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:
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.
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.
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.
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!