This past weekend, my son and I attended the 2018 Winter Warm-Up. Mother Nature brought the winter part – snow was predicted for Saturday, but it was just cold and windy instead. Mother Nature brought a surprise quick moving system that dropped an inch of snow on Sunday afternoon, but Monday was windy and cold, just like Saturday.
Saturday, January 19
Phil and I arrived at the Hyatt around 8:30 AM. The line was almost ready to go out the front door. When the line started moving, we thought we’d be smart and take the elevators upstairs to the 4th floor. However, those entrances were closed until 9:30 AM, which meant we had to go downstairs and rejoin the line, which was even longer by this point. Thankfully, the line moves quickly.
We went to the coat check on the 4th floor and checked our coats. I noticed three kiosks like the ones at Busch Stadium, only instead of game tickets, you could purchase or pick up autograph tickets. That was a really good idea on somebody’s part – the line at will call in the lobby can be long. I didn’t plan well and didn’t get any autograph tickets this year. The only autograph ticket I really wanted was Harrison Bader, and his tickets sold out before I could even get home from work to purchase one. I already had a lot of the autographs of the players with free autograph tickets. The other tickets were not in my budget.
We decided to go downstairs to the second floor and check out the vendor area. There were various sports collectors with items for sale. There were booths from the Peoria, Springfield, Johnson City, and the Springfield minor league Cards teams. The Louisville Slugger museum had a booth. They had Paul Goldschmidt’s Silver Slugger award on display (see the photo on the left). Phil and I had stopped by the museum in April when we went to the Newsboys concert in Louisville but didn’t have the time to take the tour. I signed up for the museum’s e-mail list and received a free pass for two for the factory tour. Now we have an excuse to return to Louisville and visit the museum.
I found a vendor with lots of Cardinals and Blues gear for sale at very decent prices. My hubby has been looking for a reasonably priced Cardinals polo shirt. I found one for $20.00. This same vendor had Paul Goldschmidt jerseys for $100.00, which was a really good price.
Rawlings had a display with Yadi’s Gold Glove. You could get your photo taken with the glove. Amazingly, the glove comes off of the base, which is heavy. My son had me take his photo with the glove and as I took his photo, so did a photographer from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. His photo was in the print edition of Sunday’s Post-Dispatch. I was surprised that his photo made the print edition.
After we had gone through the vendor area, we decided to go to the Cardinals Authentics store. There were lots of jerseys of current players and former players. There was memorabilia available for purchase. There were used equipment holders, like bat bags. There were also used and broken bats for purchase. I picked up Jedd Gyorko’s bat. It still had pine tar on it and I accidentally touched it. It was still sticky.
None of the morning breakout sessions appealed to us, so we went to the food sales area (cash only, by the way) to get Phil some caffeine and crash for a while. I went on Twitter and saw a photo of Andrew Miller from the media session. He wore a plaid long-sleeved shirt, and with his dark hair and mustache, he looked like a lumberjack. Andrew is also very tall. I attempted to use some paper napkins and some good old-fashioned spit to remove the pine tar from my hand, but I was unsuccessful and had to go to the restroom to wash my hands.
We missed seeing Kolten Wong because it was time to go to lunch – there was a presentation we wanted to attend at noon. We were originally going to go out to eat lunch, but because the forecast (erroneously) said there was going to be 2-4″ of cold, blowing snow on Saturday, we decided to purchase a King of the Hill sandwich from Schnucks along with some chips on Friday evening and eat that for lunch.
The program indicated that at the noon presentation that the first 50 people would receive Cardinals Hall of Fame bobbleheads. Phil and I got to the Clubhouse presentation room hallway by 11:30, thinking we would be early enough to snag one of the bobbleheads. But according to the Cardinals Care volunteers, the vouchers for the bobbleheads were given out at 10:00 AM. We were disappointed, but there would be another chance to get a bobblehead on Sunday.
