Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Baseballs Purest Day Has Arrived; CARDINALS

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Baseballs Purest Day Has Arrived; CARDINALS

Article excerpt

JUPITER, FLA. The business of modern baseball is still an imperfect and untidy enterprise. Scarred and scandalized, ripped and ridiculed, the baseball biz is this unsightly thing, pockmarked by endless PED eruptions and a history book that no longer makes much sense.

But on days like this more than 100 days since the final out of the World Series were reminded there still is one splendid thing out there that allows us to forget all the awkward transgressions of the business of baseball.

Its the game of baseball.

Pitchers and catchers on the field today.

In a town like St. Louis whose sporting heart is forever linked to baseball, there arent many words much better than this. And for a team like the Cardinals, whose drive for back-to-back World Series rings fell painfully short in the National League championship series, those words are a convenient call to arms: Its time to get back to work and launch another pursuit of some more glittering baseball hardware.

Over the past few weeks, a steady stream of Cardinals players have been making their way to the teams sprawling spring training complex on Floridas Atlantic coast. Every day over the past week, a new face arrived, impatient for spring training to begin. The Cards are like only a handful of franchises where the annual expectation is to win a World Series. Its not stated with arrogance or with the sometimes ridiculously outsized expectations of the Yankees. But that doesnt make it any less pressing a deal inside the gates of the Roger Dean Stadium complex.

Its why so many players arrive early, in shape and ready to work. Its why on Sunday and Monday the complex was buzzing with activity.

I drove down (Saturday) from Georgia, said veteran pitcher Jake Westbrook as he sat in front of his locker stall sorting through baseball belongings stacked in neat piles in front of him. My family kept asking me, So why are you going down so early? You dont have to be there until Tuesday.

A delicious smile spread across Westbrooks face. It was the smile of every 8-, 9- or 10-year-old baseball insomniac who ever sat up all night with a glove in one hand and a ball in the other on the eve of their first practice. …

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