Friday was the first stop of the 2019 Cardinals Caravan. For those unfamiliar, the caravan tours around to cities that are minor league affiliates or radio affiliates of the Cardinals broadcast network. There’s usually 6 or so different “caravans” all traveling around with different current and former Cardinals. At each stop, there’s Q&A sessions and a chance to get pictures and autographs and whatnot.
As part of the stop in Memphis, the Cardinals and Redbirds also held a Hot Stove luncheon, which featured all of the guests for that nights event. Current Cardinals (and recent Redbirds) Jordan Hicks, Austin Gomber, Tyler O’Neill, and Adolis Garcia along with former Redbirds/Cardinals Stubby Clapp and Jason Motte as part of the panel emceed by Ricky Horton.
Here are some clips of Stubby Clapp, Jordan Hicks, and Tyler O’Neill meeting with the media after the luncheon.
The Redbirds used this luncheon to announce some big news for the franchise and the city of Memphis.
The Memphis Redbirds were chosen to once again be the hosts for the Triple A Championship game in September. The stadium was the site of the game in 2016 and is the first repeat host since Triple A baseball changed to hosting the game in a different venue each year since 2011.
With hosting the 2016 and 2019 games and playing in the last two in 2017 and 2018, the Redbirds will have been a part of in some way the last 4 championship games.
Here’s Memphis Redbirds GM and President, Craig Unger, on the announcement:
Following this announcement a little later in the afternoon, the team also finally confirmed that Ben Johnson would be taking over for Stubby Clapp as manager of the team in 2019.
Johnson, a former @goghsreddevils star, replaces @stubbyclapp, who was promoted to @Cardinals first base coach.— Memphis Redbirds (@memphisredbirds) January 18, 2019
Dernier Orozco returns as pitching coach, and Jobel Jimenez is the new hitting coach. Orozco's staff set a franchise record for ERA in '18.
ℹ️ https://t.co/ttuq0dGKfp pic.twitter.com/8dH0PHsgB0
I reported on the rumors that Johnson would be the next manager back in November, but the organization did not officially confirm these rumors until Friday. That article linked above features a bit of a profile on Johnson and his history with the team.
Later this week, I’ll be diving a little deeper into Johnson’s staff heading into the 2019 season and the organizations quest for a third-straight PCL Championship, a third-straight National Championship appearance, and a second-straight National Championship.