Homestand Highlights for June 23-26, 2017

image021June is almost over, but the Cardinals need to get it together soon and form a coherent, well-playing whole team or they will not make the playoffs this year either.  In the meantime, the Cards fly back home to Busch Stadium for a short homestand that includes a make-up game on Monday from the rainout on April 29.  Here are all the details for the upcoming homestand:

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Friday, June 23—Monday, June 26)

Margaritaville Night & Bob Gibson Bobblehead Giveaway Highlight Seventh Homestand at Busch

 ST. LOUIS, Mo., June 22, 2017 – The Cardinals are back at Busch for a quick four-game homestand that begins with a weekend series against NL Central rivals Pittsburgh Pirates (June 23-25) and concludes with a make-up game versus the Cincinnati Reds (June 26).  The seventh homestand of the year is highlighted by Margaritaville Night and a special Bob Gibson “Final Out” bobblehead giveaway.  Additionally, fans are encouraged to continue voting online for Cardinals players for the 2017 All-Star Game in Miami at cardinals.com/vote (#VoteSTL).  Voting ends Thursday, June 29.

 Friday, June 23, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

Adult Cardinals Pullover Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will go home with a one-of-a-kind Cardinals Pullover, presented by Monsanto.  (#CardsPromo)

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Margaritaville Theme Night: The Cardinals invite Parrotheads, beach lovers and baseball fans alike to join us at the ballpark to celebrate Margaritaville Night.  Fans who purchased this special theme ticket will receive an exclusive Margaritaville-inspired Cardinals t-shirt.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  Come early and enjoy a pregame concert in Riverview Corner from The Boat Drunks, one of the Midwest’s best-known Buffett tribute bands.  For more information, visit cardinals.com/margaritaville (#CardsTheme).

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Cardinals Museum Artifact Spotlight: Every Friday home game, the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum highlight artifacts in the collection not currently on display during a pregame presentation inside the Museum.  Today’s featured items relate to the newest Cardinals Hall of Fame Inductee Pepper Martin.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum.  (#CardsMuseum)

Honorary First Pitch: Arizona Cardinals linebacker Markus Golden, a St. Louis native who played football at Mizzou and Affton High School, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game.

Honorary First Pitch: 2017 Missouri Teacher of the Year, Darbie Valenti, will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before tonight’s game.  Valenti represents the Savannah R-3 school district where she teaches 5th grade math and science at Minnie Cline Elementary.  The Missouri Department of Elementary & Secondary Education conducts the Missouri Teacher of the Year program with financial support provided by the Boeing Company.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans 18 and older may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning.  One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050.

Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Fans have the unique opportunity to bid on exclusive autographed Cardinals memorabilia at the game.  The auction is a great way for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  Auction tables will be located by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.

Saturday, June 24, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (6:15 p.m.)

FOX National Broadcast

Gates open at 4:15 p.m.

Bob Gibson “Final Out” Bobblehead Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a Bob Gibson bobblehead commemorating the final out of the 1967 World Series, courtesy of AT&T.  This bobblehead will pair with a Tim McCarver “Final Out” bobblehead promotional giveaway on Saturday, July 8 to complete the championship battery! (#CardsPromo)

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Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals all-star closer Lee Smith will sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.  In addition to having a valid admission to the museum, fans must have an autograph line ticket, which are free and will be distributed beginning at 9:30 a.m. at the Busch II Infield outside Cardinals Nation.  Visit cardinals.com/museum for more information.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans 18 and older may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning.  One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050.

Sunday, June 25, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:05 p.m.)

ESPN Sunday Night Baseball National Broadcast

Gates open at 5:05 p.m.

Kids Fredbird Bobblehead Promotional Giveaway: All kids, ages 15 and younger, entering with a ticket will take home an exclusive Fredbird Bobblehead. (#CardsPromo)

Zumba® Fitness Theme Night: The Cardinals invite all fitness fans to join us for Zumba® Fitness Party at the Park.  Fans who purchase this special theme ticket will receive access to a pregame Zumba® class and an exclusive Cardinals tank.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  The pregame class will be held from 5:30 p.m. to 6:15 p.m. in the Cunningham Corner (on Level 2 behind the UMB Champions Club).  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visitcardinals.com/zumba (#CardsTheme).

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Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday: Starting two hours prior to the game, bring the entire family to Ford Plaza for games, prizes and free North Star frozen treats (while supplies last).

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans 18 and older may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning.  One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care.  For past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050.

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3 and in the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

Monday, June 13, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (3:15 p.m.)

Make-up of Saturday, April 29 postponed game

Gates open at 1:15 p.m.

Carlos Martínez & Matt Carpenter Double Bobblehead Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a one-of-a-kind Carlos Martínez and Matt Carpenter double bobblehead highlighting the Cardinals’ post-home run, water splash celebration.  Presented by SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital. (#CardsPromo)

image023Piscotty’s Pals: Stephen Piscotty will host a group from the Down Syndrome Association for today’s game as part of his Piscotty’s Pals player ticket program.  Prior to the game, the group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Stephen in the dugout to take pictures and ask questions.

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137) and Gate 3 from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

MORE HOMESTAND INFORMATION

#CardsRatPack Campaign Launched to Honor Whitey Herzog

image024On June 9, the St. Louis Cardinals formally launched #CardsRatPack to honor Hall of Fame Manager Whitey Herzog and raise money for the Whitey Herzog Youth Foundation.  The campaign will center on a pack of 24 illustrated baseball cards that come to life as part of a weekly cartoon series on the team’s digital and social media platforms designed to convey an important part of Whitey’s life, career and the pack of players he managed.  The animated series will debut on Wednesday, July 12, and a new episode will be released via social media each Wednesday (#Whiteyball Wednesdays) and Friday.  Additionally, the team will release a limited number of corresponding illustrated #CardsRatPack baseball cards.

