2019 United Cardinals Bloggers Blogger Day Report

The Cardinals organization invited the United Cardinals Bloggers to attend the ninth annual Blogger Day on July 13.  Usually, Blogger Day is held on Sunday afternoons, which allows the UCB and friends to meet for dinner on Saturday evening, but for some reason not explained to us, it was held on Saturday this year.

My son Phillip was my guest for Blogger Day. We rode the Metrolink over from Illinois and exited the train at the Stadium station.  I then picked up our tickets at the will-call window.  The gates opened at 4:15 PM. so we proceeded to gate 3. Saturday was a very hot day.  We waited in the hot sun for about 20 minutes.  When the bag checkers looked in my purse, they took my body spray away.  (Rose Quartz from Bath & Body Works, in case you’re interested. ). They said that anything that is in an aerosol bottle is not allowed.   I told them to at least let me spray some body spray on before they threw the bottle away.

The giveaway Saturday was a golf umbrella, and it was a good giveaway for such a hot day – the people in the stands were using their umbrellas to shade themselves from the sun.  We proceeded to party room 214.  When we got there, the employees were finishing up setting up the food.  We got some water to cool off and put our umbrellas in the closet.

My fellow bloggers streamed in and I spoke with several of them.  It’s always fun to catch up with my blogger friends that I only talk to on Twitter.  The food was looking (and smelling) really good. Here are some photos of the buffet:















Here is the menu for the Legends room, the party room where we were:


There were cones of popcorn and kettle-cooked chips with French onion dip for the chips on the tables for us to snack on. Phil and I figured out where John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt were going to sit for the presentation, so we found seats near there so I could tape the presentation to use for this blog post.

Carson Shipley from the Cards’ communication department welcomed us to Blogger Day.  He spoke about the premium party room food spread and that there were 2 new concession items for us to try – the Budweiser Burger Bar and twisted topped pretzels.  Carson then turned over the proceedings to John Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt, III.

DeWitt acknowledged our contributions and said that we connect with passionate fans.  (And if bloggers aren’t passionate fans who write about their passion, then who is?)  DeWitt then continued with a report about the business side of the house.  Game attendance is good in spite of there being no playoff appearances in the last few years.

DeWitt then spoke about the phases of Ballpark Village.  Phase I is considered a success.  Phase II is bigger than Phase I.  The section being built on the left is a Live! by Lowe’s hotel.  The middle section is a health club building, which is behind the Busch II infield.  The Busch II infield had to be torn up for construction but should be ready for activities again in a couple weeks.

DeWitt then talked about One Cardinal Way, the apartment complex being built at the right of Ballpark Village.  The building will be 21 stories and half of the stories have been completed.  Above the parking deck, there will be a party deck with an infinity pool, a BBQ area, a workout room, etc.  DeWitt said that the complex is 35% preleased and he hopes it is sold out.  He thought some of us might be interested in renting apartments there and I said that I didn’t earn enough to afford an apartment there.

It was then John Mozeliak’s turn to speak.  Mo said he was nervous coming to the event because Blogger Day is usually in April at the beginning of the season.  There is more time to come up with hard questions. Mo’s sock game has evolved since the first few blogger events.  At first, Mo wore some really ugly argyle socks.  Once he was promoted to Vice President, he started wearing dark solid color socks. I guess he figured he had to dress more conservatively. This year, however, Mo wore no socks, as you will see in the photo.

Mo admitted that this year hasn’t gone as they had hoped.  The biggest inconsistency is offense and they are frustrated with the lack of production.  The team had a great stat in April, but in May, they fell off the cliff.  The injury bug bit and our best offensive hitter (Ozuna) is on the IL.  All of the offense has underperformed.

Since the team has changed pitching coaches, why is the offense bad?  Jeff Albert was brought in and Mo said he brought a steep curriculum to the group that should have been implemented better.

Mo stated that it’s not too late to make changes.  The players know this falls on them.  The staff met with the players over the All-Star break and they know they need to start performing.

Mo said that there are a lot of positives in the minor leagues, but they don’t want to make a lot of changes.  It has to be a strategy that makes sense.  Having the minor leaguers come up and just sit is not good for their career.

They wanted to get the second half of the season off to a good start, but the Cards lost the first game.  It looked like the last 6 to 8 weeks, very frustrating.  The players still believe in the team and so does Mike Shildt.  The next 2 weeks will tell the tale as to how they play.

