeat the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds by a 5-3 margin in front of 32,255 fans and a Fox Sports Midwest television audience.


* Chris Duncan can obviously swing the bat, but I just don't know about his outfield skills. Aside from a muffed ground ball that thwarted a chance at throwing out a runner at the plate, he looked like Lonnie Smith without the recovery speed on two or three fly balls. He did a complete circle on two of them and definitely needs more time in the minors to work on his technique.

* Shaun Boyd just may have a little life left in his game afterall. One home run in an exhibition game shouldn't earn him a plaque in Cooperstown, but it's going to be an awfully crowded outfield if Skip Schumaker is dropped down to Memphis when Larry Bigbie returns. Are there enough at-bats for John Gall, Duncan, Schumaker, and Boyd? And what happens when Rick Ankiel returns or one of the Springfield outfielders (Cody Haerther, Reid Gorecki, Nick Stavinoha) deserve a promotion?

* Travis Hanson looked good but I'd still rather see him at second base. If the big club is unsure about the second base situation, why groom a player like Hanson to play the same position as Scott Rolen?

* Gabe Johnson, playing first base last night, made one great play on a pop-up in foul territory and kicked a ground ball later in the game. I hope his defense behind the plate is decent. He looked pretty good at the plate.

* Cody Haerther and Nick Stavinoha look like the real deal. Neither did anything spectacular last night, but it was good to put a face with the name, watch them swing the bat, make the routine plays look routine, etc...

* Jarrett Hoffpauir is a pretty good player. He's got a good glove and a pretty good eye at the plate. If Tyler Green forces Brendan Ryan to second base, Hoffpauir doesn't look like the kind of player you just toss aside.

For the most part, these are all good problems. For me, that was just as exciting as watching a game in the new stadium for the first time.

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