The team is also encouraging fans to show their affection for the White Rat all season long by sharing video memories, photographs and other messages via social media using the hashtag #CardsRatPack.  As part of the #CardsRatPack campaign, the team is sponsoring a one-of-a-kind video contest asking fans to share their favorite Whiteyball memory for a chance to have their personal video transformed into a professionally animated cartoon that would punctuate the #CardsRatPack series.  Fans can learn more about the campaign and video contest at cardinals.com/ratpack.

Paper Yadi

With his recent contract extension through 2020, Yadier Molina joins an elite group of players who could play their entire career with one team.  Let Yadi know how happy you are he will be a career Cardinal by taking a photo of yourself with Paper Yadi and sharing on social with #YadiYadiYadi.  You may even see your Paper Yadi post on the club’s social media pages or on the Busch Stadium scoreboard!  Go to cardinals.com/yadi to download and print your Paper Yadi today.

Mobile Friendly Fan Food Guide

The Cardinals Fan Food Guide is available at cardinals.com/food and via the MLB.com Ballpark mobile app to help fans locate their favorite food and beverages at Busch Stadium.  In addition to showing where each concession item may be purchased, the Cardinals Fan Food Guide also includes a photo of each item, as well as its price.  Fans can browse all concession options around the stadium generally via the A-Z listing or can target specific alcoholic and non-alcohol beverages and deserts.  The Cardinals Fan Food Guide even gives fans the ability to sort offerings by Healthy Choices & Special Dietary Requests.

Fans can access the Cardinals Fan Food Guide from their mobile devices while attending a Cardinals game by using the public facing WiFi (CardinalsWiFi) that was launched at Busch Stadium earlier this season.  I have the Ballpark mobile app on my phone and it’s great.  There’s a lot of useful information on it.

Cardinals Authentics

Cardinals Authentics will commemorate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 World Series Championship team by offering autographed pictures, baseballs and other memorabilia from Mike Shannon, Orlando Cepeda, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Red Schoendienst including a framed, limited edition, enlarged print of a World Series Game 4 ticket signed by all five players and a limited number (#’d to 67) of autographed and inscribed baseballs by Bob Gibson celebrating his three World Series wins.  Cardinals Authentics will also commemorate the 125th anniversary of the franchise with unique collectible items as well.

 Fans can pre-order game-used bases for any game in the 2017 season by calling 314.345.9851 or emailing gameused@cardinals.com.

Fans can visit one of the two Cardinals Authentics locations inside Cardinals Nation or in the Ford Plaza to shop for authentic Cardinals gear and to take home a piece of the game.  Cardinals Authentics specializes in official, game-used, limited edition and autographed memorabilia direct from the club.  Both shops offer a great selection of current and vintage Cardinals apparel, as well as one-of-a-kind collectibles.  The Cardinals Nation location is open daily from 10:00 a.m.—8:00 p.m. (April-October) and 10:00 a.m.—6:00 p.m. (November-March).  On game nights, the Ford Plaza shop will remain open 30 minutes after last pitch while the Cardinals Nation shop will remain open one hour after the final pitch.  Visitcardinals.com/authentics or follow them on Twitter @CardsAuthentics.  (#CardsAuthentics)

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

2017 United Cardinals Blogger Event Report – Part 2

UCB_11This report turned out to be longer than anticipated so I decided to break it up into two parts.

IMG_0255Bill DeWitt, Jr., the vice president of the Cardinals, was the next speaker. Bill said he knew we were all here for the baseball stuff, but he wanted to give a report about the business side.  The Cards are having a good year.  The Cardinals are in the top 5  in attendance and they hope to have 3.3 million fans coming through the turnstiles.  The season ticket holder base is the basis for those sales.  Bill said that there are 22,000 season ticket holders, which is a really good base relative to the league.  The Cards are in the top 5 of clubs with attendance every year while being the 24th largest market in baseball.  The bloggers are part of this. The fans are hungry for information and they get it from the club, from the bloggers and everywhere.

Bill talked about Phase II of Ballpark Village.  He stated that the plans have progressed and they are being close to being finalized.  There will be a big residential tower between the Budweiser Brew House and Broadway with lovely views of the ballpark, the riverfront, etc. Bill expressed hope that some of us might be renters someday.  I thought, yeah, only if I won the Powerball.  There will be 29 floors of apartments above a platform with parking, retail stores, more restaurants and maybe even a health club.  On the other side of Ballpark Village will be an office tower with more parking and additional retail in a marketplace building.  Bill said that maybe there will be a hotel – they’re still working on that.  Bill stated they were hoping to start construction by the end of the year on Phase II.

Bill talked about the Cards’ ownership of the minor league teams.  He stated the team also owns a stake in Fox Sports Midwest.  Bill states that they continue to look more into data analytics.  Bill talked about the changes to the stadium such as the remodeling of the Family Pavilion, moving of the infield the netting out further, and updating some of the seating in various areas.  Bill stated the capital budget is about $10 million dollars a year.  Bill stated that the goal was to keep Busch Stadium III in good shape in hopes of not having to build another stadium anytime soon, unlike Atlanta.  There is also going to be a Phase III of Ballpark Village and you don’t build all that and then build a new stadium.  Bill stated there are lots of new things out there that they are studying to see if they would be a good fit for Busch Stadium, like no waiting concessions, and things the fans could do with the app now that there is wi-fi throughout the stadium.  Bill stated that the fans go to Busch Stadium to watch the game and they care about the game.  Bill said his job was to strike a balance between what’s on the field and the entertainment factor.  We should be in the middle.  The young people need to be engaged.

