Due to the World Baseball Classic overlapping with Spring Training, 2009, the latter will run a week longer than traditionally. As a result, the St. Louis Cardinals will play a marathon schedule of 37 spring contests, running from February 25 though April 4, a period which includes four off-days. The spring total represents the most games played by the club in over half a century - since at least 1950.
The 38th spring game will also be the first, as the Cardinals have again agreed to host the St. Louis University Billikens in an exhibition game on Monday, February 23. The two played for the first-time ever to kick off the 2008 spring campaign.
All of the contests will be held in Florida, with the exception of the final two games scheduled on April 3 and 4 at Memphis' AutoZone Park, home of the Triple-A Redbirds. The 2009 regular season schedule for the Cardinals begins on April 6 as the Cardinals entertain the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Perhaps due to the late start of the regular season, the Cardinals have just one scheduled day off during the first five weeks of the regular season, on April 20. Including spring training, the team will play a total 70 games from February 23 through May 10.
Including the SLU exhibition, the Cardinals are scheduled to play 23 spring games at Roger Dean, of which they are the home team in 20. Their Jupiter co-habitants, the Florida Marlins, are designated as the home club in the other three.
Five home games of note are the American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays on March 2, the Detroit Tigers on March 10, the Boston Red Sox on March 12, the Atlanta Braves on March 14 and the World Champion Philadelphia Phillies on March 20.
The Cardinals will also take on Albert Pujols and the Dominican Republic World Baseball Classic team on March 5. Felipe Alou's squad will be training at the Jupiter complex along with the Cardinals and Marlins. In all cases, these are the only Roger Dean visits these clubs will make in the spring of 2009.
There is also a pair of unusual
split games with the Baltimore Orioles. On March 13, the teams face off in
|Mon||23-Feb-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||SLU Billikens (exhib.)|
|Wed||25-Feb-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Florida Marlins|
|Thur||26-Feb-09||1:05||Baltimore Orioles||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Fri||27-Feb-09||1:05||New York Mets||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sat||28-Feb-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Washington Nationals|
|Sun||1-Mar-09||1:05||Florida Marlins||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Mon||2-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Tampa Bay Rays|
|Tues||3-Mar-09||1:05||New York Mets||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Thur||5-Mar-09||2:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Dom Republic WBC|
|Fri||6-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||New York Mets|
|Sat||7-Mar-09||1:05||Houston Astros||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sun||8-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Florida Marlins|
|Tues||10-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Detroit Tigers|
|Wed||11-Mar-09||1:05||Florida Marlins||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Thur||12-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Boston Red Sox|
|Fri||13-Mar-09||1:05||Baltimore Orioles||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Fri||13-Mar-09||7:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Baltimore Orioles|
|Sat||14-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Atlanta Braves|
|Sun||15-Mar-09||1:05||Philadelphia Phillies||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Mon||16-Mar-09||1:05||Detroit Tigers||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Wed||18-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Baltimore Orioles|
|Wed||18-Mar-09||1:05||Baltimore Orioles||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Thur||19-Mar-09||1:05||Tampa Bay Rays||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Fri||20-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Philadelphia Phillies|
|Sat||21-Mar-09||1:05||Washington Nationals||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sun||22-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Baltimore Orioles|
|Mon||23-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Washington Nationals|
|Wed||25-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Houston Astros|
|Thur||26-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||New York Mets|
|Fri||27-Mar-09||1:05||Boston Red Sox||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sat||28-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Baltimore Orioles|
|Sun||29-Mar-09||1:05||Minnesota Twins||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Mon||30-Mar-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||Florida Marlins|
|Tues||31-Mar-09||1:05||Baltimore Orioles||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Wed||1-Apr-09||1:05||St. Louis Cardinals||New York Mets|
|Thur||2-Apr-09||1:05||Florida Marlins||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Fri||3-Apr-09||7:05||Memphis Redbirds||St. Louis Cardinals|
|Sat||4-Apr-09||1:05||Memphis Redbirds||St. Louis Cardinals|
*all times are local
In terms of total match-ups, the teams that train nearby will play the Cardinals most often. Of course, this begins with the Jupiter-based Florida Marlins, who will face the Cardinals six times next spring. The Baltimore Orioles are the opponent eight times, including the two split games, while the New York Mets are the scheduled opponent five times.
Home Baltimore Orioles
4 Florida Marlins
3 New York Mets
3 Washington Nationals
2 Boston Red Sox
1 Detroit Tigers
1 Houston Astros
1 Memphis Redbirds
1 Tampa Bay Rays
1 Atlanta Braves
1 Minnesota Twins
0 SLU Billikens
1 Dominican Republic
If you want to catch your favorite players this spring, it is important to understand the impact of the WBC schedules. Though the games in the double-elimination WBC tournament begin on March 5, teams will be eliminated as early as March 12, which could enable those players to return to their MLB spring training clubs "early".
February 14, 2009 – Pitchers and catchers for WBC teams must report to spring training. Cardinals pitchers and catchers also report.
February 17 – WBC position players must report. Same with Cardinals position players.
February 22 – Mandatory spring training report date for all players.
March 5-23 – World Baseball Classic (link to brackets and schedule)
Spring "season" tickets are now on-sale via the Roger Dean Stadium box office. Depending on the multi-game plan you are interested in, those tickets went on sale November 17 and December 15. Single-game seats are scheduled to be sold starting on January 10.
Note: This is an update from our November 10 preliminary announcement. The specific changes are as follows:
- All game times added
- WBC opponent named
- Cardinals reporting dates added
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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