It’s not St. Louis Cardinals Spring Training if the Hall of Famers are not nearby. Longtime shortstop Ozzie Smith is on hand down in Jupiter, Fla., for Spring Training even if he is keeping his distance from longtime manager Tony LaRussa, who will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame this summer. Both manager and shortstop were at different practice fields at the same time this week.
For Cardinals fans and baseball fans in general, one can only hope that the two are able to mend their longtime feud. One of my biggest regrets is not having seen Smith play in Busch Stadium as my first game in St. Louis came in 1996 during the Wizard’s final season as Royce Clayton started the game that day.
Joining Smith, who is instructing infielders and baserunners, as an instructor this spring will be former outfielders Jim Edmonds and Willie McGee. Former pitchers Jason Isringhausen and Cal Eldred have stopped by to serve as guest instructors for pitching.
How does Mike Matheny feel about having them around?
“None of these guys have interest in coming just to be a hood ornament for everyone to look at,” Matheny said. “More importantly, we’ve got work to do. We’ve got things we need to accomplish. What a resource having an Ozzie Smith around.”
What a resource indeed.