Cardinals Chirps: 10 Signs of Spring…field Cardinals Baseball

By Andrew Buchbinder, Manager of Public Relations / Broadcaster

There are few cyclical occurrences that bring with them as much hope and happiness as the annual arrival of spring.  As of last Friday, winter is officially over… done… kaput.  Now, it doesn’t always go down without a fight and we might still have some less-than-desirable weather left in front of us, but being that springtime has technically sprung, we are coming out of a beautiful weekend in the Ozarks, March Madness is in full effect and Opening Night at Hammons Field on April 9 is right around the corner, here is a Top 10 of these springtime/Springfield Cardinals signs that I look forward to every year, as they fully suggest that baseball is back:

10. The sun is still hanging onto the horizon at 7pm.

9. Birds chirp you out of bed in the morning.

8. The extended morning car warm-ups are (knock on wood) a thing of the past.

7. St. Louis Spring Training games, full of former Springfield Cardinals, are on the air.

6. Minor League Camp is underway on the backfields in sunny Florida.

5. Pings ring out from Missouri State’s games at Hammons Field.

4. Springfield Cardinals Individual Game Tickets go on sale in only eight days (March 31).

3. The Promotional Schedule is close to being finalized (stay tuned).

2. Award-winning Hammons Field’s brand-new grass is impossibly green:


1. Our Opening Night (April 9) Countdown is under 20 days (17, to be exact).  In my book, anything under three weeks away is pretty much here.

With those 10 signs in mind, give the Front Office a call today to get your Season Seats lined up for Season 11 of Springfield Cardinals Baseball.  We have a plan for everyone, and they start at only $104.

And if you have any other early spring/Cardinals Baseball signs that you look forward to every year, feel free to post them as a comment to this blog.

Happy springtime, Cardinals Nation.

Andrew joined the Springfield Cardinals in March, 2013 after spending the previous four seasons as the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations with the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League. The Larchmont, NY native previously spent time with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) from 2007-09 and the Bakersfield Blaze (California League) in 2008. Follow @SGF_Cardinals and @abuchbinder on Twitter today.

Cardinals Chirps: The Value of Job Fairs

By Andrew Buchbinder, Manager of Public Relations / Broadcaster

With the big Job Fair at Hammons Field coming up tomorrow (Thursday, Jan. 29) from 4-7pm, I thought I would take a moment to share my history with job fairs, hopefully exhibiting just how valuable of a resource they can be.

Probably similar to just about every broadcaster out there, the question that I receive the most, whether it be from family, friends, coworkers, students or complete strangers, is, “how did you get into this business?”  Many assume that I must have been a broadcasting, communications or sports management major.  Nope.  I studied history, with an emphasis on Asian history and the Antiquities, no less.  While this hasn’t necessarily turned out to be the most applicable degree, it did prepare me well for a career of speaking and writing.

Many then assume that I must have been involved with my campus radio station in college.  Nope.  Our campus at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut had many things (and right now has an abundance of snow), but a radio station was not one of them.

No, instead, the way that I got my foot in the door to this highly-competitive business with no formal, or informal for that matter, training or directly-pertinent education was, in fact, through a job fair.  I was a senior at Trinity, sitting in my dorm room and trying to figure out some alternative to spending immediate life after college at mom and dad’s, when the bright idea came to me to go to our campus career center.

Fortunately, my period of procrastination ended right before a sports job fair was scheduled to be held in Bridgeport, Connecticut, just down the road.  So, a week later, I dusted off my older brother’s ill-fitting suit that I didn’t (and still don’t) have the shoulders for, printed out way too many copies of my resume and a roughly-crafted cover letter, and headed to the great unknown of my first fair.

