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Cards load trucks, hit road for Spring Training

@anne__rogers
February 4, 2020

ST. LOUIS -- The unofficial start to Spring Training arrived Tuesday, with two trucks outside Busch Stadium and dozens of movers and clubhouse staff loading everything the Cardinals might need for six weeks in Jupiter, Fla. It was Truck Day. Boxes of equipment -- from apparel to the materials that

ST. LOUIS -- The unofficial start to Spring Training arrived Tuesday, with two trucks outside Busch Stadium and dozens of movers and clubhouse staff loading everything the Cardinals might need for six weeks in Jupiter, Fla.

It was Truck Day.

Boxes of equipment -- from apparel to the materials that the training staff, kitchen staff and clubhouse staff will need -- filled the Cardinals' clubhouse and the hallway outside the loading dock, where two 18-wheelers were sitting. A lot of the content of the trucks was devoted to personal items -- suitcases, bikes, golf clubs, etc. The front office, communications department and IT department sent equipment down, too.

With so few Cardinals living in St. Louis during the offseason, most of the players ship or drive their cars loaded with their personal items, gloves and other equipment to Spring Training themselves.

Mark Walsh, St. Louis' head clubhouse manager, and his staff will fly to Jupiter on Wednesday and will have two days to unpack and organize the materials that have already arrived at the Cardinals' complex, before welcoming the two trucks to Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium sometime Friday afternoon. With pitchers and catchers reporting Feb. 11 -- that’s next Tuesday -- and some players already working out at the facility, Walsh wants to get to work on the packages that are already filling his Jupiter office.

“It’s not stressful -- I look at it as it’s here and it’s coming,” Walsh said Tuesday. “So I just want to get down there and set up. A lot of the guys are already down there already, so they’re depending on us. It’s good to get down there and get started. It’s all good.”

With more players than normal in big league camp this year, along with all the coaches who depend on the clubhouse staff, Walsh’s staff will consist of six people, including himself, instead of five. Their work preparing for Spring Training began in November, and the beginning of January is when the packing and loading began to speed up.

Even as last season unfolded, Walsh and assistant equipment manager Andy Bollier had to look ahead; they began their apparel orders back in June. The clothing began to arrive in January. The upgraded "STL" logo -- which has subtle changes, like the edges of the letters being softened and rounded -- and the new jerseys with the Nike swoosh on them made this offseason work a little more challenging.

But once the truck departs from St. Louis, Walsh can say that spring is here. Soon, he and his staff will be loading it all back up and readying it for the regular season.

Baseball is on deck.

“It really doesn’t ever stop,” Walsh said.

Anne Rogers covers the Cardinals for MLB.com. Follow her on Twitter @anne__rogers and on Facebook.