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.

IMG_0269

 

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

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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

Homestand Highlights 4/25/17-5/4/17

Twenty-three days of the 2017 season have already gone by, and a lot has happened.  I have been to two games already this season, and the Cardinals have won both of them.  (Perhaps the Cards’ front office needs to give me season tickets?) The pitching has been stellar, for the most part, but the defense is sloppy, like last year. Tonight, however, the boys are back in town for nine games.  Here’s hoping they play better at home than they did last year.

There’s a lot going on at Busch Stadium for the next nine days, so here are all the details:

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Tuesday, April 25—Thursday, May 4)

Green Week, Law Enforcement & Firefighters Appreciation Nights Highlight Third Homestand at Busch

ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 25, 2017 – After taking three of four games from the Brew Crew in Milwaukee, the Redbirds return to Busch Stadium for the first of two 10-game homestands in 2017—their longest of the season.  The homestand kicks off with a three-game interleague matchup with the Toronto Blue Jays (April 25-27), continues with three games against the Cincinnati Reds (April 28-30) and concludes with a four-game series versus the Milwaukee Brewers (May 1-4).  The homestand is highlighted by annual Green Week festivities, the 2017 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class announcement, Photo Day and a Carlos Martínez and Matt Carpenter double bobblehead.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Toronto Blue Jays (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Lou Brock Budweiser Bash Theme Night: Fans who purchase this special Bud Bash Theme Ticket receive a voucher for a limited edition Lou Brock mini bobblehead as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the 1967 World Series Champion team.  For more info, or to purchase general tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#BudBash). Lou was supposed to attend, but unfortunately, he was diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. Your continued thoughts and prayers for Lou would be appreciated, I’m sure.

Redbird Rookies Rawlings Gold Glove Ceremony: Six children from the club’s Redbird Rookies community program will be honored on the field before tonight’s game.  In order to qualify for the Gold Glove Award the children had to attend all four Redbird Rookies off-field events and complete an application that included specific tasks for different age groups.  The applications were evaluated by Cardinals Care staff and two participants in each of the three ages groups were selected as winners.  Each winner received four Field Box tickets to tonight’s game, an opportunity to meet a Cardinals player and will be presented with a personalized glove from Rawlings. (#CardsCare)

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.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Toronto Blue Jays (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m. My family will be at tomorrow night’s game.  I’m hoping for another win.  🙂

Law Enforcement Appreciation Theme Night: The Cardinals and Major League Baseball are teaming up to honor law enforcement officers and their families for Law Enforcement Appreciation Night.  Fans who purchase this special theme night ticket will receive an exclusive Cardinals Law Enforcement hat.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  A portion of each ticket sold will benefit the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.  Tickets are currently sold out.  For more information, visit cardinals.com/lawenforcement. (#CardsTheme)

 

Green Week – Shoe Collection: The Cardinals, in partnership with Shoeman Water Projects, will collect shoes inside Busch Stadium gates before the game.  Fans are asked to clean out their closets of any unwanted, gently-used shoes, tie or band them together and drop them in the designated shoe collection bins.  Shoeman creates clean drinking water for those in need by selling shoes to exporters for resale and then using the money generated from those sales to purchase well-drilling rigs and water purification systems in developing countries.  For more information about Green Week, visit cardinals.com/greenweek.  (#4AGreenerGame)

Green Week – Operation Food Search Presentation: In a ceremony prior to the game, Operation Food Search will recognize the Cardinals and the team’s concessionaire, Delaware North Sportservice.  Together, the Cardinals and Delaware North Companies have diverted nearly 79,000 pounds of unused food from concessions stands in Busch Stadium to Operation Food Search since 2010, which reduces the amount of waste going to landfills.  When food decomposes in landfills, it becomes a source of greenhouse gas emissions.  The Cardinals are exceeding their food recovery goals, which results in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change while contributing to Operation Food Search’s efforts of feeding 200,000 of our neighbors in need  (#4AGreenerGame).

 Battle at Busch: 105.7 The Point and the Cardinals welcome back the Battle at Busch concert series.  The 2017 schedule features 18 local bands over the course of six nights, at six different Cardinals home games in Ford Plaza.  Tonight’s battle features The Faded Truth and The Revolutioners.  Gate 6 will open at 5:15 p.m. for the event.  Performances begin at 5:45 p.m. with each act given 20 minutes to perform.  Each band will be judged on a point system by Mozingo Music and 105.7 The Point.  The top four scoring bands of the summer will be invited back to play on September 26 in the Battle at Busch finals for the grand prize package.  Tickets are available for $10.57 to each Battle at Busch game by going to cardinals.com/battleatbusch.

Piscotty’s Pals: Stephen Piscotty will host a group from the Down Syndrome Association for tonight’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.

 Thursday, April 27, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Toronto Blue Jays (12:45 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Green Week – Shoe Collection: The Cardinals, in partnership with Shoeman Water Projects, will collect shoes inside Busch Stadium gates before the game.  Fans are asked to clean out their closets of any unwanted, gently-used shoes, tie or band them together and drop them in the designated shoe collection bins.  Shoeman creates clean drinking water for those in need by selling shoes to exporters for resale and then using the money generated from those sales to purchase well-drilling rigs and water purification systems in developing countries.  For more information about Green Week, visit cardinals.com/greenweek.  (#4AGreenerGame)

Great Clips Charity Haircuts: During the game, fans can root for the Redbirds and shape up their roots with a visit to the Ford Plaza for Great Clips’ Charity Haircuts.  For a $10 donation, Great Clips—who sponsors the event every weekday afternoon game during the season—will cut your hair and donate all proceeds to Cardinals Care.