Bill then took questions from the bloggers.  The first question was about spring training and sharing our facility with the Marlins.  It was stated that there were some teams moving out of Florida and maybe there would be no spring training in Florida anymore because of the lack of teams.  Bill stated that question has been settled with the new ballpark with the Nationals and the Astros.  They have extended their lease with St. Lucie.  There are 5 teams in SE Florida and that’s enough.  The Cards have a good relationship with the Marlins.  Bill stated that the Cardinals have quite an impact down in Florida – every bar and restaurant has Cardinals gear in it.  The Cards in spring training are a good economic engine to south Florida and they are good to the Cards.  There will be some upgrades to the spring training facility in the next few years.  The players love where they are, but the facility is behind the curve when it’s compared to the Arizona facilities.

The next question was from Dathan Brooks about TV revenue. Dathan talked about how much he paid $157.00 a month for his DIRECTV bill and that he could get Hulu for $7.00 a month but he can get Cards baseball on both.  Surely that figures into the projections for revenue.  Bill thought some of the $157.00 was for internet.  Dathan told him no, just for TV.  Bill then replied that Dathan must have all of the movie channels, and everyone laughed.  Bill then talked about the new contract with Fox Sports Midwest and how the Cards had a stake in it now and how they want that model to last as long as possible.  The world’s changing, Fox knows, it and MLB knows it.  That’s why MLB is pushing the alternative viewing methods.  You can watch Fox Sports Go no your tablet or whatever.  Bill talked about how the model may change for viewing games, such as people cutting the cord and going to Internet-based programming options.  All of the streaming services have sports built in if you want them.  The rights still are with the club, they’re just coming through a different conduit.

The next question was about the baby blue jerseys (circa the 1980’s) and whether they would be offered as a road alternative jersey. Bill stated that the players liked the baby blue jerseys but there were no plans to put them into the rotation at this time.  Even though there are different looks for different eras, the Cardinals logo brings continuity. The baby blue uniforms always bring the 1980s club to mind for Bill.  Bill feels that if the baby blue uniforms are brought back on a permanent basis, that it’s somehow disrespectful to the memory of the 1980’s teams.  Bill said he would keep an open mind, but he thinks the baby blue uniforms should stay where they are.  Bill said they were going to do a lot of turn back the clock stuff,

Bill thought that the Cards really looked bad in Colorado with the military uniforms and that the camo theme didn’t look like the Cardinals.  The birds on the bat was camo and it didn’t match up with the red batting helmet.  Nothing against the military, Bill said.  It could be done in a way that tips your hat to the military but doesn’t makes the look of the uniform go off of the reservation.

There was a comment made about all the special jerseys MLB has, i.e., Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, etc., so that MLB can sell jerseys.  Bill stated that the jersey sales are a fundraiser for the various charities.

Someone then talked about how the Memphis club has taken the baby blue jerseys and modernized them.  Bill stated that Memphis has updated their logo as well with the neon and it looks really nice.  Bill again stated that he had an open mind and we’ll see.

The next question was whether the Cards pay attention to the public valuation of MLB franchises.  There was more to this question but I couldn’t hear it well on the video.  Bill said if they were thinking about selling the team that they would be looking at the public valuations very closely, but they’re in it for the long haul, so the Cards can balance short term and long term thinking for the roster and the business. When he sees those things, he wonders why someone would pay attention to that at all.  Bill joked about the Marlins’ premium cash flow.  He stated that the Marlins could turn things around and improve.

Someone asked if there was anything that Bill’s seen in other stadiums that he would like to have at Busch, either of an entertainment or a technological standpoint, Bill said a couple of stadiums have what he called the grab box, where you order food on your smart phone and when your food is ready, you get a text with the location of your food with a code to open the box that your food is in and you go pick it up.  Three teams are doing this but it’s not working well for 2 of the teams.  It’s not always best to be the first to try new technologies.  Bill asked how many of us had purchased the monthly pass with standing room admission to every home game.  They looking at maybe finding a space in the stadium to have all the monthly pass people stand to watch the game.

Mary Clausen of MLBVoice was brave enough to ask about what Bill thought about Mike Matheny.  Bill said he looks at the manager’s job a little differently. He thinks other focus more on X’s and O’s and game day strategy. A manager has to deal with the players and get their respect.  The manager has to deal with ownership and the management and the media.  If a manager does any of those things badly, they’re probably on the way out. Mike is really good at all of these categories.  Bill  thinks Mike is a well-rounded guy.  It’s more than having a perfect lineup card.  Bill thinks Mike has room to improve and he’s a young guy and he hopes Mike has a long managerial career like Tony LaRussa, etc.

Bill thanked us for being at the event and everything stopped while the National Anthem was sung by a high school choir – and very well sung too.

IMG_0258The next report was from Chuck, the team store supervisor.  He spoke about the remodeling of the team store over the past year.  They updated the hat line and are coming up with some different hats with more pastel colored hats for ladies to wear outside game day.  There are over 1200 hats styles throughout the stadium.  They are selling more business casual clothes such as  polo shirts for men and for women that can be worn to work and to the game. There are pastel shirts to go with the pastel hats.  There was a display table with some of the new items, but I didn’t get over there to take a photo before it was taken away.  All of the special holiday jerseys (Memorial Day, Father’s Day, etc.) are available in the team store.  Chuck talked about Star Wars Night and how some of the merchandise was available for May the Fourth (Force).  There will be a Grateful Dead t-shirt and pin for that theme night.  There is also 125th anniversary merchandise available for purchase. There are also Cardinals fidget spinners available in the team store, which are wildly popular.

