The Spring Opener


Yesterday was the first Grapefruit League game of the spring for the Cardinals.  Like I promised, here’s a short account of my day in Jupiter, along with a few pictures.

Many of you already know, but for my new readers, I’ve been living in South Florida for three years now.  I live just about an hour south of Roger Dean Stadium, and this year is my fourth consecutive spring watching the Cards get ready for the season.

I left my place just before nine, remembering that traffic on 95 through Boca can sometimes be unpleasant.  It wasn’t bad, so I rolled into Abacoa at ten.  My first stop, of course, was the ticket window.  My plan to buy standing room tickets for eight bucks was thwarted when the lady told me that there were plenty of seats still available.  I paid $25 apiece for tickets in section 204, so my beer money was already cut short.  Since beer is my second favorite thing in the world, I wasn’t too pleased.

After having a few Bud Lights in the parking lot, I walked over to my favorite drinking establishment in Jupiter, JJ Muggs.  I figured with my latest budget mishap, it made sense to have a handful of four dollar drafts before heading into the stadium for seven dollar bottles (eight with tip).  It turned out to be a great idea for a couple of reasons.  First, making friends with some of the regulars earned me two free rounds.  And second, the new bartender Katie is very easy on the eyes.

I finally made my way back across the street at 12:30 or so.  I checked the lineups, bought a hot dog and a beer, and made my way to the seats.  The hot dog was bad, but I was hungry.  Of course the beer was good.

By game time I was really excited.  I couldn’t wait to see Skip playing second base, Colby in left, and Mather at third.  Obviously, seeing Pujols, Ankiel, and Ludwick taking their swings was going to be fun too.

Unfortunately, no ground balls were hit to Schumaker.  Derrick Goold has a nice story about that.  I’m rooting for 55, and hope his transition is successful.  I think it clears the way for Rasmus to make the team while keeping our leadoff hitter on the field.

The Cards had fourteen hits in the contest, including two each from Schumaker, Rasmus, and Ankiel.  Brian Barton was the least impressive, striking out in both of his plate appearances.

On the pitching side, Blake Hawksworth looked good.  He threw 2.2 scoreless innings to start the game and had a pair of strikeouts.

Other than the 5-5 final score, it was a great game.  I don’t mind the tie though, so I hope Bud Selig wasn’t watching.  The last thing we need is for exhibition games to “count” too.  Here’s the box score.

Afterwards, it was back to Muggs for some post game beers and more baseball talk.  I had an awesome time, and can’t wait to go back.  Don’t forget to check out the pictures.