Cardinals Gear Up for Spring Training

(Photo Courtesy of ESPN)

(Photo Courtesy of ESPN)

As the MLB season approaches, St. Louisans are buzzing with excitement. With spring training starting in February, and opening day in late March, St. Louis baseball fans look forward to watching their Cardinals in action.

   The loyalty of both Cardinals fans and players has been apparent in the last few years as the team has been successful in regular season play.

     This past season, the Cardinals clinched the National League Central Division title, bringing them to a 93-69 overall record. Despite the Cardinals’ successes in the regular season, the postseason did not match the pace. In fact, the Cardinals fell 93-71 in their postseason efforts. For the past three years, the Cardinals have lost in the National League Wild Card series, with the most recent being a home loss to the Philadelphia Phillies, who later advanced to the World Series in 2022. This was the second time that the Cardinals and the Phillies had ever met in the postseason, with the first time being the 2011 National League Division Series. Of the 11 World Series titles earned for the Cardinals, the last time they recorded a World Series win was in 2011. This number leads the National League in World Series wins and is second in all of the MLB.

   The desire to end the 11-year drought and bring home another World Series title is the main motivation for the Cardinals in anticipating the 2023 season. This dream was part of what prompted Nolan Arenado, the Cardinals’ star third baseman, to decline the opt-out clause in his contract and stay in St. Louis. When this decision was made, Arenado had 5 years and $144 million left of his contract with the Cardinals. Opting out would have allowed him to give up these years with the Cardinals and become a free agent in search of a higher paying contract with another team. Arenado mentioned that this decision was an easy one for him to make, saying that he loves both St. Louis and his team. In recent years, many Cardinals players have been choosing to stay for upcoming seasons rather than look for other placements. This shows the up-and-coming culture of winning that the team is striving for. Arenado believes the team has what it takes to win it all this year, and Cardinals fans are hoping he is right.

As  Arenado recently chose to extend his  career with the Cardinals, pitcher Adam Wainwright decided the upcoming season would be his last. After a disappointing end to the 2022 season, Wainwright was dissatisfied with his performance feeling that he could have contributed more. Wainwright feels as though he owes it to the fans to return for one last season. He is returning to what he claims is a “World Series Team.” In his final season, Wainwright is also looking to write his name in Cardinals’ history by becoming the pitcher with the second most wins for the team.    oooHe is currently at 195 wins for the Cardinals and is looking towards 211 in order to bypass long-standing veteran pitcher Jesse Haines’ 210 wins. After 17 years with the Cardinals, Haines set this record that has been held since 1937. In what will be his eighteenth season with the Cardinals, Wainwright holds confidence in both himself and his team to do what it takes to win.

     Whether you are a Cardinals fan or otherwise, this year’s team has great potential for success. Baseball fans all over the country should be on the lookout for the Cardinals this year. The diversity in skill sets as well as the bond between the players gives fans a reason to excitedly anticipate the start of the season.

      You can watch the Cardinals start spring training on Feb. 25 in Jupiter, Florida with an exhibition game against the Nationals. The Cardinals will officially kick off on March 30 with their first regular season contest at Busch Stadium, where they will face the Blue Jays, hoping to start the season strong.

Nothing is ever guaranteed, but St. Louis is building itself into a team that has real potential of advancing far into the postseason.