Wednesday afternoon, just as the team was preparing to leave for San Antonio to play the Missions a four-game series to open the second half of the season, manager Chris Maloney got a call from the head office informing him that Travis Hanson and Shaun Boyd, who both played for Springfield last season but, made the Triple-A Memphis Redbird squad this year, were coming back to Springfield and would meet the team in Texas. Also joining them would be left-handed reliever Carmen Cali.
Travis will replace Rico Washington at third base and Shaun Boyd will probably share duties with Cody Haerther in left field. Cali will be replacing relief pitcher Rich Scalamandre who was promoted to Memphis and in a separate deal, first baseman/designated hitter Josh Pressley was released.
So, fans are faced with saying goodbye to Washington, who has hit 13 home runs, and will be saying hello to Hanson, who has hit one home run. Goodbye to Pressley who has hit two home runs and hello to Shaun Boyd, who has hit zero home runs. Goodbye to Scalamandre with a 4-0 record with two saves in 29.2 innings pitched in 29 games and hello to Cali with a record of 0-0 in one inning pitched in one game, with no saves.
So, it's back to player development big-time and the fans will just have to deal with the reality that winning and losing takes a back seat to the big picture. Someday the first Springfield Cardinal will put on his "Big Boy Shirt' and walk out in front of the St. Louis crowd and blast a shot over left field and drive in the winning run against the Cubs and it will have all been worth it. After all, they are Cardinal fans and Cardinal fans love their team-- win, lose or draw.
Come home Cards on June 30 and see how your team greets you now that you removed two players who were instrumental in getting the team so close to winning the first half title and replaced them with three guys who have been Memphis scapegoats for most of the season. Travis Hanson, Shaun Boyd, Carmen Cali--a word of warning: Your fans will love you. They loved you last season. To them, you are still Springfield Cardinals and they will open their hearts and arms to you like veterans coming home from battle. Welcome home guys. And best of luck Rico, Rich and Josh. Your fans in Springfield will miss you but look forward to watching you grow toward the Big Leagues.
As my grandmother always said: "Tomorrow is always a new game--so play ball!
Note: The first half of the season ended with 16 balls atop the indoor
training facility, two foul balls in the press box and one busted press
box window--way to go Cards!
You can write John Brayfield at email@example.com