The Cardinals organization invited the United Cardinals Bloggers to attend the ninth annual Blogger Day on July 13. Usually, Blogger Day is held on Sunday afternoons, which allows the UCB and friends to meet for dinner on Saturday evening, but for some reason not explained to us, it was held on Saturday this year.
My son Phillip was my guest for Blogger Day. We rode the Metrolink over from Illinois and exited the train at the Stadium station. I then picked up our tickets at the will-call window. The gates opened at 4:15 PM. so we proceeded to gate 3. Saturday was a very hot day. We waited in the hot sun for about 20 minutes. When the bag checkers looked in my purse, they took my body spray away. (Rose Quartz from Bath & Body Works, in case you’re interested. ). They said that anything that is in an aerosol bottle is not allowed. I told them to at least let me spray some body spray on before they threw the bottle away.
The giveaway Saturday was a golf umbrella, and it was a good giveaway for such a hot day – the people in the stands were using their umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun. We proceeded to party room 214. When we got there, the employees were finishing up setting up the food. We got some water to cool off and put our umbrellas in the closet.
My fellow bloggers streamed in and I spoke with several of them. It’s always fun to catch up with my blogger friends that I only talk to on Twitter. The food was looking (and smelling) really good. Here are some photos of the buffet:
Here is the menu for the Legends room, the party room where we were:
There were cones of popcorn and kettle-cooked chips with French onion dip for the chips on the tables for us to snack on. Phil and I figured out where John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt were going to sit for the presentation, so we found seats near there so I could tape the presentation to use for this blog post.
Carson Shipley from the Cards’ communication department welcomed us to Blogger Day. He spoke about the premium party room food spread and that there were 2 new concession items for us to try – the Budweiser Burger Bar and twisted topped pretzels. Carson then turned over the proceedings to John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt, III.
DeWitt acknowledged our contributions and said that we connect with passionate fans. (And if bloggers aren’t passionate fans who write about their passion, then who is?) DeWitt then continued with a report about the business side of the house. Game attendance is good in spite of there being no playoff appearances in the last few years.
DeWitt then spoke about the phases of Ballpark Village. Phase I is considered a success. Phase II is bigger than Phase I. The section being built on the left is a Live! by Lowe’s hotel. The middle section is a health club building, which is behind the Busch II infield. The Busch II infield had to be torn up for construction but should be ready for activities again in a couple weeks.
DeWitt then talked about One Cardinal Way, the apartment complex being built at the right of Ballpark Village. The building will be 21 stories and half of the stories have been completed. Above the parking deck, there will be a party deck with an infinity pool, a BBQ area, a workout room, etc. DeWitt said that the complex is 35% preleased and he hopes it is sold out. He thought some of us might be interested in renting apartments there and I said that I didn’t earn enough to afford an apartment there.
It was then John Mozeliak’s turn to speak. Mo said he was nervous coming to the event because Blogger Day is usually in April at the beginning of the season. There is more time to come up with hard questions. Mo’s sock game has evolved since the first few blogger events. At first, Mo wore some really ugly argyle socks. Once he was promoted to Vice President, he started wearing dark solid color socks. I guess he figured he had to dress more conservatively. This year, however, Mo wore no socks, as you will see in the photo.
Mo admitted that this year hasn’t gone as they had hoped. The biggest inconsistency is offense and they are frustrated with the lack of production. The team had a great stat in April, but in May, they fell off the cliff. The injury bug bit and our best offensive hitter (Ozuna) is on the IL. All of the offense has underperformed.
Since the team has changed pitching coaches, why is the offense bad? Jeff Albert was brought in and Mo said he brought a steep curriculum to the group that should have been implemented better.
Mo stated that it’s not too late to make changes. The players know this falls on them. The staff met with the players over the All-Star break and they know they need to start performing.
Mo said that there are a lot of positives in the minor leagues, but they don’t want to make a lot of changes. It has to be a strategy that makes sense. Having the minor leaguers come up and just sit is not good for their career.
They wanted to get the second half of the season off to a good start, but the Cards lost the first game. It looked like the last 6 to 8 weeks, very frustrating. The players still believe in the team and so does Mike Shildt. The next 2 weeks will tell the tale as to how they play.
Mo then talked about the trade deadline. The trade deadline is now a true deadline and how other teams play with that, Mo doesn’t know. The team’s response is to keep the pulse. He’d like to say that everything is sunshine and roses, but the reality is, the team has to play better and he gets that. He doesn’t think that there is no one move they could make at the trade deadline that could change the trajectory.
After that, it was time for questions and answers. I will not report on that in this blog post because I had it all typed up Tuesday night (which took me 2 hours) and with one bad keyboard strike, it all disappeared into the Twilight Zone. Most of my fellow bloggers have reported on the Q&A in depth by now anyway. I will just report about the rest of the evening.
After the Q & A, I was hungry, so I got a bratwurst (with sauerkraut, of course!) and a BBQ beef brisket sandwich. I saw a spot open at a table, so I asked the couple sitting at the table if anyone was sitting there, and they said no. I started talking to them and discovered that the husband was a blogger and a fairly new one at that, for this was his first blogger event. His name is Donald Glenn and you can view his blog here: Cards On Deck. Don is also on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/bortas2002. (P.S.: He needs some more followers.)
We had a great bartender in our suite named Aaron. He delivered drinks in the suites and cleared away our food plates. He was very personable and talked about Cardinals baseball with us. We weren’t his ordinary customers, obviously. Aaron worked as a beer vendor in the stands for 25 years before moving up to the party suites. His catchphrase was “Ice cold beer – colder than my mother-in-law!” While we were in the party room, Aaron and the lady bartender in the party suite next door (which also had UCB folks in there) won customer service awards and got their photos taken. I decided to go to the bar outside the party rooms and get a Shock Top beer (or two – or three). You can also get mixed drinks at the outside bar.
During the later innings, there was a very pleasant surprise – a SportsService employee rolled in a large cart of scrumptious desserts, which included containers of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, two large cheesecakes, and assorted ice cream sundaes, along with some other desserts. This is the first time that there has ever been a dessert cart at a blogger event. I had a container of vanilla Ted Drewes custard and a slice of cheesecake. Alas, the dessert cart was only in our party room for about 10 minutes – it must have had to move on to the other party rooms.
The bloggers must have brought the luck that night, for the Cardinals won that night and the next two nights as well. I so enjoy the blogger event every year. It’s a time to visit with old friends, reminisce about old friends who didn’t make it to the event, and meet new friends, plus enjoy a Cardinals baseball game. Here’s a photo of all the bloggers – well, not all of them, for some of them left early.
My thanks to the Cardinals for their wonderful hospitality and I’m looking forward to next year’s Blogger Day! Thanks as always for reading and I’ll see you next time!