I’ve gotta say, today was kind of an odd day at the Warm-Up. Sure, there were the typical questions: “How was your offseason?” “How excited are you for the upcoming year?” and the like, but there was an underlying subdued feeling that pervaded the way everyone spoke. How could it not?
Some of these players haven’t ever met The Man, but they knew about him. As Trevor Rosenthal referenced, as soon as they put on the uniform, they learned about Stan. It’s just the way it was. Now they will only have the opportunity to learn. They won’t, as Allen Craig told us, get the opportunity to shake his hand with the other Hall of Famers’ during the home opener.
A lot of the conversation today was about Stan, about his impact on this game, on this team. It honestly took my breath away to see the reverence with which the players, even those who hadn’t met him, spoke about Stan. Even Tony La Russa had most of his usual edge softened.
The Man was truly one of a kind. Baseball’s perfect knight. He is already so incredibly missed.
That being said, there were quite a few guys who came by today. Let’s get to it.
“I feel 100% now. I feel really good.”
“Number one goal is getting back to the World Series. I focus on playing great every day.”
“I definitely try to not take it [the starting job] for granted.”
“This is one of my most healthy offseasons I’ve had … my main focus is to stay healthy.”
“As soon as you get comfortable, that’s when someone comes from behind and takes your job.”
Regarding always looking for ways to improve:
“There’s not just one thing you can get better at.”
The afternoon was filled with guys like Jordan Swagerty, Pete Kozma, Edward Mujica and Trevor Rosenthal. The excitement about this season is absolutely palpable when talking to them. I suppose that’s what happens when guys get their first taste of the playoffs.
“I’ve never been more eager to be back on the field.”
Kozma when asked about coming to bat with runners on base:
“I like to be that guy to drive those guys in.”
“I want to be in the playoffs every year, and this is the team [to be on for that].”
“Everyone’s kind of getting that itch to get down to Florida and get started.”
Well, guys, we’re all excited for you to get started too. There have been a lot of tributes to Stan today, a lot of talk about the kind of man he was. Last night my beloved Blues put up six goals against a division rival, and it felt so very fitting. Seems like a World Series ring would be rather fitting this year as well.
Looks like the hunger for it is already there.
Tomorrow is the last day of the Warm-Up, so be sure to stop back by for quotes from players like Carlos Beltran, Daniel Descalso and David Freese!