United Cardinals Bloggers 2017 Roundtable Day 1

Now that the Cardinals’ season is over, it’s time for the fall version of the United Cardinals Bloggers Roundtable.  The bloggers who are interested in participating in the roundtable pose a question to the other bloggers who are participating, and they then respond.  After all of the answers are obtained, we are to take our question and the responses and put them in a blog post.  There were supposed to be two bloggers ahead of me, but neither one of them posted their questions, so I got to be the first blogger to post a question.  In a way, that was good, because I was worried that someone would take my question and I would have to think of another one!

So here is the question I asked:

Good morning and happy Friday! This Friday is even happier due to the fact that the Cubs will not be going to the World Series this year (thank you, Dodgers!).  Welcome to the 2017 UCB Roundtable! Without further ado, here is my roundtable question.

The subject of our discussion today is Lance Lynn.  I have a 3 part question.

1.  Will the Cardinals make a qualifying offer to Lance?  If not, why?

2.  Will Lance accept the qualifying offer, if one is made?  If not, why?  If your answer to question number 1 is no, you can skip this question.

3.  If Lance doesn’t resign with the Cardinals, who fills his spot in the rotation?  Will it be someone from the minor leagues, a trade, or a free agent signing? If you have thoughts about who the Cards should select, please share.

Thanks as always for your input! I’m looking forward to your responses.

The first response was from Mark Tomasek, who writes the excellent historical Retrosimba blog.  Here is his response:

Diane:

Yes, I believe Cardinals will make a qualifying offer to Lance Lynn in order to receive a compensatory draft pick.

The Cardinals and Lynn seem ready for a divorce, so I believe the Cardinals will make the offer with no expectation Lynn will accept. He will receive some eye-popping offers from other teams.

My guess is the Cardinals will try to replace Lynn’s rotation spot from within the organization – Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty and Alex Reyes are the obvious options – and will acquire a veteran, low-cost starting pitcher (like they did in past years with Kyle Lohse, Joel Pineiro, etc.) as a safety valve.

Right now, it seems a Cardinals rotation would be Carlos Martinez, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty, Adam Wainwright. Alex Reyes likely would begin the season in a bullpen role.

Cardinals will need to pick up a veteran starting pitcher (or two) to hedge against the inevitable injuries and setbacks to one or more of the projected starting five, but I don’t get the sense it will be a star pitcher.

The next response was from Allen Medlock of the Redbird Daily:

Good morning, everyone.   Excited to talk some Cardinal baseball. I believe the Cardinals will extend them qualifying offer.

That allows the organization to receive compensation in the case that Lynn will move on and the small chance of a fairly reasonable one year contract if Lynn were to accept. The free agent starting pitching market will be interesting this off-season. I expect teams to completely overspend on Lynn and Arrieta.

Carlos Martinez, Micheal Wacha, Adam Wainwright, and Luke Weaver are the rotation definite’s as things stand right now. The fifth spot may be fluid for most of the season with the expectation that Alex Reyes has taken control of the spot by June. I think they like the idea of Reyes being a bullpen weapon but have heard that they were so impressed with him during this season of rehab that he may actually take starter innings during Spring.

If they miss out on the level of offensive player that we expect them to pursue, it wouldn’t surprise me top see hem kick the tires on front-line starters via trade.

The next response was from Adam Butler, also from the Redbird Daily:

Hello, I believe the Cardinals will definitely make a qualifying offer to Lance Lynn. Worst case scenario is that he accepts it and they have their mid rotation innings eating stopgap for next season. It would push the need in their rotation back a season and give some young guys an opportunity to step up.

With that being said, I don’t see any way he accepts the qualifying offer. Even if the market collapses on him I would imagine he can get at least 3 years with an AAV similar to the $17.4 million qualifying offer.

The best guess at the current rotation would be

Carlos Martinez
Michael Wacha
Luke Weaver
Adam Wainwright
Jack Flaherty

I don’t know about you but I don’t think that’s going to cut it. They can go one of two ways here. Either add a #2 starting pitcher and push Flaherty out or sign a swing man type of pitcher to hopefully bridge the gap until Alex Reyes is ready (Trevor Cahill is the guy that keeps coming to my mind). I expect this to hinge on a couple of things.

#1. What they’re able to do with the lineup. Like Allen said, if they whiff on bringing in a true middle of the order hitter I believe they might see the rotation as a way to make up for that.