The next report was from Larry Johnson, the team chef.  He turned it over to Shaun Baker and he spoke briefly about the Cardinals Nation food truck. It opened on March 20.  The food truck goes to parks, etc.  There are 10 entrees from Cardinals Nation offered at the food truck.  Shaun mentioned all of the social media accounts so you can keep up with where the food truck is going to be.  The food truck is also available to be booked for social events and gatherings.

The microphone went back to Larry.  Larry spoke about the hydroponic garden in Section 228, third floor.  Rooftop Urban Community is helping with the hydroponic garden.  They consume a lot of produce at Busch Stadium.  They are growing herbs, flower petals for cocktails, etc.  Whatever is not used at the stadium is given back to Rooftop Urban and they give it to the homeless. I thought that was very nice.  In section 148, you’ll see the double slider burger.  In section 148, there is eco-grilling.  You can pick your own sausage or hot dog before it’s cooked and you can pair it with tater tots, etc. There is a new market on the Broadway side of the stadium just like the 8th Street Market.  There is also a new barbecue stand next to the new market.  There is a Kids’ Kitchen with healthy snacks.  Nachos is the number one food sold at the stadium.  The priority is to sell guests fresher, faster, and more consistent food products.  They are shooting for serving you in 35-40 seconds rather than a minute and a  half so you can get back to your seat faster.  Some of the locations don’t carry everything – that creates a bottleneck.  If you just want a beer, go to a beer vendor.

Ron Watermon took the mike back.  Mary Beth Rea finally showed up and Ron called her the Jose Oquendo of the communications department.  If you don’t get that reference, you haven’t been a Cardinals fan for long enough.  Ron did a plug for the Rat Pack campaign, which is about Whitey Herzog from his birth in New Athens to the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  Ron then thanked us for coming.

After listening to all of this talking, I was thirsty.  I needed a beer.  So I bellied up to the bar and the bartender asked if I wanted Bud, Bud Light, or a Shock Top. Shock Top? Really?  It turns out there was an auxiliary bar outside where we could get free Shock Top beer (in 16 oz. cans) or free mixed drinks. I was impressed.  There was a bag of what looked like wooden nickels on the bar.  I asked the bartender what they were for.  It turned out that they were for a free meal from the Cardinals Nation food truck. Everyone got a chip. I used the chip on Friday and the food was very good.

It was then time for food (glorious food).  Here are the items that were offered:

Premium Food Items:  Mediterranean Dip, pasta salad, strawberry pecan salad, Hill subs, Nacho Grande, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, and Chef Lynn’s Pasta.  Of these, the only things I tried were the nachos (cheese and taco meat only) and the brownies.

Concession Food Items:  Stand 271 (Bowtie Bar) – Double Stack Burger sliders with beer cheese.  I liked this so much I had 2 of them.  These also had grilled onions.  Stand 148 (Double Play) – chorizo sausage with peppers and onions and Italian sausage  with peppers and onions. I skipped the peppers and onions and just tried the sausages.  the Italian sausage was great. but the chorizo sausage was too spicy for me.

The rest of the afternoon was spent catching up with old friends such as Bill and Angela Ivie, Bob Netherton, Tom Kruppel, Josey Curtis and Dathan Brooks, and meeting new friends like the STL Cardsgals (they are podcasters).

The game was pretty good, too.  Dexter Fowler hit a home run for us.  It wasn’t one of Waino’s best pitching outings (although it was much better than yesterday’s game), and the Cards won the game.

As usually happens, a group photo was taken before the game ended.

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Sorry it took me so long to get the second part of this report up.  I had a very busy weekend.  Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

2017 United Cardinals Bloggers event report – Part 1

UCB_11Last Sunday was the annual United Cardinals Blogger event sponsored by the Cardinals at Busch Stadium. I am going to break this report up into 2 blog posts, since it’s so long.  The first part will cover the John Mozeliak part of the question and answer session and what happened before that. The second part will cover the Bill DeWitt, Jr. part of the question and answer session and what happened after.

This year’s event was a little different than the last couple years in that we had to pick up our tickets at will call instead of the front office and that the question and answer session with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt, Jr. was held in the party room instead of a conference room or Cunningham Corner, like it was last year.

My son Phillip was my guest for this year’s event.  We took the Metrolink train to St. Louis from the East Side.  I thought I’d go to the will call windows on Clark Avenue, since they’re closer to the party rooms, but when I got there, I discovered I would have to go back to the 8th Street will call windows.  Ugh.

After we got our tickets, we entered gate 3 and made our way to the party room.  The Cardinals had put us in the Legends Club party room. It was nice, but darn it, I was hoping to see the Perficient Red Jacket party room.  Maybe next year, huh? Corey Shipley from the Communications Department was at the door to greet us and welcome us to the blogger event.  What a nice touch!

When I entered the party room, the first person I talked to was Mary Clausen of MLBVoice. She was supposed to ask me questions for last month’s UCB project, but for some reason, her email couldn’t get to me.  We made other arrangements for her to email her questions to me.

I saw Ron Watermon, the vice president of the Communications department, enter the room.  I asked him whether the Communications Department could email us the press releases with the Homestand Highlights a day earlier so that I could post them earlier. He said that they had discussed that and they were working on it, but sometimes they don’t get information until the last minute.

