Home Opening Day is on Monday!

2016 Opening Day LogoToday is a travel day, and hopefully, the Cardinals will use the day off to review what went wrong in the last three games and recharge their batteries.  After a weekend series with the Braves, the Cards will finally be at home at Busch Stadium on Monday.  Will you be making the pilgrimage to downtown St. Louis to attend the pre-game festivities and/or go to the game?  Opening Day tickets are unfortunately not in my budget, but on Monday, I will occasionally sneak into the office across from my desk where I can look out the window and watch the activities on the video boards. For those of you coming downtown, there are details below on all of the Opening Day events. But even if you’re not coming to the game, read below about all of the new things that will be waiting for those who attend games at Busch this year.

ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 7, 2016 – A pre-game ceremony that welcomes home the 2015 National League Central Division Champions, honors the team’s Hall of Famers, and commemorates the great tradition of Opening Day in St. Louis will punctuate a day of activities celebrating the annual return of baseball to St. Louis on Monday, April 11th.  The Cardinals will take on the Milwaukee Brewers in a 3:15 p.m. game.  Following is a schedule of official activities and information to help fans enjoy the great tradition that is Opening Day in St. Louis (#OpeningDaySTL).

 2016 Opening Day in St. Louis

There is no stronger evidence that St. Louis is one of the greatest sports cities in the United States than experiencing a Cardinals Opening Day.  As the day dawns, fans can feel the electric atmosphere.  They breathe it in.  They rejoice.  Baseball is back in the ‘Lou!

 The young and old celebrate this special day.  It doesn’t matter who they are, where they live or what their status is.  On this day, we are all the same.  We are one community united.   Opening Day is an unofficial holiday.  Together, we share a passion and an unyielding love for the Cardinals, for St. Louis and for baseball.  While it is the players who proudly wear the birds on the bat on their chests, it is safe to say that the pulse of the team beats very strongly within the hearts of everyone within Cardinals Nation.  This Opening Day is particularly special as the Cardinals celebrate the 10th anniversary in Busch Stadium and the 2006 World Championship squad.

Current players realize that playing in St. Louis is special as they stare out from the field and watch a sea of red-clad fans descend to cheer on the Redbirds at home or on the road.  Former players know it—as they continue to return to the Gateway City year after year, some donned in iconic red sport coats, to celebrate this town’s greatest tradition.  Our owners surely know it—as Chairman Bill DeWitt, Jr. and his ownership group celebrate their 20th anniversary of taking control of the organization and continue to invest in the metropolitan community.  And the fans definitely know it—as more than three million fans have visited Busch Stadium every year since 2004.

St. Louis doesn’t need to do anything more to prove that it is one of the greatest sports towns in the nation—that’s what 11 World Championships, 19 National League Pennants, 13 Division Titles, 25 first place finishes and over 9,700 wins will do for your city.  Regardless of past success, St. Louisans will continue to make the annual pilgrimage to Busch Stadium for Opening Day to demonstrate why they are the Best Fans in Baseball and why St. Louis truly is one of the best sports cities in all of America.

Pre-Game Schedule

 11:00 a.m. – 1:45 p.m.    Opening Day Pep Rally at Ballpark Village:  Join former Cardinals players, FOX Sports announcers and DJ Todd Thomas at the Ballpark Village parking lot, next to the Busch II Infield, 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 also be on hand to give away Opening Day tickets and other Cardinals & Ballpark Village prizes.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase as well. 

12:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.    Opening Day Pre-Game Party at Cardinals Nation:  New this year, Cardinals Nation will host the Official Pre-Game Party of the St. Louis Cardinals.  This ticketed pep-rally style party will be 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 2016 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.  Only 250 tickets will be allotted for each game, which fans can purchase at cardinals.com/pregame for digital delivery.  Tickets can also be purchased at any box office or at the Cardinals Museum in Cardinals Nation.  Opening Day tickets are currently sold out, but fans should continue to check cardinals.com/pregame.

 12:45 p.m. Gates open

 Budweiser Magnet Schedule Day:  All ticketed-fans, ages 21 and older, will receive a magnet featuring the 2016 Cardinals schedule, compliments of Budweiser.

 2:30 p.m.  Pre-game ceremonies begin with an appearance by the famed Budweiser Clydesdales.

Introduction of St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger, St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay and Missouri Governor Jay Nixon.

Introduction 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 2016 Ford Mustang convertibles

Busch Stadium 10th Anniversary / Tradition Meets Today Video

Introduction of St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame members from the dugout (Mike Shannon, Jim Edmonds & Ted Simmons).

Introduction of the 2016 St. Louis Cardinals via Ford Motorcade.  The players will ride in 2016 Ford F-150s.

Introduction of the Milwaukee Brewers and the St. Louis Cardinals lineups.

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

Moment of silence for Joe Strauss and Joe Garagiola.

The National Anthem will be performed by Clayton Mathews, professional Opera singer and son of Cardinals front office employee Marilyn Mathews.

Tentative fly over by U.S. Air Force (two T-38 supersonic jet trainers).

 Ceremonial First Pitch by Hall of Famer Lou Brock.

 3:15 p.m. Game Time!

Watching on TV

Fans can watch the game and pre-game ceremony in High Definition on FOX Sports Midwest beginning at noon.  The game will also be broadcast nationally on MLB Network.

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) or one of the 141 stations in the Cardinals Radio Network to hear Mike Shannon and John Rooney call the game.  The expanded pre-game show starts at 1:40 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.  From mobile devices, fans can keep tabs on the score using MLB’s mobile app, At Bat 16.

New for 2016, fans who are customers of a participating pay-TV provider will be able to stream FOX Sports Midwest’s Cardinals telecasts on the FOX Sports GO app.  To stream games, users will need to verify their credentials by signing in with their pay-TV provider’s User ID and Password.  There is no additional charge to use FOX Sports GO.  Visit FOXSportsGo.com for more information.

Getting To The Game

MoDOT will have several lane closures on I-44 inside the city limits on Opening Day.  The department will have one lane closed in each direction on I-44 between Jamieson and Kingshighway.  In addition, the department will have one lane closed on the ramp from eastbound I-44 to northbound I-55.  Outside of the city, one lane will be closed around the clock on northbound and southbound I-55 at Reavis Barracks Road.  Fans heading to Opening Day activities should consider using I-70 or I-64 to get downtown, or allow themselves extra time to get through the work zones on I-44.  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.  The Stadium Station has been updated since the off season and the Spruce Street Bridge has been replaced.  New stairs have been added to the south side of the station and the overpass will be open to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic with the exception of the south sidewalk, where construction will continue into the summer.  Check the Metro website MetroStLouis.org for schedules and the Park-Ride lot 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.  The first RedBird Express leaves 2½ hours before the game and runs approximately every 3-5 minutes.  On Opening Day, the RedBird Express will start running at noon.  MetroBus is another great option for getting to downtown St. Louis on Monday.  Fans can catch the #40 Broadway or #99 Downtown Trolley, which both have stops near Busch Stadium.