#2. What the market is like for starting pitchers. I’m sure we’ll start hearing the word “opportunistic” a whole lot as the offseason rolls on when the front office is asked about the rotation. If somebody falls into their range, they’ll be ready to pounce. Unfortunately, with the way free agency has gone in the recent past, I don’t expect a pitcher to fall into their lap.

As far as getting a high end pitcher, if we look at the available free agents it’s currently Yu Darvish or bust for me. If Masahiro Tanaka were to opt out of his contract with he could be another option as well. Those are the only two available that I would really want them to give any significant amount of money to.

The trade market for starting pitching is a whole other can of worms. I think that’s where they’d be more likely to get a high end starter if it happens. The possibilities there are almost endless though.

In the end, I expect them to sign or trade for some sort of stopgap starter. Someone to help cover some innings and give the rotation some reliability because right now I don’t feel comfortable relying on any of those guys beyond Carlos Martinez.

The last and final response was from Daniel Shoptaw, the head of the UCB.  You can read Daniel’s blog posts at The Cards Conclave.
Well, I’m late to the party and I figure everyone’s answered this better than me, but I’ll go ahead and go for completeness sake if nothing else!

Extending the qualifying offer to Lance Lynn is really a no-brainer.  The Cardinals would love to have Lance Lynn for another year.  If he’d do a two-year deal, they’d probably consider that as well.  Unfortunately, the market is likely to go 4-5 years for Mr. Lynn and that’s just not in the Cardinals’ plans.  So extend the QO because it’s a win-win situation.

2) As others have said, there seems no chance that Lynn would take the offer, though.  It was just two years ago that the first qualifying offers were taken and it’s still a rare thing to see a player give up the chance at free agency, especially if they are coming off a solid year.  Players tend to crave stability and long-term deals, not one-year deals requiring another good season before getting back in the FA pool.  As Adam said, he can get similar money (at worst) and more guaranteed years from someone this winter.

3) Without Lance Lynn, you have Carlos Martinez, Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Luke Weaver, and a big question mark.  And that’s if you don’t think the Cards will move Wacha to the bullpen, which would seem like a reasonable thing to entertain even though the club probably won’t do it.  John Mozeliak told us that Alex Reyes would have started the 2017 season in the bullpen and it would seem unlikely that would not be the case after a year missed with Tommy John surgery (assuming he’s even ready to go by Opening Day, which is always a question), but you wonder if the thinness of the rotation might force their hand.  Jack Flaherty has proven that he needs more time in Memphis, in my opinion, and there’s nobody else ready to step in and take that fifth starter spot.

The club will probably go out and get a veteran “innings eater” that can go in the fifth spot to begin the year and move to the bullpen once Reyes looks ready, probably the All-Star Break.  It would be nice to see them go after a more established starter, someone that fits more to the front of the rotation, given all the question marks, but the front office seems focused on getting an impact bat (which is reasonable) and a high value closer (which is less so).

I have linked to the blogs of each person who responded to my question, so check out their blogs.  You might find a new favorite blog!  What are your thoughts about the Lance Lynn situation?  Post them in the comments section.  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

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Homestand Highlights – August 9-13, 2017

1987 anniWow!  The Cards have won 3 games in a row.  The bats are hot and so is the pitching.  The Cardinals actually won a series for the first time in quite a while.  Should I start getting excited?  Can the Cardinals keep up this momentum?  Let’s hope so.  The Cards come back home for a short homestand starting tomorrow. and let’s hope they beat the Royals in St. Louis like they did in Kansas City.

I’ll post the highlights shortly, but I didn’t want this news to get lost at the bottom of the post just in case you stop reading halfway through the post.  The United Cardinals Bloggers got some sad news last week.  Joe McBrayer, who writes for Cardinals Red Baseball, has been diagnosed with Stage IV cancer.  Your prayers and good thoughts for him would be much appreciated. If you would like to support Joe financially as well as/in lieu of prayers and good thoughts, Daniel Shoptaw, the head honcho of the UCB, has set up a GoFundMe page for Joe.  The Cardinals have contributed a Lou Brock (how appropriate) package to give away.  To get in on the raffle for the prize package, you need to contribute $10 or more to the GoFundMe page.  Thank you for any support you can give Joe.  Here’s the link, in case you missed it:  https://www.gofundme.com/gotobatforjoe.

