Monday, February 18, 2013

Cardinals Not Happy with Pope Distraction

It’s not as if they’ve got nothing else to do. As the Cardinals gather for spring training in Palm Beach, they’ll be trying to figure out how to replace injured starting pitcher Chris Carpenter and the second baseman they traded to the Dodgers, Skip Schumaker. Among other problems.

And suddenly they’re faced with one more task: electing the next Pope.

“The Pope’s resignation just came out of left field,” said a clubhouse source at Roger Dean Stadium where the Cardinals train. “And the Vatican’s a holy mess. We were one game away from the pennant last year. We really don’t need this. It's a high massive distraction.”

One of the Cardinals’ coaches agreed, though not for attribution. “We’re breaking in a new second baseman. We’ve got to figure out how to keep Rafael Furcal and Jaime Garcia healthy. And Carlos Beltran isn’t getting any younger. But instead of concentrating on all that, we’ve got to go through all these bios and resumes, organize a conclave—Jesus, it’s a mess.”

Several observers noted that second year manager Mike Matheny will be under particular pressure. “Mike’s just figuring out what minor leaguers and draft choices to look at,” said one veteran scribe. “Now he’s supposed to come up with a supreme pontiff? The truth is nobody in the organization is prepared for this. Nobody even knows how to make the white smoke.”

Though only pitchers and catchers are present at training camp so far, the Cardinal organization insists that the election of a Pope will not interfere with the spring schedule. Not everybody agrees.

"They're working out a plan for like conclave in the morning, workouts in the afternoon, but who knows how long this is going to take?" said an informed batting practice catcher.

“We’ll probably cancel an exhibition game or two,” said pitcher Marc Rzepczynski. “Personally I’m rooting for another Polish Pope but I’m just one vote. Quote me as saying I’m keeping an open mind. And spell my name right.”

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