ST. LOUIS -- A day after St. Louis was blanketed with a few inches of snow, signs of spring were in full bloom down in the basement of Busch Stadium.
Cardinals head equipment manager Rip Rowan and more than a dozen assistants were spending Monday loading up the first of two 52-foot tractor trailer trucks that will depart for Jupiter, Fla., on Tuesday afternoon. Inside of them will be all of the equipment necessary for the Cardinals to run seven weeks of Spring Training.
While some items –- including most of the players' bats -– will be shipped directly to the Cardinals' spring complex, the majority of the equipment will be transported in these trucks. That includes 5,400 practice baseballs and another 5,400 game balls.
"It's quite a bit of stuff," said Rowan, who is in his 35th year with the organization. "You basically take everything you have here in St. Louis down there to be set up in that clubhouse, including all the items in the kitchen."
Members of the organization who live in the St. Louis area have dropped off luggage, golf clubs and bicycles that will also make the approximately 1,135-mile trek to southern Florida.
Rowan and the other clubhouse assistants will begin unloading the two trucks in Jupiter on Thursday morning. It will take about half a day to get everything off and another few days to get the clubhouse completely set up.
That timeframe will allow for everything to be properly in place by the time camp opens next week. The Cardinals' pitchers and catchers participating in Major League camp must report no later than next Monday, with their first workout scheduled for the following day. The first full-squad workout will take place on Feb. 15.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less