Mo then talked about the trade deadline.  The trade deadline is now a true deadline and how other teams play with that, Mo doesn’t know.  The team’s response is to keep the pulse.  He’d like to say that everything is sunshine and roses, but the reality is, the team has to play better and he gets that.  He doesn’t think that there is no one move they could make at the trade deadline that could change the trajectory.

After that, it was time for questions and answers.  I will not report on that in this blog post because I had it all typed up Tuesday night (which took me 2 hours) and with one bad keyboard strike, it all disappeared into the Twilight Zone.  Most of my fellow bloggers have reported on the Q&A in depth by now anyway.  I will just report about the rest of the evening.

After the Q & A, I was hungry, so I got a bratwurst (with sauerkraut, of course!) and a BBQ beef brisket sandwich.  I saw a spot open at a table, so I asked the couple sitting at the table if anyone was sitting there, and they said no.  I started talking to them and discovered that the husband was a blogger and a fairly new one at that, for this was his first blogger event.   His name is Donald Glenn and you can view his blog here:  Cards On Deck.  Don is also on Twitter here: https://twitter.com/bortas2002.  (P.S.:  He needs some more followers.)

We had a great bartender in our suite named Aaron.  He delivered drinks in the suites and cleared away our food plates.  He was very personable and talked about Cardinals baseball with us.  We weren’t his ordinary customers, obviously.  Aaron worked as a beer vendor in the stands for 25 years before moving up to the party suites.  His catchphrase was “Ice cold beer – colder than my mother-in-law!” While we were in the party room, Aaron and the lady bartender in the party suite next door (which also had UCB folks in there) won customer service awards and got their photos taken. I decided to go to the bar outside the party rooms and get a Shock Top beer (or two – or three).  You can also get mixed drinks at the outside bar.

During the later innings, there was a very pleasant surprise – a SportsService employee rolled in a large cart of scrumptious desserts, which included containers of Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, two large cheesecakes, and assorted ice cream sundaes, along with some other desserts.  This is the first time that there has ever been a dessert cart at a blogger event.  I had a container of vanilla Ted Drewes custard and a slice of cheesecake.  Alas, the dessert cart was only in our party room for about 10 minutes – it must have had to move on to the other party rooms.

The bloggers must have brought the luck that night, for the Cardinals won that night and the next two nights as well.  I so enjoy the blogger event every year.  It’s a time to visit with old friends, reminisce about old friends who didn’t make it to the event, and meet new friends, plus enjoy a Cardinals baseball game.  Here’s a photo of all the bloggers – well, not all of them, for some of them left early.

My thanks to the Cardinals for their wonderful hospitality and I’m looking forward to next year’s Blogger Day! Thanks as always for reading and I’ll see you next time!


2018 Winter Warm-Up Report Day 3

WWU2018Today was the third and last day of Winter Warm-Up.  It had snowed overnight, so it really looked like winter this morning.  Phillip and I boarded a Metrolink train at a later time this morning, since the first presentation we want to attend didn’t start until 11:00 AM.  We arrived at the Hyatt only 10 minutes after WWU opened for the day, and there were no lines snaking through the lobby.  The third day of WWU is not as well attended as the previous two days, since out-of-town people travel home and other people have to work on that day. The WWU planners seem to realize this too, as there were  no presentations in the Dugout room until 12 PM.

We checked in our coats and went down to the second floor to look at the vendor booths.  One of the vendors had a $5 bin with leftover promotional items.  I bought a Cardinals beach towel and a grey 1940’s jersey for my husband.  Some of the vendors had 50% off sales, and the Cardinals Care store had 50% off all of their items.  Even at 50% off, the jerseys still cost more than my budget allowed.

We went upstairs to the Main Stage ballroom to see what was going on.  The guys giving autographs before lunch this morning were Tyler O’Neill, Andrew Knizer, John Mabry, Brett Cecil, Whitey Herzog, Cliff Politte, Andy and Alan Benes, Mike Matheny, and Bill DeWitt II and III.  Once again, I need to apologize for the photo quality.  See the Day 1 report for details.

