For a St. Louis Cardinal fan a game at Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter Florida is the ultimate baseball experience. This is the second year my father Sam, brother Tim and I have attended spring training in Jupiter during the Grapefruit season. For this past Sunday's game against the Florida Marlins we were lucky enough to have obtained the best seats in the house, first row from the field right behind manager Tony LaRussa and his coaching staff. During spring training games they sit outside the dugout near the backstop. Former Cardinal great Lou Brock was honorary captain for the day and was given a big round of applause when he presented the lineup card to the home plate umpire. Although his playing days have been over for nearly 30 years Brock appeared fit and looked as though he could still run down a fly ball and race around the bases. On this day young players Colby Rasmus and Joe Mather were in the starting lineup. Although both players appear to have a bright future with the club both still have a lot to prove. The Skip Schumaker experiment was alive and well, he was back in lineup for another game at second base. From the first pitch LaRussa's staff documented every pitch, hit and play. They were timing each hurler's delivery and every batter's sprint to first. Bench coach Joe Pettini kept positioning players in the field as if it were a game of chess. During the regular season fans don't have the opportunity to actually see and hear LaRussa and his coaches manage a game because they're in the dugout. As a baseball junkie I was living a dream. The Cardinals won this one in a slugfest 14-11 but what is most memorable is the way LaRussa and Duncan acknowledged the fans. The skipper even signed a copy of his book for my dad between innings. Opinions vary about LaRussa but he is a great ambassador for the Cardinal organization and baseball. On the field Schumaker misplayed a couple of hard hit grounders but made a spectacular diving catch to end an inning. Mather played a solid third base and had a couple of big hits. Infielder Brian Bardon was real impressive. He scorched a couple of doubles and showed great speed on the bases. Next up is a game today at Port St. Lucie against the Mets and then a Thursday game against the Dominican National Team featuring A-Rod.
- Terry Cancila, News 4