However, I came across several items recently that took me away from my regular reading and burned some think time in the process. The first was stimulated by Dave Studeman's report in The Hardball Times and seemed worthy of sharing.
Measuring the fences
There is this unbelievably fun (and free) piece of software called Google Earth, which has much of the face of this planet visible via satellite images down to one foot resolution, with the rest at 15 meters. An added capability is to be able to measure distances between two points with amazing accuracy.
With all the variety of answers given about the dimensions of the playing surface in the new Busch, Studeman's story gave me hope that I might unlock the mystery for once and for all. How deep are the power alleys in Busch III?
My curiosity was piqued even more when I saw this video, which clearly demonstrates that the outfield walls are now in place. (link)
I installed the Google Earth software and by the time I had played with it for several hours finding my childhood home and other interesting locations, I had forgotten what I had initially set out to do. Oh, yeah.
Turns out the mapping was done a few years back, so the old Busch is there in its detailed glory. You can measure the distance from home plate to dead center, for example, but it is now a moot point. No new Busch.
I have a question into Google to try to learn when the St. Louis maps will be updated. Still, Google Earth was a lot of fun, even if I didn't get my answer. Yet.
Sportsbook.com is listing the Cardinals at 5-2 odds as favorite to win the National League pennant, with the Yankees as the American League faves at 2-1. Not surprisingly, these two are also pegged as the winningest teams, with the Yanks at 97.5 wins for the over/under, and the Cards behind at 93.5 wins.
Other NL Central Division Central teams' pennant odds: Cubs 9-2, Astros 13-1, Brewers 20-1, Reds and Pirates 40-1. (link)
Luna and Miles join Ankiel with contracts
Two more Cardinals players accepted team offers for 2006 contracts. Saturday's signings are infielders Hector Luna and Aaron Miles. The last three who have yet to agree to terms are So Taguchi, Yadier Molina and John Rodriguez. They'll be along shortly as they have no choice in the matter.
Exhibition sold out quickly
The Cardinals' minor league affiliate clubs from Memphis and Springfield will be playing in front of a sellout crowd on Tuesday, April 4 (6:10 p.m. CT) when the two teams oppose each other in the debut game for the new Busch Stadium. On Saturday, Cardinals fans purchased the final 11,000 tickets for the April 4 exhibition via the internet and charge lines in just 20 minutes time.
Season Ticket Holders for the St. Louis Cardinals, Memphis Redbirds and Springfield Cardinals had purchased the balance of available seats for the April 4 game in advance of Saturday's public sale. Ticket prices for the exhibition game ranged from $10 to $20.
Brian Walton can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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