The first presentation we attended today was with Bill DeWitt, Jr. and III on the Main Stage.  They were interviewed by Matt Chambers of local TV station KMOV.  DeWitt, Jr. talked about the strategic way they look at players.  The issue of social media was discussed and how it stirs up interest in the club and engages players with the public.  As president of the club, DeWitt III is in charge of the Cardinals’ social media presence.  The Communications Department does the actual posting on social media.  DeWitt III said that the most popular social media posts are about the history of the Cardinals.

DeWitt III spoke about Phase II of Ballpark Village.  The west side will be a hotel, an office tower, and additional retail and some parking.  The east side will be a 29 story, 300 unit apartment complex.

DeWitt III then talked about the new Budweiser Terrace, which will be in the upper deck in the right field terrace level.  It will be a standing room only, social area for fans to kick back and socialize.

Questions were then taken from the audience.  The first question was since there was so many blown games last season, why didn’t the front office pick up Greg Holland or another closer?  DeWitt, Jr. had a long, drawn out answer, but the highlights were that there is no certainty with a closer – they can be great one year and bad the next, and if the current crop of available closers were great, they’d have been picked up already.

There were a couple of other interesting questions and thank you messages for the DeWitts for keeping baseball going in St. Louis.


The second presentation we attended today was “2017 – A Year in Photos” by Taka Yanagimoto, the head of the Cardinals’ photo department. We attended this presentation last year and really enjoyed it, so we thought we would attend it this year.  Mr. Yanagimoto started by presenting some statistics as to how many photographs the photography team shot last season – 22,000 photos.  21,000 of those photos were saved to the archives.  Photographs are used in many ways – social media, the Cardinals magazine, etc.  The best part came next – when Mr. Yanagimoto ran the slide show of the best photographs that were taken last year.  It was sad to realize that a lot of the players in the photographs were no longer with the team.

After the presentation, Phillip and I went to Subway for lunch.  The temperature was starting to drop, and the wind was very cold coming off of the river.

The afternoon autograph signers were Kerry Robinson, Ray Lankford, Tom Lawless, Matt Carpenter, Jack Flaherty, and the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) Yadier Molina.  Phillip wanted to go home after lunch, but I wanted to see Yadi.  I was going to purchase an autograph ticket for Ray Lankford this morning when I got to the Hyatt, but when I went to the ticket sale area, I discovered that there were no more tickets left for Ray. Everyone was so happy to see Yadi that they broke out in a round of applause when he sat down in his seat.

We then hurried down to the second floor to see the presentation with the bald eagle.  The eagle’s name was Liberty and the handler from the World Bird Sanctuary explained how Liberty came to live at the World Bird Sanctuary.  He spoke about the work that the World Bird Sanctuary.  Since we were late, we were at the back of the room. Fredbird sneaked into the room and gave me a peck on the head.  He always does that when he sees me because I have red hair.

After the bald eagle presentation, we went to the Cardinals Authentic booth to see if I could win a lovely 2009 All-Star Game plaque by correctly answering the trivia question.  I could not answer it, although I did not cheat by Googling the answer. The question was about Yadi – who did he pass on the Cardinals’ all time hits list?  It was Jim Bottomley.

It was time to us go home.  We  had a great time but I will do some things better next year.  I will have a better phone, a better camera, and I will get more autograph tickets.  I will also pack a lunch for at least one day to save some money.

Thanks for reading my long reports!  See you next time!


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.



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!


2015 United Cardinals Bloggers blogger event report

UCB_11On Sunday evening, the Cardinals hosted the United Cardinals Bloggers for their annual blogger event.  This event is usually on a Sunday afternoon, but this year, we were treated to an evening game.

My friend Kim was my guest for this year’s blogger event.  It was my husband’s turn to attend, but since it was a night game and he gets up at 4:30 AM for work, it wouldn’t have worked out. Kim was very happy to be invited. Hopefully, next year the blogger event will be back to the afternoon schedule and my hubby will be able to attend.

The event was supposed to start at 5 PM, so I decided to get there early and get a front row seat.  My son and I arrived at the event right before starting time last year, so we had to sit in the back and I couldn’t see or hear very well.  Kim and I got to the administrative offices so early, the packets and the name tags hadn’t been put out yet.  I had to go back later and get a packet, plus write out name tags.  The packet was a nice folder with the party room menu on one side and handouts listing various events on the other.  The packet also contained an envelope with our game tickets.