Friday, April 28, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

Bruce Sutter Garden Gnome Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans ages 16 and older will leave with an exclusive Bruce Sutter garden gnome.  (#CardsPromo)

Cardinals 2017 Hall of Fame Induction Announcement: The fourth elected Cardinals Hall of Fame induction class will be revealed on FOX Sports Midwest tonight during a 30-minute pregame television special at 6:00 p.m. CT.  The 2017 Cardinals Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 26.

Green Week – Redbird Garden: The Cardinals and Delaware North Sportservice, in collaboration with Urban Harvest STL, will commemorate the newly installed Redbird Garden during a pregame field ceremony.  The hydroponic garden, located in the Level 3 elevator landing above Gate 6, features herbs (Thyme, Sage, etc.) and fresh greens (Kale, etc.) that Sportservice chefs will harvest for use in salads at Busch Stadium. (#4AGreenerGame)

Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest: Nathan’s Famous will host a local regional qualifier for their Fourth of July International Hot Dog-Eating Contest at 6:00 p.m. in the Ford Plaza.  The top male and female finishers in this event will qualify for a seat at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn where they will face reigning champions Joey Chestnut and Miki Sudo.

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 item relates to the Marvelous Musical Mississippi Mudcat Band.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum.  (#CardsMuseum)

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, April 29, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.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)

Photo Day: Prior to the game, fans will be allowed on the field to get up-close and personal photos of their favorite Cardinals players, coaches and Fredbird.  Field access is on a first-come, first-served basis and will begin approximately 10 minutes after gates open.  Weather permitting.  Fans are encouraged to share their photos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat using #CardsPhotoDay.

Green Week – Shoe Collection: The Cardinals, in partnership with Shoeman Water Projects, will collect shoes inside Busch Stadium gates before the game.  Fans are asked to clean out their closets of any unwanted, gently-used shoes, tie or band them together and drop them in the designated shoe collection bins.  Shoeman creates clean drinking water for those in need by selling shoes to exporters for resale and then using the money generated from those sales to purchase well-drilling rigs and water purification systems in developing countries.  For more information about Green Week, visit cardinals.com/greenweek.  (#4AGreenerGame)

Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals outfielder Ken Oberkfell will sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 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, April 30, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Cincinnati Reds (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

 Carlos Martínez Kids Home White Jersey Promotional Giveaway: All kids ages 15 and younger will receive a replica Carlos Martínez home white jersey, courtesy of Powerade and Shop ‘n Save.  Size exchanges can be made at the Riverview Corner kiosk until 2:45 p.m.  (#CardsPromo)

Home Run Against Hunger Food Drive: The Cardinals, in partnership with Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance and Feeding Missouri, are hosting a food drive in the Ballpark Village parking lot before today’s contest from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Fans who bring a non-perishable food donation or make a monetary donation will receive a voucher for two tickets to an upcoming 2017 Cardinals game.

Green Week – Shoe Collection: The Cardinals, in partnership with Shoeman Water Projects, will collect shoes inside Busch Stadium gates before the game.  Fans are asked to clean out their closets of any unwanted, gently-used shoes, tie or band them together and drop them in the designated shoe collection bins.  Shoeman creates clean drinking water for those in need by selling shoes to exporters for resale and then using the money generated from those sales to purchase well-drilling rigs and water purification systems in developing countries.  For more information about Green Week, visit cardinals.com/greenweek.  (#4AGreenerGame)

Green Week – Volunteer Recognition: During pregame ceremonies, the Cardinals will honor our outstanding Green Team volunteers.  During Green Week, and all season long, the St. Louis Cardinals Knight FM Green Team walks down the aisles of the seating bowl in-between innings and collect recyclables from fans while promoting recycling at Busch Stadium.  In exchange for their services, they are able to watch the game in standing room only sections of Busch Stadium.  For more information, visitcardinals.com/green (#4AGreenerGame).

Honorary First Pitch: World War II Veteran & Pearl Harbor survivor Lieutenant Jim Downing will throw out a ceremonial first pitch before today’s game.

Kids Free Ticket Voucher: All ticketed-fans, ages 15 and younger, will receive a free ticket voucher for a 2017 home game courtesy of Ritz.

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 ice cream (while supplies last).

Prairie Farms Kids Run the Bases: Following the game, fans ages 15 and under are invited to run the bases of Busch Stadium (weather permitting).  Presented by Prairie Farms.

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.

Monday, May 1, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

 St. Louis Blues Themed Batting Practice Jerseys Auction:  Online auctions for 39 autographed Blues-themed batting practice jerseys worn by Cardinal players prior to last year’s Blues Theme Night on September 28, 2016 begins today.  The auctions will end on Sunday, May 7, at 8:59 p.m.  Proceeds from the online jersey auction will benefit Cardinals Care.  Fans can bid at cardinals.com/community.

 All-Star Balloting Launch: Online balloting for the 2017 MLB All-Star Game launches today at cardinals.com/vote.  The 88th edition of MLB’s Midsummer Classic will take place at Marlins Park in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, July 11 and is set to be the first since 2002 where the outcome does not determine home-field advantage for the World Series.

Live from the UMB Champions Club: KMOX will perform tonight’s radio broadcast from Busch Stadium’s premier all-inclusive ticketed area, the UMB Champions Club.