I found a place to sit where I could video the Q&A session. Mr. Watermon stepped up and welcomed the bloggers.  He mentioned Mary Beth Rea, who wasn’t in the room, as the person who put the blogger event together.  Ron introduced several members of the Communications department and talked about the Cardinals Insider show hosted by Ozzie Smith, which is not only on the air in St. Louis but on other stations nationwide as well.  Ron talked about the other changes in the Communications Department.

He then introduced general manager John Mozeliak.  We all politely applauded as Mo took his seat.  Mo asked whether we wanted him to talk first or do Q&A first. “Talk first,” someone shouted. We all laughed.  He joked that most people don’t want to hear him.  He spoke about the up and downs of the season and then spoke at length about the coaching changes on Friday.  Mo said that it was his responsibility to try and fix things and it gets complicated at times.   Mo said that when he looked back at the decisions that were made in the off season that they didn’t look too good.

Mo compared his job to a game of roulette – you put your money on the black or the red and see what happens.  Mo stated that Jedd Gyorko is the player who’s performing the best right now.  He stated that all the starters gave the team the chance to win but other things need to go right as well.

The first question was about Friday’s shakeup in the coaching staff, what went into making the decision, and whether it could have waited until after the All-Star break.  Mo stated that if the last road trip would have been a .500 road trip that the coaching moves wouldn’t have been made, at least not then.

The next question was about Jhonny Peralta and what went into the decision to DFA him.  Mo replied what it really came down to was if the Cards were better off keeping him or not.  Mo said the easiest way to think about his job is that he ranks players and there are variables involved for each player.  Peralta wasn’t happy being the 25th man on the roster and not getting any playing time.  There was no room for Peralta, so it was time to say goodbye.

The next question discussed launch angle and exit velocity and how the team uses the data that is available.  Mo discussed that catchers now set up high so batters have a harder time lifting a high fastball.  When the pitcher pushes up the strike zone, the batter will have to rethink his launch angle.  Hitters today will have to adjust to the high fastball.

The next question was about the bullpen and Brett Cecil’s issues, and whether Mo was considering picking up a reliever come the trade deadline.  Mo asked us whether any of us wanted to go to Michael Wacha and tell him he’s being moved to the bullpen.  A lot of nervous laughter ensued.  Heck no, we wouldn’t want to tell Wacha that.  Mo explained the difference in dollars at arbitration between being a bullpen pitcher and a starter.  Mo admitted that Cecil had not been pitching well and his velocity is down.  Mo surprise us all by stating that if Alex Reyes hadn’t landed on the DL that he was going to be a reliever and not a starter.   I think we all thought that Reyes was going to be a starter.

The next question was about internal moves versus position at the deadline.  Mo said that internal moves were something they always hope to do and he said he hoped that this is the end of staffing moves for this year.   Players want consistency and to know who they’re working with.  They’re unhappy when someone loses their job and they feel responsible.  Mo wants Mike Matheny and his staff to know they don’t have to watch their back.  If the staff is happy with status quo, then there will be changes.  In 4 to 6 weeks, they will look at where they are in the standings.  There are resources for a second half move if necessary.

The next question had to do with the lower spin rate on Cecil’s fastball and curveball and whether it was evidence of a potential arm injury.  Mo thought it was more mechanical and said that Cecil has assured him that he’s not hurt.  Mo thinks Cecil has an extension issue and his release point has changed.  Mo thinks these are problems that can be fixed midseason.

The next question asked about what kind of bat that is needed to add to the lineup. The questioner stated that the Cards hadn’t had a true 3-4 hitter since Beltran or Pujols.  Mo mentioned Holliday, and everyone giggled nervously.  Mo thought Carpenter was going to be a 3-4 place hitter, but Mo admitted he was wrong. Mo stated that adding a 3-4 hitter was going to be address and he listed 3 ways to do it:  trade, sign, or produce. Mo said they had bet on Grichuk for that role, but it came up craps.  Grichuk would fit nicely in the 3 or 4 hole if he can eliminate swings and misses.

The next question was about why the team was carrying 13 pitchers.  Mo said he wasn’t a big fan of this, but it’s what Matheny and his staff wanted.

The next question involved the team’s wooing of Luis Robert, the Cuban player that ended up signing with the White Sox.  Mo said that it was a money play.  He said they put a great video together (the communications video guy said it was even in Spanish).  Mo said he was 0 for 2 with videos.  Mo stated that he and Mr. DeWitt didn’t think they would get the return on investment on the type of deal that Robert would have commanded.

The next question was about the success of Magneuris Sierra.  Mo expressed his disappointment about losing Cordoba to San Diego via the Rule 5 pick.  The team was betting on that not happening, but it did.  Mo stated that Sierra is an exciting talented outfielder, but the outfield is deep in the minor league system.  The biggest question in the minor league system is whether any of the outfielders in the minor league system can be a 3 or 4 hitter.

The next question was about Carson Kelly and whether he was a possible offensive spark plug.  Mo stated that Kelly is having a robust year in the minor leagues and it was exciting to see.  Since Kelly is a conversion player, he needs to be playing every day.  Mo thought that although people wanted to see Carson at the major league level for a few days since Yadi was out with back stiffness, Mo said that he didn’t know that Yadi was going to sit for 3 straight days.  Mo says he can only go with the information he has.

