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Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Catch Worth Remembering for a Hometown Boy

We interrupt our regular programming to bring you a breath-taking sports moment. In this case, it is one of the prettiest catches you will ever see in a baseball game.

Why did it capture our attention? Well, the guy making the catch is Antonio DeJesus, an outfielder for the Springfield Cardinals, the AA affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Springfield Cardinals play in Springfield, Missouri, which just happens to be your humble blogger's hometown. And the goal of the Springfield players is to someday become members of the St. Louis Cardinals, who have been my favorite pro sports team since the summer of 1963, when I was 6 years old.

When I was a kid, Springfield didn't have a minor-league team. The only time I got to see up-and-coming baseball standouts was when we would go see the Arkansas Travelers play while visiting my aunt and uncle in Little Rock.

I used to dream about how cool it would be for Springfield to have its own minor-league team. And now the city actually has one. And that it's an affiliate of the Cardinals . . . well, that's almost too good to be true.

Anyway, the Springfield team plays at Hammons Field, which I've never seen. But I'm told it's a beautiful facility, and the team draws large and enthusiastic crowds. I hope to see a game there one of these days. (By the way, here is a review of Hammons Field from one of several minor-league ballpark aficionados on the Web.)

In the video below, you can catch a glimpse of downtown Springfield in the background as the fly ball heads for the outfield. (Actually, I think that's a grain silo you see in the background; after all, we are talking about the Midwest here. Springfield has a quite lovely downtown, but I'm not sure any of the buildings are tall enough to be seen at much of a distance. Perhaps the most famous thing about Springfield's downtown is that Aaron Buerge, one of the early dudes on The Bachelor has a restaurant there called Trolley's Grill. Personally, I thought Buerge was an idiot for letting Helene Eksterowicz, the incredibly cute girl from New Jersey, get away. Most guys from Springfield have better sense than that. Of course, Buerge grew up in Joplin, so that probably explains it. Bad move, Aaron! Helene's a babe!)

Anyway, the glimpse of downtown Springfield kind of makes me homesick, although after 30 years in Birmingham, Alabama has long been my home--warts and all.

By the way, Mrs. Schnauzer, an Alabama native, likes downtown Springfield--although she couldn't care less about baseball. She's in love with the cool old-fashioned Steak 'n Shake, which is on St. Louis Street, just a few blocks from where the gleaming new ballpark now sits. Whenever we visit Missouri's "Queen City of the Ozarks," her first question is, "When can we go to Steak 'n Shake?" (You can check out a photo of Springfield's Steak 'n Shake at cruisin66.com, a Web site that pays tribute to sites along old Route 66.)

Back to baseball: From checking the stats, it looks like Antonio DeJesus is a long shot to make the big leagues. His hitting appears to be anemic, which I'm guessing is because of this little thing known as the curveball. But when it comes to glovework, our guy Antonio can flat out get it done.

Go Cardinals!

2 comments:

rick d said...

I think I've been to that Steak n Shake! I've only been to Springfield a couple of times, but I remember that we went to the Steak n Shake near campus. Is that the same one?

Thanks for posting the baseball clip. One of these days I'm going to need to figure out how to upload some videos to Youtube. I've got a couple of amazing plays by the Tigers - one in football and one in basketball.

legalschnauzer said...

Rick:

Yes, I'm pretty sure that's the one closest to the MSU campus. (I still call it SMS. That's how you know you are an old-time Springfieldian.)

If I remember right, it's also pretty close to the Shrine Mosque, which I think still hosts concerts, circuses, and such.

I saw my first concert there--the Ides of March of "Vehicle" fame--back in 72 or 73. Tickets were $3 (or maybe $3.50, I forget.) Jim Petarik, the lead guy in the Ides, went on to form Survivor, which did the Rocky theme song among other hits in the '8os.

A couple of buddies and I made several treks to the Mosque to see "championship" wrestling matches, featuring Haystack Calhoun, Gorgeous George Jr., the Masked Assassins, and other luminaries. It was great.

Once, when my buddies couldn't go, my mom took me to see the wrestling matches. You know your mother really loves you when she takes you to the Shrine Mosque to see wrestling matches!