Rants Daily: Opening Day is on the horizon


The St. Louis Cardinals will begin defense of their World Championship tomorrow at Marlins Ballpark. Yesterday they took it easy with a pick up game against their Double-A team at their field in Springfield, MO. The hardest part was the plane ride back and forth.

March 9, 2011; Ft. Myers, FL, USA; St. Louis Cardinals starting pitcher Trevor Rosenthal (79) against the Minnesota Twins during a spring training game at Hammond Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Derick E. Hingle-US PRESSWIRE

The big-league Cardinals beat their future replacements 3-2. The Cards sent a good number of rostered players on the trip. Players not making the trip included the starting rotation, Carlos Beltran, Lance Berkman and Rafael Furcal. There was nothing special from the game to report where it concerns the big leaguers. Future star, Trevor Rosenthal, who is jumping a level to Double-A this season pitched for the big club and threw four perfect innings with four strikeouts.


While some players made the trip and got into the game, Adam Wainwright was back in Jupiter on the back fields making his final tune-up. He threw five simulated innings of 15 pitches each. He was placed in several different scenarios with no one in the field. Wainwright says it is a good way to finish up Spring Training. It intensifies the need to worry about the pitches only and not what is going on behind him.

He further mentioned that he was happy to have the opportunity to work on things after the last time out where he was less than sharp. This courtesy of Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com.

"“I’m probably better for going through that last game because I was able to refocus on a couple adjustments and really work and learn my delivery,” Wainwright said. “I think sometimes when it’s going real well, you can get complacent and lose that focus on making each pitch individually one at a time — and the importance of each pitch individually.”"

He allowed two fly balls during his time which is a good thing as he was purposely working keeping the ball down in the zone. The 75 pitches was the most he threw at one time this spring. He will probably have a lighter load than the other starter for his first couple times on the mound in the regular season. I’ll speak more on this latter today in my Editor’s Letter column.


After a better part of the team was back and forth on a plane yesterday, they’ll do some light work at Marlins Park today. They’ll take some BP and shag some flies. They’ll have to get used to, as best they can in a day, a ballpark they have never set foot in. Watching a game over the weekend the field is huge. It plays to 422 ft. in dead center. The alleys are 392 ft. in right and 386 ft. in left. The left field line is 346 ft. away and the right field line is 335 ft. It will take a good jack to get one out of this place. There is a piece of the stadium that curves inward in center field creating a crevice of sorts, which could cause trouble if a ball got by the center fielder. Jon Jay beware.


For what it’s worth, I’m very happy that Opening Day Part 2 of 6 is tomorrow. I say, of 6, because after tomorrow’s game there are two sets of home openers Thursday and Friday and then another set at the rest of the ballparks next week. Major League Baseball knows how to drag things out, that’s for sure. It began officially last week with two games between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland A’s in Japan, which begs a few questions. Should the first official games a sports league predominantly played in the United States (yes there is a team in Toronto folks) be played on another continent? Does it make it any less representative of the game if the games in Japan had been played two weeks earlier as exhibition games? Here’s another, should the teams be penalized by missing workout days at the end of Spring Training when it helps most in determining final rosters? Sure, they started workouts a week earlier, but their spring games started at the same time as everyone else (the Philadelphia Phillies actually played the first exhibition game of the spring) so they actually were not on equal footing.

I’m happy the Miami Marlins finally got a new ballpark and hopefully they will be able to fill it for years to come. But did they have to drag a team, defending champion or not, in and out for one game, and then force them to play the next 6 on the road? How about throwing them a bone and letting them have their home opener next? That would seem like a nice gesture for the defending champions. Or would it have hurt to just let the Cardinals stay and play a full series in Miami?

I totally understand the desire to create interest, but this is Opening Day. If a team cannot generate interest for the first game in their home park, well they better get ready for a long season at the gates. MLB could have had any of the NL East teams visit Miami and it would have been a good game, yes even the New York Mets (Johan Santana on the mound, come on, it works). They also didn’t need a separate day. The Marlins opener could have been the prime time game and let the rest of the first batch of teams open staggered in the afternoon. Four days is all that is required for Opening Day(s). Spreading them out over three full weeks and starting them on different continents is too much and draws no added interest.

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