#CapsOn for Opening Day

The St. Louis Cardinals & MLB are celebrating the unofficial holiday of Opening Day by encouraging all baseball fans to wear caps on Opening Day whether they are attending a game, going to school, working in the office or watching from home.  The Cardinals are asking all fans to show their support for the Redbirds on April 11th by wearing your cap no matter where you are and posting a photo to social media with the hashtag #CapsOn.

Ballpark Improvements for 2016

Fans will immediately notice two major improvements to Busch Stadium as the team celebrates its 10th Anniversary at the ballpark: HD video boards and expanded backstop netting.  Additional upgrades, such as WiFi connectivity will be coming to Busch Stadium later this season to improve the fan experience.

All 11 stadium-facing LED scoreboards were replaced as part of the team’s multi-million dollar investment in the new state-of-the art high definition video boards; a series of improvements three years in the making.  The main video scoreboard is now one complete full-color LED screen replacing the previous LED screen, tri-visions, and 2-color matrix boards and line score.  The new video board occupies the entire 120’ x 40’ space that all the other equipment occupied, and is approximately three times larger than the previous video board with twice the resolution and brightness thanks to the more compact placement of the LEDs.  The new World Championship Board (Out of Town Board) replaces some backlit signage and a tri-vision board for an entire full-color LED area of 81’ x 40’ with 13 mm spacing; approximately two and a half times larger than the previous video board.  In addition to the two main scoreboards, all other stadium-facing Fascia Ribbon Board Displays including first base, third base, centerfield, bullpens, and speed pitch were replaced adding more than twice the resolution of the previous boards.

The new scoreboards and new scoreboard equipment will make every display High Definition.  The new equipment will also enhance the club’s capability to show more replays from more angles, add more roaming or wireless HD cameras in the fan entertainment experience, more options and abilities to create new layouts with more stats and entertainment elements as well as more dynamic signage abilities for sponsors.  The upgrade also includes some re-working of the stadium audio system with new amplifiers and control software to provide fans an enhanced audio experience.  The team upgraded all of the control and production equipment to take advantage of the new system as well.

The effort to equip Busch Stadium with WiFi throughout the stadium later this season is part of Major League Baseball Advanced Media’s (MLBAM) $300 million, multi-year plan to bring WiFi and improved cellular connectivity to every major league ballpark.  Busch Stadium is the largest installation of all the MLBAM WiFi projects to date.  Over 740 WiFi access points are being installed to accommodate fans in all locations of the stadium, including in the AT&T Rooftop, Budweiser Brewhouse rooftop deck and Busch II Infield at Ballpark Village.  As part of the WiFi installation, the equivalent of 30 miles of Cat6a Ethernet cabling, 11 miles of 6-strand optic cabling and two miles of conduit were laid.  The installation project will take more than 10,000 man hours to complete.  Barring any setbacks, in-stadium WiFi should be available for fans to access beginning in May.  Additional stadium improvements include:

The backstop safety netting behind home plate to each team’s dugout step. The netting is 30 feet tall and exceeds the minimum guidelines established by MLB.

8th Street Market, a new grab-and go concept, has been added behind home plate in the location Build-A-Bear Workshop previously occupied.  The self-serve, pay at the register store will give 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.

The Build-A-Bear Workshop has relocated its store within Busch Stadium to inside the centerfield Ford Plaza.  The new 600 square-foot store is actually a converted shipping container that features the company’s signature stuffer and refreshed branding.  Fans will be able to choose from an exciting variety of licensed accessories and make their own furry friends, including a St. Louis Cardinals Bear, a St. Louis Cardinals Bunny, Fredbird and a Clydesdale horse.

Some of the premium ticketed areas have seen improvements as well including: installation of new Green Seats behind home plate, renovation of five Luxury Suites, and the installation of televisions that show the scoreboard display in the Champions Club and Legends Club.

New HD televisions have been installed in various locations throughout the stadium.  This completes an effort to upgrade over 600 televisions in the stadium over that past three years.

New Concessions for 2016

Delaware North Companies Sportservice, the St. Louis Cardinals’ concessionaire for more than 50 years, is preparing to welcome fans back to Busch with a starting lineup of food to please every fan’s unique taste.  Delaware North Executive Chef Larry Johnson and his culinary team have developed a wide array of new menu items for both concessions and suites.  Following is a list of the new concession menu items:

  • Meatball Cone – Custom made on “The Hill” for Busch Stadium, meatball and marinara sauce served in a six-inch Italian bread cone and topped with mozzarella and parmesan cheeses.  (Section 152)
  • Meatball Hoagie – Custom made on “The Hill” for Busch Stadium, meatballs served on a bakery fresh Italian hoagie topped with marinara and shredded mozzarella.  (Section 152)
  • Italian Sausage Hoagie – Custom made on “The Hill” for Busch Stadium, seven-inch Italian sausage served on a bakery fresh Italian hoagie topped with peppers, onions and shredded mozzarella.  (Section 152)
  • Smoked Brisket Italian Beef Hoagie – House slow smoked beef brisket, shaved and marinated in au jus; served on a bakery fresh Italian Hoagie and topped with giardiniera vegetables.  (Section 152)
  • Chicharrón – House fried pork rinds topped with either taco beef or BBQ pulled pork, nacho cheese, and your choice of ingredients including: salsa, jalapenos, banana peppers, diced onions, green onions and sour cream.  (Sections  131, 152, 450 & Redbird Club)
  • House Smoked Meats – Turkey, Brisket, Sausage, and Pork served on a bakery fresh bun with house fried chips for Basket or with coleslaw and potato salad for a Platter.  Half rack house smoked Saint Louis Style ribs available on Platter only.  (Broadway BBQ Stand – Section 109)
  • Dinger’s Donuts – Fresh fried mini donuts, served warm in a Dinger Dozen (14 each) or Cardinal’s Helmet (50 each), topped with your choice of toppings including: chocolate, maple, or vanilla glaze, chopped nuts, sprinkles, or cinnamon sugar.  (Section 145)
  • Berry Brownie Skewer – Fresh strawberries and fudgy brownies layered on a twelve-inch skewer and drizzled with white and milk chocolate.  (Section 145)
  • Turkey Burger – Charbroiled turkey patty on split top bun with arugula and pico de gallo; served with house fried tortilla chips.  (Section 135 & 458)
  • Vegan Burger – Malibu vegan patty on split top bun with arugula and sliced tomato; served with house fried tortilla chips.  (Section 135 & 458)
  • Gluten Free Chicken Tenders – Four gluten free chicken tenders served a la cart or as a basket with tater tots.  (Section 135 & 458)