Without further ado, here are the highlights for the upcoming homestand:

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Wednesday, August 9—Sunday, August 13)

1987 NL Championship Anniversary Weekend and Billy Joel Night Highlight Tenth Homestand at Busch

 

ST. LOUIS, Mo., August 8, 2017 – The Cardinals return to Busch Stadium in the midst of a push towards the top of the N.L. Central Division.  The five-game homestand begins with a two-game interleague matchup against Show Me State rivals the Kansas City Royals (August 9-10) and concludes with three games versus the Atlanta Braves (August 11-13).  The tenth homestand of the year is highlighted by Billy Joel Night, Negro Leagues Tribute Night and a celebration of the 30-year anniversary of the 1987 National League Championship team.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

Billy Joel Theme Night: In anticipation of his upcoming September concert at Busch Stadium, the Cardinals invite all Uptown Girls and Piano Men to Billy Joel Night. Fans that purchase a special theme ticket will receive a Billy Joel bobblehead and can enjoy pregame entertainment provided by Spanky’s Dueling Pianos in Riverview Corner.  Additionally, a portion of each ticket sold will be donated to Jazz St. Louis.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more information, visit cardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme).

Billy

Trevor’s Troops: Trevor Rosenthal will host a group from USO Missouri 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.  Presented by Scott Credit Union.

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 Cardboard RoomDirt Road Addiction and Pogo Funk.  Gate 6 will open at 5:15 p.m. for the event.  Performances begin at 5:15 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.

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, August 10, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals (6:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 4:45 p.m.

 Negro Leagues Tribute Theme Night: Join us at the ballpark to celebrate the history of Negro League Baseball on Negro Leagues Tribute Night.  With the purchase of a special theme ticket, fans will receive a throwback St. Louis Stars cap, which represented St. Louis in the Negro Leagues from 1922-1931 and 1937-1943.  Fans will also be able to enjoy a traveling history exhibit and special pregame Q&A presentation with executives from the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City in the Cunningham Corner.   Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme.  (#CardsTheme)

Negro League

Tsunami Waves: Carlos Martínez will host a group from the Puerto Rican Society of St. Louis for today’s game as part of his Tsunami Waves player ticket program.  Prior to the game, the group will get to watch batting practice from the field and meet with Carlos in the dugout to take pictures and ask questions. Presented by Scott Credit Union.

Pregame Poms/Cheer/Dance Performances: Prior to the game, groups from Collinsville High School Cheer, Dupo High School Cheer, Jamestown Sapphires, Villa Grove High School Dance and Windsor High School Dance will perform in the Ford Plaza beginning around 4:45 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.

Friday, August 11, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves (7:15 p.m.)

1987 National League Championship Anniversary Weekend presented by Heartland Coca-Cola

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

Adult 1987 Road Gray Mystery Jersey Promotional Giveaway: 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a 1987 Road Grey Mystery Jersey featuring Tom LawlessJose OquendoTony PenaTerry Pendleton or John Tudor as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the 1987 National League Championship team.  Fans won’t know which player jersey they will receive until they enter the gates. (#CardsPromo)

1987 jersey

K Cancer Ceremony: Before tonight’s game, former Cardinals closer Jason Motte and Kolten Wong will participate in a check presentation to Cardinals Care on behalf of the Jason Motte Foundation.  In May, Motte and Wong teamed up to raise money for cancer research by hosting their annual Cornhole Challenge.  Fans can get free shipping on the Jason Motte Foundation’s “K Cancer” shirts purchased through August 26 by visiting jasonmottefoundation.org.

Academy Sports + Outdoors Autograph Night: Get free autographs from current and former Cardinals players, courtesy of Academy Sports + Outdoors.  Two current Cardinals players (TBD) will sign 100 autographs inside Ford Plaza for fans ages 15 and younger from 5:45-6:15.  Kids must have an autograph line ticket, which are free and are distributed in the Ford Plaza.  Former Cardinals Kerry Robinson and Scott Terry will sign autographs for fans of all ages from 6:15-7:00.  *Players subject to change*

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 items relate to the 1987 World Series.  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 inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.

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.

Saturday, August 12, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves (6:15 p.m.)

1987 National League Championship Anniversary Weekend presented by Heartland Coca-Cola

Gates open at 4:15 p.m.

