The St. Louis Cardinals will use GCS Credit Union Ballpark in Sauget, Illinois, as their Alternate Training Site to begin the 2021 Major League Baseball season, the Cardinals and Gateway Grizzlies announced Tuesday.
The Alternate Training Site will host up to 28 players designated by the Cardinals to maintain their preparations from spring training in the event they are needed at the major-league level. As many as five of those 28 players will be permitted to travel with the Cardinals as part of a “taxi squad,” should they be needed on short notice while the team is on the road.
“We are pleased to have partnered with the Gateway Grizzlies and the Sauget community to serve as the hosts for our Alternate Training Site,” said John Mozeliak, Cardinals president of baseball operations. “The close proximity of GCS Credit Union Ballpark to Busch Stadium and our Major League team is beneficial, and it provides the players with a professionally-run facility for their workouts while we continue to prepare for our season.”
MLB announced last week that the start of the Triple-A season would be delayed until at least May 4 and, as a result, Alternate Training Sites would return in a similar fashion to the 2020 season, when they were used in lieu of minor-league teams. Workouts at the Alternate Training Site will be conducted by the Cardinals’ Triple-A coaching staff.
“We are very excited to play a role in providing the Cardinals’ organization and players the support they need to succeed this season, and to showcase GCS Credit Union Ballpark in the process,” Grizzlies managing partner Rich Sauget Sr. said. “As the only two professional baseball teams in the St. Louis area, it makes perfect sense for the Grizzlies and the Cardinals to work together to help each other flourish. We will do everything in our power to help the players, coaches, and support staff feel right at home — after all, even if it’s from the other side of the river, they’ll still be able to see the Gateway Arch from the ballpark!”
GCS Credit Union Ballpark opened in 2002 — the Grizzlies’ second season in the Frontier League — and has since hosted the Grizzlies’ Frontier League championship season in 2003 and three division titles. In addition, the ballpark has played host to the Frontier League All-Star Game in 2003 and 2014, NCAA Div. II and Div. III Baseball Championships, Webster University baseball, Illinois high school baseball playoff games, multiple concerts, including Bob Dylan, Willie Nelson, and John Mellencamp, and national media coverage of the park’s concession-stand staple, Baseball’s Best Burger.
“The Village of Sauget is thrilled to step up to the plate for the Cardinals and provide a platform for them to thrive at GCS Credit Union Ballpark,” Mayor Rich Sauget Jr. said. “Sauget might be the smallest town in America with professional baseball, but we now carry the biggest bat — the Birds on the Bat.”
GCS Credit Union Ballpark enters its 20th season in 2021 and will mark the occasion in style.
“The Gateway Grizzlies are thrilled to host the Cardinals at GCS Credit Union Ballpark,” Grizzlies general manager Steve Gomric said. “The Cardinals’ choice of venue validates the professional level of care with which our facilities are maintained. It has been amazing to see the development of the ballpark cut out of a cornfield into the sports and business complex that it is today. This season GCS Credit Union Ballpark will celebrate its 20th anniversary. I can’t think of a more exciting icing for our anniversary cake than welcoming one of the premier franchises in baseball into our home.”
The Grizzlies’ 96-game Frontier League schedule will begin May 27 at GCS Credit Union Ballpark against the Florence Y’alls and run until Sept. 12, including a home game on the 4th of July to conclude a seven-game homestand and the Greatest Night in Baseball on Sept. 5. Gateway’s promotional schedule will be announced soon.
Frontier League debuted in 1993 and is the largest of the Major League Baseball Partner Leagues, featuring teams stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River and from the Ohio River to the St. Lawrence Seaway. More information and the complete 2021 schedule can be found at frontierleague.com.