I really didn’t know what to expect from the job fair or from a career in sports, but I knew that nothing sounded better to me than working in any capacity for a baseball team, and that I was prepared to do absolutely anything to try to make that career happen.  At the job fair, I went from table to table, submitting my resume and cover letter for any and every opening that I could find, talking with every team representative that I could, asking them questions about their jobs, their careers and how best to follow in their footsteps.  Among those representatives was an employee of the former Can-Am League Team, the New Haven County Cutters.  We hit it off, I left my resume, picked up all of the info on their internships, and about a week later received a phone call from their broadcaster, who gave me my first opportunity to work in sports and is still a good friend of mine.  My foot was officially in the door.  I was an employee (albeit unpaid) of a sports team.  I had “made it.”  Kind of.

The past nine years have been full of dumb luck, hard work, the openness to move (and then move again), tremendous personal growth and professional education and, above all else, some fantastic people.  To snap my fingers from the Bridgeport job fair to where I am today would be fully unfair to all of the incredible bosses, coworkers, leaders, two parents, wife (singular) and friends who have helped me immensely along the way, but it all started for me, as it does for so many, at a job fair.

With those 600 words in the books, the moral of my story is that whether you have always dreamed of working in sports, never dreamed of working in sports, are looking for a career, are looking for a part-time/seasonal job or, like I did, just think working in baseball sounds cool, I would encourage everyone to click here, investigate our openings and make your way to the Cardinals Job Fair tomorrow afternoon/evening.  After all, as I can readily attest to, you never know where a job fair might lead.

Andrew joined the Springfield Cardinals in March, 2013 after spending the previous four seasons as the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations with the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League. The Larchmont, NY native previously spent time with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) from 2007-09 and the Bakersfield Blaze (California League) in 2008. Follow @SGF_Cardinals and @abuchbinder on Twitter today.

Cardinals Chirps: Hello, 2015

By Andrew Buchbinder, Manager of Public Relations / Broadcaster

On this rainy, cold-ish, mid-January Monday morning, it is officially time to revive the Cardinals Chirps Blog.  After all, the 2015 Cardinals Caravan is coming to Hammons Field this Friday, Cardinals pitchers and catchers report to Jupiter in 38 days (Feb. 19) and we are down to only 87 days in our Opening Night (April 9) Countdown.  Besides, getting this blog back up and running is a personal resolution of mine that unlike, well, any of my other resolutions, I am actually determined to keep.  So, what better time than now to start typing about baseball?

Caravan Week, to me, always signifies the unofficial start of baseball season.  Sure, NFL playoffs are in full gear, the College Football National Championship will have just wrapped up, we still have that whole March Madness thing ahead of us… but the Caravan is our first, long-awaited taste of Cardinals Baseball since the fall, and at least for me, it always triggers an enhanced level of anticipation for the first pitches of spring.

This year’s Caravan at Hammons Field will feature three great former Springfield Cards, each of whom have played significant roles for the big club throughout the past two seasons.  Matt Adams, Seth Maness and Kevin Siegrist will be the panel of current players, complemented by Jason Simontacchi (who will also serve as Springfield’s Pitching Coach this year) and Kerry Robinson.  Additionally, one of the voices that has carried us through the past nine years of Cardinals Baseball will carry us through the Caravan as the event’s emcee in John Rooney.

It is going to be a fantastic lineup, made even more special by the concentration of former Springfield players making their return to Hammons Field.  In fact, out of the 23 players touring Cardinals Nation with the Caravan this year, 20 are former Springfield Cardinals.  The only exceptions are Randal Grichuk, who played against Springfield in 2013 as an Arkansas Traveler (Angels), and the recent additions of Dean Anna and Ty Kelly.  Aside from them, it’s all Springfield alumni; yet another testament to the pipeline that runs from Hammons to Busch.  Click here for all things Caravan and make plans to join us on Friday afternoon if you can!

On another note, if you’re looking to venture further away from work on this Monday morning, click here to watch the special, inescapably-catchy “History of Springfield Cardinals Bobbleheads” video that Production Manager Kent Shelton concocted for National Bobblehead Day last Wednesday.  If you haven’t viewed it yet, it is a fun trip through the first decade of Bobbleheads at Hammons Field and whets the appetite for this year’s must-have crop (more on that at a later date…)

Until the next round of Chirps, enjoy the rest of what will hopefully be an increasingly-sunny start to the week.  Hope to see everyone this Friday at Caravan, before Opening Night rolls around in less than three short months!