New Suite Menu Items

In suites, Delaware North is adding some unique options that will provide even greater variety for fans.  Meatloaf Cupcakes (meatloaf wrapped in bacon and topped with mashed potatoes, green beans and bacon-onion jam) along with Turkey Sliders served on pretzel buns highlight the new menu offerings.  Local inspired choices such as Cherokee Street Tamales (traditional pork tamales, steamed in corn husk and served with enchilada sauce and sour cream) and house-smoked St. Louis Style Ribs are also newly available this year.  Additional new entrée selections include Chicken Spiendini Alfredo and Legends Baked Italian Chicken.  Other new suite menu items include a Spinach Cobb Salad, a Strawberry Pecan Salad, Sausage Florentine Pizza, a Vegetable Wrap, and a Skillet Cookie and Seasonal Crisp for dessert.

New Retail for 2016

New Cardinals-branded apparel and merchandise for 2016 is available at the Cardinals Team Store and other locations within the ballpark.  New items include Authentic Jerseys by Majestic with new Flex Base Fabric and Batting Practice Hats by New Era.  New men’s and women’s apparel lines from SustainU (100% recycled apparel, made in the USA) and Hands High (created by Jimmy Fallon) are also new arrivals this season.

Other new retail items include “One Nation” apparel (combination design of Cardinals and Blue logos), brown leather Dooney & Bourke handbags, expanded Columbia outwear selection and more co-branded merchandise headlined by Marvel, Star Wars and local collegiate teams.

Cardinals Authentics Shop

Fans can visit one of the two Cardinals Authentics locations (first floor of Cardinals Nation inside Ballpark Village and Busch Stadium in Ford Plaza north of Gate 6)  to shop for authentic Cardinals gear and to take home a piece of the game.  Cardinals Authentics specialize 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.

Fans should stop by the Authentics Store to pick up autographed items from a variety of Cardinals players, including Adam Wainwright, Matt Carpenter, Seung Hwan Oh, Tommy Pham and Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year, Alex Reyes.  Cardinals Authentics also features a wide selection of Yadier Molina autographed and game used memorabilia.  Cardinals Authentics will continue to offer game-used memorabilia such as baseballs and bases available for purchase before the end of the game throughout the 2016 season as well.

Ballpark Village

Ballpark Village is the place to be before, during and after the game!  Since opening in March of 2014, Ballpark Village has hosted more than 10 million visitors of all ages from across the country and brought hundreds of great events to downtown St. Louis.  As Ballpark Village enters its third year, several additions and improvements are underway.  The brand new Prairie Farms Dugout will serve up Prairie Farms hand-dipped ice cream, North Star frozen novelties and cold beverages on the turf of the Busch II Infield.  Inside fans can catch the pre-game pep rallies in FOX Sports Midwest Live! featuring emcee Todd Thomas and live post-game music by the region’s greatest bands.  When the Cardinals are away, Ballpark Village has fans covered with the return of the Official Away Game Watch Parties featuring premium giveaways like branded snuggies, tank tops, hats and more!  Mark your calendars for major summer festivals for families, barbeques and music!  For all upcoming events please visit stlballparkvillage.com.

Cardinals Nation Restaurant & Bar

New this year, Cardinals Nation will host the Official Pre-Game Party of the St. Louis Cardinals.  The ticketed pep-rally style party will be 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 2016 season.  The exclusive Cardinals Nation pre-game event includes a full buffet menu, all-inclusive bar and a DJ or live music all the way until first pitch.  Only 250 tickets will be allotted for each game, which fans can purchase at cardinals.com/pregame for digital delivery.  Tickets can also be purchased at any box office or at the Cardinals Museum in Cardinals Nation.

Cardinals Nation is proud to offer the Loyal Fan Program with special benefits at Cardinals Nation Restaurant and Bar in Ballpark Village.  Card holders will receive one (1) point for every dollar spent on every visit and every purchase at Cardinals Nation Restaurant and Bar.  One hundred (100) points is equal to a $10 credit on your loyalty card.  To join the Loyal Fan program, fans should visit Cardinals Nation Restaurant and Bar to receive their card, then go online to register and activate it. Once their card is activated they will receive a 100-point registration bonus.  Members will receive notification when special offers such as double points are available.

Open daily, Cardinals Nation is the year-round home to Cardinals fans offering a variety of weekly programming and special events.  Offering an expansive menu that recently added 17 new menu items, Cardinals Nation has something for everyone.  Known for putting a spin on traditional favorites, the Cardinals Nation menu boasts the right mixture of everyday picks and unique novelties.  Fans will want to check out the G&W Grill, Dinger’s Donuts and Gus’ Pretzels carts on game days in front of Cardinals Nation on Clark Street.  The G&W Grill features St. Louis’ own G&W Sausage Company Bratwursts and Hot Dogs.  Dinger’s Donuts will serve fresh, warm mini donuts with a variety of toppings.  The restaurant will also continue to offer the Homerun Brunch every non-game Sunday from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. that features the best Bloody Mary in St. Louis.

The Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum at Cardinals Nation

In January, Chris Carpenter, Keith Hernandez, Jason Isringhausen, Mark McGwire, Matt Morris, Edgar Renteria, Scott Rolen and Joe Torre were revealed as the eight players nominated for possible induction into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.  The eight modern ballot nominees selected by a “Red Ribbon” committee of Cardinals baseball experts through a secret ballot process appear on the Cardinals Hall of Fame ballot online at cardinals.com/HOF presented by Edward Jones (#CardsHOF).  The two players with the most fan votes after voting concludes on April 20th will be inducted into the Cardinals Hall of Fame this August.

The Cardinals are proud to continue to offer the Hall of Fame & Museum Membership Program for fans in 2016.  Individual ($50) or Family Membership ($85) options are available and membership benefits include unlimited museum admission for one year, guest passes, limited edition bobbleheads of Ken Boyer and Willie McGee, discounts to the Cardinals Authentics Shop & Cardinals Nation Restaurant, and access to select presales and member-only events.  Visitcardinals.com/membership for more information.