Replica 1987 National League Championship Ring Promotional Giveaway: 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will take home a wearable replica of the 1987 National League Championship ring. (#CardsPromo)

1987 ringTopps Baseball Card Pack Giveaway: 30,000 fans entering with a ticket will receive an exclusive pack of baseball cards, courtesy of Topps. (#CardsPromo)

1987 National League Championship Anniversary Ceremony: In recognition of the 30th anniversary of the Cardinals 1987 National League Pennant, over 20 members of the 1987 team, including Ozzie SmithWillie McGeeWhitey HerzogTommy Herr and Jack Clark, will be honored in a pregame ceremony starting at 6:00 p.m.  Ozzie Smith will throw a ceremonial first pitch to Jack Clark.

Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals outfielder Brian Jordan will sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 2:00 to 4:00 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.  Presented by Heartland Coca-Cola Bottling Company. (#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.

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club 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.

Sunday, August 13, 2017 — Cardinals vs. Atlanta Braves (1:15 p.m.)

1987 National League Championship Anniversary Weekend presented by Heartland Coca-Cola

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

Cardinals Coaster Set Promotional Giveaway: 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will take home a set of four Cardinals ceramic coasters, courtesy of Coca-Cola & Schnucks.  (#CardsPromo)

Coaster

 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.

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 frozen treats (while supplies last).

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.

MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction by Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3 and inside the Cardinals Club 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.

That’s all for now!  Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

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

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 2016 Cardinals Blogger Awards – my votes

voteI’ve had a while to get over the fact that the Cardinals didn’t make the playoffs, and that those pesky Cubs won the World Series instead of Cleveland.  However, I walk across the street from Busch Stadium on my way to the Metrolink station every day, and seeing all the flags at the stadium put away for the winter makes me sad.  But life goes on, and on this Election Eve, it’s now time for the 2016 Cardinals Blogger Awards.  You are invited to vote for the 2016 Blogger Awards until November 18, 2016 (that’s my birthday, BTW), and here’s the link for you to cast your ballot:  2016 Cardinals Blogger Award Ballot. My selections in each of these categories are listed below, but don’t let that affect your vote. 🙂

1) Player of the Year
–Matt Carpenter
X Aledmys Diaz
–Yadier Molina
–Brandon Moss
–Write-in: _______________

Jhonny Peralta got hurt (what’s new?).  Aledmys took over and took off like a rocket. If Aledmys hadn’t gotten hit by an Andrew Cashner pitch, he may have been one of the candidates for the NL Rookie of the Year. I’m looking forward to seeing what Aledmys can do in seasons to come.

2) Pitcher of the Year
X Carlos Martinez
–Seung-hwan Oh
–Alex Reyes
–Write-in: _______________

As Adam Wainwright faltered early in the season and had a rough stretch in August, Carlos took over the position of ace on the staff.  He had a 16-9 record, the best record of the staff.  His pitches and the speed of his pitches were wicked.  I can’t wait to see how he pitches next season.

3) Game of the Year
April 8 at Braves (three PH HR)
April 14 at Brewers (Garcia 1 hit, 13 K)
 X  July 16 vs. Marlins (Adam Wainwright shutout)
July 22 vs. Dodgers (Matt Adams home run in 16th)
July 27 at Mets (snapping Famila’s save streak)
August 5 vs. Braves (Jaime Garcia 8 scoreless, 11 K)
August 8 vs. Reds (5 run 9th)
August 14 at Cubs (Piscotty tiebreaking homer)
September 9 at Pittsburgh (three HR in 9th)
October 1 vs. Pittsburgh (rally plus Gyorko winning homer)
–Write-in: ____________

The July 16 game was a magical game in a season that was less than magical. Adam Wainwright pitched one of the games of his career in front of his teammates from the 2006 World Series who had come to town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Cards’ World Series win.  Waino showed he could still pitch like a master.

4) Surprise Player of the Year
–Matt Bowman
_ Aledmys Diaz
X  Jedd Gyorko
–Brandon Moss
–Write-in: ______________

I’m sure we all thought “Jedd who?” when we heard that Mo had traded Jon Jay to the Padres.  Jedd showed his grit and his moxie as he hit home runs when it counted.  The Cards got the best end of that deal, especially when Jay got injured and was out most of the season.

5) Disappointing Player of the Year
–Trevor Rosenthal
–Adam Wainwright
_ Michael Wacha
–Kolten Wong
 X Write-in: Mike Leake

I was going to select Kolten Wong, but he didn’t play enough to give a good sample size.  Mike Leake got my only write in vote instead.  There was a great deal of hoopla when he was signed, and it was hoped he would help with the team since Lance Lynn was out after Tommy John surgery, but he only had a 9-12 record and a 4.69 ERA.  Hopefully, Leake will pitch better next year.

