The Cardinals delayed their workouts for a long time yesterday and, for a few moments, it looked like they were going to have to scrap another day of training. Losing two full days out of a summer camp that is only 21 days long is less than ideal. We’re not sure how well the players are going to be ready for Opening Day even if they get all of their practicing in. Missing 10% of it would put them in a bit of a hole. (And the testing issues didn’t just magically clear up across baseball, either, with Chicago being the latest to have to scrub a day because of lack of results.)
However, apparently the test results finally showed and the local club put their foot a little more solidly on the tightrope that runs from here to Opening Day (and, truly, beyond). Since we can ease off a bit on the worry for the moment, let’s take a look at the schedule that MLB for the Cardinals back on Monday night. Most everyone has already taken a pass on this, but as I’ve said before, you can’t waste topics when you are trying to stretch out a 100-plus post series.
The Cards open at home and close at home. Obviously the usual caveats about wanting to have more home games in the summer (and thereby foregoing Opening Day at home) really don’t apply this year, when there is a significant chance that nobody will have any fans in the stands throughout the season. Honestly, they’re should be no chance, but it’s baseball, it’s money, and smart healthy choices can be pushed aside when there is money to recoup losses to be made. Anyway, the Cards get three with the Pirates to start things, then take off on a road trip.
The biggest talking point so far has been how the games are unbalanced between home and away in the divisional games. Ten games against NL Central teams each didn’t get broken up evenly. Obviously, if you are doing traditional three-game series, they can’t. Nothing about this season is traditional, though. We are also all in agreement that the less travel, the better, right? So why not a five game series in Busch and a five game series in Wrigley, for instance. Instead of two trips into Chicago, the Cardinals only have to take one, plus there’s balance. It’s really not that hard, but baseball can’t help but get in its own way.
I mean, they did it with the AL teams, at least some. Two and two, home and away. The Cards get that on their first trip, going into Minnesota before bouncing over to Milwaukee for three. It’s really highlighted after that, when St. Louis goes to Detroit for two, then the Tigers come to Busch for the same amount. Of course, then somehow the Cards play the White Sox for three in their park (with one exception we’ll get to) and host the Indians for three. Seriously, who made this schedule? I feel like they didn’t have to twist themselves into these sort of knots.
That exception that I mentioned above is, of course, the Field of Dreams game.
They built it and the teams will come, but there is no guarantee anyone else will. Which is one reason I wish they’d just held off–it’s not going to be quite the experience without some fans. Then again, maybe they can put three to four on the bleachers like they had in the movie. Just to keep with the theme.
If we get that far, the Cards have a lot of traveling to do in September. Only nine games, including the last four, are under the Arch. Three of those are in Kansas City, so that’s something, and obviously the travel issues aren’t going to be nearly what they are usually, but you’d still like to see a little more home cooking at the end.
Again, with the way the testing is going and the cases are increasing, the odds of getting all the way to September, much less October, have to be extremely long. We can only deal with what’s in front of us, though, and if the season does play out, at least we know the shape of it now.