Celebrating the rich history and heritage of one of baseball’s greatest franchises, Redbird Relics: Treasures from the St. Louis Cardinals Museum is a 144-page hardbound book that takes fans inside the incredible collection of memorabilia from the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum.  Featuring an abundance of items in rich, full-color photography with accompanying essays, it’s the next best thing to being at the Cardinals Museum.  This book is available exclusively through the Cardinals online at cardinals.com/book, at the Busch Stadium Team Store, The Cardinals Authentics Shop at Ballpark Village or any of the Cardinals Clubhouse locations.

Saturday Signings at the Museum is a new program held exclusively in the Cardinals Museum before each Saturday home game during the 2016 season where fans can get an autograph from a former Cardinals player with valid admission to the Museum.  The player will sign for two hours prior to game time.  In addition to having a valid admission to the museum, fans must have an autograph line ticket, which are free and will be distributed on the day of each Saturday signing.  The first Saturday Signing will be held on April 16th when franchise saves leader Jason Isringhausen signs from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Fans can visit cardinals.com/museum for the full schedule and additional detail.

The Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum within Cardinals Nation features the largest team-held collection in baseball.  The collection is second only to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in terms of size with over 20,000 memorabilia items and hundreds of thousands of archival photographs.  This year’s special exhibition is “Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” which celebrates the rich history of the franchise’s minor league system.  The museum is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and remains open through the seventh inning on home game nights.  Visit cardinals.com/museum for more information.

Club Launches Cardinals Insider TV Show

On March 6th, the Cardinals premiered Cardinals Insider, a weekly half-hour news magazine television show and companion online news site on cardinals.com that will provide fans with the ultimate behind-the-scenes view of the entire St. Louis organization.  The half-hour TV 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 of the team, the show also places a strong emphasis on fan engagement and leveraging the team’s social media to enrich the viewer experience.  The Cardinals production of a television show, as well as the team’s commitment to consistently producing streaming video content throughout the year, is a major milestone in the expansion of the team’s brand journalism which began more than two decades ago with the publication of Cardinals Magazine.

2016 Video Engagement Initiative For Fans (#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 will be sponsoring a variety of promotions, contests and campaigns under the umbrella of #CardsFanFlix to encourage fans to creatively use video to demonstrate their enthusiasm and support of the team while also having some fun!

The team recently launched #PlayBallLikeACardinal, a youth-focused video engagement seeking out young people who have a passion for the Redbirds and are incorporating that passion into how they play the game.  Fans are asked to post short video clips of their children imitating their favorite Cardinals players to their preferred social media platform (Twitter, Instagram, Facebook) using the hashtag, #PlayBallLikeACardinal, or share a link to a video they have posted to a public video platform like YouTube directly with the Cardinals at cardinals.com/playball.  The Cardinals intend to share videos of children playing ball like Cardinals on the team’s television broadcasts such as Cardinals Insider, within Busch Stadium on the new high definition scoreboard or online via cardinals.com, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

For the second year in a row, Reverend Robbie Sondag, a Cardinals fan from Fort Wayne, Indiana, will enjoy the Ultimate Opening Day experience with tickets to the President’s Box as he won the Cardinals Second Annual Ultimate Fan Video Contest with his Everything Is Great Ultimate Cardinal Fan Video.

In December, the Cardinals launched a 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 with the team at the students’ school featuring both Fredbird and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.  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.  Eight finalists were announced and fans voted online for their favorite student produced rough cut video to determine the winner.  The winner will be announced on Opening Day.

To recognize fans for extraordinary achievement in the developing art-form of online video, mobile based entertainment and social media posts that celebrate and promote the St. Louis Cardinals, the club announced the creation of the ‘For Really Entertaining Digital Award’, nicknamed the FRED award.  The team plans to bestow the award each week on the team’s weekly news magazine television show Cardinals Insider, online on the team’s website at cardinals.com/FREDaward and through the team’s various social media platforms.  Winners will be awarded the pictured statuette.

Cardinals Magazine Kicks Off 25th Season With Fantastic Season-Opening Edition

Cardinals Magazine opens its quarter-century season with a pair of exclusive Q&A’s featuring primary figures who have helped make the Cardinals one of the game’s model franchises.  The April cover story brings together cornerstone players Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Adam Wainwright for a wide-ranging interview about their decorated careers wearing the birds-on-the-bat and their desire to secure another world championship for the Cardinals.  Cardinals Magazine also sat down with the father-son duo who has guided the organization through an unprecedented run of achievement since taking ownership in 1996: Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. and club President Bill DeWitt III.

Fans will enjoy the breadth of stories in the season-opening edition starting with the first installments of our season-long 10th anniversary celebration of the historic 2006 season, which marked the opening of Busch Stadium III and the club’s 10th World Championship.  The magazine highlights the best moments from the first month of action at the sparkling new ballpark, as well as one of the key role players from the ’06 club, fan favorite So Taguchi.  Additionally Cardinals Magazinereaders will see 16 reasons why the Cards-Cubs rivalry will be white-hot in 2016.  Other issue highlights include the debut of our monthly #AskCarlos department where the All-Star pitcher answers questions from fans, our focus on the 12 prospects who could soon be making a difference for the parent club, and much more!

Cardinals Magazine is on sale for just $5 at Busch Stadium vendors inside each stadium gate, team store locations and Cardinals Authentics stores in Ford Plaza and Ballpark Village.  Throughout St. Louis, the magazine is available for purchase at major retailers like Cardinals Clubhouse, Dierbergs, Schnucks, QuikTrip and Walgreens.  Print and digital subscriptions are also available at cardinals.com/magazine or 314-345-9000, and if you sign up today, you’ll receive 2 FREE tickets to a 2016 home game.  Also, new this season, you can follow Cardinals Magazine on Twitter @CardsMagazine for breaking team coverage, special offers and much more!

2016 Official Scorecard Celebrates 10th Anniversary Of Busch Stadium III

One of the longest-standing collectible souvenirs in baseball, the scorecard represents much more than a means to keep track of the hits, runs and outs that occur over the course of a game.  It’s a tangible keepsake commemorating a game that might 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 vendors cart inside each gate entrance to purchase the Official 2016 Cardinals Scorecard—sold individually or included with each copy of Cardinals Magazine.

This must-have keepsake features the striking artistic designs of local artist Mike Right, who has been creating the timeless Cardinals scorecard imagery since 2003.  Inside, the scorecard also teaches fans how to score the “Cardinal Way”—a storied tradition by club officials that dates back to the 1940s.   Be sure to purchase your 2016 Scorecard at the ballpark this season!  Copies are also available online at cardinals.com/scorecard.

2016 Official Team Media Guide

The St. Louis 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 entire Cardinals organization, along with the definitive history of the club since its inception, the 2016 Media Guide is the best and most comprehensive book about the Cardinals.

