The Great American Baseball Trip

Game 27

Philadelphia Phillies vs. St. Louis Cardinals

Saturday, August 9, 1997 - 7:05pm

Busch Stadium

St. Louis, Missouri

Pre-Game Report
 The Phillies are the worst team in the leauge. The Cardinals are battling for a pennant. But, if someone wants to play spoiler enough -- crazy things can happen.

Stadium Stats - Busch Stadium

Surface: Grass
Capacity: 57,673
Dimensions: Left Field: 330 feet, Center Field: 402 feet, Right Field: 330 feet

baseball diamond image

Team Profiles
Philly's Logo

Philadelphia Phillies

 It's hard to believe that this team, which is struggling to stay out of the National League East cellar, was in the World Series only four short years ago. I think everyone will agree that the Phillies are in the middle of a rebuilding phase.

 Their roster combines past stars Lenny Dykstra, Danny Tartabull, and Darren "dutch" Dalton with utility players Mickey Morandini, Kevin Stocker, and Gregg Jeffries (assuming he stays healthy, he can certainly be a threat). And their starting rotation includes Curt Schilling, one of the best all around pitchers in the majors, along with Mark Leiter and Mark Portugal, two crafty veterans to help the young pitchers learn the ropes.

 This team is still a few years from returning to the playoffs, but Terry Francona has the basis for a strong team, that can, at worst, make some of the contenders think twice before moving on to the next city.

Cardinals Logo

St. Louis Cardinals

 After winning just 62 games in 1995, the Cardinals captured their first National league Central Division title in 1996. While many teams made changes to their rosters throughout the off-season, the Cardinals lineup remained almost identical. So, it is not surprising that the leadership of manager Tony Larussa, is expected to lead the Cardinals to a repeat of their division title.

 The Cardinals have the most solid-four man rotation in the National League. Andy Benes, Alan Benes, Todd Stottlemyre and Donovan Osborne each won at least 13 games last season and come back even stronger and more experienced following playoff victories against the Padres and Braves. And, looking to fill the fifth spot will be Danny Jackson, who without injury and illness would not have lost his number one spot in the rotation. The Cardinals Bullpen, with the addition of left-handed middle reliever Lance Painter becomes even stronger now that it can rely on Rick Honeycutt and Tony Fossas for short relief. And, veteran closer Dennis Eckersley, in his last big league season, will look to lead this team towards a title.

 In addition to strong pitching, the Cardinals have the fastest team in the National League. Delino DeShields and Royce Clayton, each good for at least 30 stolen bases will be joined in the infield by veteran Gary Gaetti, who shows little sign of slowing down and was the team's most consistent hitter in 1996. And, outfielders Ron Gant, Ray Lankford, and Brian Jordan are all potential members of the 30/30 club.

Post-Game Report
 On a sticky night in St. Louis, the Phillies came in and stole the hearts of the Cardinals fans. I got to meet Rollie Fingers and spend time with some of my favorite relatives too.

Check out all the details here, including my impressions of the stadium, batting practice, the team management I met, being up in the press box, the food, and the game and the fans

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