Winter Warm-Up Weekend is one of my favorite weekends all winter, second only to Christmas weekend. It’s a sign that spring training is starting soon and that baseball is not that far away. At WWU, we see the players in person in normal clothes and interacting with the fans. There are breakout sessions on Cardinals history and other baseball topics. You can look through all the memorabilia and items that the vendors have for sale, and you can purchase items from the Cardinals Care store and the Team Store outlet store. Plus, you can make new Cardinals fan friends.
My son and I rode on the 8:02 AM Metrolink train to St. Louis Saturday morning. We wanted to get to the Hyatt fairly early because there is always a long line to get in on the first day. When we got on the train, there was a man sitting across from me with a jacket with an STL logo on it. I looked at him and said, “Has anyone told you that you look remarkably like Danny Cox?” “That’s because I am Danny Cox,” he replied. I had to keep my mouth from dropping to the floor. Danny was signing at WWU at 9:00 and he said that he was riding the train to St. Louis because it was his wife’s birthday and his son was going to pick him up after his session was over so they could spend the day together. Danny was very nice and personable. We spoke about baseball in general and about the mess going on in Houston. While we were riding through the Mecklenburg Forest (off Highway 161), Danny pointed out some deer and some wild turkeys (he’s an avid hunter). We parted ways after we got off at the 8th and Pine Metrolink station.
I was amazed that there were still so many autograph tickets available for sale. Harrison Bader’s tickets sold out on the first day they were available last year, but his tickets were still available, along with many other players’ tickets. All the free autographs tickets were sold out, however.
Our first stop was the coat check booth on the 4th floor. After we checked our coats, we took a peek into the Main Stage room. We then went downstairs to the second floor. All of the Cardinals Hall of Fame breakout sessions offered the first 50 attendees HOF bobbleheads and I remembered from last year that tickets were handed out. We wanted to attend the 12:00 PM presentation on Ted Simmons and I wanted to see how early we had to be there to get tickets for the 12 PM bobbleheads. The Cardinals Care folks said arriving an hour before would be fine.
After that, we went into the vendors’ room. Phil picked up some Blues hockey cards and an official puck from the banner raising ceremony. I wanted to wait to get to the Team Store and the Cardinals Care store to spend money. The vendor who had the promotional item giveaways for $5.00 in years past raised his price to $15.00 or 2/$25.00. Rawlings did not have Kolten Wong’s Golden Glove on display like they did Yadi’s last year, and the Louisville Slugger Museum booth was not there either.
We went back to the Presentation area at 10:55 and inquired about the bobblehead tickets for the 12:00 presentation. Unfortunately, all the tickets were already spoken for. No bobblehead is worth waiting 2 hours in line for. We went to the lunch area on the second floor and grabbed some lunch. We stopped by the Main Stage area and listened to the Q&A with John Mozeliak until it was time to go to the presentation.
The “Ted Simmons: A Hall of Fame Career” presentation was by Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum historian Brian Finch. I have reported on Brian’s presentations and if you haven’t been to one before, you’re missing a great time and you’re missing a great Cardinals history learning experience. Brian had many slides with fascinating information about Ted that he elaborated on. Some of these slides had photos of Ted that I’d never seen before.
The next presentation I attended (Phil didn’t want to go) was the 2020 Cardinals Marketing & Promotions presentation with Senior Vice President Dan Farrell. Dan explained the promotions process and then took questions. I asked about whether the Cardinals would ever go to making ladies carry clear purses like the Blues do. Dan said that that would probably not happen unless the league offices mandated it. I was slightly disappointed – in years past, the promotional department would show samples of the promotional items that were going to be distributed and Dan didn’t bring any promotional items. There were discussions about sales of promotional items on eBay. The Funko Pop Yadi Molina giveaway last Labor Day was discussed and I expressed disappointment that it was on Labor Day when we usually go out of town. After the presentation, a couple of older ladies pulled me to the side and the one lady said she had a couple of extra Yadi Funko Pops and would I like one? Of course! We exchanged cell phone numbers and agreed to meet up the next day.
We went back to the vendor area for a while and then went back up to the Main Stage area to see hunky Harrison Bader. Polo Ascencio and Bengie Molina were on the main stage and those two could have a stand-up routine. They were hilarious. When Bengie saw Harrison, he greeted him and said that Harrison knew some Spanish words – tacos, burritos, etc. The audience and Harrison roared with laughter.
Paul DeJong was supposed to be signing yesterday but he missed his flight. We left at 3 PM to go home and cook an early dinner before we had to come back for the Birds of a Different Game: The ‘80s Cardinals presentation at FOX Sports Midwest Live.
The movie was great. I encourage you to watch it on MLB Network on January 28, 2020 at 7 PM CST. If you’re a 1980’s Cardinals fan, you will really enjoy it. The Q&A with Whitey Herzog, John Tudor, Ozzie Smith, and Tommy Herr was also great. John Tudor in particular complimented the fans, and we applauded him. The venue, FOX Sports Midwest Live (FSML), was not great, however, and neither were the event organizers.
Tickets to the event were free. When I clicked through on the Facebook event to order the tickets, it said that the doors opened at 6 PM and that the presentation started at 6:30, which made me assume (mistakenly, I suppose) that it was a private event. It was not, for when we got to FSML, almost all the tables were full. In addition, there were several tables with Reserved signs on them. I thought perhaps they were reserved for people who had tickets for the presentation. When we asked about the reserved tables, we discovered that they were reserved for the fight that began at 9 PM. FSML could have split up the long tables and let people sit at them until after the presentation was over at 8 PM. Instead, they sat empty the whole time. We weren’t even allowed to sit our beer bottles on the tables. A waiter came over to us and told us to remove our beer bottles. Our wristbands (we finally found the booth to check-in) gave us half price drinks until 8 PM and that was the only thing our wristbands were good for. If we had been able to sit at a table, we might have ordered more than one drink and we might have even ordered some food. If I had known that tickets did not equal seats, we would have just walked over from Winter Warm-Up and gotten a table, or I would have called FSML to reserve a table. My friend who came with us has a torn meniscus and she definitely needed a seat, but we had to stand from 5:50 PM until 8 PM. This occasion has soured my opinion of FSML to the point that I may never go there again.
I have no more to report on yesterday’s events. The Day 2 report will be considerably shorter. LOL! Thanks for reading! See you next time!