A few blocks east of Hammons Field – or about the distance of a towering Chandler Redmond home run – is the famous “Route 66” Steak ‘n Shake that dishes out the slugger’s favorite indulgences.
A Western BBQ Steakburger and Butterfinger milkshake.
Redmond returns to Springfield for the 2023 campaign looking to build upon a historic performance last season, but don’t expect to find him lugging Takhomasak’s back to the Cardinals’ clubhouse this year.
When Chandler spoke to the media about shedding 31 pounds under the tutelage of a weight and nutrition coach this offseason, the hulking biceps looked familiar, but his 6-foot-1 frame had been radically altered.
“Last year I played way too heavy, I was like 235-240 (pounds) and right now I’m sitting about 220-225,” he said.
“Shout out to my wife, she cooked everything and prepared it into little bins for me, so she’s the real trooper. I just had to eat it.”
The plan to transform his physique nearly worked too well. Redmond’s weight dropped to 217 pounds, but he added some back after noticing a dip in his strength.
The Cardinals’ lineup can ill-afford to lose that.
Springfield must replace production from the departed Jordan Walker, Moises Gomez, and Malcom Nunez and manager Jose Leger will depend on Redmond for power, but even he can’t help but marvel at the transformation.
“He’s now focusing on his speed,” Leger said. “We’re talking about, when you look at a first baseman, that’s something they don’t think about.”
“He wants to get better at all aspects of the game and that speaks volumes for him.”
Redmond vaulted into baseball history on August 10, 2022, when he became the second professional baseball player ever to complete the Home Run Cycle – that’s a solo, two-run, three-run and grand slam home run in the same game.
“It was just one game – you can’t make a career off of one day,” he said. “It’s cool to talk about and everything but it doesn’t really affect me day-to-day.”
Chandler took his infant son to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York over the winter to visit his bat, now on display alongside the most timeless baseball treasures.
The trip offered pause for reflection but did nothing to impede Redmond’s offseason mission to develop the trait prized above all others in the Cardinals’ farm system – versatility.
“Fun fact, I was drafted as a second baseman…I wanted to get back to a more versatile role this year and at least give them the option to play me back in the outfield or at second or at third, kind of like I did in 2021.”
Redmond has stocked up on groceries and is ready to incorporate his new lifestyle into the daily gameday grind. Major League Baseball and the players union recently agreed to changes that will make it easier for Chandler to shun the extra value meals.
Double-A player salaries more than doubled – from $13,800 per season to $30,250 – and housing for the season is included. Redmond’s wife, Kristan, is a registered nurse and the young parents are reliant upon her income to raise their 8-month-old child.
“For me personally, it means everything…we’re stressed about money all the time,” he said. “It makes it easier on me to play – I can kind of take a step back from that and just focus on baseball.”
The Double-A Cards’ home opener against the Wichita Wind Surge is on Thursday.