The next question was about Sandy Alcantara.  He is ranked the 40th overall prospect, but his numbers don’t look great.  Mo said that Alcantara is throwing 102 MPH but not striking batters out.  Mo said that Alcantara is having problems with command and with his secondary pitches.  Alcantara is finding himself in a lot of hitters’ counts. When that happens, the pitcher can’t throw breaking pitches.  Mo compared Alcantara to Jack Flaherty, who blew through AA and is now pitching at AAA.  Mo thinks that Alcantara has a chance to be an elite starter but maybe we will see him out of the bullpen first.

The next question was about whether the Astros/Cubs model of not being competitive for 4 or 5 years good for baseball.  Mo said the model was going to change.  Mo then began to talk about the changes to the draft and how money is spent on draft picks, both in the U.S. draft and the international draft.  He mentioned that another change is how a team will be allocating money for the international draft and how there is a cap on how much a team can spend.  There is a tax if a team spends more than they are allotted.  Mo did state that if it got to a point where the team wasn’t going to win that they would take some of the older assets on the club, or those players that were going to become free agents, and trade them for younger players that would help the team in the next year or the near future.

The next question was about transparency by Mo and its effect on the blogosphere.  Mo stated that he thinks he’s fairly candid about what the team is doing and how it’s doing it.  Mo said that we did need to understand is that some things that are or aren’t happening can affect someone downstairs.  The press was asking about who was going to start in the doubleheader on Tuesday and he really didn’t know until yesterday.  He stated that Marco Gonzalez was going to start (a surprise to all of us and several of us gasped) and that he had to have a conversation with Marco, who was going to pitch and a conversation with Luke Weaver, who was not.  Mo stated when you’re in a certain position, you have to think about who is going to hear your message.  Mo stated that the general public has an interest in the Cardinals, but the minor league player also want to know what management is thinking about things, and so does the clubhouse.  Mo says he always tries to understand who he’s saying things to and when, and the timing of what he has to say does matter.  Mo said that he’d like to tell us exactly how they think, but if they did that, he would probably be out of a job.  Everyone in the room laughed nervously.

The next question had to do with the success of the Cardinals and how continuity is huge with one owner, two GM’s and two managers, and how the Cardinals make sure there wasn’t groupthink.  Mo stated that the one thing they do is challenge each other.  People need to be pulling in in the same direction and there has to be collaborative groupthink.  Mo stated that he has had arguments with Mr. DeWitt Jr., and with Mike Matheny.  Mo says that everyone pushes each other.  There is one thing that happens whenever the team is thinking of doing a big trade or pick up a big free agent.  One person is assigned to be the devil’s advocate, and that person has to state anything bad that might happen if this deal is done. Mo has even been the devil’s advocate. They always take a night to think about big decisions.  Mo said they don’t always get it right.

The last question asked was about how many hours Mo slept at night.  Mo said he wasn’t sure, probably around six hours.  He said he was well rested, due to good vodka.

The next question was whether Jack Flaherty was going to start the doubleheader on Tuesday.  Mo thought he said that he already announced that Marco Gonzales was going to start the doubleheader.

Listening to all the questions posed to Mo and the answers he gave made me realize I was glad I didn’t have his job.  Mo shocked us all by stating he read our blogs.  If you’re reading this, Mo, thanks for always being honest and candid with us when we ask you all our questions. We appreciate that you read our work – I’m sure you have other things to do that are more important.

Be sure to come back and read part 2 of the UCB blogger event report featuring the Q&A with Bill DeWitt, Jr. and the reports from the team chef about the food in the party room and the new retail items available. Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

Ch-ch-ch-changes (time to face the strange)

(With apologies to the late David Bowie.) By now, you probably know that there was a press conference at Busch Stadium this afternoon with general manager John Mozeliak and some changes were to the coaching staff were announced, along with a player move.  For those whose missed the news, here’s a recap:

  • Chris Maloney, the third base coach, will be reassigned to another position in the Cardinals organization.
  • Mike Schildt, the quality control coach, will replace Maloney as third base coach.
  • Assistant hitting coach Bill Mueller is taking a leave of absence.  Mark Budaska is being brought up from AAA Memphis to replace Miller.
  • Ron “Pop” Warner is being brought up from AAA Memphis to assist the coaching staff.
  • Kolten Wong was activated, and Jhonny Peralta was designated for assignment to make room for Kolten.

I (and a lot of others) don’t think that the cuts went far enough.  We were hoping that John Mabry would be relieved of his duties as hitting coach.  Something is wrong when a team scores an average of 2 runs a game.  When players get sent down to Memphis to retune their hitting stroke and rake there, but when they come back to the main club and go back to their bad ways, there’s a problem.  When Randall Grichuk has to go all the way down to single A to work with a hitting guru, there’s a problem.  When Matt Adams is traded to the Braves and he’s blistering home runs in their new stadium, there’s a problem.  If the team’s hitting problems continue, Mabry needs to go, even though he’s Mike Matheny’s BFF.

I have a suggestion, for what it’s worth.  How about hiring Chris Carpenter as a bullpen coach?  They are in great need of assistance as well.

Peralta’s time with the team has been over for quite awhile.  Peralta hasn’t had any RBI’s this season at all. Jedd Gyorko’s excellent playing and hitting abilities made Peralta redundant. Jonathan Broxton was also released recently.  Best of luck to both of them, and thanks for the memories.

Changes had to be made. Cardinals fans were very discouraged by the 7 game road game losing streak.  Some of those games could have been won.  If the team doesn’t start winning soon, fans will make their displeasure known via their wallets.  They’ll stop coming to the games.  If fans stop coming to the games, they won’t be spending money before, during and after the games.  Not only will it be bad for Busch Stadium business, it will be bad for Ballpark Village business, as well as for other businesses near the stadium.  I am very sad about the Cards’ lackluster play this season as well.  I really hope the Cards can get things turned around.

