WMBD/WYZZ-TV - PEORIA, Ill. - The color red is dominating Chiefs Stadium this year.
It announces the return of the St. Louis Cardinals to Peoria.
"A new chapter to the journey," said Chiefs pitcher Kurt Heyer. "Everybody's excited to see how we'll do this Opening Day. we'll have a lot of fans showing support. Hopefully, we can show them a good time."
Heyer will star Thursday's season opener against Wisconsin. Baseball America ranks the Cardinals as the No. 1 organization in baseball and players like those with the Chiefs are being introduced to the Cardinal method of doing things from the day one.
"They want to prepare you for Busch Stadium. and the big league team," said Chiefs third baseman Patrick Wisdom. "It starts at the lowest level. They really harp on it and incorporate it with everything we do on and off the field. They we dress, it's a big part of what we do."
Casey Rasmus knows all about the Cardinals. His brother Colby was a Cardinals player before being dealt to Toronto in 2011.
"It's not about you but about the game," sais Rasmus, a catcher on the 2013 Chiefs. "It's about the Cardinals and you respect the players before you."
The Cardinals formula for success in the minor leagues involves stressing fundamentals and teaching players how to look and act like big league players, the Chiefs player admit. But the new skipper also says it has something to do with what's on the scoreboard.
There's always the question: what do you sacrifice for winning in the minor leagues," said manager Dann Bilardello. "We try and do both, the development part of if and the winning part. That's another Cardinal way thing."
The Chiefs hope the return of the Cardinals means a return to the Midwest League playoffs this season.