Andrew joined the Springfield Cardinals in March 2013 after spending the previous four seasons as the Director of Broadcasting & Media Relations with the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League. The Larchmont, NY native previously spent time with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) from 2007-09 and the Bakersfield Blaze (California League) in 2008. Follow @SGF_Cardinals and @abuchbinder on Twitter today.

AFL Update, 11/14 – It all comes down to today

By Andrew Buchbinder, Broadcaster / PR Manager

Stephen Piscotty is refusing to stop playing baseball.  With the Arizona Fall League Regular Season wrapping up today, the 2013 Springfield Cardinals right fielder keyed a crucial victory on Wednesday night with a four-hit, two-RBI performance to keep the Salt River Rafters’ Arizona Fall League Championship hopes alive and try to ensure one more game.

To say that Piscotty has excelled in the Minors’ “finishing school” would be a monumental understatement.  With his four hits yesterday, the 2012 1st-rounder increased his batting average to .372 (32×86) through 22 games this fall, to go along with one homer, a league-best three triples, 17 RBIs, 19 runs and seven stolen bases.  In his last 10 games, Piscotty has compiled a .390 average (16×41) with 13 RBIs.  He’s collected at least one RBI in nine of those last 10 games and is currently riding a five-game RBI streak with eight runs batted in during that stretch.  Oh yeah, he’s also on an 11-game hitting streak (featuring 19 hits) and has hit safely in 18 of the 22 games in which he has played.

And all of this production has been far from for naught, as Piscotty and his teammates have overcome a slow start to the Fall League slate to find themselves only a half game out of 1st place on the final day of the season.  To get to this point, Springfield skipper Mike Shildt’s Rafters have rattled off a six-game winning streak to go along with a 14-3 record through their last 17 games.  And now it comes down to today.

The Rafters (18-12) will take on the Scottsdale Scorpions (10-20) at 1:35pm (Central) this afternoon, while the 1st-place Mesa Solar Sox (18-11) will play the Glendale Desert Dogs (13-15) at the same time.  With the half-game lead for 1st, Mesa does have the luxury of being able to ice the division with a win.  However, if the Rafters win today and Mesa loses, Stephen Piscotty and Salt River will get to play one more baseball game this year, the Fall League Championship tilt against the Surprise Saguaros this Saturday.

Click over to this afternoon for live updates on both games, and go Rafters!

AFL Update, 11/6 – Sam shuts out Solar Sox

By Andrew Buchbinder, Broadcaster / PR Manager

Cardinals farmhand RHP Sam Gaviglio has found his fall stride, to say the least.  The right-handed starter, who split the 2013 season between the Gulf Coast League Cardinals (Rookie) and the Palm Beach Cardinals (High-A), is the lone Cardinals minor leaguer in the starting rotation for Mike Shildt’s Salt River Rafters, and has been unstoppable of late.

Gaviglio, 23, extended a scoreless innings streak to 10 straight frames by blanking the Mesa Solar Sox through five excellent innings yesterday, which came on the heels of a five-inning, six-strikeout shutout performance against the Surprise Saguaros on Oct. 30.  Around singles in the first and fifth, as well as a walk in the third, Gaviglio dominated the Sox a day ago, adding a couple of strikeouts and reportedly keeping the Mesa bats off balance with a steady barrage of offspeed pitches.

In support of the righty, fellow St. Louis prospects, 2B Jacob Wilson and RF Stephen Piscotty, helped key a seven-run third inning, which provided Gaviglio and the relief corps more than enough support in the 8-0 win.  Wilson, who doubled in a run in the big third stanza, finished with a 2-for-4 line that included a pair of doubles, two RBIs and a run, while Piscotty also went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored.

Click here for the full story on Gaviglio and the Rafters.