Trevor’s Troops: Trevor Rosenthal will host a group from Walker Scottish Rite for tonight’s game as part of his Trevor’s Troops player ticket program.  Prior to the game, the group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Trevor in the dugout to take pictures and ask questions.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

College Theme Night II: The St. Louis Cardinals invite students, faculty and staff of local colleges and universities to the second of two College Nights of the season.  Fans who purchase the $20 theme night ticket receive a Cardinals College Night t-shirt.  Fans must present the special theme night voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme).

Tom Pagnozzi Budweiser Bash Theme Night: Fans who purchase this special Bud Bash Theme Ticket receive a voucher for a limited edition Tom Pagnozzi mini bobblehead as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1987 National League Championship team.  VIP ticket-holders will also have access to a pregame autograph session with Pags.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase general tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#BudBash).

 

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Scholar Athletes: Over 150 high school senior athletes, recognized by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch for their excellence in the classroom and on the field, will take part in a pregame parade around the warning track before tonight’s game.

Spanish Audio Broadcast: The Cardinals will stream eight Spanish language home audio broadcasts via cardinals.com and the MLB.com At Bat mobile app in 2017.  The club will produce the game’s broadcast in cooperation with La Ke Buena Spanish internet radio to provide game play-by-play from announcer Polo Ascencio and color commentary from former Cardinals Assistant Hitting Coach Bengie Molina.

Live from the UMB Champions Club: FOX Sports Midwest will broadcast this evening’s game from Busch Stadium’s premier all-inclusive ticketed area, the UMB Champions Club.

Fowler’s Friends: Dexter Fowler will host a group from Urban Future for tonight’s game as part of his Fowler’s Friends player ticket program.  Prior to the game, the group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Dexter in the dugout to take pictures and ask questions.

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.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Cardinals Care Spring Grant Ceremony: In an afternoon ceremony, Cardinals Care will distribute more than $135,000 to 77 area nonprofit groups that support local kids.  A Cardinals player, executives and Fredbird will all take part in the afternoon event (#CardsCare).

Firefighters Appreciation Theme Night: The Cardinals are partnering with The Hartford and the company’s Junior Fire Marshal program to celebrate our brave men and women in uniform and their families for Firefighters Appreciation Night.  Fans who purchase this special theme night ticket will receive a unique Cardinals firefighter t-shirt. Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  Additionally, children can visit The Hartford’s Junior Fire Marshal booths in the Ford Plaza or Riverview Corner to receive a free Junior Fire Marshal helmet and fire safety educational materials.  A portion of each ticket sold will be donated to The Backstoppers, Inc.  To purchase tickets, or for more information, visit cardinals.com/firefighters. (#CardsTheme)

Boy/Girl Scouts Theme Night II: The St. Louis Cardinals invite all Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and their families to enjoy Scout Night at the ballpark.  This is the second of three Scouts Nights for the 2017 season.  For just $14, each scout receives a ticket to the game as well as a voucher which can be exchanged for a Cardinals scout patch.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme). 

Spanish Audio Broadcast: The Cardinals will stream eight Spanish language home audio broadcasts via cardinals.com and the MLB.com At Bat mobile app in 2017.  The club will produce the game’s broadcast in cooperation with La Ke Buena Spanish internet radio to provide game play-by-play from announcer Polo Ascencio and color commentary from former Cardinals Assistant Hitting Coach Bengie Molina.

Pregame Poms/Cheer/Dance Performances: Prior to the game, groups from Dance Experience Performing Arts, Meghan Torno School of Irish Dance and the Vineland Dragonettes & Dragon Dudes will perform in the Ford Plaza beginning around 5:45 p.m.

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.

Thursday, May 4, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Milwaukee Brewers (12:45 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Great Clips Charity Haircuts: During the game, fans can root for the Redbirds and shape up their roots with a visit to the Ford Plaza for Great Clips’ Charity Haircuts.  For a $10 donation, Great Clips—who sponsors the event every weekday afternoon game during the season—will cut your hair and donate all proceeds to Cardinals Care.

The photo at the top of the post is Flat Yadi, like Flat Stan from a couple of years ago.  If you would like a Flat Yadi of your very own, go to http://www.cardinals.com/yadi and print your own, then share on social media using the hashtag #YadiYadiYadi. I shared on Instagram.

That’s all for now! (And it’s quite a lot!)  See you next time and thanks for reading!

Diane

Opening Day 2017 details and schedule

Tomorrow is the day we Cardinals fans have been waiting for since the end of last season – Opening Day 2017! If you want to get technical, it’s actually Opening Night, since tomorrow’s game will be a 7:35 PM game.  There’s a full schedule of events happening tomorrow before the game even starts.  Although we do not have tickets to the game, we will be going to the pep rally.  I hope to do a Periscope from the pep rally tomorrow, so follow me on Twitter (you mean you don’t already?) so you can catch that.