6) Rookie of the Year
–Aledmys Diaz
–Seung-hwan Oh
X Alex Reyes
–Luke Weaver
–Write-in: ______________

Brought up mid-season, Reyes quickly impressed and ended up with a 1.54 ERA, which was the best ERA on the pitching staff.  I’m looking forward to seeing how Reyes will pitch during a full season.

7) Acquisition of the Year
–Zach Duke
–Jedd Gyorko
–Mike Leake
X Seung-hwan Oh
–Write-in: ______________

Oh was the best player that Mo picked up last winter.  Oh was originally signed for eighth inning relief, but he flourished in the closer role when Trevor Rosenthal got hurt.  “Stone Buddha” is one of Oh’s nicknames and if you watch him pitch, you see why.  There is no emotion on Oh’s face when he pitches.

8) Most Anticipated Cardinal
–Harrison Bader
–Austin Gomber
–Delvin Perez
–Rowan Wick
–Write-in: _______________

I don’t follow the minors all that much, so I don’t feel qualified to answer this question.

9) Best Individual Cardinal Blog
–Write-in: _____________

I love all the UCB blogs equally, so I don’t want to play favorites.  I respectfully decline to vote in this category.

10) Best Team Cardinal Blog
X Write-in: Cards Conclave

CC was founded by UCB head honcho Daniel Shoptaw, and he and several other writers share their thoughts about the Cardinals there.  Many different voices in one location – you can’t beat it.

11) Best Media Coverage
X Derrick Goold

–Benjamin Hochman
–Jenifer Langosch
–Bernie Miklasz
–Jose de Jesus Ortiz
X Rob Rains
–Write-in: ______________

A tie here, but I selected them for different reasons.  Derrick is great on Twitter and very responsive to followers who tweet at him.  His columns are informative and well written. Rob does a great job covering the Cardinals on his (and wife Sally’s) website STLSportsPage.com.  Rob has great analysis.

12) Post of the Year
–”Cardinals Find Perfect Timing as Playoff Hopes Crash”–Bill, I70 Baseball
XThe Kolten Wong Situation”–Daniel, C70 At The Bat
–”Lou Brock, the Lucrative Acquisition Fleet Footed All-Star Societal Difference Maker”–Josey, The Redbird Retreat
–”Not Our Year”–Diane, Women Who Love Cardinal Baseball
X Worrying What the Flash Means: How We Talk About Race in Baseball”–Chase, Double Birds
–Write-in: _______________

I will take Proverbs 27:2 to heart (Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth, A stranger, and not your own lips.), and not vote for my own post.  I found myself liking two of the other posts equally well.  Daniel’s post took Rob Rains’ interview with Kolten Wong and expanded upon it.  Chase’s post covers the race problems in today’s game and is very well written.

13) Best UCB Podcast
X Bird Seeds (video)

–Conversations With C70
–The Double Birds Podcast
–Gateway To Baseball Heaven
–Meet Me At Musial
–STL CardGals
–Talking About Birds
–UCB Radio Hour
–Write-in: _________________

Okay, I admit, I don’t listen to many podcasts, but I have watched Bird Seeds and it’s very enjoyable.  Video podcasts are the future of podcasts and Tara does a very good job with Bird Seeds.

14) Best Non-UCB Podcast
–Best Podcast in Baseball
–Cards on Cards
–Cubs Cards Cast
–St. Louis Cardinals Extras (MLB.com)
–Two Birds on a Bat
–Viva El Birdos
–Write-in: _________________

As mentioned above, I don’t have much time to listen to podcasts, so I have no vote for this category.  Sorry about that.

15) Best Podcaster
–Write-in: _________________

Another category in which I don’t feel qualified to vote.

16) Best UCB Twitterer
X Write-in: @CardinalsTales

Bob Netherton (a/k/a Big Green Bob) is my favorite UCB Twitter guy.  He doesn’t write many blog posts, but that’s okay because short-form writing is his best game.  He tells it like it is and doesn’t mince words or characters when it comes to the Cards.  If he’s in the mood, he will post what he calls Twitter Tales, where he takes a classic Cards game and posts it on Twitter, 140 characters/letters at a time.  When he’s not expounding on the Cards, he posts Twitter posts with photos of yummy food cooked on his Big Green Egg barbecue grill.