The noon presentation was given by Brian Finch of the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum. It was called “Back to the Future – a look at the new road blue uniforms” about the new powder blue jerseys that the Cardinals will wear for Saturday road games next season. Brian outlined the history of the blue jerseys – the Cardinals were not the first to wear powder blue jerseys. The Dodgers wore satin blue jerseys in 1944 and 1948. Brian’s presentations are very well done and entertaining. And you’ll learn something too!
We wanted to attend the next presentation, which was the annual look at the upcoming season’s marketing and promotional items. We and several others sat in the presentation room waiting for the presentation to begin, but a volunteer finally came into the room and told us that the presentation had been canceled. I was disappointed because I really enjoy seeing what the promotions department comes up with. There should have been a better way to let us know the presentation had been canceled.
Since the presentation was canceled, we went up to the main ballroom to see Carlos Martinez and Dexter Fowler. I couldn’t get close enough to get a decent photo of Dexter, so the photo is from the video screen. Dexter has a beautiful smile. He looked very happy to meet with the fans and sign autographs. Hopefully, his foot is better and he will play better this year.
I stopped by the Post-Dispatch booth in the ballroom. We are current subscribers, but our monthly bill just went up to newsstand rate and I expressed my displeasure. They offered me a deal for $17.00/month for a year and that was awesome, so I grabbed it.
Paul Goldschmidt and Paul DeJong, with a couple other players, were signing at 3 PM. Paul was very engaging with the fans. I think he’s really going to like it in St. Louis and I hope he will sign an extension. I couldn’t get close enough to either player to get a decent photo, sadly.
The major conversation buzzing through the fans was Cubs player Kris Bryant’s smart-aleck remark to Ryan Dempster on Friday evening that St. Louis is boring. Dempster replied that he would never play in St. Louis. Yadi basically said that players should not disrespect other cities and should play and compete with respect. The Internet blew up. The remarks put fuel to the fire for the Cards-Cubs rivalry. It should be a very interesting season.
After we saw the two Pauls, we decided it was time to go home.
Sunday, January 20
Our Sunday morning tradition is to stop at Starbucks in the lobby of the Hyatt for coffee before getting in line. Starbucks itself had a line. Everyone else must have had the same idea.
The line this morning to get into the Warm-Up went out the front door. When we finally got up to the 4th floor, we checked our coats and went to the ballroom. I wanted to see Andrew Knizner (Yadi’s heir apparent, since Carson Kelly was one of the players traded to Arizona for Goldschmidt), Stubby Clapp and John Brebbia. Brebbia has not yet grown back the beard he sported last summer.
We went down to the presentation room and spoke with the Cardinals Care volunteers about the bobblehead situation for Sunday. They said that we should line up an hour before the presentation we wanted to attend in order to receive a voucher. We got our coats and went to St. Louis Bread Company for lunch. After we returned, we went back up to the ballroom to see Miles Mikolas, Rick Ankiel, Jose Martinez, and Yairo Munoz.
I met Jayne, a Facebook friend that I have never met in person, which was really cool. Jayne (last names are not listed to protect the innocent) had an entourage with her that included Bertie, Linda, and another lady whose name I can’t remember. We chatted for quite a while until it was time for us to get into the bobblehead line
We then got into the bobblehead line at 1 PM for the 2:00 PM presentation, which meant we missed seeing Mike Shildt, John Gant and Dakota Hudson. We also missed Mike Shannon, John Rooney and Mike Girsch on the main stage.
The 2 PM presentation was by Brian Finch. It was titled “Call to the Hall: Lankford, Coleman, and Brecheen,” and it outlined the process of how players are elected to the Cardinals Hall of Fame. It’s a more complicated process than you might think, and putting together the Hall of Fame ceremony involves a lot of logistics. I was hoping to receive a Ted Simmons bobblehead, but we got Jim Edmonds bobbleheads instead. If you have a Ted Simmons HOF bobblehead that you would like to trade for a Jim Edmonds, drop a comment below with a way for me to reach you.
After the presentation, we went back upstairs to see Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, and Jason Motte. Jedd Gyorko was scheduled to appear, but Winter Storm Harvey kept him in West Virginia and all flights were canceled.
