Daddy's Christmas Angel

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Leaving Spring Training and Back to the Real World

"Cardinals Celebrate Spring Play on Practice Fields" ©Mary Montague Sikes
Returning from a long vacation is always hard. Leaving this year's St. Louis Cardinals spring training was harder than usual because it seemed things were just getting started.

The weather was especially nice this year with no rain outs or delays. Our last day, we went to the practice fields where Willie McGee, a Cardinals favorite from the past, was working with some of the young players. When he was leaving the fields, he turned around and came back to sign autographs for the enthusiastic fans waiting by the low fence that separates several of the back fields at Roger Dean Stadium. McGee told us he has a lot to learn for his new coaching job.

That's an interesting thing about former Cardinals players. Many of them want to return to the team as coaches and in other capacities. Talking to another spectator at the last game we attended against the Washington Nationals, I learned that Rick Ankiel, the outstanding pitcher in the Cardinals organization who lost his pitch control and became an outfielder, has officially retired. While enjoying his love of fishing, he has high hopes of becoming a coach somewhere for the Cardinals. This week, Chris Carpenter, the Cardinals outstanding Cy Young winner, took a job with the front office and is at spring training. And so it goes.

I see games on television with many empty seats at the spring games of other big league teams, but the Cardinals games are mostly sellouts. Two of the games we attended had standing room only which made for a very crowded stadium. One of those games was the one with Boston where storm clouds brewed for most of the game.
"Storm Clouds, Boston and St. Louis" ©Mary Montague Sikes

This week, I will play catchup on writing projects and art back at home, but I will miss the ball park and the back fields at Jupiter, Florida. I will dream of next year and plan paintings of players batting and fans screaming. I will remember watching Adam Wainwright throw his warmup pitches in the bullpen in front of Section 102. Sadly, the real world is less kind than the fantasy land of baseball.
"Adam Wainwright Warming Up" ©Mary Montague Sikes


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sorry you have to come home. At least the weather was good. That's interesting that so many want to return as coaches.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

They like being Cardinals. The coaches and manager are all former Cardinals. Thanks, Alex.