- Cape student sues, accuses school officials of slamming her to ground multiple times (04/28/16)48
- Neelys Landing man shot, killed by highway patrol trooper after traffic stop (05/01/16)43
- Bob Evans restaurant in Cape Girardeau among chain's 21 closings (04/26/16)9
- Missouri House votes to allow concealed weapons without permits (04/28/16)8
- Police report filed, but no charges in incident at Cape Central (04/29/16)40
- 2016 All-Missourian Boys Basketball (04/29/16)
- Statement: Man says copsí good work drove him to grow his own marijuana (05/01/16)1
- Two hurt in motorcycle wreck on Interstate 55 (04/25/16)1
- Senator introduces bill for I-57 that would connect Sikeston with Little Rock (04/28/16)4
- River Ridge Winery changes hands (05/02/16)
Break out the bats, balls!
Now that Vladimir Guerrero found out where he's playing this season, he can take aim at another target: those plaster walls high above the left-field fence at Roger Dean Stadium.
Roberto Alomar, Gary Sheffield and Chan Ho Park should start limbering up, too. Because it's time to put away all talk about contraction and get down to the business that fans really care about -- break out the bats and balls!
Only 99 days after the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the World Series, the shortest offseason in baseball history ends and spring training begins Tuesday.
It's almost enough to make Cal Ripken want to come out of retirement.
"I would imagine when spring training opens up and they are there without me, it will feel strange, for sure," the former Baltimore star said this week. "You can't do something for that long and not feel it."
Yankees start first
The Yankees, not wanting to waste a minute with their revamped roster that includes Jason Giambi, will be the first team to get going. By next weekend, pitchers and catchers will have reported to camp for every team.
The Grapefruit and Cactus leagues start up Feb. 27 in familiar-sounding spring sites such as Bradenton, Fla., and Tempe, Ariz. The exhibition season finishes March 31, the same day Cleveland visits Anaheim in the major league opener.
And while Tony Gwynn and Mark McGwire also are gone, there will be plenty of stars worth watching.
Such as Guerrero.
Until recently, the Montreal slugger wasn't quite sure where he would wind up this year. Commissioner Bud Selig tried to fold the Expos and Minnesota Twins, but the plan failed and the teams are safe -- at least for this season.
"I'm happy because we're going to play one more year in Montreal," Guerrero said this week at the Caribbean Series in Caracas, Venezuela.
"I know I'll be on a team, whether it's Montreal or somewhere else, though I really wish that the Expos franchise would survive," he said.
Guerrero will join the rest of his teammates in Jupiter, Fla., where the Expos and St. Louis Cardinals share Roger Dean Stadium.
Like most spring ballparks, it's a cozy place to take in a game. Or even watch batting practice, when long shots to left field crash off the two-story Expos' offices beyond the fence.
Rob Rabenecker knows all about that. He oversees operations at the stadium.
"Yeah, they knock the plaster off those walls. We always have to do some patching and painting when they're done mashing," he said. "We don't have McGwire anymore, but we still have Guerrero taking pokes."
Montreal, meanwhile, figures to soon have a new manager.
As part of ownership shifts, manager Jeff Torborg is expected to move from the Expos to the Florida Marlins with Hall of Famer Frank Robinson likely to take over Montreal.
Two other new manager -- Ron Gardenhire succeeds Tom Kelly in Minnesota and Jimy Williams replaces Larry Dierker in Houston.
The biggest changes, though, are on the field.
Moises Alou, Juan Gonzalez, Johnny Damon and Brian Jordan were among many top-name players to change places in the winter. The New York teams and Texas underwent the biggest makeovers.
Since that ninth-inning defeat in Game 7, the Yankees added Giambi, Rondell White, David Wells, Robin Ventura and Steve Karsay while losing Paul O'Neill, Tino Martinez, Chuck Knoblauch and David Justice.
The Mets added Alomar, Mo Vaughn, Jeromy Burnitz, Shawn Estes, Pedro Astacio and Roger Cedeno. The Rangers were extremely busy, acquiring Park, Juan Gonzalez and the combustible pair of Carl Everett and John Rocker, among others.
Sheffield went from Los Angeles to Atlanta for Jordan in the most startling trade of the offseason. Pokey Reese was the most active player -- he was traded from Cincinnati to Colorado to Boston in a span of three days, and wound up signing with Pittsburgh.
Yet some things stayed the same. As in, the desire to beat the team that finished on top in October -- er, November.
"I don't think it was a well-kept secret that everyone disliked us immensely last year," said Arizona ace Curt Schilling, who shared the Series MVP award with Randy Johnson.