There are lots of other changes at Busch Stadium this season, including some new security rules, so even if you’re not going to the game tomorrow, you may want to read that section so you’ll be prepared.  Here are all the details on tomorrow’s festivities:

2017 OPENING DAY IN ST. LOUIS — APRIL 2, 2017

125th Anniversary of Franchise Highlights Opening Day

A pregame ceremony that welcomes home the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals team, honors the club’s Hall of Famers, commemorates the great tradition of Opening Day in St. Louis and kicks off the Cardinals 125th anniversary in the National League will punctuate a day of activities celebrating the annual return of baseball on Sunday, April 2.  The Cardinals will take on the division rival Chicago Cubs in a 7:35 p.m. game on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball telecast.  Following is a schedule of official activities and information to help fans enjoy the unofficial holiday that is #OpeningDaySTL:

Pregame Schedule

12:00 – 2:00 p.m.: One Nation Pep Rally at Ballpark Village

Kick off the day with a St. Louis Blues Pep Rally on the outdoor Busch II Infield stage and adjacent parking lot!  Fun includes a mascot appearance by Louie from 12-12:30 p.m., a DJ from the stage, giveaways and additional Blues entertainment.  Enter Ballpark Village’s on-site giveaway by completing a data card by 1:30 p.m. for a chance to win an autographed jersey, puck or one of two autographed sticks.  One lucky winner will receive the ultimate #OneNation prize pack that will feature two tickets to both the Blues game vs. Nashville at 3:00 p.m. and to Opening Day to see the Cardinals take on the Cubs at 7:35 p.m. on the Budweiser Brew House Rooftop deck.

2:00 – 4:45 p.m.:  Opening Day Pep Rally at Ballpark Village

Join Kyle McClellan, FOX Sports announcers and DJ Todd Thomas at the outdoor Busch II Infield stage and adjacent parking lot for the Cardinals Opening Day Pep Rally.  This event is free for all fans to attend and will proceed rain or shine.  Fredbird and Team Fredbird will be on hand to give away Opening Day tickets and other Cardinals prizes.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase as well.

5:05 p.m.:  Gates Open           

2017 Cardinals Magnet Schedule: All ticketed-fans, ages 21 and older, will receive a magnet featuring the 2017 Cardinals schedule, compliments of Budweiser.

5:05 – 7:35 p.m.: Opening Day Pre-Game Party at Cardinals Nation 

Cardinals Nation will host the Official Pre-Game Party of the St. Louis Cardinals.  This ticketed pep-rally style party is located on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in the Hall of Fame Club, two and a half hours prior to every Cardinals home game during the 2017 season.  The exclusive pre-game event includes a full buffet menu, all-inclusive bar and a DJ or live music all the way until first pitch.  Tickets for the Opening Day Official Pre-Game Party are currently sold out.  Tickets for future Pre-Game Parties can be purchased at cardinals.com/pregame, at any Busch Stadium box office or at the Cardinals Museum.

6:30 p.m.:  Homers For Health Game Ball Relay from Cardinal Glennon to pitcher’s mound by Bruce Sutter. 

6:45 p.m.:  Pregame ceremonies begin with an appearance by the famed Budweiser Clydesdales.

Introductions of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and Missouri Governor Eric Greitens.

Introductions of Fredbird and Team Fredbird.

Hall of Famers will be introduced via a Ford Motorcade around the warning track. Each Hall of Famer will be riding in a 2017 Ford Mustang convertible.

Introduction of 2016 Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Class.

Introduction of Cardinals principal owner and CEO, Bill DeWitt Jr.

Cardinals 125th Anniversary / There’s Only One Cardinals Baseball Video

Introduction of the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals via Ford Motorcade. The players will ride in 2017 Ford F-150 Raptors.

Introduction of the Chicago Cubs.

Color Guard and American Flag in center field, courtesy of the service men and women of Ft. Leonard Wood.

The National Anthem will be performed by Ingrid Berry, daughter of the late St. Louis legend Chuck Berry.

Ceremonial First Pitch by John Tudor to Tim McCarver.

7:35 p.m.:   Game Time!  Play ball!

Watching on TV

Fans can watch the pregame ceremony in High Definition on FOX Sports Midwest beginning at 6:30 p.m.  The game will also be broadcast nationally on ESPN.

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) or one of the 155 stations in the Cardinals Radio Network to hear Mike Shannon and John Rooney call the game.  The expanded pregame show starts at 5:55 p.m.

Online or On The Go

Fans may also follow the game for free on cardinals.com using the Gameday application or via the team’s Twitter account (@Cardinals).  Fans can keep tabs on the score from their mobile device using MLB’s mobile app, At Bat 17.

Opening Day Ceremonies will be streamed live on the FOX Sports GO app and at FOXSportsGo.com, available to customers of participating pay television providers who receive FOX Sports Midwest, FOX Sports South & FOX Sports Southwest Plus (in Cardinals territory).

#CapsOn for Opening Day

The Cardinals and Major League Baseball are celebrating Opening Day by encouraging all baseball fans to wear caps on Opening Day whether they are attending the game, going to work or watching from home.  Show your support for the Redbirds on April 2 by wearing your Cardinals cap no matter where you are and posting a photo to social media with the hashtag#CapsOn.

Getting To The Game

Per the Missouri Department of Transportation, motorists should be aware of the following on-going road closures:

I-44, St. Louis City, one lane closed westbound I-44/southbound I-55 from the Poplar Street Bridge to Park through July.

I-44, St. Louis City, one lane closed westbound Poplar Street Bridge to southbound I-55/westbound I-44 through July.

I-44, St. Louis City, the ramp from 7th Street to westbound I-44 is closed through July.

I-55, Jefferson County, one lane closed northbound I-55 at Route Z through April 3.

As usual, Clark Street will be closed in between the stadium and Ballpark Village.

Alternative Transportation

MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving.  To avoid the traffic congestion and the cost of parking on game days, fans can use one of 21 free Park-Ride lots along the MetroLink line and take the train to Stadium Station, right across the street from the ballpark.  MetroLink will have additional security and personnel located throughout the light rail system to assist passengers on Sunday.  MetroLink will also be monitoring platforms for crowds and will add extra trains to service as need.  Check the Metro’s website MetroStLouis.org or download the Metro On The Go mobile app for schedules and Park-Ride lots nearest you.

