After three-plus days in Florida, it still doesn't feel normal to wake up more than one hour before daylight to cover the Cardinals. The alarm sounds at 6:10 a.m. and the sun is barely visible on the eastern horizon as I make a right-hand turn off Interstate 95 onto Donald Ross Road to weave my way toward Roger Dean Stadium. How different spring training is from the regular season when my day begins at 3:45 p.m. for a 7:15 game at Busch Stadium.
One Cardinal who enjoys the "quietness" of the morning is closer Trevor Rosenthal. He talked Wednesday about arriving in the clubhouse every morning at 6. Often times, Rosenthal said he and Matt Carpenter are the only players on site. For Rosenthal, it's a comfort thing. Unless he's early, he said he feels rushed, and that he would be playing catch-up all day if he arrived even one hour later. Baseball players, like many of us, are creatures of habit. They all have a trusted routine they follow, and seldom do they deviate from it.
Many of the regulars bolted a few hours early Wednesday as their teammates played a game in Port St. Lucie. By 2 p.m., it was pretty quiet around camp, although the Marlins were entertaining the Braves on the main field. Kolten Wong was the Cardinals' hitting star for the second day in a row as they outlasted the Mets 6-4. Wong homered and doubled to lift his average to .292 after a sputtering start. Outfielder Stephen Piscotty, who may be a year away from making the team, also collected two hits.
After a so-so meal Monday and fatigue-driven pizza in the lobby Tuesday, Carmine's Ocean Grill and Sushi Bar was a grand slam Wednesday. Thumbs-up to the waiter who cooked my Nantucket Bouillabaisse, a dish consisting of shrimp, scallops, clams and day boat fish in a saffron fennel broth. It provided proof that you can enjoy a meal you can't fully pronounce and consists of words you never have written.