St. Louis Cardinals: Johnson City in win or go home playoff game
The Johnson City (TN) Cardinals, advanced rookie league affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, is playing an elimination playoff game this evening. JC is the Cards’ oldest affiliate.
The Johnson City Cardinals, the Rookie League affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, are playing for the Appalachian League championship. Game two of three is tonight. Down 1-0, the Cardinals must beat the Burlington (NC) Royals on the road tonight to keep their championship goal alive.
The JC Cardinals have a few hot prospects whose names you might recognize: Jhon Torres, wearing #7, was originally signed as an international free agent. He is the Cardinals’ Great Hope to prove that they were not hasty in trading Oscar Mercado to the Cleveland Indians for a couple of total prospects (though the other prospect, Connor Capel, shocked everyone by turning in a 1.252 OPS during an eight-game midsummer call-up to the Memphis Redbirds).
Number 16 Malcolm Nunez, the international signee from Cuba, drew raves last year as a 17-year old (“the best offensive season in recent professional baseball history”), but this year not so much. Number 17 Trey Fletcher, a center-fielder from Portlandia, is also one to watch.
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Keeping the pot-stirring in this international stew that is the Appalachian League West Champion Cardinals is the manager, Roberto Espinoza.
NERD NOTE: Pro Baseball started in Johnson City in 1910, back when Appalachia was still struggling with indoor plumbing and rural electrification. But there has been a team there almost continuously since. Hardy fans, no doubt.
Bored (or over-observant) St. Louis fans will recognize that a Johnson City flag has more or less been a fixture atop Sportsman’s Park, then Busch II and now Busch III. The latest incarnation of the JC Cardinals started in 1975. But there has been a Johnson City Cardinals for parts of the ’30s, ’40s, ’50s, and ’60s. And JC alumni read like a who’s who of recent Cardinals history, including Yadier Molina and the late Oscar Taveras.
There may or may not be a working Tune-in link here. Game time is 5:30 pm CDT, which is a good 1:15 lead time ahead of tonight’s Cardinals-Giants game. So if you like your baseball clean-shaven, how about not-shaven-yet? Most of the JC players are 18 years old.