It was nothing short of aggression on the field by the Cards in Sunday's game that gave them the 3-1 win over the San Antonio Missions. Of course, there is no better time than when you are in first place to play the last place team in another division. It certainly doesn't hurt. I guess the baseball gods must have been smiling down on the Cardinals.
Maybe it was pay-back for the first ever rain-out in franchise history on Saturday. Maybe it was forgiveness-seeking for the two-and-a-half hour rain delay. Or maybe, the Springfield team just wanted to win because it meant being back in first place. Whatever the reason, they won in the shortest game of the year--two hours and sixteen minutes of non-stop aggression.
For instance, in the seventh inning the Springfield team executed a series of plays that looked as if they had been designed on Broadway. With second baseman Jarrett Hoffpauir at the plate and designated hitter Juan Richardson on third base, the Mission pitcher, starter Ryan Feierabend (say that three times without embarrassing yourself) was sent into a tailspin when Richardson took enormous leads from third with each pitch, going almost half-way to home plate each time. The pitches were so wide that there was no way Richardson was not going to make it back to third. Then, as if on cue, Hoffpauir executed the team's first squeeze play of the season, and with Richardson again almost half-way to home plate, the play went perfectly to give the Cards the 3-1 advantage.
Richardson and Hoffpauir weren't the only aggressive Cards in the house either. Brian Martin hit his second home run of the year, Andy Cavazos struck out the two pitchers he faced in relief and Mark Worrell picked up his Texas League-leading eighth save of year while Springfield starter Rich Rundles aggressively improved his record to 3-1.
Even the beer and peanut vendors were on the aggressive side as they found new voices and new clichés to shout out above the crowd noise, as they did their part to assure that no fan went thirsty or hungry. Now that is a good day at the old ballpark.
You can write John Brayfield at email@example.com.