The schedule for the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals Caravan—the team's yearly apology to people who won't be in town for the Winter Warm-Up—is finally out, which means it's time to see whether the team will come through your part of Missouri, Illinois, Arkansas, and Tennessee. Of course, that's not all—it's also time to see which caravan you get.
Caravan 1 is the place to go if you're a Future-Redbirds-watcher: The Cardinals players are Shelby Miller, Oscar Taveras, and sleeper prospect Seth Maness. You'll also get John Mabry, the new hitting coach; Alan Benes; and noted TV Personalities Cal Eldred and Al Hrabosky. They'll be visiting Springfield, Missouri at 12:15 and 6:15 PM on Friday, January 18, and Joplin (12 PM) and Rolla (6 PM) on Saturday, January 19.
Caravan 2 features two late-season heroes—Pete Kozma and Trevor Rosenthal—along with shortstop prospect Ryan Jackson. The alumni are Danny Cox, Andy Benes, and Joe Magrane, and Mike Claiborne will be master of ceremonies. That one rolls through Champaign (12 PM) and Decatur (6 PM) on Friday before hitting Hannibal (12 PM) and Quincy (6 PM) on Saturday.
Caravan 3 snares a starter—Jon Jay!—along with Joe Kelly, Fernando Salas, and Jordan Swagerty. Tom Lawless and Ray King are the alums, and John Rooney holds court. This iteration will go through Mexico (12) and Jefferson City (6) on Friday, and then Columbia and Moberly on Saturday.
Down south rumbles Caravan 4, with Tony Cruz, Matt Adams, Sam Freeman, and No. 1 draft pick Michael Wacha flanked by Ryan Franklin and Brad Thompson(!) Dan McLaughlin will lead the way to Dyersburg (12:30) and Memphis (6) on Sunday, January 20. On Monday, January 21, they'll hit Jonesboro, Arkansas (12) and Cape Girardeau (6.)
Lastly and mostly importantly: My hometown Caravan 5 hits Central Illinois with Springfield Capitals superstar Jason Simontacchi. Oh, and Marc Rzepczynski, Shane Robinson, Adron Chambers, Barret Browning, and Rick Horton, I guess, if you're into that. Mattoon and Peoria, Illinois are on the docket Sunday, while Monday is devoted to the Prairie Capital Convention Center of Springfield at 5 PM.
For a complete schedule (that adds a certain poetic sense to Barret Browning's name), click here.