It might be blissfully cold here in Southeast Missouri but Spring is definitely on the way. The St. Louis Cardinals are in full swing with workouts in Jupiter while the Division I college baseball season kicks off on Friday.
I got a text message from Ian Ostlund earlier this week with his impression of the first few days of Cardinals camp, “It’s wonderful here….what a classy organization!” Ostlund has become a personal fave and is one to watch when looking at the southpaws competing for a spot in the Cardinals bullpen. I had the pleasure of interviewing “Oz” recently at the Birdhouse.
So it took only a couple of days for some controversy to come out of the Cardinals camp. Seems that Joel Pieneiro has taken exception to being left out of the Puerto Rico rotation. First off, he is not better than Javier Vazquez, Ian Snell, or Jonathon Sanchez. Secondly, didn’t he learn from the Adam Kennedy experience that he needs to keep things in-house?
In a couple of weeks, the minor leaguers will be ascending on RDS as the minor league phase of ST will be starting up. I had a chance to talk shortly with left-hander Jonny Bravo recently and he let me know that he is leaving for Florida on March 9. I really believe he has a chance of starting the 2009 season at the Quad Cities.
Over at the Seamheads Historical League, my All-Time Cardinals team continues to struggle. It looked like the team was ready to bounce back maybe using Derrick Goold’s recent blog as motivation. But it was short lived as the team has lost three straight.
It seems to me that the more players that get busted for steroids, the better Mark McGwire looks. It seems Joe Posnanski at Sports Illustrated feels the same way. He has an interesting piece on McGwire and that infamous Congressional hearing.
On the college front, a few of the teams I follow closely will be in action this weekend.
The Missouri Tigers will be in Phoenix to play a round robin tournament with Gonzaga and Nevada. The Tigers are experienced and talented at the top of their rotation with Kyle Gibson, Ian Berger, and Nick Tepesch. Behind the plate, Trevor Coleman is one of the top backstops in the country. Both Gibson and Coleman were named preseason All-Americans by Baseball America. The team is ranked number 10 by BA while ranking at number 20 in the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll.
Vanderbilt will making the trek across country for a 2-game series with Stanford before traveling up the road for another 2-game series with Cal. Left-hander Mike Minor could continue the trend of a Commodore being picked at the top of the draft.
The Southeast Missouri Redhawks hit the road for a series against the 21st ranked Alabama Crimson Tide. The Redhawks return most of its offense but appears to be weak on the bump. JUCO transfer Kyle Gumenley is a southpaw that is hoping to bring consistency to the rotation.
Sikeston native and Blake Dewitt’s cousin, J.R. Bizzell, has started off strong for Rhodes College. The senior is hitting .400/.457/.467 through his first seven games.
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