As Geoffrey Chaucer once wrote, “All good things must come to an end,” and so must Winter Warm-Up. My son and I got to Winter Warm-Up on day 3 around 9:00 AM. We stopped by Starbucks again for hot beverages and a snack.
We then went to drop off our coats at the coat check booth. When I ran into my friend Linda the day before, she offered me an autograph ticket for Cliff Politte since she wouldn’t be there until later and he was signing at 9 AM. I have to admit, I remembered that he played for the Cards but I couldn’t remember when he played. I Googled Cliff the night before and discovered from BaseballReference.com that Cliff was drafted by the Cards but only pitched for them for one season in 1998. No wonder I didn’t remember when Cliff played for the Cards. My son was a toddler then and he kept me quite busy.
The number on my autograph ticket was 151. I thought that I would be stuck at the end of the line, but the friendly Cardinals Care volunteers waved me on through, maybe because it was the last day and there were not many people in Cliff’s line. I had Cliff autograph a baseball that I bought last year to collect autographs. Miles Mikolas was sitting right next to him, so I got a great photo of Miles.
Our next stop was the Q&A with Jenifer Langosch, the former Cardinals beat writer who is now the MLB.com Senior Content Manager. Jenifer gave us details on her life and how she started beat writing. When she began a family, she decided it was time to move on to another baseball position, since beat writing can be grueling. She is telecommuting in her new position. Jenifer showed us the MLB.com website and discussed her job duties. She showed us a website sponsored by MLB that I had never seen before, BaseballSavant.com. Stat geeks will love this website. Jenifer then answered everyone’s questions and she would have answered more questions, but the Cardinals Care volunteer said it was time for the next presentation and everyone had to leave.
We had an hour to kill before the next presentation, so we went back to the food area on the second floor and grabbed a sandwich. We then went to the Team Store again to see if there was any new merchandise and if anything had been marked down further.
The presentation at 12:00 PM is one of our favorite presentations and we go to it every year. It was titled “2019 – A Year in Photos” and the presenter was Taka Yangimoto, the manager of photography for the Cardinals. Mr. Yangimoto talked about the photography staff and how many photos they take every year (in the thousands). Photographs are used for ticket stubs, promotions, social media, and many other things. Mr. Yangimoto then showed a slide show of some of the best photos taken last season. Sadly, however, Jack Flaherty did not make an appearance like he did last year.
After this presentation, we went back to the Main Stage area. I wanted to see Yadi and Waino. Scott Warmann and Brad Thompson were the MC’s on the Main Stage. Kolten Wong was onstage with Scott and Brad, answering their questions. Kolten brought his Gold Glove with him for all to see. He had just received it the night before at the Baseball Writers’ Dinner. Kolten wore a gold bomber jacket to match his Gold Glove, and he also was wearing glasses, which he explained later were just a fashion statement. Whew! Kolten was signing at 1 PM, so he went to his appointed seat.
Yadi came out from behind the curtain and everyone applauded, but where was Waino? It turned out that Waino was still in the media room, and Yadi had to FaceTime Waino to get him to show up for duty. The son insisted we needed to head over to Busch Stadium for the 2:00 PM stadium tour. So we went over and got our coats, then we left. I told the son that it wouldn’t take us that long to walk over to Busch Stadium from the Hyatt, but of course, he insisted it would.
We got to Ballpark Village around 1:30 PM. Since we had time to kill, we visited the Fanatics store and looked around. After we were done there, we still had time to kill, so we walked through FOX Sports Midwest and went to the Team Store to look around. I was looking for a Cardinals PopSocket for my cell phone case, but they didn’t sell them there. We finally left and went to Gate 3, where the tour was to start.
My friend Linda and her friends were on the tour with us. There were about fifteen people in the tour group. There were two older gentlemen who were our tour guides (and gentlemen, if you’re reading this, I’m so sorry, but I’ve forgotten your names). Our first stop was the Cardinals Club, where we could see all of the World Series trophies. Joe Medwick’s Triple Crown trophy was in a glass case behind the bar.
After that, we then walked over to the Redbird Club. The law firm that I work at has season tickets in the Redbird Club, so I’ve been in there before. The walls of the Redbird Club have paintings of old baseball cards, and the guide explained that the cards pictured on the walls are from Bill DeWitt, Jr.’s personal baseball card collection.
After we were done at the Redbird Club, we proceeded to the KMOX press box. The guide explained that the press box is one of the biggest in all of Major League Baseball. The windows in the press box are vertically cantilevered so they can be opened wide. Mike Shannon likes the windows open no matter what the weather so radio listeners can hear the roar of the crowd and the crack of the bat. Mike doesn’t sit on a regular desk chair during broadcasts – he balances on a large red yoga ball.
After we were done viewing the press box, it was time to go down to the first floor. Our first stop was the Cardinals Club, for season ticket holders that sit behind home base. Our tour guide told us the price for a season ticket in this section, that you had to buy a minimum of two season tickets, and that you had to sign a contract to purchase them for 7 years. I would definitely have to win a big Powerball lottery in order to afford those tickets.
Our next stop was the main attraction, the Cardinals locker room. Winter Warm-Up weekend is the only time during the year where the tour includes the Cardinals locker room and that’s why we decided to take the tour. I felt like I was walking on hallowed ground when we walked in. The tour guide gave us some information about the locker room and then we had our photos taken by a Cardinals photographer in front of Yadier Molina’s locker. I’ll post the photo at the end of the post underneath my name. There’s a copyright on the photo, but I hope the Cardinals don’t mind that I post the photo – it’s free publicity for them to get more people to take the tour next year.
After we were done in the locker room, we went into the dugout. Here are some photos:
The finish on the dugout bench was very worn, probably from all of the players and coaches sitting on it and spilling liquid on it all season. I would think that it would be refinished in the spring before the season started.
It was then time to go back inside. We actually got to walk on the warning track and we went back inside via the steps next to the visiting team’s dugout.
We saw some other things and then it was time for the tour to be over. The photos that were taken in the locker room were available for purchase and of course, we purchased them. It was a nice souvenir of our tour. Even though it was a cold day, we really enjoyed our tour.
Now that Winter Warm-Up is over, it’s only a few weeks until pitchers and catchers report. Baseball is just around the corner! Some of the players are already working out at the spring training complex. They can’t wait for spring training and neither can I.
I’m sorry it took me so long to post this post. Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!