Don’t forget, tomorrow is Election Day, so go out there and do your civic duty.  And don’t forget to vote for the 2016 UCB Blogger Awards!  Here’s the link again for that, so you don’t have to scroll back up to the top – 2016 Cardinals Blogger Award Ballot.  Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Worse. Game. Ever. (that I’ve seen in person)

angryLast night’s Cards-Reds game was the most horrible game I have ever seen in person. The Cards lost to the Reds 15-2.  In my last blog post, I compared the bad Cardinals to a beer league softball team, and sure enough, that’s the team that showed up to play last night.  When I played co-ed softball, there was a 10 run mercy rule (the game ends after a team scores 10 runs), but unfortunately, that doesn’t apply to baseball.  If it did, the game would have been over after the fourth inning.

My last blog post pleaded for Good Jaime to show up last night. Bad Jaime showed up instead.  He only lasted one inning. The experiment to move Jaime back into the starting rotation failed miserably. I’m pretty sure that last night was the last time we’ll ever see Jaime pitching in a Cardinals uniform.

Michael Wacha relieved Jaime in the second inning, but he wasn’t much better.  The next relief pitcher was Luke Weaver.  After Luke, Dean Kiekhefer came in to pitch. Hazelbaker, a position player, was the last pitcher of the game. We left the game after the sixth inning.  We just couldn’t take any more misery.

Yadi had a bad night too; he couldn’t throw out anyone trying to steal.  The Cards did score a couple of runs, so at least it wasn’t a shutout.  The highlight of the game was a Stephen Piscotty triple.

I always buy a scorecard and keep score when I go to a game, but last night, I stopped keeping score after the fourth inning.  The Reds’ lineup batted 1 ½ times in the fourth inning, and there’s no room on a scorecard to score a second run through the lineup (if there is a way, someone please let me know how), so I just gave up keeping score all together.

My friend noticed how empty the stadium was last night even before the game.  There was less than 40,000 attendees for the first time since 2013.  The left upper deck was completely empty.  In fact, the fans booed several times last night, and I’m ashamed to say I was one of them.  I never thought that I would ever boo my beloved Cardinals, but last night I did.  It appears the fans are getting tired of crappy baseball.  I’m glad that I didn’t pay for my tickets to last night’s game; I would have been really angry if I had paid good money for that lousy outcome. It’s a shame that the last game I got to see at Busch Stadium this season was such a debacle.  I missed going to Bible study for this?  I would have gotten more out of Bible study that that game.

After last night’s loss, the Cards are 1 game back of the Giants for the second wild card spot.  It’s still possible for the Cards to get to the wild card game, but even if by some stroke of luck they did, I really don’t think they’d win the game.  I think the guys have finally run out of steam, and Yadi especially.  Carson Kelly should have been called up earlier to give Yadi some days off, and Mike Matheny should have insisted that Yadi take more time off.  Brayan Pena was supposed to be Yadi’s backup, but he got injured.  Either the guys are totally exhausted, or there are some issues going on in the clubhouse that we are not yet privy to.  It appears they have checked out for the season.

I think it’s time for us Cards fans to start mentally checking out of this season too.  I predicted back in May that this wasn’t our year, and I was right. After the season is over, there will be some housecleaning occurring.  I think there will be some players gone next season, and maybe some coaches and perhaps a manager too.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!

Diane

The perfect lineup (with 1 subtraction)

My fellow Cardinals bloggers and I complain on Twitter night after night Scan0004about manager Mike Matheny’s constant lineup changes.  The lineup is never the same from one night to the next.  Even the casual fan can see the lack of results that this constant changing produces.  But last night, it appeared that Mike spun the wheels on the lineup machine and finally hit the right jackpot.  Here was the lineup for last night’s game:

Carpenter 1B

Gyorko 2B

Moss LF

Piscotty RF

Molina C

Peralta 3B

Grichuk CF

G. Garcia SS

Martinez P

And lo and behold, Mike is using this same lineup in tonight’s game as well, with Waino pitching.  See how easy that was?   Carpenter celebrated being back in the leadoff spot last night by hitting a home run.  Stephen Piscotty and Randall Grichuk hit home runs too, and the Cardinals beat the Mets 8-1.  It was a fun game and even though I was at Bible study, I stealthily looked at my AtBat app to see how the game was going.  Yadi getting caught trying to steal third, however – no, Yadi, don’t do that anymore, or I will have to tweet at your brother Bengie to get on you about that.