Cardinals farmhands yesterday – 

RHP Sam Gaviglio – 5.0 IP, 2H, 0R, 1BB, 2K
2B Jacob Wilson – 2×4, 2 2B, 2RBI, 1R
RF Stephen Piscotty – 2×4, 1RBI, 1R
CF James Ramsey – 0x5, 1R
LHP Lee Stoppelman – DNP
LHP Anthony Ferrara – 1.0 IP, 2K
LHP Dean Kiekhefer – DNP

Next Game:
Tonight, 8:08pm (Central) – Salt River Rafters (12-11) @ Scottsdale Scorpions (9-14)
Probables – SRR RHP Drew Hutchison (Toronto) @ SCO RHP Phil Irwin (Pittsburgh)

AFL Update, 11/4 – Piscotty and Ramsey shine in Fall Stars Game

By Andrew Buchbinder, Broadcaster / PR Manager

In perhaps the least surprising update of this Fall League season, 2013 Springfield Cards RF Stephen Piscotty and OF James Ramsey continued to impress during the Fall Stars Game in Arizona over the weekend.  The two, who are both hitting .300 or better and are both among league leaders in different extra-base hits categories – Ramsey is 1st with seven doubles and Piscotty is tied for 2nd with two triples – continued producing per the norm in the Fall League’s prospect showcase.

Ramsey was slotted in the leadoff spot to start the game for the East Fall-Stars and put in a 1-for-2 line with a walk and a stolen base.  Piscotty, DH’ing and batting sixth, smacked a triple and also finished 1-for-2.  Both have been particularly aggressive on the bases, which is a trend that began in August in Springfield and has clearly continued for the outfielders in Salt River.  Not counting the Fall-Star Game swipe, Ramsey has gone a perfect 4-for-4 on the paths, while Piscotty has nabbed six steals in eight tries, the sixth-highest total of successful swipes in the league.

Despite the two hits from the Cards prospects, in addition to seven other knocks by their fellow Eastern Fall-Stars, the West prevailed, 9-2, on Saturday.  After the customary off-day on Sunday, Fall League Regular Season action resumes tonight to begin the final 10-game stretch of the finishing-school slate.

Next Game –
Tonight, 7:35pm (Central) – Salt River Rafters (11-10) @ Mesa Solar Sox (12-8)
Probables – SRR LHP Grayson Garvin (Tampa) vs. MSS LHP Matt Purke (Washington)

AFL Update, 11/1 – Rafters Rolling into November

By Andrew Buchbinder, Broadcaster / PR Manager

Springfield Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt’s Salt River Rafters are red hot, rolling through the Arizona Fall League competition to the tune of a 6-1 record in their last seven games.  During that stretch, the Rafters have outscored their opponents by the count of 60-28, including a 20-0 victory on Oct. 26 and a 10-0 win last night against the Surprise Saguaros.  

Of course, while winning is never a bad thing, the main objective of the Fall League is not necessarily Ws as much as it is providing more experience and fine-tuning for some of baseball’s top prospects, which is another source of encouragement.  Much has been made, deservedly so, of 2013 Springfield Cardinals RF Stephen Piscotty’s Fall League performance so far, earning a Fall Stars selection, a Player of the Week award and just generally torching the competition with a .322 average through 15 games.

Piscotty, though, is far from the only Cardinals farmhand having a spectacular fall.  Fellow ’13 Springfield Cards OF James Ramsey has notched a .326 average with one homer and nine RBIs through 13 games for the Rafters, while leading the league with seven doubles.  Meanwhile, 2B Jacob Wilson, who spent the 2013 campaign with Peoria (Low-A) and Palm Beach (High-A), is actually leading all Cards prospects with 10 RBIs this fall.  The Bartlett, TN native and former 10th rounder out of the University of Memphis is hitting .310 with a homer, and is currently riding a five-game hitting streak with eight hits during that stretch.  He contributed four RBIs in the 10-0 win yesterday.

