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.