I think this lineup should be on the field every night for the rest of the season, and even into the playoffs, if these Cards should get that far.  The only subtraction that I would make is when Aledmys Diaz returns from the disabled list, he would go in Garcia’s spot, and of course, the pitcher varies every game.

Garcia, Matt Adams, and Kolten Wong could come off the bench to pinch hit or spell one of the regular infielders if they need a night off or get hurt (God forbid – the disabled list has been overcrowded this season).  Matt Holliday and Jeremy Hazelbaker could do the same for the outfielders.  Tommy Pham – the jury’s still out on him.

A couple of random thoughts: Could Jaime Garcia just be released now instead of the end of the season when his option is up?  It’s bad enough that you don’t know whether you’re going to get Good Jaime or Bad Jaime when it’s his turn in the rotation.  Lately, however, only Bad Jaime has shown up to pitch.  Alex Reyes has shown that he’s more than ready to be a starter in the show.  Maybe I’m being selfish, but since my son and I will be going to the game on Sunday (which is Jaime’s next start), it would be really great to see Alex’s debut as a starter.

And why, with the exception of Martinez, are our pitchers not ready to pitch in the first inning?  It never fails that the other team starts scoring in the first inning.  The Cards have to start playing catch up already in the bottom of the first.  Are the pitchers not getting enough throwing time before the games?  Or are they getting too much throwing time?  Could the pitchers not be mentally ready to go in the first inning? That appears to be something that Derek Lilliquist needs to work on with them. This problem needs to be solved ASAP.

On Saturday, August 27,  Chris Carpenter, Joe Torre, Sam Breadon and Terry Moore will be inducted in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  The ceremony starts at 2 PM at Fox Sports Midwest Live in Ballpark Village.  The doors open at 11 AM, so get there early to wait in line. Last year, my son and I didn’t get there until 12 noon and we had to share a table with some other folks. I told him we needed to get there earlier.  One of these days, he’ll learn to listen to me.  However, if you can’t make it, Fox Sports Midwest will show the ceremony on Sunday, August 28 at 11:30 a.m.  If you’re at the ceremony, find me and say hi – I always love to meet folks who read my blog.

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

Those banged-up Birds

Bandaged birdThere sure have been a lot of injuries with the Cardinals players in the last month.  Here is the list of the more recently banged-up Birds and their injuries, taken from the injury report on the Cardinals’ website:

Matt Holliday – right thumb fracture, undergoing surgery on 8/18/16

Aledmys Diaz – right thumb fracture

Seth Maness – torn right ulnar collateral ligament, undergoing Tommy John surgery on 8/18/16

Matt Adams – right shoulder inflammation

Michael Wacha – right shoulder inflammation

Tyler Lyons – right knee stress reactions

Trevor Rosenthal – right shoulder inflammation

And this short list doesn’t include the players on the 60 day disabled list, who won’t be cleared to play until 2017.  After looking at all the injuries, I think it’s a good thing that there’s a 40 man roster.  I half expect Adam Wainwright to be added to the disabled list  soon – he hasn’t looked right since he pitched that complete game last month. And pitchers need to stop throwing at our players too.

It’s interesting that three players are on the disabled list for right shoulder inflammation. Two are pitchers and the other is a position player.  That’s one of those things that make you go “hmm.” Hypothetical question – are the Cards’ strength and conditioning staff not doing their job adequately?

Another cause of injuries could be that the season may be just too darn long.  Major League Baseball has one of the most strenuous and lengthy seasons in sports. Hockey has long regular and playoff seasons as well, but hockey games aren’t scheduled every night of the week.  There are 162 regular season baseball games, and teams have few days off every month.  There is the All-Star break;  however, if a player is in the All-Star Game, they then only get a 2 day break.

Before the regular season starts, there is a month of spring training games.  And if your team is lucky enough to make the playoffs, there is a total of 19 playoff games if each series goes the maximum number of games, and an additional play-in game if your team is one of the wild card teams.

That’s a lot of baseball. Sure, we fans love watching all this baseball, but I can see where it can really take a toll on a player’s body, especially a position player that’s in the lineup every day or a pitcher with a high pitching speed.  Maybe it’s time to think about either making the season shorter or playing fewer games during the regular season.  That will probably never happen, however, since the owners enjoy all the revenue from the regular season games and the revenue from the playoff games if their team is talented enough to make the playoffs.

