What a difference a week
makes--especially in Cardinal Country. Last week the Springfield
Cardinals were entrenched in first place by several games in front of
the Tulsa Drillers and today they find themselves tied for first place in
the Texas League North Division--sharing identical records of 16-11 with
Nearly 6,000 die-hard Cardinal fans watched Thursday night in low
50's temperatures, for two hours and 37 minutes, as their team fell to a
team that has quickly become the 2006 season nemesis.
With the day off Wednesday the Cards opened at home with the Corpus Christi Hooks, who so far own the
On Sunday and Monday, the Cards beat the San Antonio Missions, but failed to sweep the Missions on Tuesday night losing 7-3.
But, all is not gloom and doom in
On the positive side, and there is always a positive side in Cardinal Country, those players who were being counted on to come through this season are doing just that. One of things that strikes a reporter or fan's eye as he watches this year's
Haerther has been batting between .265 and .300 for most of the first month of the 2006 season--a respectable average in any park. But, if the talk among the press corps means anything, we can expect that average to rise pretty quickly. No matter that Reid Gorecki is leading the league in home runs,
And it's not a matter of low-self
confidence or discouragement; it's a matter of not being satisfied with any
numbers--no matter how high they may be. Even though the three
hits Haerther had on April 25 were monumental in securing the win over
Owners, fans, coaches and parent clubs couldn't ask anymore from a team than what the Springfield Cardinals have already given them this season. They are a first place team that plays like a last place team struggling to get out of the basement. They play like a team that is never satisfied with just winning today's game--they want to win tomorrow and the next day also.
This is a different team than
As good as the stats look so far for the Springfield Cardinals, and as good a job as the guys who keep track of all that stuff are doing, there is one stat that consistently fails to make the stat sheets--the number of balls that can be counted lying on top of the training facility roof in right-center field.
As of Thursday night, I could
count six baseballs, from my perch in the press box, scattered among the air
conditioners and duct work. I pledge to keep everyone in Cardinal Country
updated on this important statistic, because as my grandmother always said,
"As goes the number of home run balls landing out of play on the roof--so
goes the season."
You can write John Brayfield at email@example.com.