Baseball has a few set-in-stone rules, some of which are widely known to most fans and some of which are not. One that may be less well-known is this: service time trumps just about anything else.
When it comes to locker placement, jersey numbers, etc., it’s all about big league service time. Guys with experience get first pick. That fact was on display once again on Monday when clubhouse manager Rip Rowan told a few reporters about some new uniform numbers for the 2011 Cardinals.
* Jim Edmonds will, not surprisingly, receive his famous No. 15. Rowan said that when Edmonds was offered 15, the long-time star said he’d take it if Jon Jay would give it up. Well, that’s not really much of a choice for Jay. So Jay gave it up.
* Jay, then, gets No. 22. Raul Valdes, who had been ticketed to wear No. 22, will now take 37. Jay had expressed some interest in wearing No. 19, but Ramon Vazquez had already requested it. NOW you see about the service-time thing: Vazquez will be in camp on an NRI, with seemingly very little shot of making the roster. But he has seven years of big league service; Jay has half of one year. So 19 goes to Vazquez and Jay moves down to 22.
* Nick Punto will wear No. 8, bumping Allen Craig to No. 21. Again, service time. Craig takes Jason LaRue’s old number.
* And in a couple of other jersey tidbits, Miguel Batista will wear No. 44, with Ian Snell getting No. 48.
* As for the jerseys they’ll be wearing… In the regular season, they’ll be like they’ve always been. But the Cardinals have new Spring Training/batting practice jerseys this year. They actually got a choice of two different options, which you can see below:
Since I’m not a professional photog, and since this was taken on my iPhone, you can’t exactly tell a lot of details. But the one on the left features a good deal more blue. It has that blue that you can see on the top of the shoulders, and a strip of blue along the top of the back, above the player name.
Not surprisingly, the Cardinals chose the one on the right. Here’s a closer look at it:
It looks an awful lot like past Cardinals BP jerseys, and that’s no accident.