Cardinals Baseball is just around the corner, as the Redbirds get ready to square up against NL Central Rivals, and reigning champion, Chicago Cubs. If this doesn’t get your juices flowing, I don’t know what will.
Well, it’s now just two days away. This weekend, on Sunday Night Baseball, the Cardinals will be back in action, against none other than, yes, the Cubs. Are you excited? Can you feel the blood pumping through your veins, as we prepare to face our biggest rivals, coming off of a championship season for the first time in 108 years? You better.
Anyone and everyone who has been to Busch Stadium, no matter what team holds their allegiance, knows that St. Louis fans know how to come out for their team. The pure energy of the Cardinals’ stadium, in my opinion, is unrivaled, and I, only having lived here for about six months, have only seen late August games.
I can’t even imagine what the “hype” level will be like in downtown St. Louis when the defending champion Cubbies come to town for Game number 1 of the 2017 season.
The hunger will be insatiable. The intensity un-controllable, as every body in the stadium will be pulling for a RedBirds win, quickly putting a damper on the Baby Bears’ victory parade. Every pitch will be under immeasurable scrutiny, and should garner tangible tension reverberating throughout the stadium.
If you can get there, my sincerest congratulations, as it should be an unforgettable experience, watching rivals compete in a a situation so unique it hasn’t occurred in over a century. However, if you can’t make it to the ballpark, no worries. There’s much entertainment for you still waiting on the couch at home.
Even watching from home, listening to the voice of Dan Shulman calling the play by play, with Tom and John giving analysis, you’re in store for a great one. Again, the circumstances should lead to a tightly contested battle, with lots of drama and intrigue. However, even if it’s a blow out either way, there’s still much more to look forward to.
First off, there’s Carlos Martinez. As my colleague Curtis Hoffman pointed out in his article, Martinez is poised to be a big time performer this season, and is expected to start off hot on Opening Day against the Cubs. In the World Baseball Classic, in four shutout innings against Team Canada, Martinez gave up just three hits, and got his fastball up to 101 mph. Carlos throwing that hard in the middle of March can only be a good sign for a guy who averaged around 96 on his fastball in 2016. His arm is feeling good, his body is working. Look for him to have an electric start on Opening Day, and possibly turn some heads.
Secondly, let’s look behind the plate to our hero, Yadier Molina. I will admit, as I indicated in an earlier article, that I thought this would be the year Yadi starts to decline. And it still may be. However, his performance in the World Baseball classic was extremely impressive. The clear leader of Team Puerto Rico, Molina hit over .300 in the tournament, and was named the MVP of Pool F.
As well, his defense was, as always, sparkling, making highlight plays one after another. This makes me think, Yadi may, miraculously, continue his dominance as the Cardinal’s backstop in 2017. And there’s no better time for his usual passion to come out than Opening Day against his greatest rival, and reigning World Champions, the Cubs. Watch for Yadi to make a big impact Sunday night.
Baez and the Cubs
Lastly, in addition to getting to see all the stars lining the Cubs’ lineup, you will get the pleasure of seeing what is, in my opinion, perhaps the most exciting player in the Major Leagues: Javier Baez.
Finally coming into his own at the end of the 2016 season, Baez has really shown his electric flare for the dramatic, making ridiculous plays and sick tags, and now pairing an explosive swing with an improving eye at the plate. Baez in and of himself is a treat to watch, and makes any game infinitely more interesting.
The game this Sunday night is not one to miss. Watching the Cardinals face off against their rival Cubs, coming off a championship season for the first time in 108 years, is not an occasion to let pass by. The atmosphere will be electric. The ball park will be rockin’. But even more, it should be a great game, with stars lining the field. It’s gonna be good.