A New Generation of Cardinals
One of those funny little things about working in Minor League Baseball is that, for the most part, you really don’t get much of a chance to watch a whole lot of Major League Baseball.
I’ve always found this to be a bit ironic. Many people get into the business of baseball in large part because they love the sport and want to be close to it. I’m one of the fortunate ones whose job is to actually watch all of the River Bandits games, but most baseball professionals in non-broadcast positions really don’t get to watch much of their team’s games either.
So, we all have this time of year. September. One month of regular season major league baseball to enjoy before the playoffs hit.
This year, I have really enjoyed watching the Cardinals charge towards the playoffs. Please don’t share this information with anybody that I grew up with in the northern suburbs of Chicago. While I grew up a die-hard Cubs fan – and still am – the opportunity to work with players, coaches and front office staffers from the St. Louis organization has made it impossible not to root for their success.
And at this point, the Cardinals are riddled with former QC’ers at the big league level and throughout the organization.
On Saturday, their 6-3 win in Colorado officially clinched the NL-Central title. Five members of their roster played in the Quad Cities, including outfielders Colby Rasmus (’06) and Rick Ankiel (’05), relievers Kyle McClellan (’05) and Jason Motte (’06), and infielder Tyler Greene (’06).
Rasmus, Ankiel, McClellan and Motte have been on the big league roster all season and have played crucial roles to help the Cards’ to a division title. Greene has been up and down between Triple-A and the majors, and is not the only former QC’er to contribute in St. Louis without an everyday role. Others include infielder Jarrett Hoffpauir (’05), outfielders Shane Robinson (’06) and Nick Stavinoha (’05), pitcher P.J. Walters (’07), and since-traded hurlers Clayton Mortensen (’07) and Chris Perez (’06).
That’s 11 former Quad Cities players that have contributed to the Cardinals’ 2009 NL-Central title, or more than a quarter (28%) of the 40 players that have suited up for the Redbirds in all. Rasmus, who was a Midwest League All-Star in 2006, is in the conversation for National League Rookie of the Year. McClellan, who suffered a Tommy John-inducing injury with Quad Cities in 2005, has been lights out in the bullpen.
I don’t know about you, but I certainly enjoy watching these guys make it to the bigs. And I look forward to watching how far this group of Cardinals can go in the playoffs.