Rogughly 10 days and 2,466 miles, two bottles of sun screen and theree different hotels later... my 20th annual spring training trip is over.
Man, that drive never gets any easier and, going by air isn't much of a picnic these days, either. I can't wait until they master the whole Star Trek teleporting thing. It wouls sure make life a lot easier.
But, like I told my son after just shy of 800 miles on the road yesterday, you have to earn the sunshine, ball games and sun tans on the road. I asked him if he thought it was worth it and I was briefly deflated when he said "no." But he quickly followed it up with "just kidding, daddy."
From a baseball standpoint, the most obvious observations have already been made:
Never miss a local story.
-- Lance Berkman, if healthy, will be adequate in right field. He can make the plays he needs to make and make the throws he has to. He moves better than I have seen him move in quite a few years, which is partially an indication that his knee must be feeling better. It is also partially due to the fact that he has lost some weight.
-- The pitching is going to be better than people think. Kyle Lohse and Kyle McClellan have been as good as could have possibly been hoped for. If Chris Carpenter and Jake Westbrook are what they could reasonably be expected to be, that's a great top four. Jaime Garica, who got off to a rough start this spring after a stellar 2010, has a ton of upside for the fifth guy in the rotation.
-- The biggest concern is the infield defense. With David Freese at third and Ryan Theriot at short, the hole between the two positions is huge. Skip Schumaker doesn't have a lot of range at second base, either. I'm disappointed the Cardinals didn't make a play for Luis Castillo, who signed with the Phillies after being cut by the Mets.
I know I promised to post pictures from Camp Cardinal and I couldn't do it live because of technical difficulties. So I will try to get those posted in a little bit in case anyone wants to take a gander.