After we saw Waino, Wacha, and Motte, it was time to go home. We were in the lobby by the elevators and I looked up to see Miles Mikolas. He was wearing a black, long-sleeved thermal henley shirt, black jeans, and black boots. “Hi Miles!” I said. “How’s it going?” He got into the elevator. Phil asked me who I was talking to and I told him Miles Mikolas. I said, “Didn’t you recognize the red hair, mustache, and beard?” LOL!
Monday, January 21
Sadly, Monday was the last day of Winter Warm-Up. The only presentation we wanted to see was at noon, so we took a later train to try to get to the Hyatt a little later, but we got there just as the line started moving. We looked around the vendor section to see if there were any last day discounts but didn’t find anything we wanted. There was a rack of jerseys at the Cardinals Authentics booth that was 50% off, but I thought hubby would be upset with me if I spent $100 on a jersey, even if it was authentic.
We went up to the ballroom so we could see Matt Carpenter and Jack Flaherty. We also wanted to see Whitey Herzog. Whitey was the manager of my favorite 1980’s Cards teams. I really liked Whitey, even though he traded my favorite Ted Simmons to the Brewers.
We listened to the live auction on the main stage. There were 3 items up for bid – a live cooking demonstration with a Cardinals hef, a 2013 Cardinals NL Champions large pennant, and a VIP experience at the 2019 Musial Awards. All three of the items sold for over $1,000 each.
We decided to go to the cash food section for lunch since it was too cold to go out. We missed seeing Jordan Hicks, Joe Magrane and Danny Cox. The presentation we wanted to attend was at noon. We got to the presentation room early enough where we could sit in on the presentation from Wild Bird Sanctuary. The bald eagle was calm and well-behaved, even when Fredbird stopped by. Birds of a feather flock together!
The noon presentation was titled “2018 – A Year in Photos” with Taka Yanagimoto, the Cards’ manager of photography. We enjoy this presentation every year. Taka explained that there are 4 other photographers on the Cardinals staff. They take thousands of photos every year, but only so many are saved. They are always looking for historical photos. Taka then showed some of the best photos that were taken last year. He always finishes the presentations with photos of players that have been traded or have left the team. Close to the end of the presentation, a special visitor came to see Taka. Can you guess who it is?
It’s Jack Flaherty! Taka said that he and Jack are BFF’s. For the first time since we have attended this presentation, Taka’s wife and family were at the presentation and they were sitting in the row behind us.
Going to the presentation meant that we missed Joe Magrane, Danny Cox, and Jordan Hicks. But Tony LaRussa was still signing when we returned to the ballroom for the last time. I made a trip to the restroom and Phil said that Tony LaRussa walked right past him.
We also saw Bengie Molina and Yadi Molina. When Yadi came in and sat down, the whole room broke out in applause. Everyone started chanting, “Yadi! Yadi!” We love our Yadi in St. Louis, even more since he defended St. Louis’s honor in his reply to Kris Bryant.
Then it was time to go across the ballroom to see hunky Harrison Bader. Be still my beating heart! He was wearing a black knit cap, which made me sad because I wanted to see his pretty, curly hair. He flashed his gorgeous smile to all who wanted his autograph. Next year, I’m purchasing autograph tickets the day they go on sale so I don’t miss out on seeing Harrison up close and personal. I turned around and saw Bertie, one of Jayne’s entourage. We discussed our mutual admiration of Harrison.
After we saw Harrison, it was time to go home. What else could compare?
I have to apologize for the quality of some of these photos. If you’re not in line to get autographs, you can’t get very close, and the digital zoom of the camera or iPhone makes the photos fuzzy. Plus, you have to hurry to get a good shot as others folks are trying to do the same thing.
Baseball is coming soon – the first spring training game is a month from tomorrow! Pitchers and catchers report on February 12. Winter Warm-Up reminds me just how much I love Cardinals baseball. Everyone should go to Winter Warm-Up at least once. It’s a great experience.
Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!