The Cardinals annual media guide is a great collectable, with the cover each season highlighting a moment in Cardinals history.  New this season, for every Media Guide purchased at the team store, Cards Authentics store or stands around the ballpark, fans will receive an exclusive poster featuring all 11 media guide covers at the new ballpark, along with the 2016 schedule.

The 2016 Media Guide is available for $20 at the Team Store, Cardinals Authentics or cardinals.com/mediaguide.

2016 Economic Impact Analysis

Based on a projected Cardinals regular season attendance of 3.4 million fans, the St. Louis Regional Chamber projects that the team will generate an estimated $184.1 million in direct impact and another $160.1 million in indirect spending.  These impacts reach a total of $344.2 million in regional economic activity.  The Chamber’s analysis uses the economic impact model, IMPLAN, which measures how spending tied to an event has multiple impacts and spreads throughout a region, thereby benefiting households and firms within the region.  This figure is based on estimates of visitor spending and operations expenditures at Busch Stadium.  Historically, out-of-town visitors constitute about 40% of game attendees and visitor spending on dining, lodging and shopping provides a significant boost to the regional economy.

BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDERS

Bag Inspections Policy

  • The standard game-day bag inspection policies for Busch Stadium will be in effect.  Bags must meet Major League Baseball’s standard size restriction (16” x 16” x 8”), and all bags will be inspected prior to entry. 
  • Fans will be permitted to bring small personal cameras and will be subject to inspection.  No professional-sized photography equipment will be allowed except for members of the media with proper MLB credentials.

·         Fans can bring their own food & drinks into Busch Stadium for all 81 games.  Food & beverages from the outside will not be permitted in the Cardinals Club, Luxury Suites, Party Suites or any of our other All-Inclusive areas.

  • Non-alcoholic beverages such as water and soda in open cups or in clear plastic bottles no larger than two (2) liters are allowed.
  • Alcohol, bottles, cans, thermoses, hard-sided coolers; hard plastic cups/mugs are not permitted.
  • Small banners and signs are allowed.  Banners may be displayed as long as they do not hinder or interfere with a ball in play or distract or interfere with the view of another guest.  Banners may not be displayed in fair territory, be obscene or in poor taste, attract abuse or cause a disturbance among other guests.  They should be baseball-oriented and not commercial in nature.
  • Please minimize items you bring into the stadium to speed up the inspection process. 
  • Expect long lines upon entry and allow yourself plenty of time to go through the inspection process. 

Exit/Re-entry Policy

Standard Exit/Re-entry Policies are in effect.  Guests wishing to leave the stadium, but planning to return during the same game must present their ticket, obtain a re-entry card, and have their hand stamped at Gate 4 as they exit the stadium.  Guests must show their ticket, re-entry card and hand stamp as they pass through the metal detectors upon re-entry.

No Smoking Policy

Standard Busch Stadium Smoking Policy is in effect.  Busch Stadium is a smoke-free facility, including “smokeless” cigarettes.  Exit/Re-entry turnstiles will be set up at Gate 4 to allow fans access in and out of the stadium if they wish to smoke.  Guests must show their ticket, re-entry card and hand stamp as they pass through the metal detectors upon re-entry.

 Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

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My thoughts on Jim Edmonds and the Baseball Hall of Fame

HOFThe Baseball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 was announced yesterday.  Ken Griffey, Jr. and Mike Piazza were the only two candidates elected this year.  I have a Junior story to share, so humor me.  My husband and I attended a weeknight Cards-Reds game at Busch Stadium II in 2001. We were sitting in Power Alley in right field. Junior came up to bat and smacked a home run ball so hard that it left a dent in the round metal table that sat 2 rows of tables down from us. The sound that the ball made when it hit the table was so loud that it scared me half to death.  I was not fast enough to get down there and get the ball, unfortunately.  Younger legs than mine beat me to it.

Jim Edmonds and David Eckstein, Cardinals heroes from the 2000’s, were on the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time this year.  Unfortunately, neither one of them received more than the 5 percent of votes required to stay on the ballot, so they will no longer be on the ballot.  I wish that Jim and David had been able to stay a couple of more years on the ballot before they dropped off.  Perhaps HOF ballot candidates should make and send videos of their performances to the writers like actors do for the Oscars.  “For your consideration – “  The only way either David or Jim would be elected to the HOF now would be a selection by the Veterans’ Committee.

Players who are elected to the Hall of Fame (and those who are even on the ballot) are held to a higher standard than your average major league ballplayer. Not only do you have to have the numbers to qualify, you need to be a class act off of the field as well.  If you want to be elected to the Hall of Fame, there are standards that have to be upheld.  After all, you are going to be an immortal.

Here are my thoughts on why Jim didn’t get more votes.  When Jim played for the Angels, he was not a popular player.  Viva El Birdos did a great post on this, which you can read here. I also found an article in the Sports Illustrated Vault that goes into much more detail.  The California writers remember this and it may have influenced their votes.  He was better loved after he was traded to St. Louis.  His numbers in St. Louis are probably why he was on the ballot in the first place.

Thankfully, Jim is in the Cardinals Hall of Fame, where he belongs anyway.  He looks great in the red jacket and his spectacular plays in center field will be remembered by Cardinals fans for years to come.

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

Diane

Housecleaning time

housecleaningNow that I’ve had time to mourn the end of Cardinals baseball for 2015, it’s time to look ahead to 2016 and think about how to make the team better.  Yes, I know, the Cards won 100 games in 2015, but the team didn’t make it past the NLDS due to the collapse of hitting and pitching.  So here are my suggestions for housecleaning chores:

1. Resign Jason Heyward. Preferably as soon as possible – the longer Cards’ management waits, the more his asking price will go up, especially if he receives big offers from other interested teams.  I made my arguments for resigning Heyward back in August in this blog post.  The Cards have the money to sign Heyward to a big contract, so let’s get it done.

2. Fire John Mabry. Maybe listening to my hubby complain about him is rubbing off on me, but I believe it’s time for Mabry to go.  I know Mo said that all the coaches were going to be given contracts for 2016, but if Mabry hasn’t signed that contract yet, it would be easy to turn him loose.  Derrick Goold wrote a very good article about the declining offense in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which you can read here.  For what it’s worth, Jim Edmonds or Lance Berkman are my suggestions for a replacement batting coach.

3. First base. Stephen Piscotty either needs to be the Cards’ first baseman on a permanent basis or Cards management needs to trade for or acquire a first baseman.  Matt Adams was in a decline even before his injury. The Cards need more production from this spot in the lineup.