Major League Baseball has one of the most strenuous and lengthy seasons in sports. Hockey has long regular and playoff seasons as well, but hockey games aren’t scheduled every night of the week.  There are 162 regular season baseball games, and teams have few days off, except for the All-Star break. And if a player is in the All-Star Game, they then only get a 2 day break.

Before the regular season starts, there is a month of spring training games.  And if your team is lucky enough to make the playoffs, there is a total of 19 playoff games if each series goes the maximum number of games, and an additional play-in game if your team is one of the wild card teams.

That’s a lot of baseball. Sure, we fans love watching all this baseball, but I can see where it can really take a toll on a player’s body, especially a position player that’s in the lineup every day or a pitcher with a high pitching speed.  Maybe it’s time to think about either making the season shorter or playing fewer games during the regular season.  That will probably never happen, however, since the owners enjoy all the revenue from the regular season games and the revenue from the playoff games if their team is talented enough to make the playoffs.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Trade deadline thoughts

DeadlineSorry I haven’t posted more.  It’s really discouraging watching the Cards play.  I’m a glass-half-filled kind of gal, so it’s hard to find something to write about when your team is playing badly.  One can only complain so much before it gets tiresome, and I love my loyal readers too much to subject them to too much negativity.

As you probably know, the trade deadline is August 1 (since July 31st is a Sunday), which is exciting yet scary at the same time. So are the Cards are sellers or buyers at the trade deadline?  Despite playing badly, the Cards are currently in line for the second wild card slot and are also in second place in the N.L. Central.  A Cubs collapse/Cards surge could mean another division title.  A key acquisition or two could make all the difference to get to the playoffs.

So if the Cards are buyers, what do they have to offer in a trade?  The Cards have an option on Jaime Garcia.  When Jaime starts, you never know if you’re going to get Good Jaime or Bad Jaime.  When Jaime is good, he’s very, very good, but when Jaime is bad, he’s awful.  Jaime should be some other team’s problem.

Kolten Wong is another player who may be better off with a change of venue.  There is a lot of pressure here for him to succeed, and Kolten appears to not handle pressure well.  The only negative about trading Kolten is the 5 year contract he signed earlier this year. It was meant to give Kolten a vote of confidence, but it doesn’t appear to have worked out that way. If Kolten is traded, the Cards may have to eat some of Kolten’s contract for the deal to work. Jedd Gyorko and/or Greg Garcia can take Kolten’s place at second, or there is another alternative, which I’ll discuss below.

Matt Adams’ shortcoming is that he only plays one position.  He would be a great DH for an American League team.  If the Cards could trade Adams to an AL team for a good player, I would be all over that trade.  Brandon Moss could move to left field and Matt Holliday could play first, which could possibly extend his career beyond this season.

The Cards do not need two center fielders.  If you melded Randall Grichuk and Tommy Pham into one person, you’d likely have a great center fielder.  However, since we can’t, one of these guys needs to leave, and I think it should be Tommy Pham.  Tommy is older and is injury prone.  If you need a second outfielder in case of injury, Stephen Piscotty can play center and Jeremy Hazelbaker can play right field.  There are a lot of fans who would like to see Carlos Gonzales patrol right field (and Piscotty would then become the CF), but he would probably bring a very high price tag.

One player whose name has been bandied about as trade bait is prospect Alex Reyes. I really don’t think the team should give him up.  A team should not give up an exciting prospect pitcher  The Cards should, however, call Reyes up in September when rosters expand to gear up for the playoffs, and get him some major league experience.

So what do the Cardinals need in order to get to the playoffs?  They need a good set-up pitcher.  Jerome Williams, who the Cards recently brought up from Memphis, is not the answer.

I have heard that Aledmys Diaz’ natural position is second base, so if Wong is traded, Diaz could move to second. Not all of Diaz’ errant throws can be blamed on rookie mistakes, perhaps. Peralta could then go back to shortstop, or a good shortstop could be acquired.  This could also help with the defense problems in the Cards’ infield.

The Cards could also use Mother Nature to cooperate and not force rain outs. Today’s doubleheader is the second in two weeks. Last week’s doubleheader was a day-night double, which gives the players a break between games; however, today’s doubleheader is a true doubleheader. The doubleheaders and game delays wreak havoc with a pitching rotation.  Calling Mike Mayers up from the minors as a fill-in ended up as a major humiliation in front of a national audience.  I sure hope he can recover from it.

That’s all for now! Thanks as always for reading and I’ll see you next time!

Diane