Monday, April 18, 2016

All Cardinals goes All Pirates

The Cardinals have a big series starting tonight against the Cubs.  Good thing they have been playing better of late, going 7-2 since starting the season by getting swept by the Pirates.  I cannot say that the Pittsburgh sweep was a surprise.  Having seen the Cardinals in spring training the week before, it did not look like they were prepared to start the season.  A lot of the starters either did not play, or looked like they were just going through the motions.  Pittsburgh served as a good wake up call.

I have never been to Pittsburgh to see a game, but I would love to go.  I hear the ballpark is beautiful.  I did see their Triple A team the Indianapolis Indians play 2 years ago.  They play at Victory Field in downtown Indy.  Like its Major League counterpart, Victory Field is very nice.  The concourse has many pictures of past players including Andrew McCutchen, Randy Johnson, and Larry Walker.

The family and I made another trip to Indy on Saturday to watch the Baby Buccos take on the Columbus Clippers, Cleveland's Triple A team.  Each Saturday is Signature Saturday with various people signing free autographs.  This past Saturday was team autograph night.  Tables were set up along the concourse with 2 players or coaches at each table signing for 45 minutes.  This is a great setup for fans, as the tables are labeled  with each signer.  Each person is allowed to get 1 auto, but you can get back in a line if you choose to.  It was not hard to get through each table , although some had longer lines than others.  I had a few cards from a Sportlots order to get signed along with some from 2 Pirate fans from the Trading Bases group.

Butch Wynegar is the hitting coach for the Indians.  He did not have a long line and was very talkative.

Willy Garcia has a cannon for an arm with some power potential.  His auto leaves a little to be desired, although he was nice.

Ngoepe is a very talented shortstop.  He made a great sliding stop to his backhand and through out the runner by a step.  He is a native of South Africa.

Rojas is the son of the former MLB pitcher.  He was very talkative and shook hands with almost everyone.
 Alen Hanson has a good mix of power and speed for a shortstop.  Out of all the players, he seemed the most disinterested in signing.  He made little eye contact and did not say a word.

Jameson Taillon is the Pirates 4th rated prospect.  He missed the last 2 seasons due to injuries.  He joked with us about not signing because we were wearing Cardinals hats, but was very friendly.

Josh Bell is the Pirates 3rd rated prospect.  Most fans think he will be in Pittsburgh before the All Star break.  He is a big man with big power.  He was at the same table as Taillon.  This was by far the most popular table.

There were numerous players who we did not have cards for, so they signed this logo sheet.  Good thing most of them added their numbers otherwise I would have not clue who signed this.  From top to bottom, left to right: Jorge Rondon, Kelvin Marte, Alen Hanson, Max Moroff, Ed Easley, John Kuchno, Mel Rojas Jr, Jason Rogers, Guido Knudson, Wilfredo Boscan, Trey Haley, and Curtis Partch.  I was shocked Hanson signed this.  While Marte was signing it, Hanson leaned over and scribbled his name.

I could not go the entire night without getting something Cardinal related signed.  Rondon was a member of the Springfield Cardinals that won the 2012 Texas League championship.  This is the 12th card I have signed from the team set.

Ed Easley was by far the most friendly player.  This program is from a 2014 Memphis Redbirds game.  Easley is a native of Memphis and spent a few minutes talking about how great it was to play in his home town.  He did not have much of a line, so he was more than happy to talk about the minor leagues.  He did get 6 at bats with St. Louis last year, but went hitless.  He should be able to hang around Triple A for a few more years as the veteran catcher.

We got a total of 35 autographs for our 45 minutes of work.  Our seats were in the front row by the Clippers bullpen.  My daughter got a ball from a relief pitcher after he finished warming up.  My son caught a foam ball that was thrown out in between innings that included a $5 Subway card.  Nice little prize for him.

The game was not overly exciting.  The  Clippers won 2-1 with a home run in the top of the ninth.  Pirates #1 prospect Tyler Glasnow started the game and struck out 9 in five innings.  He looks to be a stud with a short stay in Indy this year before he gets called up.

One last thing that made me a proud dad:
My 11 year old daughter kept a scorecard for both teams the entire game.  Other than not using a backwards K, she was spot on with almost everything without asking for help. 


  1. Now I know where all of the on card autos I get come from. I drove from STL to Columbus to see the then Yanks AAA team. Your daughter is far better at scoring than I am!

  2. She does have some practice. She goes with me to my softball tournaments a lot and keeps book.