There are also plenty of buses in Missouri and Illinois that will get fans to Busch Stadium including the Redbird Express that departs from the Water Tower at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Illinois.  On Opening Day, the Redbird Express bus will leave at 5:00 p.m.  MetroBus is another great option for getting to downtown St. Louis on Sunday.  Fans can catch the #40 Broadway or #99 Downtown Trolley, which both have stops near Busch Stadium.

Update on Prohibited Items & Bag Inspection Policy

Fans are still allowed to bring their own food and beverages into Busch Stadium for all 81 games.  However, there are some items that will no longer be permitted to be brought through the gates.  Outside cups (e.g. fast food/gas stations cups), mugs and thermoses are prohibited.  All drinks must be factory sealed, in clear plastic bottles no larger than two (2) liters.

Multi-compartment backpacks are no longer permitted inside the ballpark.  Duffel bags, tote bags, cinch bags, diaper bags and purses no larger than 16” x 16” x 8” are still allowed.  Additionally, ice packs are prohibited unless required for a medical condition.  Fans can still bring loose ice to keep food and beverages cold. For a full list of permitted and prohibited items, visit cardinals.com/security.

Ballpark Improvements for 2017

A number of physical improvements have been made within Busch Stadium to improve the fan experience:

Perficient Red Jacket Club: Busch Stadium’s newest all-inclusive area, the Perficient Red Jacket Club is located on the suite level down the right field line and will accommodate both individual and group purchases with a capacity of 115 tickets.  The club features a bright, contemporary design and décor highlighting and honoring Cardinals Hall of Famer.  Ticket holders will have exclusive access to a private climate controlled indoor lounge, reserved outdoor seating, a complimentary full service bar featuring mixed drinks, beer, wine and Coca-Cola products and an upscale, all-you-can-eat buffet.  To purchase tickets or for more information, visit cardinals.com/redjacketclub.

Family Pavilion: The Family Pavilion, located in centerfield, has undergone a complete remodel.  The newly designed family area will feature a Kids Kitchen concession stand featuring kid sized portion along with exclusive menu options such as animal crackers and Rice Krispie treats.  The new Family Pavilion will also feature a Virtual Reality area with interactive games, a toddler play area, a play structure that will circulate out into the concourse, an updated speed pitch cage and a mother’s nursing room.

New Audio: 150 speakers were installed throughout the ballpark in order to bring game audio and public announcements to various parts of the stadium.  Game audio will be heard throughout the main concourse, the suite levels and the loge level.  New sound systems were installed in the Ford Plaza, Riverview Corner in right field and the Left Field Pavilion as well.

Broadway Market: A second grab-and-go shop has been added in front of the Gate 6 entrance.  The self-serve, pay at the register store gives fans the option to purchase a variety of soda, beer, water, dry snacks, novelty ice cream, and premade sandwiches and salads in a quick and efficient manner without having to wait in concession lines.

Legends Club (Party Suites): Fans that purchase all-inclusive Legends Club Suite tickets will now have access to complimentary full service bars that will include mixed drinks, wine and craft beers.  Additionally, the Suite Level hallways and entrances to the Legend Club Suites have been remodeled and feature additional overhead lightning and Cardinals-theme artwork on the walls.

Protective Netting:  The protective netting behind home plate has been extended to the ends of each dugout closest to the outfield wall.  Previously the netting extended to the end of the dugout closest to home plate.

New Grass: Fresh new Kentucky Bluegrass was installed on the field in February.  The grass was grown in Fort Morgan, Colorado.

AT&T Coverage: AT&T has boosted their mobile internet coverage at Busch Stadium this off-season, adding 60% more network capacity compared to last year’s Opening Day.  This will give AT&T customers a better wireless experience inside the ballpark.

New Concessions

Delaware North Sportservice, the club’s concessionaire for more than 50 years, is preparing to welcome fans back to Busch Stadium.  Delaware North Executive Chef Larry Johnson and his culinary team have developed a few new menu items for the 2017 season, including:

Deluxe Sausages: Three different 1/3 pound links including our Old World Bratwurst, served with sauerkraut; our mild Italian Sausage, served with sautéed peppers and onions; and our medium heat Chorizo, served with sautéed peppers and onions.  All deluxe sausages are served exclusively at our “Crowd The Plate” stand in Section 148 and can be purchased a la carte for $9 or as a combo with tater tots for $14.25.

The Redbird: The winner of our Fan Food Challenge, the Redbird is a crispy breaded chicken breast, tossed in buffalo wing sauce, topped with Provel cheese and served on an egg Kaiser roll.  The Redbird will be served exclusively at our “Double Play Tap & Grill” stands located in Section 135 and the Perficient Perch in Section 359.  Served with tater tots for $14.

New Cardinals Ballpark Pass

The Cardinals Ballpark Pass is a new ticket subscription service that gives fans the opportunity to attend as many Cardinals home games as they want each month for a monthly fee of $29.99.  Subscribers will have a Standing Room ticket to each regular season game (except Opening Day) digitally delivered to their smartphone via the MLB.com Ballpark app.  The subscription will automatically renew each month and subscribers can cancel at any time.  To purchase the Cardinals Ballpark Pass or for more information, visit cardinals.com/pass.

