Minor League pitchers and catchers will report on Monday, March 3, with their first workout the next day. Position players will join them on March 5 and the first full-squad workout is scheduled on March 6.
The Jupiter complex offers great opportunities to get up close and personal with prospects. Most March mornings, players will be working out in preparation for 1:00 P.M. games that begin on Wednesday, March 12 and run through Sunday, March 30.
The minor league group will train together for six days before taking on their co-inhabitants in Jupiter, the Florida Marlins, on March 12. Camp will break on March 30, though the Springfield (Double-A) club will play their final Florida contest on the 26th before heading north. Springfield has two home games scheduled against the Major League club on March 28 and 29 to end the spring exhibition season.
As usual, the Cardinals and the Marlins farmhands face off frequently, on over half their March dates, eight of 15. The good news is that the "road" trips are only to the Marlins' side of the Jupiter complex.
The other two MLB organizations training in the area, the Dodgers (in their final spring at Vero Beach since first arriving in 1949) and the Mets (Port St. Lucie), 51 and 33 miles from Jupiter respectively, make up the remainder of the Cardinals schedule.
Those seven, non-Marlins dates are split – where the Cards' Triple-A (Memphis) and Double-A teams play in one location while the "three" Single-A squads (Palm Beach and two representing Quad Cities) compete on the other organization's fields. As a result, if a fan wants to catch either the top two Dodgers or Mets farm clubs together on the Jupiter diamonds, you will only have one date to do so (March 14 and 26, respectively).
Among the "extra" home games on the schedule for the low Single-A or Extended Spring Training candidates are one each against Oakton Community College (IL) on March 14, Gildea's Raiders the next day and the World Free Agent Spring Training club, WFAST, on the 23rd. On those three dates, a total of five Cardinals minor league games will still be on tap as these specials take the place of the extra Quad Cities game.
Gildea's are a traveling team that regularly makes the rounds of Florida spring camps. They have visited the Cardinals yearly for about the last decade. WFAST is a 17-day spring camp for free agents that includes instruction from independent league coaches and of course, game competition for young men looking for professional contracts.
All told, on all 15 of the 18 spring afternoons when any games are scheduled, one or more of the Cardinals minor league squads will be playing in Jupiter. And with the respective home plates on the Roger Dean back fields arranged in close proximity to each other like in a softball complex, one can easily move between the various games by taking just a few steps.
You never know who you'll see while there, and best of all, it is free! So, if you're interested in the Cardinals minor leaguers, make sure you catch the action this spring in Florida. You'll be glad you did!
2008 Cardinals Minor League Spring Training Schedule
(All Cardinals home games start on or about 1:00 P.M. Eastern, unless they need to make a change, in which case, they will!)
|Thu||3/13/2008||at Marlins||at Marlins||at Marlins|
|Sat||3/15/2008||at Mets||at Mets||Mets||Gildea's|
|Mon||3/17/2008||at Mets||at Mets||Mets|
|Wed||3/19/2008||at Marlins||at Marlins||at Marlins|
|Thu||3/20/2008||at Dodgers||at Dodgers||Dodgers|
|Sun||3/23/2008||at Mets||at Mets||Mets||WFAST|
|Mon||3/24/2008||at Marlins||at Marlins||at Marlins|
|Sat||3/29/2008||at Marlins||StL@Sprf.||at Marlins|
Brian Walton can be reached via email at email@example.com.
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