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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

The Cardinals could do well to consider State College

As part of the Nolan Ryan takeover in Texas, Chuck Greenberg was pushed out as Rangers CEO in March 2011. The Pittsburgh native has since been rumored to be interested in buying the Pirates, but owner Bob Nutting reportedly does not have his team on the market.

One club Greenberg does own is the State College Spikes of the New York-Penn League. St. Louis Cardinals fans may be familiar with that name as the Spikes were affiliated one year with the Cardinals back in 2006. Previously, the franchise was located in New Jersey, sold and relocated to a brand new, state-of-the-art complex on the campus of Penn State, Medlar Field at Lubrano Park.

The Altoona Mirror, the home paper of one of Greenberg’s other clubs, the Altoona Curve, posted an article about the Greenberg organization’s dissatisfaction with the constant losing at State College. The only season the Spikes had a winning record was the year the Cardinals were there.

For 2007, despite the Cardinals being satisfied with the relationship, St. Louis was pushed out of State College. The area ties to the Pirates made that affiliation change a logical one. But after six years of consistently below-.500 baseball clubs provided by the Pirates, Spikes officials are reconsidering, making noise about looking for a new affiliation this fall.

Negotiations with other organizations cannot begin until September, so there is still plenty of time for maneuvering and rhetoric as well as negotiations on any number of fronts.

The Mirror notes the appeal of the Pirates returning to the Phillies’ current location in Williamsport, where the Bucs’ NY-Penn League club resided from 1999-2006. Williamsport’s player development contract with the Phils also expires after this season. One might guess that Williamsport ownership would prefer to stay with a winning organization like the Phillies, but that is just speculation on my part. One clear downside is that their ballpark, Bowman Field, is one of the oldest in baseball.

Speaking of old facilities, consider Dwyer Stadium in Batavia. St. Louis’ agreement with the Muckdogs also runs out at the conclusion of the 2012 season. (The Cards had moved in when the Phillies moved out.) The future of baseball in Batavia is tenuous at best, with below-standard facilities, league-low attendance and annual bottom line losses.

With rumors of a corresponding relocation, the Muckdogs have been for sale for many months, but there are no clear plans for 2013 and beyond. While it is solely me connecting dots that may not be connected, a return of the Cardinals to the top-notch facilities at State College would seem to be a major step up for both parties.

Here’s hoping the two at least talk this fall.

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7 Responses to “The Cardinals could do well to consider State College”

  1. crdswmn says:

    Brian, I would be interested in hearing your opinion on what is ailing the Cardinals. Is it just a normal baseball type slump or are there other factors at work? Could all of the injuries be affecting the cohesion of the team? Is the absence of Berkman and Chris Carpenter affecting the clubhouse negatively?

    • JumboShrimp says:

      Santana is an elite pitcher and Dickey throws a knuckler. Good pitching causes slumps. Today, the Mets start a less effective pitcher (with a cosmetic nose job paid for by former teammate Carlos Beltran). If Craig can go, we can send eight right swingers against the lefty. We are unlikely to be shut out tonight.

    • blingboy says:

      The first assumption is we are good, but are playing bad because something is ‘ailing’ us. .

      The second assumption is that Brian makes the first.

      Maybe he thinks we are just bad and nothing is ailing us. I hope that is not the case. We didn’t look like a bad team playing over its head early on. But there is no denying that we stink right now.

    • Brian Walton says:

      Sorry for the delay. Very busy with start of month, NY trip and draft prep.

      The injuries have damaged the offense and defense. The starters aren’t cutting it. The relievers had been undependable with Motte the dean of the pen. The clubhouse is fairly quiet, but there is a losing streak going on. It is pretty obvious that Berkman and Carpenter are elsewhere, and they are the leaders. Matheny adds Skip to that list. Is that why they’re losing? Don’t know.

  2. WestCoastbirdWatcher says:

    You are looking at a “players coach” ……stuck in the morass of player emotionality……. is this what experience means? How to avoid it………… pressure from the front office not to tarnish the marquee names while the struggle goes on………… Motte is just waiting to come in and blow a lead……… Beltran is now Ronin………….. Holiday back with the “high” leg kick………. Houston scoring runs….dangerous singles…….. Calos just gets a hit………now that there isn’t anyone in scoring position……… Chambers…?????????? whats he doing here????

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