Introducing the Cardinals Nation Food Truck

Serving a combination of ballpark fare and unique culinary creations, the Cardinals Nation Food Truck will be located at 8th and Clark on game days, and will hit the streets around the city for lunch service.  The food truck menu consists of 10 entrée offerings including fan favorites from the Cardinals Nation Restaurant like the Cardinals Nation Nachos and Four Cheese Mac & Cheese, along with fun new selections such as Bacon Ribs and the Twisted Cheddar Brat.  In addition to taking part in local fairs and festivals, the food truck will be available for corporate and social events, catering and will be part of the Cardinals outreach throughout the St. Louis community.

Fans can follow the #CardsFoodTruck on Twitter (@CardsFoodTruck) for weekly truck location announcements.  To view the full menu, fans can visit cardinals.com/foodtruck.

New Retail at the Official Cards Team Store

New Cardinals-branded apparel and merchandise for 2017 is available at the Official Cardinals Team Store and at the 15 portable retail carts around the ballpark.  New on-field apparel includes Authentic Batting Practice Trainers by Majestic with player numbers on the sleeve.  New men’s and women’s apparel is also available from popular brands such as Columbia, Levis, johnnie-O, Tommy Bahama, Under Armour, Nike and Stance.

The Official Cardinals Team Store is also the exclusive brick and mortar retailer of Adam Wainwright’s “Waino’s World” t-shirt.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of each shirt will be donated to Cardinals Care and Big League Impact.  The Team Store also offers a selection of nine different player replica home white jerseys from Majestic (Molina, Wainwright, Carpenter, Martinez, Fowler, Piscotty, Diaz, Grichuk and Oh).  The Cardinals Team Store continues to offer hat embroidery and personalized jerseys and has a vast array of merchandise sizes from newborn to big and tall and everything in between.  The Official Cardinals Team Store is open daily from 10:00 a.m.–6:00 p.m.

Cardinals Authentics Shop

Fans can visit one of the two Cardinals Authentics locations (inside Cardinals Nation and at Busch Stadium in 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 Busch Stadium shop will remain open 30 minutes after last pitch while the Cardinals Nation shop will remain open for one hour after last pitch.

 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.

Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum

Earlier this month, Steve Carlton, Keith Hernandez, Jason Isringhausen, Tim McCarver, Mark McGwire, Edgar Renteria and Scott Rolen were revealed as the seven players nominated for possible induction into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.  The seven modern ballot nominees were selected by a “Red Ribbon” committee of Cardinals baseball experts through a secret ballot process and appear on the Cardinals Hall of Fame ballot online at cardinals.com/HOF presented by Edward Jones (#CardsHOF).  The two players with the most online fan votes after voting concludes on April 14 will be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame this August.

The Cardinals have launched a new museum membership level for fans desiring the most premier level of benefits. Benefits of the Ultimate Cardinals Museum Membership include a bronze mini plaque engraved with the member’s name, an autographed bat and baseball from a Cardinals Hall of Famer, VIP seating for two at the Cardinals Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and much more.

The Cardinals are proud to continue to offer the Individual ($50) and Family ($85) Museum Membership options for fans in 2017.  Membership benefits include unlimited museum admission for one year, guest passes, limited edition bobbleheads of Dizzy Dean and Ted Simmons, discounts to the Cardinals Authentics Shop & Cardinals Nation Restaurant, and access to select presales and member-only events.  Visit cardinals.com/membership for a detailed list of membership benefits.

This year’s new museum special exhibit entitled “Women in Baseball: How They Made History” examines women’s involvement and contributions to St. Louis baseball and the game at large.  The exhibit features over 100 artifacts with important pieces and images on loan from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the Missouri Historical Society.  The exhibit tells stories about Major League Baseball’s first female owner, the origins of the iconic birds on the bat logo, local women from the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League and more. You can read my blog posts about this exhibit here and here.

Cardinals Insider with Ozzie Smith (#CardsInsider)

Cardinals Insider, the club’s weekly half-hour new magazine television show, made its season debut last Sunday with new host Ozzie Smith.  Now in its second season, Cardinals Insider with Ozzie Smith is available within 17 television markets in eight states.  Over the offseason, a new digital newsroom was constructed within the Cardinals press box to house the team’s multimedia video unit.  Five full-time journalists were hired to provide fans with behind the scenes access and daily content for the team’s various digital and social platforms including cardinals.com, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

The show features a mix of news, player profiles, exclusive interviews, in-depth features, and a look back in team history with exclusive content from the team’s large archive and extensive museum collection.  In addition to offering fans an unprecedented view behind the scenes with the team, the show also places a strong emphasis on fan engagement and leveraging the team’s social media to enrich the viewer experience.  More information about the show, including previous episodes and a full list of affiliates, can be found at cardinals.com/insider.

2017 Fan Engagement Video Initiatives (#CardsFanFlix) 

#CardsFanFlix is the St. Louis Cardinals ongoing fan engagement initiative developed to encourage fans to create videos that celebrate the team.  Throughout the season, the Cardinals sponsor a variety of promotions, contests and campaigns under the umbrella of #CardsFanFlix asking fans to creatively use video to demonstrate their enthusiasm and support of the team while also having some fun:

The Third Annual Ultimate Fan Video Contest challenged fans to show their enthusiasm for the 2017 season while proving that they are the ultimate fan worthy of the ultimate opening day experience—four tickets in the President’s private box.  Fans entered their submissions at cardinals.com/ultimatefan.  The Cardinals are proud to announce that Gene Gaddis from Macomb, Ill. has won this year’s Ultimate Fan Contest.  Gene’s winning video can be viewed at atmlb.com/2ojPhoO.