4. Time for Jon Jay and Peter Bourjos to go. Jay didn’t play most of the year due to a wrist injury. When he did come back, his defense was rusty.  Bourjos can be a speedy baserunner, but he isn’t always a smart baserunner.  Bourjos never seemed to recover from his hip injury. Tommy Pham would be a good replacement in center field. He and Randal Grichuk could be platooned, or Piscotty could play CF and Mark Reynolds or Brandon Moss could play first for a change of pace.

5. Rest for the starting lineup.. We saw this earlier in the season, when Matt Carpenter was hot at the plate, but then couldn’t play for a while because he was exhausted.  If players get proper rest, i.e., a game off once a week or so, they won’t be as prone to injury or exhaustion. The day off could be rotated – the first baseman one day, the second baseman the next day, etc.  Now if a player is on a hot hitting streak, the player may not want a day off.  That would be a decision between the player and the manager.  A day off for each player on the starting lineup also keeps the bench players fresh and gives them some playing time.

6. A professional grade back-up catcher. Tony Cruz filled in admirably while Yadi was out with his thumb injury, but it’s just not the same without Yadi. Some of the pitchers are not fond of Cruz.  I guess Yadi spoiled them for anyone else.  But Yadi is getting older, and the Cards need to find a great backup catcher to fill in for Yadi and eventually take over for him when he retires.  Travis Tartamella may be the one to fill the bill, but he only played one game during the regular season and that’s not enough to judge whether he’s the one.  If Travis isn’t the chosen one, the Cards may need to pick up a backup catcher from another team.

7. Matheny needs to learn how to manage the team in the postseason. Never was this more evident than this year. The Cards played 4 games and only won one. Perhaps Mike needs to sit down for a heart-to-heart with Whitey Herzog to learn how to manage in the postseason. I’m sure Whitey would be happy to assist.

Now that it’s the offseason, I probably won’t be posting as much. Unless, of course, something exciting happens. You can always find me on Twitter and you can find my Twitter feed on the column to the right.  Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Pomp but no circumstance

Opening Day 2015Yesterday was the Cardinals’ home opener, and as always, expectations ran high.  It poured down rain Monday morning, but by 10 AM, the rain had stopped.  The sun did its best to break through the clouds, but it unfortunately didn’t succeed.  The overcast weather, however, didn’t keep the citizens of Cardinals Nation from flooding into downtown St. Louis to all the pep rally locations, even if they didn’t have tickets to the game (like me).  Opening Day is an unofficial St. Louis civic holiday.  The boys are back in town and all is well with the world.

There were long lines to get into Busch Stadium yesterday due to the new metal detectors that were installed in the off-season. There was plenty of advance notice about the new metal detectors – maybe folks should have gotten moving to the stadium sooner. The on-field pre-game festivities began promptly at 2:30, whether you were in your seat or not. Various civic personalities were introduced.  The beloved Clydesdales made their annual trip around the warning track.  Hall of Famers Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, Tony LaRussa, Lou Brock, Whitey Herzog, and Red Schoendiest were introduced.  Then the St. Louis Cardinals Museum and Hall of Famers Willie McGee, Mike Shannon, and Jim Edmonds that were there were introduced.  Why do I always tear up during the introduction of the Hall of Famers?  Is it just me? Or am I just a sentimental female?  I tear up as well during the Cooperstown Hall of Fame ceremonies when they introduce the players. I can’t blame it on the hormones anymore – I’m too old.  😦

All the current players then made their way around the warning track to home plate.  They all greeted the Hall of Famers (except for Jason Heyward, who forgot) and took their place along the first base line.  Lance Lynn showed a lot of class and respect for the Hall of Famers by removing his cap when he shook their hands.  That man’s mama raised him right.

An American bald eagle was released and he flew around the stadium for a good 5 minutes. I didn’t think he would ever go back to his handler.  The poor bird probably enjoyed his temporary freedom.  I understand he got a mouse for a treat.  He was probably hungry after all that flying around.

Then came the beautiful video tribute for Oscar Tavares, and a moment of silence for Oscar, his girlfriend Edila and Post-Dispatch sports writer Bryan Burwell, who passed away last winter.  The Cardinals did a classy thing and left a spot and a press pass in the press box for Bryan.  Lynn was seen putting his arm around Carlos Martinez’ shoulders during the Oscar tribute, a gesture of support and empathy.

The National Anthem was performed awesomely by Retired U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Generald Wilson.  What a voice! It gave me goosebumps.

The Opening Day ceremonies went off without a hitch (with the exception of Heyward’s faux pas), but the game itself was not without its problems.  The Brewers scored a run in the first inning without the benefit of a hit.  Wainwright’s pitching was inconsistent, and it could be that there was too long of a time between starts for him, due to the days off on Tuesday and Thursday last week.  Wainwright had to pitch a longer game yesterday, because Matheny used 5 bullpen pitchers in Sunday’s game.  Kolten Wong’s defense was sloppy – he made two errors, and brave Kolten tried to take the brunt of the loss upon himself but there were other factors that led to yesterday’s loss.

The Cardinals got within one run, but they lost the game, 5-4. Tradition met today, but today was sadly lacking. I know we’re only 6 games into the season, but the lack of offense, continuing over from last season, is concerning.  Lance Lynn pitches tomorrow evening and I will be attending my first game of the season.  I hope to bring home a win.

My next post will be after the annual blogger event next Sunday evening. See you then! Thanks for reading!

Diane

Homestand highlights for July 4th-10

4th of JulyHappy 4th of July! And hooray – the Cardinals will be back home tomorrow for the next homestand.  There’s no place like home, especially after a 5-5 road trip.  The bats look like they may finally be coming back to life, and Kolten Wong and Joe Kelly may soon return from the DL.  So here’s all the details on all the promotions and all the fun of the next homestand:  

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Friday, July 4 – Thursday, July 10, 2014)

Fireworks, Jim Edmonds Bobblehead, Broadcast Auction and Star Wars Night highlight the sixth homestand of 2014

ST. LOUIS, MO (July 3, 2014) –Tomorrow, the Cardinals kick off a seven-game homestand with a bang as the game ends with a 4th of July fireworks display at Busch. During the week of games, the Cardinals will host the Miami Marlins for three and the Pittsburgh Pirates for four. The homestand is highlighted by the replica 2004 National League Champions Ring, Patriotic Jersey and Jim Edmonds Bobblehead promotions, as well as the Cardinals Care Broadcast Auction and the second annual Star Wars Theme Night.

Friday, July 4, 2014 — Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins (6:15 p.m.)