Since we were there before everyone else, Kim and I had a nice discussion with Ron Watermon, the Cardinals’ Vice President of Communications, about the security problems on Opening Day.  He admitted that the gates should have been opened sooner that day.

The other bloggers began to show up and it was nice to catch up with folks I only talk to on Twitter. There was a nice crowd, considering it was a Sunday evening game. Finally, Mr. Watermon came to the podium.  He welcomed us all to the blogger event. Mr. Watermon mentioned that Daniel Shoptaw, the head of the UCB, was unable to be at the event because of the death of Daniel’s father-in-law, and that their thoughts and prayers were with Daniel’s family.  Mr. Watermon then spoke about the fan video contests and how they engage Cardinals Nation.  Mr. Watermon talked about the minister who won the Ultimate Fan contest.  Mr. Watermon asked the bloggers to help Red feel the love by posting videos telling Red that we love him.

It was then time for Bill DeWitt and John Mozeliak to speak.  Rather than stepping up to the podium, Mr. DeWitt and Mr. Mozeliak stayed seated in their chairs, like a “fireside chat,” Mr. DeWitt stated.  DeWitt and Mozeliak have strong voices that carry well and we were all seated fairly close, so neither one of them really needed a microphone in order to be heard.

Mr. DeWitt was the first speaker. He talked about the business side of the organization. Mr. DeWitt spoke about some of the modifications that have been made to Ballpark Village, such as the extra video screens that will allow fans to watch both the Blues and the Cards at the same time.  Mr. DeWitt said that they were proud of Ballpark Village and that the BPV concept didn’t exist anywhere else in Major League Baseball.  There are now giveaway days at BPV during 25 of the Cardinals’ away games.  He said that there is an empty retail location that should be filled soon. He spoke briefly about the second phase of Ballpark Village, which may include an office complex, retail and a hotel.

Mr. DeWitt then spoke about improvements at Busch Stadium.  The Champions Club (an all-inclusive area) has been expanded.  Gate 5 has been renovated for the installation of metal detectors and for a better view for the fans in the rooftop seats at Ballpark Village.

Mr. DeWitt also spoke about the metal detectors that had been installed at the stadium.  He said that all the stadiums in Major League Baseball had installed metal detectors.  He admitted that the team hadn’t opened the gates early enough on Opening Day, and long lines ensued.  Mr. DeWitt said that Opening Day was different than other games, closer to playoff games, and they should have opened the gates earlier than they did, and they learned from their mistake.  There are also more cameras in the stadium.  Mr. DeWitt also mentioned that stadium security now has a bomb sniffing dog that can follow the trail of someone who might have an explosive device in a moving crowd. To my mind, that was reassuring.  I have watched The Sum of All Fears and The Dark Knight Rises a few too many times. I can see that kind of scenario happening at Busch Stadium, especially during a playoff game.

Mo spoke next. The team has gotten off to a very good start.  Mo is bullish about what is going on at the minor league level. Mo said that the team is competitive at the major league team level and that there are enough players coming through the pipeline at the minor league level. He talked about the $5 million Academy that the team is opening in the Dominican Republic to train the young prospects. The complex will help attract players.  Mo said that the people that have run the drafts the last few years have done a good job.  Mo said that there is a hard working group in the minor league level that helps develop the players.  Mo is looking at the future and he is very excited.

Then it was time for the Q & A session.  A question was asked about Sam Freeman.  Mo said that we could have gotten 3 lefties but they wanted someone that was an innings eater and that was the spot for Villanueva.  Freeman didn’t have control or command.  Freeman couldn’t throw strikes.  Freeman was traded instead of being put on waivers so the Cards could get something for him.

Dennis Lawson asked if some of the bloggers could take over the club’s social media accounts for a game.  He wondered what it would take to unlock that door.  Nervous laughter ensued from the room. Mo asked, “What do you mean?”  More laughter.  Dennis thought we could take over the Twitter and Instagram accounts, under the watchful eye of a supervising adult, of course.

Mo was asked how much the team used sabermetrics for strategy. Mo said that the Cards are a very data driven team and that they utilize sabermetrics to make decisions.  There is a balance between the analytical world and the scouting world. Sabermetrics power the entire team as to the decision making process.

