Vaughn: 1st Official day of Spring Training; Big Mac keeps talking
By Afton Spriggs
St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire arrives for spring training baseball Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire closes the back of a car as he arrives for spring training baseball Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
The reflection of St. Louis Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire is seen on a door as he enters the Cardinals' offices to report for spring training baseball Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2010, in Jupiter, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson) By Jeff Roberson
(KMOV.com)-- If we thought Mark McGwire would be ducking the media through out spring training we were very wrong. In fact, he's done just the opposite. After talking for a long time with reporters yesterday, and answering any and every question thrown at him, McGwire came back today looking for more. When practice was finished, he stepped out of the clubhouse and asked reporters if anybody needed him. Did I really see that? Yep, that's what he did. He seems almost anxious to keep talking. He's not saying anything differently, but at least he's standing there and facing the music. I think he's right on target with this strategy. The media will lose interest once everybody's had their chance to talk with him. McGwire has been far more relaxed in the first couple of days in spring training than he ever was a Cardinal player. Tony La Russa said today that McGwire could definitely be a distraction this season, but that he won't be the only distraction. Every major league team has distractions, and how they're dealt with largely determines what success a team will have.
I talked with David Freese today, the local kid who the Cardinals have penciled in as their everyday shortstop. He says he was very embarassed by the DWI incident this winter, but considers it a "wake-up" call, and promises the Cardinals won't ever have an off the field problem with him agian. Freese, who played high school ball at Lafayette, says playing for the Cardinals was a lifelong dream and he certainly doesn't want to do anything to mess that up. Joe Mather is a main competition at third base. Those two are very good friends who have played together in the minors, but it's clear they're competing head to head for that job. It's possible the guy who doesn't win the spot will be back in the minors, so there's a strange dynamic at play with friends battling each other for their livelihood.
Ryan Ludwick looks different with hair. He's always shaved his head since joining the Cardinals, but now he has a thick head of black hair. Who knew? You almost don't recognize him.
Red Schoendienst is here for the what, the 120th consecutive spring training? Something like that. This guy is ageless. He's looked the same for the last 30 years. He turned 87 earlier this month, could pass for 67, and still motors around the complex in his golf cart watching everything that happens. There's never been a nicer man that Red, and it's always great to see that he's still in terrific health and very much apart of Cardinals baseball.