Its Officially Spring Time in Baseball Heaven

All of us Cardinal Red-bleeders know the feeling; whether it be the elation of the final out of the World Series that brings a championship to St. Louis, or more times than not, the low, sinking feeling when our beloved Red Birds are eliminated from playoff contention. At times, it's even worse. Reference last year's blown 3 games to 1 NLCS lead, and falling short of a second straight World Series appearance. No matter how it happens, Cardinal faithful always immediately seems ready for the day in February, in which catchers and pitchers report to Jupiter for the first time, commencing Spring Training. Check that, commmencing SPRING all together.

Our Spring, contrary to most communities througout the United States, does not begin with the date marked on traditional calendars, as "First Day of Spring." Our Spring isn't dependant upon an oversized rodent seeing his shadow or not. Our Spring doesn't start with mild temperatures, budding trees, April showers or May flowers. Cardinal Nation's spring begins when 50 (or so) men, young and seasoned, take the fields at Roger Dean complex in Jupiter, FL, dawning the 'Birds on the Bat.' Our Spring begins when the sizzle of an Adam Wainwright fastball is pounded into Yadi's Gold Glove. It starts when Oquendo takes the infield with Kolten Wong, Matt Carpenter, Rafael Furcal, David Freese, and several others. It starts with the crack of Matheny's fungo resonating througout Roger Dean Complex, and when Lou, Red, The Wizard, and Willie take the field in uniform once again, ready to hand out Hall of Fame worthy instruction. OUR Spring starts with Cardinals Baseball.

Today, Spring 'officially' starts. Today marks the day, in which it becomes mandatory for pitchers and catchers to report to the Cardinals' Spring Training Complex in Jupiter, FL. It's finally here! I'm sure that most of you are as excited as I am that the start of Spring is official, but what a start to Spring so far! As faces, old and new, pour into Cardinals Camp, the position battles that are about to unfold are intriguing, to say the very least, not to mention, some of the new faces in the clubhouse.

Who will get the final two rotation spots? Will it be Lynn? Miller? Rosenthal? How will the pitching staff respond after the loss of Chris Carpenter for a 2nd straight season?

Will we see Daniel Descalso starting the 2 bag again this year, or will Kolten Wong man second base for the Birds? Or will it be the always versatile Matt Carpenter?

Will baseball's #2 overall prospect, the phenom from the farm, Oscar Taveras, saddle up with the big boys this year?

What should we look for from John Mabry and Yadi's big bro as hitting coaches? Can the Cardinals continue their success at the plate, holding their place as one of Major League Baseball's most vaunted lineups?

How much did Mike Matheny mature after last season's trials? He's vowed to rest his big guns more througout the season, keeping them fresh for final stretch. He's also coming off quite possibly the most trying time that he and his family have ever endured, when the consequences of a bad business decision left the skipper in bankruptcy.

These are all questions that, as answers unfold, will define the character and success of this team, as the grind of summer approaches. Should we be anxious? Hell yes. Should we worry? Hell no. Baseball is back and our boys are poised and hungry. 54 more days until the holiday known as "The Home Opener." Life is great. Lets go Cardinal Nation.

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