  • Replica 2004 National League Champions Ring: All ticketed-fans will receive a replica 2004 National League Champions Ring. The ring is wearable and includes a detachable base. (#CardsPromo)

  • Fireworks Night: The Cardinals and Cooper Tires are proud to present a post-game fireworks show at Busch Stadium.
  •  Patriotic Pitch: In honor of Independence Day, United States Marine Core veteran Corporal Joshua Ploetz will throw the ceremonial pitch. Corporal Ploetz served two tours of duty in Afghanistan with the 3rd Marine Regiment as a machine gunner. Currently, the Corporal is on a 2,350 mile river journey – in a one-man canoe – in an ongoing effort to address his combat related Post-Traumatic Stress. Ploetz’s journey, “Paddle Off the War” began along the Mississippi River on May 19th from Lake Itasca in Minnesota, and he expects to arrive in Venice, Louisiana on August 1st. Joining Ploetz for the ceremony are members & volunteers of FOCUS Marines Foundation, a local organization dedicated to helping veterans transition from military to civilian lives.
  •  Budweiser Bash Friday: Enjoy music and autographs in Ford Plaza beginning at 5:15 p.m. The first 200 fans to line up at the Budweiser Bash entrance (Gate 5) will be given guaranteed autograph line tickets for former Cardinals pitcher, Brad Thompson, who will begin signing at 5:30 p.m. Only fans with autograph tickets will receive an autograph. Autograph ticket distribution begins one hour prior to gates opening. Budweiser Bash Fridays are sponsored by Budweiser Beer. (#BudBash)

  • Lou Gehrig Tribute: Major League Baseball and its 30 Clubs will pay special tribute to Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig on the 75th Anniversary of his iconic “Luckiest Man” speech by joining forces with ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) organizations to raise awareness for the disease, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. During tonight’s game, players, managers, coaches and umpires will wear a special commemorative 75th Anniversary patch. Additionally, a special video will be played in all ballparks featuring Matt Adams and the first baseman from each Club reciting a line from Gehrig’s speech. See the video here and on cardinals.com.  (#Gehrig75)
  •  Chicken Wings Now Available at Busch: Beginning tonight, DNC Sportservice, the concessionaire of the St. Louis Cardinals, is introducing a chicken wings at select concession stands at Busch Stadium. The house-smoked wings are served plain with your choice of a buffalo, barbecue, or sweet chili dipping sauce at section 509 (behind the bleachers), outside section 148 and by section 271.
  • Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the six ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the end of the 6th 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, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children. For more info and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050. (#Raffle4Kids)
  • 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 alike to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community. The auction tables will be located at Gate 3, Gate 1, Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club, and in the Redbird Club.
  • Live Music at Cardinals Nation: There will be free live music from Boogie Chyld on the 2nd floor of the Cardinals Nation Restaurant from 9 p.m. to close.

 Saturday, July 5, 2014 — Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins (1:15 p.m.)

  • Adult Patriotic Jersey: 25,000 ticketed-fans, ages 16 and older, receive a one-of-a-kind Cardinals patriotic jersey. (#CardsPromo)

  • ALS Ceremony: During today’s pre-game ceremony, the Cardinals will recognize individuals in our community that are currently impacted by ALS, or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, like John Evans. John will throw out the ceremonial pitch with members of his family, the ALS Association St. Louis Regional Chapter and the Muscular Dystrophy Association. (#Gehrig75)
  •  Prairie Farms Run the Bases: Following the game, fans 15 and under are invited to run the bases of Busch Stadium (weather permitting). Presented by Prairie Farms.
  •  Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the six ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the end of the 6th 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, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children. For more info and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050. (#Raffle4Kids)
  •  MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3, Gate 1, UMB Champions Club, and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the seventh 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.
  •  Live Music at Cardinals Nation: There will be free live music from Brandon Michael Holland on the 2nd floor of the Cardinals Nation Restaurant from 7 to 11 p.m.

 Sunday, July 6, 2014 — Cardinals vs. Miami Marlins (1:15 p.m.)

  • Jim Edmonds Bobblehead: 25,000 ticketed-fans, ages 16 and older receive a Jim Edmonds bobblehead celebrating the 10th anniversary of his game-changing home run in Game 6 of the 2004 NLCS. Jim will also throw the ceremonial pitch. (#CardsPromo)

  •  Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the six ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the end of the 6th 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, the team’s charitable foundation that helps children. For more info and kiosk locations, visit cardinals.com/5050. (#Raffle4Kids)
  • 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).
  •  MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3, Gate 1, UMB Champions Club, and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the seventh 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.

Monday, July 7, 2014 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

  • Komen Night: All fans are invited to join the Cardinals in the fight against breast cancer during the Komen Theme Night at the Ballpark. Each special themed ticket sold comes with a limited edition St. Louis Cardinals Komen ball cap. $5 from each ticket sold – available online at cardinals.com/themebenefits Komen St. Louis.  Please note that the cap is only available with the purchase of the Theme Night ticket. Fans who purchase this ticket will receive a voucher which can be exchanged for the cap. Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item. (#CardsTheme)

  • Redbird Rookies Pre-Game Parade: Prior to the game, members of Cardinals Care’s Redbird Rookies league will parade around the warning track. 2014 marks the 11th anniversary of the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.
  •  MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3, Gate 1, UMB Champions Club, and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the seventh 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.

 Tuesday, July 8, 2014 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

  • Cardinals Care Broadcast Auction: The St. Louis Cardinals have teamed up with FOX Sports Midwest and the Cardinals Radio Network to raise money for Cardinals Care by auctioning off exclusive, one-of-a-kind experiences for Cardinals fans during tonight’s game broadcast. This year’s auction includes a Mike Matheny VIP experience, the chance to shadow Mike Shannon and John Rooney, a Jim Edmonds & FOX Sports Midwest experience, the opportunity to throw out a ceremonial first pitch during the Ultimate Day at Busch, a VIP camper experience at the 2015 Fantasy Camp, and the chance to play catch on the field with Cardinals pitcher Michael Wacha. Bidding begins with the first pitch and continues through the seventh inning. Fans may place a bid by calling 314.345.9418 or see a full listing of auction items at cardinals.com/auction14. Fans can also purchase a Wacha Fan Pack for $99.99 which includes a ticket voucher, Wacha bobblehead and replica 2013 NL Champs ring. General donations to Cardinals Care will also gladly be accepted via phone or by donating online.

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  • Battle at Busch: Busch Stadium is proud to host the Battle at Busch in conjunction with Mozingo Music and 105.7 The Point. The 2014 schedule features 18 local bands over the course of six nights, at six different Cardinals’ home games out in Ford Plaza. Tonight’s battle features Pain After August, Because Reasons, and Minus Me. Bands begin performing 20 minutes after the gates open 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 three scoring bands of the summer will be invited back to play on September 16th 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.

