Friday Soundtrack, or We’re goin’ downtown! Springfield, alright!

For years it was just a dream, something that I’d daydream about as a kid. Minor league baseball in Springfield. I consider the Springfield-Ozark Mountain Ducks a dry run, as A) it wasn’t affiliated baseball and B) no matter what they called the team, it wasn’t in Springfield. Suffice it to say, then, that the spring and summer of 2005 was magical for me. Now an adult, with a family of my own, bona fide Minor League Baseball came to the Queen City in the form of the Springfield Cardinals, playing Double-A baseball in the Texas League.

It’s been everything I dreamed it could be. Scratch that, it’s been better. The team has made very few missteps in becoming a key piece of Downtown’s revival and a crucial thread in the community’s fabric. I can’t imagine how I ever enjoyed a summer without them. I never get to go as often as I’d like, but I’m never disappointed when I go. I’m not even going to try and explain the magic of a baseball game on a summer night. I could never do it justice.

The sport comes complete with its own anthem, as the crowd rises to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” in the middle of the seventh and, as a St. Louis Cardinals affiliate, there’s a secondary anthem, “Here Comes the King,” a nod to the club’s longstanding ties to Anheuser Busch, that follows in the eighth.

A couple of years ago, though, the team got an unofficial anthem courtesy of one of the latest and greatest band to come out of Springfield, Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin. They recorded a Springfield-centric song called “Cardinal Rules” – which, sadly, I’ve never heard at a game. But it’s on my iPod and it’s in heavy rotation.

So, with the ‘Birds in the midst of their season-opening homestand, I’ll share it with you now. Enjoy.

–QCFM

Mental Break

Think warm thoughts.

Maybe they should change the baseball in the logo to a snowball?

There’s a lot of gray in this photo, from the steel gray sky to the dirty gray snow that has been plowed into a pile next to the concrete gray sidewalk. There’s some white, too. The unblemished snow piled up in the background, the white glass atop the streetlight. Then there’s the baseball in the banner hanging from the pole. And just down the road, a white “C” wraps around the Slugger Bird on that banner.

Let’s focus on that shall we? Soon we’ll be watching some gray-uniformed nine squaring off with white-clad Cardinals just half a mile from where I took this photo the other day, at Hammons Field. The Springfield Cardinals will play the St. Louis Cardinals in an exhibition game March 29. Springfield opens Texas League play at Frisco April 7 before the home opener one week later against those same Rough Riders.

That’s, right, Springfield…we’re a mere 63 days away from regular season baseball. Warm nights, cold beer, green grass, Redbirds. Hang in there.

–QCFM

P.S. – Tickets go on sale March 22.

Epic Meltdown Manager coming to Springfield

This is the Springfield Cardinals’ new hitting coach. Seriously.

From the Cardinals’ presser:

“We are very excited to have Phillip join our experienced staff this season,” Vice President and General Manager, Matt Gifford said. “He has a long track record of getting the most out of his players and along with ‘Pop’ Warner and Bryan Eversgerd, the 2011 Springfield Cardinals will be in great hands.”

Wellman also has a track record of getting the most out of his meltdowns. A caller to The High Road Show with Allen Vaughan suggested “Phillip Wellman Rosin Bag Night” at Hammons Field. I don’t think Gifford has enough Bill Veeck in him to go for it, but it’s a slice of fried gold. I wish they’d make it happen.

The Springfield Cardinals open the 2011 Texas League season, their seventh, April 7 at Frisco. The TL home opener is exactly one week later against those very same Rough Riders.

–QCFM