In November, the Cardinals launched the Second Annual High School Video Challenge initiative offering high school students in the St. Louis metropolitan area an opportunity to compete for the chance to create a video featuring both Fredbird and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith at the students’ school.  Students were asked to develop an original video that promotes the St. Louis Cardinals and the students’ high school while including a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Math (STEAM) curriculum connection.  Five finalists were selected by Cardinals front office staff and employees of EducationPlus, which were then voted on by fans online atcardinals.com/studentvideochallenge.  The Cardinals are happy to announce that the students from Owensville High School have won the High School Video Challenge!  Their winning video entry can be seen at atmlb.com/2ok45nq.

The Second Annual Take Me Out To The Ballgame Talent Video Contest was launched in March, encouraging fans to submit videos of them singing their best rendition of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”  The winning video, which will be selected by a fan vote, will be shown on the scoreboard at Busch Stadium before the Cardinals—Rockies game on July 26.  The winner will also be treated to a VIP experience that includes 12 tickets to the game.  Fans may submit their videos until May 21, followed by finalists being voted on by fans online from June 2-30 at cardinals.com/talent (winner to be announced July 3).

Cardinals Magazine Kicks Off 25th Anniversary Season 

Cardinals Magazine opens its quarter-century anniversary campaign with a must-read feature on fan favorite Matt Carpenter, who is taking on new roles and responsibilities for his team in 2017. This April cover story features the ultimate compliment of No. 13 from “Charlie Hustle,” the incomparable Pete Rose, who describes Carpenter as his “favorite player” and someone he admires the way he plays the game.  Speaking of those held in high regard, we sit down with Jose Oquendo, the man mentored by George Kissell and someone who will help develop the future of the franchise in his new role with the organization.

Page after page, fans will enjoy the breadth of stories in the season-opening edition. Take, for instance, the first installment of our season-long 50th anniversary celebration of the 1967 World Championship season where we detail the valuable contributions of Roger Maris, who brought his Yankee championship pedigree to the Cardinals. In keeping with our 25th anniversary season, you’ll love the beginning of our season-long “Pages From Our Past” section, where we’ll showcase the people, performances and franchise-defining moments we watched and wrote about over an ever-changing quarter-century of Cardinals baseball.  You’ll also enjoy the debuts of three player-specific departments: #DearDexter, where the All-Star centerfielder answers questions from fans; The Lynn-Sider, a monthly column written by Lance Lynn; and East Meets West, featuring the views from opposite sides of the country from West Virginia native Jedd Gyorko and California kid Greg Garcia.  And you’ll appreciate our detailed look at the promising wave of young talent in the farm system!

New for 2017, Cardinals Magazine is now available at several additional retail locations throughout Busch Stadium, including from vendors inside stadium gates, team store locations, portable red merchandise carts, Majestic and Cardinals Authentics stores inside Ballpark Village and the Cardinals Authentics Shop in Ford Plaza.  Throughout metro St. Louis, the magazine is available for purchase at major retailers like Cardinals Clubhouse mall stores, Dierbergs, Schnucks, Shop ‘n Save, QuikTrip and Walgreens.

Print and digital subscriptions are available at cardinals.com/magazine or by calling 314-345-9000.  If you sign up today, you’ll receive 2 free tickets to a 2017 home game.  For additional team coverage, follow Cardinals Magazine on Twitter @CardsMagazine and watch our weekly segments on the Cardinals Insider TV show.

Official 2017 Cardinals Scorecard Celebrates 125th Anniversary of Franchise 

One of the longest-standing souvenirs in baseball, the scorecard represents much more than a means to keep track of the hits, runs and outs.  It’s a tangible keepsake commemorating a game that may be memorable for any number reasons—a fan’s first game, a couple’s first date or a record-setting performance.

It’s no wonder that the first order of business at Busch Stadium for baseball’s best fans is a stop at a Cardinals Publications vendor cart to purchase the Official 2017 Cardinals Scorecard.  Featuring the cover artwork of acclaimed St. Louis illustrator Mike Right—the scorecard designer since 2003—this season’s scorecard celebrates the franchise’s 125th anniversary logo paired with 12 Cardinals utilized by the club through the decades. Inside, you’ll find a tutorial on how to keep score the “Cardinal Way,” a method practiced by club officials since the 1940s.

Purchase the scorecard individually—or with the latest edition of Cardinals Magazine for just $5—from Busch Stadium vendors inside the gates, team store locations, red merchandise carts and Cardinals Authentics. Purchase additional scorecards at cardinals.com/scorecard.

2017 Official Team Media Guide 

The Cardinals official team Media Guide has long been relied upon by journalists and broadcasters who cover the team.  Containing stats, photos and biographies of every player in the Cardinals organization, along with the definitive history of the club since its inception, the 2017 Media Guide is the most comprehensive book about the Cardinals.  The 2017 Media Guide is available for $20 at the Official Cardinals Team Store, the Cardinals Authentics Shop or online at cardinals.com/mediaguide.

The Cardinals had the best record in spring training this year since 1997, although that season, they lost the first six games of the season.  Let’s hope for a better result this year.  I’m excited about this season, and I hope you are too.  Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

The Wong stuff

By now, I’m sure you have read or heard that Kolten Wong will be platooning at second base at the beginning of the season, which is only 6 days away.  And I’m sure you have heard that he is unhappy about it, and spread the word by spouting off to Ben Fredrickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch about it in an interview.  Kolten later “clarified” his statements, which only made things worse.  If Kolten was unhappy about being part of a platoon, he should have complained to his manager about it rather than airing out his dirty laundry in a newspaper interview.  Kolten may not have found himself as part of a platoon if his spring batting average had been greater than .170.  Last year, his spring training batting average was .304.  That looks like a slump to me.

