When we started this series back in March, I don’t think we expected that the only baseball we’d see on the Fourth of July would be people taking grounders and doing drills. (Perhaps if things with the owners had gone differently, we’d be talking about Opening Day right now, but it seems fruitless to rehash all that.) We got to see, through long-range photos and videos, Cardinals in Busch Stadium yesterday starting the path toward the opening the season for real in three weeks. On an unrelated note, we also got to see the new Big Mac Land sign, which is a pale and sad substitution for what was up there before. You’d think with the extra time they could have come up with something better.
Anyway, they won’t be shooting fireworks off at Busch like they might be in some alternate universe, where the Cards win their game against the Brewers that was on the schedule for tonight. It’s been a very long time since we’ve not had a baseball game on the nation’s birthday. I mean, there’s nothing that says the Fourth of July like a baseball game, right? But this year’s Fourth is going to be unlike anything we’ve ever seen before.
What have we learned so far as the summer camp has started? We know Jordan Hicks won’t be quite ready for the beginning of the season but he should be ready not terribly long after. Given that the club won’t have John Brebbia, having another quality bullpen arm is a good thing. I mean, getting Hicks back is always a good thing, but moreso with that hole. The question, of course, is if he’ll go right back to closing. I would imagine, unless there’s a gap there, that he will be more the seventh/eighth inning guy as he works his way back into shape. That depends, of course, on how assumed closer Giovanny Gallegos is doing, but it seems the most logical.
We know that one person in the intake testing came up positive. We don’t know more than that and we can’t really narrow it down since it could have easily been staff as well. I was thinking there was something around Gallegos not being in camp but he’s just having travel issues from Mexico. The Dominican crew came in late last night and didn’t have test results in time to join everyone today. I imagine that, if the positive test was a player, the media will eventually piece together who hasn’t been to the stadium. Until then, though, we should be thankful there was just one case. It sounds like just over 1% of players, staff, etc. tested across MLB came up positive, which is pretty low.
We know that there have been a lot of alterations to the flow of things at Busch. The media are going to meet the players via remote options like Zoom. Players, staff, and others have their own entrances to the park. They are using both dugouts. It doesn’t sound like they’ve moved workout equipment to the concourses like they have in Philadelphia, but the camp is young.
Sounds like the first intrasquad came will be Wednesday, with a total of eight between then and July 24. It doesn’t sound like there have been any arrangements for FOX Sports Midwest to air the games, given their announced schedule of three specials that began last night, but I guess we can hope. Otherwise, we just keep counting the days. Unlike what we’ve been doing, though, this time we can count down.
Have a great Fourth!