There was a question about a timetable for Jason Heyward’s contract extension.  Mo said he knew there would be a Heyward question.There is no timetable to discuss an extension. Deadlines irritate on one side or the other.  They want Jason to experience St. Louis and see what the city’s all about.  He doesn’t envision a timetable, although he projected mid-season as a time to look at where they’re heading.

The next person said he was at the game on Saturday and he wanted to thank Mr. DeWitt for keeping the Blues information on the screen during the game. He wanted to know how who spearheads efforts between the teams.  DeWitt explained who in the Blues’ organization works with the Cards for cross-promotions.  There is an overlapped fan base between the teams.

The next question was about when Oscar died – was there a specific type of player that they had in mind to replace him?  How long do you mourn? There wasn’t going to be a lot of opportunity out there.  There was a couple player options they could pursue.  The team had heard good things about Jason Heyward.  The timing was good.  They do a lot of due diligence on players before they’re signed.  Heyward is a positive addition to the club.

Mo was asked what if he was encouraged about the early pitching of Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez.  Mo said that during spring training, they talked about having a competitive camp and that the media all laughed about it, Mo was shocked to see how well Garcia was pitching. Marco Gonzales was the next guy that threw well in camp.  The 5 who ended up in the rotation was interesting because it showed how deep the pitching could be.  The only concern is volume, how that is managed as the season goes.  Neither Wacha or Martinez has pitched over 100 innings in a season and Mike and Lilliquist are conscious of that.

The last question was that once upon a time, when teams had 4 man rotations, and they pitched 200 innings, you never heard about the sore arms that you hear about now.  Are the pitchers so finely tuned today that every little thing can throw them off balance and cause injuries?  Mo said that it would take hours to discuss.  Injuries are a concern to everybody because of all of the money invested in players.  Mo blamed it on all the hours that kids are pitching in Little League, and high school and college ball, and that by the time they get to the majors, they’re worn out.  Back in the 40’s 50’s, and 60’s, 250 innings were the norm.  The team looks at “stress” innings, like innings with lots of pitches.  That’s when injuries happen.

After the Q& A session was over, Mo and Mr. DeWitt left.  Larry Johnson, the team chef, spoke to us about all the good food waiting for us in the party rooms.  Stomachs could be heard rumbling all over the room, including my own.

Finally, it was time to go to the party rooms. Our party rooms were closer to home plate this year than last year. I tried the chicken and waffle sandwich. There was maple bacon gravy to put on the sandwich. I thought it was going to be overpowering, but it was actually very subtle and added a nice little zing of flavor to the sandwich.  Kim tried the spinach and artichoke pizza and said it was delicious.She also liked the cowboy mac n’ cheese, with baked beans in it.  I tried the walking taco, which was a large bag of either Doritos or Fritos Scoops (I picked the Fritos) that you zipped open the side of the bag and added shredded lettuce, taco meat, pulled pork, chicken carnitas and/or shredded cheese.  I tried the tater tots tacos, which I had last year.  I also tried the deep fried Oreo cookie, which came in a shot glass sized cup with whipped cream and chocolate syrup on the bottom for dipping.  I thought there could have been some more breading on the Oreo – it was thin and the cookie was soft.  Other desserts included an Oreo churro and strawberry shortcake. There was lots of other food, but there was just too much to try it all.

Kim and I sat at a table with Matt Whitener of Cheap Seats Please and Matt’s father, and we all had a delightful conversation with Ron Watermon about some of the other major league baseball stadiums.  They mostly talked; I listened, since Busch is the only stadium I’ve ever been too.

And oh yes, there was a game between the Cards and the Reds Sunday evening. It was a thrill to see Matt Carpenter hit a home run out on the outfield berm during his first at bat.  It was a classic pitcher’s duel between Adam Wainwright and Mat Latos.  Adam only gave up one run  Adam jammed the bases during the Reds’ half of the 8th, but he got out of it.  Trevor Rosenthal was not available to close, so Jordan Walden came in and got his first save for the Cards.  It was a really quick game – it started at 7:05 and ended at 9:09.  The talking heads at Baseball Tonight on ESPN probably had to scramble to fill up the extra time they had allotted for the game. We didn’t get a group shot of all the bloggers because the game ended so soon.  Sorry, Daniel – I did talk to Dathan about the group shot, but it didn’t work out.

I really enjoy the blogger events and I can’t wait until next year’s event.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about this year’s event.  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!