Today was the third and last day of Winter Warm-Up. It had snowed overnight, so it really looked like winter this morning. Phillip and I boarded a Metrolink train at a later time this morning, since the first presentation we want to attend didn’t start until 11:00 AM. We arrived at the Hyatt only 10 minutes after WWU opened for the day, and there were no lines snaking through the lobby. The third day of WWU is not as well attended as the previous two days, since out-of-town people travel home and other people have to work on that day. The WWU planners seem to realize this too, as there were no presentations in the Dugout room until 12 PM.
We checked in our coats and went down to the second floor to look at the vendor booths. One of the vendors had a $5 bin with leftover promotional items. I bought a Cardinals beach towel and a grey 1940’s jersey for my husband. Some of the vendors had 50% off sales, and the Cardinals Care store had 50% off all of their items. Even at 50% off, the jerseys still cost more than my budget allowed.
We went upstairs to the Main Stage ballroom to see what was going on. The guys giving autographs before lunch this morning were Tyler O’Neill, Andrew Knizer, John Mabry, Brett Cecil, Whitey Herzog, Cliff Politte, Andy and Alan Benes, Mike Matheny, and Bill DeWitt II and III. Once again, I need to apologize for the photo quality. See the Day 1 report for details.
The first presentation we attended today was with Bill DeWitt, Jr. and III on the Main Stage. They were interviewed by Matt Chambers of local TV station KMOV. DeWitt, Jr. talked about the strategic way they look at players. The issue of social media was discussed and how it stirs up interest in the club and engages players with the public. As president of the club, DeWitt III is in charge of the Cardinals’ social media presence. The Communications Department does the actual posting on social media. DeWitt III said that the most popular social media posts are about the history of the Cardinals.
DeWitt III spoke about Phase II of Ballpark Village. The west side will be a hotel, an office tower, and additional retail and some parking. The east side will be a 29 story, 300 unit apartment complex.
DeWitt III then talked about the new Budweiser Terrace, which will be in the upper deck in the right field terrace level. It will be a standing room only, social area for fans to kick back and socialize.
Questions were then taken from the audience. The first question was since there was so many blown games last season, why didn’t the front office pick up Greg Holland or another closer? DeWitt, Jr. had a long, drawn out answer, but the highlights were that there is no certainty with a closer – they can be great one year and bad the next, and if the current crop of available closers were great, they’d have been picked up already.
There were a couple of other interesting questions and thank you messages for the DeWitts for keeping baseball going in St. Louis.
The second presentation we attended today was “2017 – A Year in Photos” by Taka Yanagimoto, the head of the Cardinals’ photo department. We attended this presentation last year and really enjoyed it, so we thought we would attend it this year. Mr. Yanagimoto started by presenting some statistics as to how many photographs the photography team shot last season – 22,000 photos. 21,000 of those photos were saved to the archives. Photographs are used in many ways – social media, the Cardinals magazine, etc. The best part came next – when Mr. Yanagimoto ran the slide show of the best photographs that were taken last year. It was sad to realize that a lot of the players in the photographs were no longer with the team.
After the presentation, Phillip and I went to Subway for lunch. The temperature was starting to drop, and the wind was very cold coming off of the river.
The afternoon autograph signers were Kerry Robinson, Ray Lankford, Tom Lawless, Matt Carpenter, Jack Flaherty, and the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) Yadier Molina. Phillip wanted to go home after lunch, but I wanted to see Yadi. I was going to purchase an autograph ticket for Ray Lankford this morning when I got to the Hyatt, but when I went to the ticket sale area, I discovered that there were no more tickets left for Ray. Everyone was so happy to see Yadi that they broke out in a round of applause when he sat down in his seat.
We then hurried down to the second floor to see the presentation with the bald eagle. The eagle’s name was Liberty and the handler from the World Bird Sanctuary explained how Liberty came to live at the World Bird Sanctuary. He spoke about the work that the World Bird Sanctuary. Since we were late, we were at the back of the room. Fredbird sneaked into the room and gave me a peck on the head. He always does that when he sees me because I have red hair.
After the bald eagle presentation, we went to the Cardinals Authentic booth to see if I could win a lovely 2009 All-Star Game plaque by correctly answering the trivia question. I could not answer it, although I did not cheat by Googling the answer. The question was about Yadi – who did he pass on the Cardinals’ all time hits list? It was Jim Bottomley.
It was time to us go home. We had a great time but I will do some things better next year. I will have a better phone, a better camera, and I will get more autograph tickets. I will also pack a lunch for at least one day to save some money.
Thanks for reading my long reports! See you next time!