Blog: Off season 2013-14

February 12, 2014. Pitchers and catchers are back in Jupiter, and Birdbats is back to the keyboard. Sorry for the prolonged absence... I'd heard at the Winter Warm Up that Matt Adams had asked for a new number, and today it was confirmed -- he will wear #32. Other spring training digit assigments are covered here. Oscar Taveras is starting the spring with #77, but his numbers from Memphis (15) and Springfield (25) are both available should he break camp with the big club... Another David will don #23 -- new assistant hitting coach David Bell... Nonroster invitees typically get linebacker numbers, but veteran reliever Pat Neshek was given #41. That bodes well for his chances, and I'm pulling for him. As many collectors know, Neshek is a hobby enthusiast who particularly likes signed baseball cards. He also is maybe the most fan-accessible player to emerge during the Internet era. I was thrilled to see he had signed with the Redbirds... You'll note below that I finally reviewed the World Series games and backfilled the blog a bit.

February 18, 2014. Full-squad workouts begin today -- spring has officially sprung! The Cards are wearing a new BP jersey this season. Comparing this year's shirt with last year's style, you'll note navy trim has been added to the sleeves and collar. Also, the navy under the armpit has been reduced. And the Majestic logo on the sleeve has changed. I assume we'll see the same, new logo on the game jerseys... Several of the players will use bat knob decals that feature their alma maters (or, in Yadi's case, his country)... My buddy, Phil Carter, is looking to sell off parts of his vast collection, which includes game-used items, as well as thousands of signed cards. If you'd like a spreadsheet (the creation of which is an amazing endeavor in itself), contact Phil.

February 26, 2014. According to this article from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch (scroll near the bottom of the piece), the Cardinals will wear their red pregame jerseys during all spring training games this year. The Redbirds were one of the few teams that still wore white at home and gray on the road. I assume this decision will save the team money (one set of red shirts vs. two sets of regular jerseys) and surely will make the club house guys' jobs easier... If you've longed for a chance to own one of Albert Pujols' first jerseys, your time has come. Grey Flannel's summer auction will include Albert's road shirt from the 2000 Arizona Fall League. I contacted the shirt's owner, who tells me he's parting with it to raise college tuition funds. I've handed this jersey, which Albert is wearing on his rookie card, and am confident it's legit.

February 28, 2014. The Cards played their first spring training game today. They are, indeed, wearing BP jerseys. They're also wearing their BP caps. Apparently, Manager Mike Matheny wants them to "earn" a home white jersey by making the team. That may be true, but there's no denying that this approach saves the team money and saves the clubhouse staff time and effort... The regulars seem to be using the same bats as last year. Newcomer Peter Bourjos was swinging a black Louisville Slugger. Several prospects got at-bats during the game. Patrick Wisdom, Greg Garcia and Joey Butler used LS. Stephen Piscotty, Scott Moore and Randall Grichuk were swinging Max Bat. The rest -- Carson Kelly, Ed Easley and Juan Mateo -- used Marucci. James Ramsey's bat was black, but I couldn't identify a manufacturer.

March 7 , 2014. Fan voting begins today to elect two players into the new St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame. Twenty-two individuals will be "grandfathered" into the Hall -- those who already are enshrined in Cooperstown or have their uniform numbers retired by the Cards. A media panel has selected an "old timer," whose name will be announced later. This vote is for players who retired less than four decades ago. I'll be voting daily for Ted Simmons. I have a hunch I'll use my second vote for Bob Forsch some days, and for Joe Torre other days. The new HOF opens April 7; hope to see you there... This "Mike Shannon" jersey is a minor league issue. There's no name chain stitched in the tail, and no room above the number on the back for Shannon's name... I was skeptical of this 2002 Pujols jersey every time I saw it listed on eBay because it had tails and no memorial patches on the sleeves. Then, earlier this week, I saw photos of the inside of the shirt. Based on the way the numbers are sewn on, I'm now confident it's not legit. I'll say it again -- the 2002 Pujols is the most forged jersey I've seen. Typically, they're road shirts with memorial patches.

March 17, 2014. No white jerseys, no gray jerseys, now, no green jerseys for St. Patrick's Day this year. The only thing Irish about the Redbirds today was their caps, which included a New Era logo on the side and adjustable backs.

March 30, 2014. Tomorrow is opening day! I have updated the uniform number database, recognizing some of the players (like Motte) will not see action for a while. It's also possible a few higher-number guys may receive new digits on opening day. Obviously, I'll adjust as necessary as the next few weeks unfold... The new Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum opens a week from tomorrow. I got a sneak peek last night, and it's really shaping up well. I can't show much, but I will share a shot of my favorite room (love the ceiling), the championship gallery, and the wall where the inductees' plaques will hang.