How hard does this break have to be on those that were looking to break camp for the first time?
Probably the only possible ones for the Cardinals were Dylan Carlson and Kodi Whitley and odds are neither of them was actually going to start the season in St. Louis. However, there were prospects all around baseball that were just two weeks away from realizing their dream, only to be put in this seemingly permanent waiting pattern.
Doc Graham in Field of Dreams (a movie that my son and I will probably watching this weekend), talking about his moment in the bigs, says “it was like coming this close to your dreams, then watching them brush past you like a stranger in a crowd”. You think Luis Robert, fresh off that big contract signing, wasn’t pumped about being a big leaguer? A guy like Shogo Akiyama (or Kwang Hyun Kim, for that matter) may have had Opening Days in the past, but there had to be something special about the first one in the majors. Young guys, even if they were on teams like the Orioles or the Pirates, may have been marking Xs on their calendar as the days past.
And that’s not even counting folks like Tommy Edman, who has never taken part in Opening Day in St. Louis. It’s always a special occasion and one that I’m sure the other players were telling him about, how exciting it is to ride around the warning track and shake the hands of the living legends. While some of that may still happen, it’s not going to feel the same. A 90 degree day in June isn’t quite the same as the crisp spring air. Will they even be able to do all the festivities with perhaps only two weeks’ notice?
Granted, making the bigs is making the bigs and the excitement will be there no matter when it happens. It just won’t be as storybook as it could have been. It just may be more agonizing being so close and yet so far.