This Sunday is the annual United Cardinals Bloggers event when the Cardinals invite us all to Busch Stadium to a question and answer session with John Mozeliak and Bill DeWill, III, and then are treated to the Sunday afternoon game in a party room.  The Q&A session ought to be really interesting this year.  I’ll report on that in my next post.

Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you – Part 2

As you may know, this blog is a member of the United Cardinals Bloggers organization.  During certain months of the year, the group assigns special projects to write about.  This month’s UCB project is get to know a fellow UCB blogger.  I was assigned to ask questions to Daniel Shoptaw, who is the head of the Cardinals Conclave blog conglomerate and the fearless leader of the United Cardinals Bloggers.  His photo is at the left.  Here are my questions and his responses:

When did you first become interested in Cardinals baseball?  Who introduced you to baseball? 

I have memories of some baseball interest beforehand, but I really started getting into baseball–both Cardinal and otherwise–in 1987 when I was 11 working on 12.  That was the year I started collecting baseball cards, but I was already a fan of Ozzie Smith, I remember.  My father was a Cardinals fan and the minor league team in Little Rock was a Cardinal affiliation so there was a lot of things pointing in that direction.

Did you ever play Little League baseball or softball? If so, what position did you play?

Given that I came to the sport later than some folks, I never did play Little League.  Given my natural abilities, that’s probably for the best.  I have played church league softball over the years and typically play catcher because I look like Matt Adams trying to field a fly ball.

When did you start blogging and why? 

I did some personal blogging before the Cardinal site and that was probably 2004-2005 when I did it.  My first post on C70 At The Bat, though, was July 14, 2007 at my first address.  I was at WordPress for a few months, then moved to Blogs By Fans (and www.cardinal70.com, which doesn’t exist now) before moving to The Cardinal Conclave in June of 2013.

What is your favorite baseball blog post that you’ve ever written?  Please provide the link for everyone to read.

My favorite post ever?  I’ve written roughly 3000 posts over my 10 years of blogging, so narrowing it down is pretty difficult.  My Lance Lynn “Lynning” post might be the one that I did the most statistical work on, but that’s not saying a lot.  Over the last year, I wrote things about Kolten Wong’s situation and Yadier Molina’s contract that were well received.  However, maybe the most fun post, because of what it related to, was my fairy-tale look at the 2011 season.

We all know that blogging doesn’t pay the bills (unless you’re a professional writer), so what do you do for a living?

What I get paid to do is be a certified public accountant, specializing in financial statement audits but obviously do a lot of tax returns in the early part of the year, which is one of the many reasons I’ve never been to spring training.

You do a lot of podcasts as well as blog posts.  Do you enjoy podcasting?  Do you think that podcasting is the future of blogging?    

Well, I probably wouldn’t have three different shows (four, if you count my irregular turns on UCB Radio) if I didn’t enjoy podcasting.  🙂  Podcasting, at least the way I do it, is a great way to delve into what’s going on with the club and do so interactively with the ability to elaborate more than you can on Twitter, for instance.  You’ll note that very few podcasts are monologs.  I’m the solo host of Conversations With C70, but the main thrust of that show is to interview bloggers both Cardinal and otherwise.  Meet Me At Musial has had some great co-hosts, from Dan Buffa to John Nagel to Allen Medlock, and Gateway to Baseball Heaven has been going strong since 2011 because of the contributions of Bill Ivie and Tara Wellman. One of the great things about being a fan is talking to other fans, and this lets you do that while letting others in on the conversation.

I interact with Daniel online on Twitter, Facebook, and play against him on Words With Friends, but I learned more about him with these questions than I knew before (well, I did already know he was a bean counter). If you would like to see any other of the UCB May project posts, you can go here.

For those who would like to read/listen to Daniel’s work, I present the following links:

Cards Conclave

Meet Me at Musial

Gateway to Baseball Heaven

By the way, I had a blast at Pitch Talks: St. Louis last Thursday. I wish more of you would have been able to come.  It was great listening to all the stories from the writers.  If Pitch Talks comes back to St. Louis next year, you should make your best effort to get there.  Kim Omelson was my contest winner.

Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

Pitch Talks: St. Louis – a panel of speakers you won’t want to miss – and a contest

As promised in my last blog post, here are the details on Pitch Talks: St. Louis, which will occur next week.  As for the giveaway I also promised, it’s at the bottom of the post.  Read on:

Pitch Talks, part of the Homestand Sports network, connects fans to the game they love for interactive and meaningful face-to-face conversations with baseball’s top analysts, writers, and executives. Founder and CEO Kevin Kennedy says, “This is always a special night for fans to get up close and personal with not only the journalists and teams they follow but also with other fans. This is a place to grab a beer and talk baseball as if running into these guys at a bar.”

Pitch Talks is coming to the Delmar Hall in St Louis, Missouri at 7:00 PM on May 18, 2017. Pitch Talks is a speaker series that brings top baseball media to bars and clubs across North America.  The St. Louis panel will contain special guests from all aspects of sports media. These events pierce the veil of sports talk on TV and radio and create an up-close, personal, uncensored environment for fans to discuss baseball.

