I have been waiting patiently for this day since almost the final out of the St. Louis Cardinals 2011 World Series. All right, it took me a couple of days because the sleep deprivation I suffered at the hands of the Cardiac Cards to realize that I was missing baseball already. As I sit here typing this post I am able to watch our beloved Cardinals enjoy a 3-0 lead and look impressive thus far. I have been waiting for the moment I could write about my Cardinals while watching and/or listening to the game.
This article may ramble a bit, but I hope you hang with me. There is so much to talk about with the excitement of Opening Day. The new Miami Marlins Park is certainly something. The announcers have compared it to a cruise ship and a spaceship so far. The colors are straight Miami. I had the opportunity to be around the stadium while it was being built last year. It is impressive. Sitting on the edge of Little Havana the color scheme is appropriate. I think the Marlins organization did an extremely intelligent thing by building the stadium to seat only 37,000. While the Marlins played at Joe Robbie Stadium it often looked empty. What they have done with this new ballpark is feed into the Miami scene and have created a demand for seats. If the Marlins can win they will enjoy much more support than they have enjoyed in the past even though they have won two World Series Championships. The lime green is a little overwhelming though.
The Cards are a team in flux. We have spent a lot of time here at Redbird Rants in the offseason dissecting the changes the team has undergone. What are they going to be able to do now? Who is going to step into a role of prominence? What will the team identity be? Will Mike Matheny be “the” guy? Can David Freese and Rafael Furcal stay healthy? What about Chris Carpenter? Our staff has answered all of these questions. As I stated last week, Matheny and this club will win. How much is what remains to be seen. The Birds start with what could be a brutal road schedule before coming home to get those fancy new rings. I like the way it sets up. The new skipper can lead his team home with a winning record on the road and they can stake their claim as the defending champs and set the tone for the rest of the season.
The season will be long as editor Chris Carelli reminded us recently. The baseball season is a marathon, not a sprint. The Cardinals may not have to win 100 games to win the division and get into the playoffs. Even though we would like to see that many wins or more. As of today even the Chicago Cubs have mathematical possibility of winning and enjoy the promise of a fruitful season. We know otherwise. While I would feel much better with Carpenter on the mound tonight starting us off I have been impressed with tonight’s starter Kyle Lohse. He didn’t allow himself to be crushed under the pressure of taking over for Carp or the Opening Day excitement. This may bode well for the Cardinals this season.
The Cardinals and Matheny are off to the races. They are creating the new memories and forging their way into a new era of Cardinal baseball. The departures and changes of the offseason are now behind them and they have no choice but to move forward. Matheny will grow into his own. John Mozeliak has surrounded him with quality coaches and has put the pieces together for a competitive team. I hope it’s not just the Opening Day excitement talking but I am extremely excited to watch this season unfold. After last season I don’t think I will be able to allow myself ever to discount them.
Happy Opening Day! Game on!!!