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Three New Arizona First-Time Managers Have Cardinals Ties

First, it was the Houston Astros. Now, the Arizona Diamondbacks are also loading up on ex-St. Louis Cardinals. Perhaps that should not be a surprise given Tony La Russa’s position as the Snakes’ Chief Baseball Officer.

Still, to see this many hirings at once is a bit eye-opening.

The Diamondbacks announced their minor league coaching assignments on Wednesday, with three of the organization’s four first-time managers having Cardinals ties.

Mark Grudzielanek, 44, is the new skipper at a very familiar location to Midwest League fans, Kane County, Arizona’s new Class-A affiliate. The second baseman played 15 years in the Major Leagues, including with the Cardinals in 2005.

Shelley Duncan, 35, son of former Cardinals pitching coach Dave Duncan and current Arizona special assistant and pitching consultant, is the new manager at Hillsboro of the short-season Class-A Northwest League. Shelley, brother of ex-Cardinals outfielder Chris, played parts of seven seasons in the Majors.

Joe Mather, 32, is the new manager at rookie-level Missoula. Once known as “Joey Bombs,” the Phoenix-area native came up in the Cardinals system. The first baseman-outfielder appeared with the 2008 and 2010 Cards before also playing in the bigs with Atlanta and the Cubs.

In other Cardinals-Snakes news, Arizona has agreed to terms with infielder Nick Punto on a minor league deal that includes an invitation to Major League spring training. “The Shredder” has been well-traveled in a 14-year career that included a stop with St. Louis’ 2011 World Champions. The 37-year-old played with Oakland last season.

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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21 Responses to “Three New Arizona First-Time Managers Have Cardinals Ties”

  1. blingboy says:

    I didn’t know Shelley was retired.

    The mention of Kane County reminded me of when the Midwest League team moved there from Wisconsin. I don’t remember the town, but it was way out there in the woods west of Green Bay. It was one of those old WPA ballfields from the 30s. It had been redone a few times, though, and didn’t retain much of the character that many of those ballparks have. The stadium in Aurora, or Elgin or wherever it is was was sort of a suburban strip mall of ballparks. At least back then it was.

    • JumboShrimp says:

      The Kane County Park in Geneva lacks charm/character. The Cubs moved out, grabbing the much nicer stadium in South Bend, IN, leaving TLR’s team to have to move to the Geneva Park.

      • Brian Walton says:

        I’ve not been to the South Bend park. How does it compare to Peoria?

        • JumboShrimp says:

          The South Bend park is extremely nice, save for one recent problem.
          First the positive. The park is easy to walk around, with good passageways and you can readily walk behind the outfield fences. The concessions are good. The seats are comfortable. When the Diiamondbacks were the tenant, this was fantastic, because how many Arizona fans are there in northwest Indiana? Not a lot. So seats were easy to obtain, you had elbow room, you could move around the ballpark all you wanted. It was fantastic.
          Then the franchise got purchased by a new owner. He invested in improvements, like slides for kids and a Tiki bar for adults behind the left field wall. An indoor training facility with batting cages behind right.
          Then a terrible, terrible thing happened. He affiliated with the Cubs and turned this charming spot into a hell hole. There are hordes dressed in blue. Lots of Notre Dame alumni types walking around wearing school colors; I would not mind a few, but now there is an unhealthy abundance. The stadium has a rated capacity of 5,000, but there are routinely 7,000 at weekend games. Lots drive two hours from Chicago for games. A charming spot has been ruined.

          • Brian Walton says:

            Thanks for the info. Have you been to Dozer Park? If so, please compare the two. Just curious.

            • JumboShrimp says:

              Since your question seemed off-topic, I chose not to respond.

              • Brian Walton says:

                That is your right, but seems odd. I guess you prefer soliloquies to conversation. FWIW, since the Cubs left the one park for the other, and I have been to only one of the two, it seemed very relevant to me.

                • JumboShrimp says:

                  Yes the Cubs have moved from Peoria to Geneva to south bend. why?
                  Geneva looked like it really packed in fans. The western burbs have to be more affluent than Peoria, generating more money for the team owners and reaching more cub fans. But it is not a nice park, in my opinion.

                  A businessman went into south bend and upgraded a nice park. He probably offered the Cubs a better venue for their players to train.
                  Unfortunately for me, loads of Cubs fans seem able to find south bend. An unappealing sight.

                  • blingboy says:

                    I had a nice time at Dozer Park this past summer, but didn’t do any exploring. I was busy watching Gomber pitch and holding stuff my wife was buying at the team store. The beer was cold. It was a slightly smaller version of Hammons field with an extreme over-abundance of silliness between innings. Nice fireworks afterwards. No comparison to the ballpark in Davenport. one of my favorites.

                    As to to the conversation above, Wausau sounds right. The only reason we went there was for the fishing thereabouts. It would start out at Green bay. There was a guy who had a barge that he used to ferry construction equipment to lakeshore erosion control sites. He’d rig it up to take groups of guys fishing, with an awning rigged up, a couple b-b-q grills, big ice chests, picnic tables. I could sneak beers and bum cigarettes and pee over the side. My mother would have had a fit if she knew.

  2. crdswmn says:

    So Joey Bombs is a coach now. I wondered what happened to him.

    TLR goes with what he knows, I guess. They just added the Shredder on a minor league deal. Love that guy, wish we had him back. I don’t know that he would be any worse than Anna or Kozma.

    • Brian Walton says:

      I posted it on the message board, too, a short time ago. The team supposedly looked into three players, but aren’t close to getting any of them. I wonder how often that kind of thing occurs across MLB each year.

      • crdswmn says:

        As soon as I know who “sources” is, I will think about believing it.

        I really hate this vague crap. It gets people all riled up, and most of the time it turns out to be not much of anything. Due diligence mostly.

  3. Bw52 says:

    I still think Mo will pull something unexpected out of his hat.Something nobody expected from a direction nobody c onsidered.

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