Pitch Talks: St. Louis, a live speaker series connecting fans to intelligent and intimate conversations on baseball, is bringing North America’s top baseball media personalities to the Delmar Hall, located at 6133 Delmar Boulevard in St Louis, Missouri. The show will feature panels with these sports media and baseball insiders:

  • Benjamin Hochman –  St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Derrick Goold –  St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Craig Edwards – Fangraphs, Viva el Birdos
  • Drew Silva – NBC Sports, Rotoworld
  • Jen Langosch –  Louis Cardinals beat blogger
  • Rick Hummel –  Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Jose de Jesus Ortiz – St. Louis Post-Dispatch
  • Chris Hrabe – 1120 AM KMOX
  • Brad Thompson – ESPN WXOS 101.1 FM

And now for the giveaway:  I have 2 tickets to Pitch Talks: St. Louis to give away to a St. Louis area lucky reader!  To qualify to win, please send an email to dmschultz1611@gmail.com and put “Pitch Talks: St. Louis” in the subject line. Please provide your name and the name of your guest in your email message.  The deadline to enter is 4 PM on Sunday, May 14, 2017.  I will put all the names in a Cardinals hat (of course!) and draw the winner’s name. I will email you if you are the lucky winner. Full disclosure:  you will have to provide your own transportation and money for drinks, etc. I only have the tickets.  But you will get to meet me though if you choose to.  In case you don’t win but you want to purchase tickets, click here.

That’s all for now! As always, thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

How can baseball promote itself to women without sounding sexist?

The Cardinals are having a promotional giveaway next Wednesday night of a 1967 World Series replica ring.  Someone who posts on the Cardinals’ Twitter account created a major faux pas by posting a tweet this morning promoting this promotional item:

Anyone with half a brain read that tweet and realized instantly that this was sexist.  The tweet makes it sound like the women only love jewelry and men only love baseball.  There was a firestorm on Twitter about this tweet and it was deleted before I could see it (hey, I have to work for a living. I can’t always be on my iPhone).  Thankfully, my friend Tara Wellman replied with it for me to see.  Thanks, Tara! You’re the bomb!

So seriously, do women not like to go to baseball games?  If you just look at the name of this blog, you’ll know that’s not true.  The trick is for major league baseball to promote the game to appeal to women without looking or acting sexist.  That’s a tall order to fill, but hopefully, there are enough smart people at the major league level and in the team front offices that can get this done.  Here are my suggestions:

Start at the childhood level.  Parents and grandparents who love the game need to take their girls to games and talk to them about the game and how it’s played. If they know how to keep score, they should show the girls how to keep score. The Cardinals’ scorecards have a gatefold with instructions on how to keep score. MLB needs to appeal to the girls on Little League teams. These girls need to be supported and encouraged to love baseball.  As to the how, that’s up to someone at the upper levels of baseball. The Cardinals do a good job with this with the Cardinals Care ballfields.  Children are the future, not only of playing baseball but enjoying baseball as fans as well.

Does every promotional item for women have to be pink? The pink Adidas spikes that MLB was giving away on Twitter today is the epitome of this (see the photo below).  How many women wear spikes anyway unless they’re playing sports? If a woman was wearing spikes, they wouldn’t be pink, they’d match the colors whatever uniform she was wearing or maybe just be black or white spikes.  Surely, MLB and/or the teams can do better. The exception to this would be breast cancer promotional items since pink is the color that represents breast cancer.

MLB needs to advertise in women’s magazines/on women-oriented websites and on women’s TV networks.  MLB needs to hire a top-notch advertising firm that can come up with a slogan and an advertising campaign to make baseball appeal to women without sounding sexist.  Not all women are married to guys who love baseball; not all women are married.  If women don’t know how great baseball is, how are they going to enjoy it? MLB has to advertise in places where women are reading and are watching TV, so they should probably advertise on women’s TV networks as well, such as Lifetime, Hallmark Channel, and/or OWN Network.

MLB Network needs to pick up the TV show “Pitch.”  I can understand why this TV show about the first woman pitcher in baseball was developed and shown on the FOX network since they broadcast the World Series.  FOX didn’t do right by the show, however; it wasn’t advertised well (that I could see) and it was never shown again after the World Series.  FOX also waited until last week to cancel the show.  If they weren’t going to show it again, they should have canceled it sooner. I think MLB Network should pick up and reshow the first season of “Pitch” in its entirety and then order a second season to be filmed while the first season is being shown.  This would show women that MLB is serious about appealing to women and perhaps help women dream about playing major league baseball someday.  MLB Network is the only logical network for a show like “Pitch” and any other shows/movies that feature women and baseball. If MLB Network picks up “Pitch,” it needs to advertise it on women’s TV networks and women’s magazines.

So why do women love baseball and how can PR firms use that information so that more women can learn to love baseball?  Maybe taking a look at why I love baseball could be helpful. I was introduced to baseball by my mother in 1974.  If my parents hadn’t listened to ballgames on KMOX and watched whatever games were on TV back then, I might not have ever become a baseball fan. I enjoy baseball because it not only is a game of skill and brawn, it’s a game of strategy and brains as well.    Baseball is a pretty civilized sport.  Baseball is not a violent sport like football or hockey.  The only violence at a baseball game is the occasional bench-clearing brawl. Although women do not currently play baseball, they did in the past (see the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League) and may possibly in the future play baseball again, on a permanent basis.  Baseball is possibly the only male-dominated sport that women could possibly play someday.

My friend Jessica Quiroli (@heelsonthefield) has also written a blog post about how baseball could market to women, and you can read that here.  St. Louis area readers, stay tuned for my next blog post with a giveaway for 2 tickets to the upcoming Pitch Talks: St. Louis.  I will be there and you don’t want to miss it, not just because you’ll get to meet me,  but you’ll get to hear from baseball writers you know and hopefully love. Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!

Diane