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I made it out to the Cardinals Caravan in Springfield on Friday and took some photos and jotted down a few of the responses from the Q&A session.  There’s not a ton to write about as it was a very brief Q&A session totalling not more than 10 questions between all six of the Cardinals.

Here in Springfield, we were lucky enough to be the only stop on the Caravan for new skipper Mike Matheny and unsurprisingly he was the big focus of the Q&A.  I was interested in a few things that he said as he answered questions rather candidly for a manager.  That is, rather candidly for a Cardinals manager.  We’re used to Tony La Russa who often set the bar for providing as little information as possible with his answers.  Matheny was asked how Allen Craig was looking and revealed that Craig was “behind schedule in his rehab” and doesn’t expect him to be ready for Opening Day, though he admitted Craig feels differently.

Another question posed to our new manager was the potential for Pitching Coach Dave Duncan to return to the team this season.  Matheny answered with the preface that he would be doing exactly what Duncan is doing were his family suffering a similar situation.  He said that the door will remain open the entire season if things turn around and Duncan wants to return but there is no timetable and no expectations.

With the majority of the questions asked from that point being more generic in nature, the rest of the guests started to field some answers for the crowd.  Jason Motte and Mitchell Boggs were asked to give their thoughts on winning a World Championship, to which both replied that it was the greatest feeling they’ve had in their sports careers.

Jason Motte was later asked about some reports of complaints last season about his playing time – reports I honestly don’t remember hearing and can’t find any record of through a google search – to which he replied “Well, I pitched in 78 games last season…  I think I’m okay with my playing time.”

Jason Motte then fielded a follow up about whether or not he is now the official closer of the 2012 team which he sidestepped rather gracefully with a smile on his face as he glanced over at his new manager looking on while emcee Mike Claiborne took the reigns saying “Call him what you want, all I know is I was happy to see him on the mound for the last out of the season.”

All in all, though short, the Q&A session was about 11% informative and 89% laughter and fun.  I’ve touched on merely the highlights here with Matheny, Motte, and Boggs but we also heard from OF Shane Robinson and former SPs Jason Simontacchi and Danny Cox.  Everyone had a short say on how to treat young boys who are involved in the game of baseball; everything from when to start them on throwing curveballs to what position is best to start out at.  The main point expressed by everyone and emphasized by Danny Cox was to simply get your kids out of the house; “You can’t effectively practice throwing a baseball in doors.  Get outside and play the game.”

After the quick Q&A session, the guests moved onto autographs and signed as much as they could for the rather large Friday afternoon gathering.  They couldn’t stay as long as I’m sure they and the folks in line would have wanted, though, as they had more stops and visits to make before the Tournament of Champions event later on that evening.

Here are some of the additional photos from the afternoon.

As an addition to the days events – Springfield Cardinals General Manager Matt Gifford announced that the World Series trophy would be at Hammons Field on the April 20-22 homestand when the Baby Birds host the Tulsa Drillers.  Game Time is 7:08 on Friday the 20th and 2:08 on Saturday and Sunday.  Be sure to make it out and support the hometown club.