Cardinals Select Gateway Grizzlies for Alternate Site

photo: GCS Credit Union Ballpark (EnjoyIllinois.com)

St. Louis Cardinals press release

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they will be utilizing GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois as their Alternate Training Site beginning in April.  GCS Credit Union Ballpark, opened in 2002, serves as the home of the Gateway Grizzlies of the 16-team Frontier League.

“We are pleased to have partnered with the Gateway Grizzlies and the Sauget community to serve as the hosts for our Alternate Training Site,” stated Cardinals’ President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak. “The close proximity of GCS Credit Union Ballpark to Busch Stadium and our Major League team is beneficial, and it provides the players with a professionally-run facility for their workouts while we continue to prepare for our season.”

“We are very excited to play a role in providing the Cardinals’ organization and players the support they need to succeed this season, and to showcase GCS Credit Union Ballpark in the process,” said Grizzlies managing partner Rich Sauget, Sr.  “As the only two professional baseball teams in the St. Louis area, it makes perfect sense for the Gateway Grizzlies and the Cardinals to work together to help each other flourish. We will do everything in our power to help the players, coaches, and support staff feel right at home — after all, even if it’s from the other side of the river, they’ll still be able to see the Gateway Arch from the ballpark!”

“The Village of Sauget is thrilled to step up to the plate for the Cardinals and provide a platform for them to thrive at GCS Credit Union Ballpark,” stated Village of Sauget Mayor Rich Sauget Jr.  “Sauget has long been the smallest town in America with professional baseball. Now we will get the chance to welcome an MLB franchise to show that, no matter its size, Sauget can shine on the biggest stage.”

The Alternate Training Site, utilized as a training base for players serving as taxi squad and possible roster call-ups while the minor leagues are still awaiting the start to their season, will host a maximum of 28 players who are all members of the Cardinals organization.  The workouts at the Alternate Training Site will be run by the Cardinals triple-A Memphis coaching staff.

Brian Walton’s take

On Tuesday, John Mozeliak invited media members for a Zoom session to explain the alternate camp plans. While together, he answered questions on other topics, as well. My summary of his remarks follow.

John Mozeliak via Zoom (Brian Walton/The Cardinal Nation)

Mo’s comments

  • Excited the Gateway Grizzlies would welcome us.
  • Hope minor leagues begin early May. This is closer, smooth. Made most sense of alternatives. Only 10 minutes away – convenient.
  • Camp will have morning hours, but also some evening workouts at Busch when major leaguers are on the road.
  • No arrangement for games yet, but open to it. Not looking for three-hour bus rides, but would welcome others. Lot of questions open.
  • 28-man roster will look a lot like the Memphis roster. Could also keep some players in Florida to get more game experience. Will need extra catchers with taxi squad. More than two.
  • Camp will open April 6 if all goes well. Will stay in Florida after MLB team leaves. Transition on the fourth, quarantine on fifth, open on sixth. Minor league camp opens that week as well in Jupiter.

Other topics from Mo

  • On Matt Carpenter: A little bit unfair to draw conclusions after one week. Maybe he hasn’t had the success that he and we want, but be patient. Drawing a line in the sand is premature.
  • Cuts from MLB camp during spring will more to a new “B Camp” which will run in parallel to the main camp. Like the minors STEP Camp from prior years. Will report two hours later than MLB players each day. First week will be internal work due to low number of players. Second week could play against Marlins. It is an option, but not finalized.
  • Alex Reyes not related to Mike Mikolas. Reyes could backfill even if Mikolas is not ready. Targeting Reyes at about 100 innings this season. Want to protect and position him to compete for starting job in one year. Looks great as SP now, but how much can you get out of him this season? Hoe to optimize someone who has looked as good as anyone in camp? Can do things differently in second half. Be smart and see how things are going. Possible to get all 100 innings as a reliever, but there could be days not available. Confident they can do it to position him for 2022.
  • Hope to have multiple role pitchers to get through the long season. Would not rule out piggyback. Multiple ways to protect 5 plus 1 or plus 2 starters. No historical record. If too aggressive, could have injuries. No choice but to be cautious.
  • No answer from MLB yet on Justin Williams’ fourth option.

For more

Read quick summaries of manager Mike Shildt’s morning media comments each day at The Cardinal Nation’s free forum.


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Brian Walton can be reached via email at brian@thecardinalnation.com. Follow Brian on Twitter.

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