While the bats have been red hot, the arms have had to battle.  When you think about it, pitchers have a bit of an uphill task in the Fall League, which is loaded with a bunch of batters who would normally be found in prime spots of the order during regular season play.  It’s almost like facing an All-Star Team every day.  With that said, ’13 Springfield Cardinals LHP Lee Stoppelman is certainly holding his own, posting a 3.38 ERA and five strikeouts through five relief outings (5.1 innings).  LHP Anthony Ferrara and LHP Dean Kiekhefer, two more members of this year’s Springfield squad, have both been working out of the bullpen exclusively, while RHP Sam Gaviglio (who spent 2013 between the GCL Cardinals and Peoria) has struck out 15 batters through four starts (17.2 innings).

To read the full recap from yesterday’s 10-0 win, click here

Cardinals Farmhands Yesterday – 

OF James Ramsey – 1×3, 2B, 2RBI, 2R, 2BB, 2K
RF Stephen Piscotty – 1×5, RBI, K
2B Jacob Wilson – 2×4, HR, 4RBI, R
LHP Lee Stoppelman – DNP
LHP Anthony Ferrara – DNP
LHP Dean Kiekhefer – DNP
RHP Sam Gaviglio – DNP

Next Game – 
Tonight, 8:35pm (Central) – Salt River Rafters (10-10) vs. Glendale Desert Dogs (9-9)
Probables – SRR RHP Bo Schultz (Arizona) vs. GDD RHP Michael Lorenzen (Cincinnati)

AFL Update, 10/29 – Piscotty named a Fall Star

By Andrew Buchbinder, Broadcaster/PR Manager

While the Fall Classic roars on and the Cards and Sox take what has been an intensely neck-and-neck series back to Boston, the Arizona Fall League has continued to cruise along throughout the month of October.  Coming up on the Fall League All-Star Game this Saturday, the league announced its 2013 Fall Stars on Monday, with the East Division squad featuring 2013 Springfield Cardinals RF Stephen Piscotty.

Piscotty has been one of the most consistent offensive forces throughout the first half of the Fall League, compiling a .347 average (17×49) with three doubles, two triples, five RBIs and six stolen bases through 13 games.  He has also put together an excellent .411 on-base percentage, countering nine strikeouts with six walks.

The best part is, Piscotty continues to get hotter and hotter.  The winner of the AFL Player of the Week Award on Oct. 22, Piscotty has kept the surge going with a .421 average (16×38), five RBIs and 10 runs scored in his last 10 games.  The Pleasanton, CA native rattled off a seven-game streak with at least one run scored per contest, while hitting safely in eight of his last 10 games (five multi-hit performances during that stretch).  A key contributor to the 20-0 drubbing that the Salt River Rafters concocted last Saturday, Piscotty went 3×5 with three runs.

The Fall Stars game is slated for this Saturday at 7pm (Central), and will be broadcast on MLB Network and streamed live on  Click here for all of the details on the Fall Stars Game.  The Rafters continue their campaign tonight at 8:35pm (Central), with details below.

Cardinals farmhands yesterday – 

OF Stephen Piscotty – 1×4, RBI
LHP Lee Stoppelman – 1IP, 1H, 2R, 1BB, 1K
OF James Ramsey – DNP
INF Jacob Wilson – DNP
LHP Anthony Ferrara – DNP
LHP Dean Kiekhefer – DNP

Next Game – 
Tonight, 8:35pm (Central) – Salt River Rafters (8-9) vs. Mesa Solar Sox (10-6)
Probables – SRR LHP Grayson Garvin (Tampa) vs. MSS LHP Matt Purke (Washington)

AFL Update, 10/17 – Ramsey and Piscotty packing punch

By Andrew Buchbinder, Broadcaster / PR Manager

Two of the Cardinals 2012 1st rounders, who were two-thirds of the Springfield outfield for much of the 2013 season, are swinging away in Fall League action so far.  Both OF James Ramsey and RF Stephen Piscotty have had a tremendous start to their “finishing school” campaigns, compiling batting averages of .462 and .391, respectively, through the season’s first nine days.

