SIOUX FALLS – From The Birdcage to the desert.
It’s a change of scenery that longtime Birds manager Mike Meyer knows all to well. He has made the journey back from South Dakota to his home in Tucson, Arizona many times since beginning his Canaries coaching career in 2007 and since assuming managerial duties in 2017.
He and his wife Kara stay busy in the offseason raising their two children Saylor and Benjamin. Mike, who played professional baseball in the Cardinals organization and in independent baseball from 2000-2006, coaches both of their YMCA basketball teams. Benjamin’s third and fourth grade squad took home a Fall 2021 championship trophy.
“It’s been a lot of fun watching those kids mature and grow and become good teammates and enjoy sports,” Meyer said of Saylor’s 7th-9th grade team and Benjamin’s 3rd-4th grade squads. “It’s pretty exciting stuff.”
Meyer also stays busy cultivating his other passion: gardening and landscape work. After laying artificial turf in his backyard last year, this year’s offseason projects include improving his flower beds and building a natural gas firepit.
“We’ve used it quite a few times already,” said Meyer of the firepit, which features custom blue fireglass. “It’s been cool.”
His latest landscaping project is not the only thing heating up though. With Opening Day in the American Association slated for May 13, the start of Meyer’s sixth season as Canaries manager is right around the corner. The skipper is optimistic as this year’s roster begins to find its spark.
“It’s going to be a really fun team to watch because I think our lineup is going to be special. It’s got a chance to be the best lineup in the league. And really it could be one of the all-time great lineups in the American Association if it comes together the way I have it in my head,” said Meyer, who continues to pursue valuable free agents to supplement a corps of returners who have already re-committed for next season.
With the re-signing of key contributors like DH Jabari Henry and catcher Charlie Valerio for 2022, the Canaries figure to have a strong veteran locker room presence. The squad will also benefit from the return of last year’s American Association Rookie Position Player of the Year Wyatt Ulrich.
“If all the pieces come together and fall into place, it’s not going to be a fun place to come for opposing pitchers,” said Meyer.
The Sioux Falls Canaries will open their 2022 home schedule May 20th vs. the Milwaukee Milkmen at The Birdcage. The team’s full 100-game schedule is now available.
The Birds will play 50 games at The Birdcage this year, including seven games in the month of May. Upgrades at the stadium, an enhanced fan experience and plenty of fun, family-friendly promos will be implemented in the 2022 season.