The Springfield Cardinals Report - Sept. 6

stlcardinals.scout.com's beat reporter John Brayfield brings a final 2006 report from the St. Louis Cardinals' Double-A Texas League affiliate, the Springfield Cardinals, along with a look ahead to 2007.

I just finished my first full day of no Springfield Cardinal Baseball and I am already counting the days until the opening day of 2007. The Cards will open on the road in 2007 with three games in Midland against the RockHounds April 5, 6 and 7, then three with the Frisco RoughRiders on April 8, 9 and 10. After that, they will have a day off on Wednesday the 11th and open on April 12 at home with three games scheduled against the RockHounds and three against Frisco.

All in all, it's been a great year for the Springfield Cardinals. At least for me it's been great. I had the opportunity to meet and visit with two of my all time favorite St. Louis Cardinal players, Bob Gibson and Tom Pagnozzi, and if that doesn't constitute a winning season, I don't know what does.

As for the Springfield Cardinals as a team, the season went like this (beginning with a loss to Arkansas on opening day, April 6, and ending on the final game of the season with a loss to Arkansas):
L, L, W, W, W, L, W, W, W, L, W, L, W, W, W, L, W, W, W, L, W, L, L, W, W, W, W, W, L, L, L, L, W, W, L, cancelled, W, W, W, cancelled, W, L, W, W, L, W, L, W, L, L, L, W, L, L, L, L, W, W, W, W, W, L, L, W, W, L, L, W, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, W, L, L, W, W, W, W, W, PPD, W, L, W, W, L, W, L, W, L, L, L, L, L, L, W, W, W, W, L, W, L, L, W, L, L, W, L, L, L, L, L, W, L, L, L, L, L, L, L, W, L, L, W, W, W, L, W, L.

And so it went, The season did see some great prospects come through the Double-A affiliate. For instance, infielder Rico Washington, who had a tremendous season in Springfield, was called up to Memphis, where he finished the season. And then there was outfielder Terry Evans, who was called while sitting in the dugout during a game in Wichita to leave the field, pack his bags and report to Arkansas because he had been dealt to Anaheim in a deal that acquired pitcher Jeff Weaver from the Angels.

Hammons Field had a great year too, drawing its one-millionth fan late in the season. Sell-outs were the order-of-the-day all season. General Manager Matt Gifford and his entire staff put together their second straight successful year. Radio guy Mike Lindskog, the hardest working man in minor league baseball, managed to keep everyone at home informed and entertained as he brought fans every road game live. The local TV station hit a home run with fans with their live coverage of home games.

The Cards may have finished the season with an over-all record of 66-72 and a second-half mark of 27-43, but they were still number one with the fans as nearly 8500 faithfuls turned out to watch the final home game of the 2006 season. Before the game, starting pitcher Mike Parisi said he was determined to win this one for the fans and did as the Springfield Cardinals beat the Wichita Wranglers 5-3. And Cody Haerther was so delighted to have the win that he left the field to shake hands with those in the stands. The entire team saluted their fans as the sell-out crowd stood on its feet to applaud and cheer the less-than-stellar but loved-by-all team.

Matt Gifford shook hands or spoke to the majority of the crowd that night and invited everyone back for another great year in 2007, So far, I have found no reason to not believe in or trust Matt. If he says next year is going to be great, then my seat is already taken. See ya next year. Go Cards!

You can write John Brayfield at johnb@positech.net.


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