And both also put their marks on Salt River’s Wednesday night game against the Glendale Desert Dogs.  Despite the ‘Dogs claiming an 8-6 win, Ramsey and Piscotty combined to go 3-for-5 with two doubles, one triple, three runs, two RBIs, three walks and one stolen base.  To go along with the .462 average (6-for-13), Ramsey has logged one homer, two doubles, four RBIs, four runs, four walks and two steals through just four games.  Meanwhile, Piscotty has registered a .391 clip (9-for-23) with two doubles, one triple, two RBIs, three runs and four stolen bases in his six games, while also knocking eight hits in his last 12 at-bats.

Keep in mind, as well, that the Arizona Fall League is comprised of some of the top prospects throughout Minor League Baseball, meaning the competition is typically elite, which further lends excitement to the future of Cardinals Baseball if indeed these two end up patrolling the outfield at Busch Stadium one day soon.

Click here for the recap from last night’s Salt River game.

Cardinals Farmhands yesterday –

OF James Ramsey – 1×1, 2B, RBI, R, 2BB
OF Stephen Piscotty – 2×4, 2B, 3B, RBI, 2R, BB, SB
2B Jacob Wilson – 0x4, BB, K
LHP Lee Stoppelman – 1.1 IP, 1H, 0R, 1BB, 1K
LHP Anthony Ferrara – DNP
LHP Dean Kiekhefer – DNP
RHP Sam Gaviglio – DNP

Next Game – 
Tonight, 8:35pm (CT) – Salt River Rafters vs. Glendale Desert Dogs
Probables – SRR RHP Aaron Sanchez (Toronto) vs. GDD RHP Stephen McCray (Chicago – AL)

AFL Update, 10/15 – Piscotty perfect at the plate

By Andrew Buchbinder, Broadcaster/PR Manager

As action resumed in the Arizona Fall League after the weekend off, a perfect performance by Springfield Cardinals OF Stephen Piscotty keyed a comeback win, 3-2,  for the Salt River Rafters (2-3) against the Surprise Saguaros (2-3).  Rafters RHP Drew Hutchison (Toronto) made the start and surrendered only two unearned runs in the bottom of the third, before Salt River received 6.1 scoreless innings from the ‘pen, including blank stanzas by LHP Anthony Ferrara and LHP Dean Kiekhefer.

While the relievers kept the deficit narrow, the Rafters got on the board in the top of the fifth inning with an RBI groundout from CF Kenny Wilson (Toronto).  Wilson finished up 3-for-5 on the day, upping his Fall League average to .556 (10-for-18) through four games.  Amazingly, his was not the most impressive performance of the day.

Piscotty, batting sixth in the lineup, notched his first knock of the game to start the top of the second inning.  After again singling in the top of the fourth, Piscotty tied the game with an RBI base hit in the sixth, while also moving DH Tim Wheeler (Colorado) from first to third and setting him up to eventually score the go-ahead run on a wild pitch.

Courtesy of the Arizona Fall League recap by Teddy Cahill, Piscotty said after the game, “I love hitting with guys on base… I think I hit a slider. I didn’t try to do too much with it and luckily found a hole. That was a good inning for us.”  Piscotty followed that base hit, his third of the day, with single number four in the top of the eighth, capping the perfect, four-hit performance.  Piscotty not only did it with the bat, but also on the bases, swiping his third bag through just the first four games of his Fall League season.  OF James Ramsey also stole a base yesterday, his second, as the two 2013 Springfield Cardinals continue the trend of aggressive baserunning that took hold for Mike Shildt’s Cards in August.

Click here for the full game recap

Cardinals Farmhands yesterday – 

OF Stephen Piscotty – 4×4, RBI, SB
OF James Ramsey – 0x4, SB
LHP Anthony Ferrara – 1 IP, BB
LHP Dean Kiekhefer – 1 IP, H, 2K
LHP Lee Stoppelman – DNP
RHP Sam Gaviglio – DNP
INF Jacob Wilson – DNP

Next Game – 
Tonight, 8:35pm (CDT) – Salt River Rafters vs. Surprise Saguaros
Probables – SRR TBD vs. SUR RHP Miguel Pena (Boston)


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