There have been efforts made to make Kolten comfortable and give him confidence. When Kolten was made the starting second baseman in 2014, Mark Ellis was signed to provide guidance.  In 2016, the Cards gave Kolten a  five-year, $25.5 million dollar contract.  I don’t know about you, but that would make me really comfortable and confident that the team I played for loved me.  That would make me want to work hard and not rest on my laurels. Unfortunately, that large contract is the reason that Kolten will not be traded like so many people have been clamoring for.  No team is going to pick up that large contract for a player that currently only hits .170. The only way Kolten gets traded at this point is if the Cardinals were willing to eat some of that contract.

So Kolten needs to put up, bat up, and shut up.  He needs to make his bat do the talking and not his mouth.  In the end, winning games is what it’s all about, not whether a player is happy or not.  I’ve worked at jobs before that I’ve absolutely hated, but I’ve stayed with those and not complained because I needed that job. Kolten needs to do the same.

You may be wondering (or not) why I am posting in the middle of the afternoon instead of being at work. I took today off to attend the visitation for my ex-father -in-law, David Peery, Jr. My mother-in-law died last month and Dave died last week.  People close to me, please stop dying.  Thank you.

My ex-father-in-law was a great guy. He was like a second father to me. He loved to barbecue, garden and listen to Cardinals baseball on the radio.  He enjoyed drinking beer as well, and he and I drank many a beer together.  When his son left me for a guy just a month after I gave birth to our daughter, he and his wife took us in and let us stay with them for over a year until I had the money put together to move out to a place of our own.  I will be forever grateful to them for that.  They also watched my daughter while I worked for a few years after we moved out.  I will miss him.

Dave was a big Cardinals fan.  We used to discuss Cardinals baseball when I visited. When I and my daughter visited Dave during her brief detour into being a Cubs fan, I asked her why she had gone over to the Dark Side and he laughed uproariously.  Dave told me once that he almost was a Cardinal.  He had signed with the team (probably in 1957, after he graduated from high school) but made an unwise decision to play a game of pickup football the weekend before he was to report.  He broke his ankle during the game and that was the end of his baseball career. Isn’t it amazing how much one bad decision can affect so many lives?  If Dave had become a Cardinal, I would probably never have met his son, married him and had our daughter. I wish I could find out whether Dave actually signed with the Cardinals or if he was just pulling my leg.  If anyone could come up with proof that he did sign with the Cardinals, I’d be eternally grateful.

Thanks as always for reading.  See you next time!

Diane

Yadi’s contract extension – my thoughts

MEMORANDUM

TO:                  John Mozeliak and William DeWitt, III

DATE:            March 21, 2017

FROM:            Women Who Love Cardinals Baseball

RE:                  Yadier Molina’s contract extension

============================================================================

Gentlemen:

As you know, Yadier Molina’s contract is up for extension at the end of the season.  It is my understanding that negotiations have begun.  Could we get this deal done soonest, preferably before the season starts?  Yadi deserves to play without having to worry about his contract all season.  The fans deserve not to have to worry when they go to a game whether this is the last season they will see Yadi in a Cardinals uniform.  Sure, Yadi has an option for 2018, but why make him wait that long? To make a great Opening Night even better, you could announce that Yadi’s contract extension has been taken care of.

It would be heartbreaking for Yadi to be seen in any other uniform but a Cardinals uniform (especially a Cubs uniform). Yadi is one of the few players in recent years to still be with the team that drafted him.  Please let Yadi retire a Cardinal and don’t let him walk.

I shouldn’t have to remind you about Yadi’s importance and contributions to the team, but I will.  Yadi has many deserved accolades – eight consecutive Gold Gloves, four Platinum Gloves, one Silver Slugger and he is also a 7 time All-Star.  He played in 83 consecutive playoff games. Yadi has also broken the Cardinals’ all-time games caught record.  He is the best defensive catcher in the game.  His passion for the game, as seen recently in the World Baseball Classic, is contagious.  His pitch calling is second to none, and his batting average has improved over the years as well.

Yadi is not asking for much time wise, only 3 more years.  He’s not asking for 10 years, like Albert did.  He will be 37 years old at the end of this contract extension. Like a fine wine, Yadi is only getting better as he gets older.  Should Yadi need a day or two of rest (or God forbid, he gets injured again), Eric Fryer is a more than competent backup catcher.

Carson Kelly, Yadi’s successor, is probably anxious for Yadi to retire.  But the young grasshopper must wait patiently. Yadi’s shoes will be hard to fill, so Carson needs to learn all he can so that he can be ready when the time comes for him to step into Yadi’s position.

Mo and Mr. DeWitt, as a Cardinals blogger and a lifelong Cardinals fan, I implore you:  make Yadi a Cardinal for life.  Then 5 years after Yadi retires, he will be voted into both the Cardinals Hall of Fame and the Baseball Hall of Fame, for Yadi is one of the best catchers in modern times and he deserves to join the immortals.  When Yadi is inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame,  being the emotional woman I am, I will cry buckets, just like I did when Ted Simmons was inducted.

Thank you in advance for your consideration.

Diane Schultz