Missouri MLB teams visit Joplin

Missouri+MLB+teams+visit+Joplin

Joshua Boley/The Chart

Missouri MLB teams visit Joplin

Ian Taylor, Staff Writer

As Major League Baseball’s 2013 season rapidly approaches, regional ball clubs are attempting to stir the Joplin community.

Members of the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals recently came to town as part of offseason tours in the Cardinals Caravan and the Royals Caravan.

Fans on the Kansas City Royals’ bandwagon got to see three of the organization’s top pitchers at Vintage Stock in the Northpark Mall on Monday, and Cardinals fans came out in droves to see a similar crop of current and former players at the Taylor Auditorium on Southern’s campus, Jan. 19.

Kansas City brought ballplayers Danny Duffy, Bruce Chen and Wil Smith, along with the team’s mascot, Slugger.

Different stories were shared among fans, but all revolved around one universal subject: baseball.

“I’ve loved it,” Duffy said. “I’m a talker; I love to hear everybody’s stories.”  

The crowd for the Cardinals Caravan was also a good one. St. Louis brought top prospect Shelby Miller, the team’s minor league pitcher of the year, Seth Maness, team alumni Alan Benes, John Mabry, Cal Eldred and Al Hrabosky.

Hrabosky and Mabry also continue to serve the team as a television broadcaster and hitting coach, respectively.

Miller is one of the team’s rising young arms that helped propel the Cardinals to within a game of the World Series in 2012.

He says his goal for this coming year is to pitch a full season in St. Louis as a starter.

The team distributed autograph vouchers to the first 400 fans under 15 years old.