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Wednesday, July 9, 2014 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

  • Star Wars Theme Night: Busch Stadium will transform into a galaxy far, far away as the Cardinals host Star Wars Theme Night at the ballpark. All fans who purchase this special theme night ticket, available at cardinals.com/theme, will take home an exclusive, glow-in-the-dark t-shirt featuring R2D2. A portion of each ticket sold will benefit Stand Up to Cancer. Throughout pre-game until 8 p.m., all fans will be able to take pictures with members of the 501st Legion, an international fan-based organization that dresses as costumed Star Wars characters, who will be stationed throughout the concourse. A surprise Star Wars character will also throw the game’s ceremonial pitch.Please note that the Star Wars t-shirt is only available with the purchase of this special ticket. Fans who purchase this ticket will receive a voucher which can be exchanged for this promotional item.

  • Television Broadcast:Tonight’s game will be broadcast on both FOX Sports Midwest and ESPN.
  •  MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3, Gate 1, UMB Champions Club, and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the seventh 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, July 10, 2014 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (6:15 p.m.)

  •  92.3 WIL Get Your Country On! Night at the Ballpark: Join the WIL personalities in Ford Plaza pre-game, and then party on the Left Field Porch with WIL’s Bo Matthews & Derrick Keith during the 92.3 WIL Theme Night. All fans who purchase the special ticket at cardinals.com/theme receive a limited edition Get Your Country On! Cardinals t-shirt.Please note that the shirt is only available with the purchase of the Theme Night ticket. Fans who purchase this ticket will receive a voucher which can be exchanged for the shirt. Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item. (#CardsTheme)

  •  Redbird Rookies Pre-Game Parade: Prior to the game, members of Cardinals Care’s Redbird Rookies league will parade around the warning track. 2014 marks the 11th  anniversary of the innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.
  •  MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 3, Gate 1, UMB Champions Club, and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the seventh 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!  See you next time!

Diane

 

My Cardinals Hall of Fame nominees

I work in a building that is located two blocks from Busch Stadium, and I see amazing progress on Ballpark Village every day.  The rooftop seats have been put in and the floors have been added to the building framework.  Asphalt for the parking lots has been laid.   One of the new buildings at Ballpark Village will be called Cardinals Nation, and inside the Cardinals Nation building will be the new Cardinals Hall of Fame.  The United Cardinals Bloggers project for July is to make a list of the top 5 Cardinals (players, managers, front office folks, etc.) that we believe should be included in the Cardinals Hall of Fame.  Now there was some qualifiers – the nominee(s) can’t have had their numbers retired, they can’t be still playing/managing/etc. and they can’t already be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  Okay, that’s a bit of a challenge, but I think I can find 5 folks to nominate.  Here’s my list, in no particular order:

1.  Ted Simmons – Simba was one of my favorite players in the late ’70’s to mid-1980’s.  He was overshadowed by his contemporary Johnny Bench, but Ted’s batting average was actually higher than Johnny’s.  I remember his long black hair that came down to his shoulders, blowing behind him as he ran to first base.  Ted had some great stats – he was an 8 time All Star, he won the Silver Slugger, he caught 2 no hitters, and he hit over .300 for 7 years.  I was so sad when he was traded to the Brewers in 1980.  Darryl Porter had to win me over because my heart was still with Simba.  Hopefully one of these years, Ted will be voted in the Baseball Hall of Fame.  The honor is long overdue.

2.  Willie McGee – Willie has been a fan favorite for a long time.  There are periodic calls for his number 53 to be retired.  I loved watching Willie in the 1982 World Series (despite my then-husband ragging me about the team).  Willie was one of the best Cardinals players in the 1980’s, with excellent  defense and a bat that came through when necessary.  Willie, with Ozzie, Tommy Herr and Vince Coleman were the prime examples of Whiteyball, which was Whitey Herzog’s style of baseball.  Willie played with the Cardinals twice and now serves the Cardinals as a special assistant to GM John Mozeliak.

3.  Jim Edmonds – I know, I know, another outfielder, but Jimmy Ballgame is special.  His defense earned him 8 Gold Glove awards and his bat was just as awesome.  Jimmy won 8 Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger, and was a 4 time All Star.  Jim, Albert Pujols, and Scott Rolen were part of the MV3 triumvirate in 2004.  He is such a big part of so many championship series and World Series memories for me.  Jimmy looks like a blue collar guy – if he hadn’t played baseball, he would be working in a factory somewhere.  Edmonds signed a minor league contract in 2011 so that he could retire as a Cardinal. Hopefully, Jim will be elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

4.  John Tudor – And now for my favorite pitcher from the 1980’s. Tudor was known as a junk pitcher – he threw off speed pitches, where batters didn’t expect them.  I liked John because he wasn’t a fastball pitcher.  He had to rely on his brains to get batters out.   In 1985, his first year with the Cardinals, he started with a 1-7 record.  But after May, he had a 20-1 record and ended up with a 1.93 ERA and a 21-8 record that year.  John had 10 complete game shutouts in 1985, and he was the last major league pitcher with this accomplishment.  Sadly, John never regained his 1985 form, although he had seasons with 13 victories.  I was at the Cards-Mets game in 1987 (on Easter Sunday, no less) when Mets catcher Barry Lyons crashed into the Cardinals’ bullpen and collided with Tudor, breaking his leg.   I found out that John had been traded to the Dodgers in 1988 by seeing it on the front page of the Post-Dispatch in a newspaper machine near my bus stop in downtown St. Louis.  John had been traded for Pedro Guerrero.  What?  It broke my heart, although John won a World Series ring with the Dodgers in 1988.  I rejoiced when John returned to the Cardinals in 1990, but despite a comeback season, he retired.  I got his autograph at FanFest in 2009.  He still looked the same, but his hair was a little grayer.  (Can you tell I had a crush on him?  LOL!)

5.   Helene Hathaway Robison Britton – Helene was the first woman owner of a major league baseball team.  She inherited the Cardinals from her uncle.  She wasn’t an owner in name only – she attended owners’ meetings and had major input as to what went on at the ballpark.  Her ownership of the Cardinals coincided with the women’s suffrage movement.  If a woman could run a baseball team, she sure knew enough to vote.  If you click on her name, you will be able to read my original blog post about Helene.

I hope you have enjoyed reading my list of Cardinals Hall of Fame candidates.  Who would you pick?  Leave me a comment below.  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane