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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That’s all for now! Thanks for reading!

Diane

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The perfect lineup (with 1 subtraction)

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

Carpenter 1B

Gyorko 2B

Moss LF

Piscotty RF

Molina C

Peralta 3B

Grichuk CF

G. Garcia SS

Martinez P

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Diane

Not our year

Sad baseballI have watched the Cardinals play this season, and I have come to the conclusion that this year is not our year.  I know what you’re thinking.  Diane, the 2011 Cardinals were 11 ½ games out and they managed to get into the playoffs and win the World Series.  But that was a different manager and a different team.  There are only 6 players from that 2011 team on the 2016 team – Adams, Holliday, Wainwright, Lance Lynn, Jaime Garcia and Molina. Molina is playing well.  Wainwright is starting to return to form, but Adams is only now starting to hit better and Holliday is showing his age.  It’s hard to tell what Jaime Garcia you’re going to get when he starts – Good Jaime or Bad Jaime.  And Lance Lynn is on the DL for the year after Tommy John surgery.  Also, the only coaches left from that 2011 team are Derek Liliquist and Jose Oquendo.

The Cards are playing this year like teams who never make the playoffs; for example, the Phillies.  The Cubs are in first in the NL Central and they’re playing like a team who wants to win. As a Cards fan, I hate to admit it, but this could finally be the Cubs’ year.

Let’s look at an overview of the Cards’ performance this season.  Lowlights – there are many.  Ruben Tejada pitching in relief may have been when the season jumped the shark. Rosenthal is experimenting with pitches while he’s trying to save a game, like at the game I was at last Saturday.  Matt Holliday’s batting average has been sinking like a rock (although he did hit a home run today), and Mike Matheny refuses to move him from the third spot in the batting order.  Jhonny Peralta’s thumb injury put a major monkey wrench in the season, but hopefully, he will be back soon.  Jose Oquendo  has really been missed in the third base box and his absence has contributed to some terrible baserunning errors.  Michael Wacha’s mechanics are seriously messed up.  He should be sent to the minor leagues for some work. Carlos Martinez started the season strong, but he has not pitched well at all in his last few starts.  And how is it that Kolten Wong can make spectacular plays seem routine but mess up routine plays?

Highlights – there are a few.  Aledmys Diaz has impressed with his bat, but he is still making rookie mistakes with his glove.  Molina’s batting average is much better this year. Stephen Piscotty has been a shining star, making us forget Jason Heyward.   Seung Hwan Oh was John Mozeliak’s best off-season pick up.  He has been lights out in relief. Unfortunately, Oh showed he really was human in today’s game when he gave up three runs and a home run. Perhaps Oh should be the closer instead of Rosenthal?

This has not been my year either.  The presidential candidate I backed dropped out of the race, and I was passed over for a job I really wanted and was recommended for, along with some other personal things going on in my life that it’s not necessary to talk about here.  Cardinals baseball is a great distraction when things go south in my personal life, but this year, the Cards are not playing well so I don’t even have that.  Can we just turn back the calendar to January 1, 2016 and have a do-over?

Cards fans have seen their team go to the playoffs for the last few years and we are spoiled.  We’ve forgotten how to handle it when our team is bad.  So if you have the opportunity to attend a Cards game this season, go to have fun hanging out with your friends and/or family.  Just don’t expect to see winning baseball.  If the Cards do win, that’s a plus.

I realize that it’s almost the end of May and there still may be time to rescue the sinking S.S. Cardinals ship.  If the Cards can resurrect this season and make the playoffs, I’ll be happy to eat my words.  Just write them in icing on a large chocolate chip cookie, please.

That’s all for now!  Hopefully, I will have a more upbeat blog post next time.  See you then!

Diane

The good and bad of spring training 2016

ST2016I looked at the calendar today and was amazed to discover that the regular season starts in less than two weeks!  I’ve been really busy at work the last few weeks, so the time has flown.  I’ve had a little time to reflect on what has happened to the Cardinals during spring training this year.  Here are my thoughts:

The good:

Seung Hwan Oh. This has been one of Mo’s better off-season pickups.  Not only does Oh have a surname worthy of many catchy tweets, but he is a wicked pitcher as well.  He has only given up 1 hit and 1 run in spring training.  He is well deserving of the nickname The Final Boss.  Oh has asked Cards fans to think up a new nickname for him.  I can only think of one – O-o-o-o-o-h Baby! I am looking forward to seeing him pitch in the regular season.

Brayan Peña.  Peña is another one of Mo’s great off-season pickups.  He will be a better than average back up for Yadi when he needs a day off, or if Yadi can’t start the regular season.  Peña’s lively personality is contagious and will be a great addition to the team. He’s a fan favorite no matter what team he’s playing for, as you can see if you follow Peña on Twitter.  If you  haven’t yet read Peña’s story about how he defected from Cuba, check it out here.

Jedd Gyorko.  The Cards needed a good backup infield player after Pete Kozma was released.  Jon Jay was traded to the Padres for Gyorko, and this was a really good deal. The Cards had an overload of outfielders, so Jay was expendable.  Gyorko can play a variety of infield positions, which came in handy after Jhonny Peralta got hurt (see below).

Matt Holliday at first base.  I admit to being skeptical about this at first (pun intended).  Holliday has been patrolling left field for years now.  But it’s not like it hasn’t been done before.  As Mark Tomasik wrote about last week on his Retrosimba blog, none other than Stan the Man himself was converted from an outfielder to a first baseman.  And don’t forget about Albert Pujols’ conversion from left field to first base.  Brandon Moss and Matt Adams are still battling for the first base position, so any time that Holliday would be playing at first would probably be minimal. However, playing first would be a great way for Holliday to extend his career – that is, unless and until the DH finally comes to the National League.

The bad:

The spring training standings.  The Cards have lost the last 8 spring training games in a row.  There are three ways to look at spring training standings:  1.  These games don’t count anyway, so I’m not worried about it; 2.  The team is not playing well during spring training, and that will carry over to the regular season; or 3.  The team is playing really well and that bodes well for the regular season.  I am starting to get a little concerned about the spring training standings.  It’s pretty sad that a bracket-type contest to determine the best Cardinals blogger Twitter account is getting more attention than the Cards’ spring training season itself.

The offense.  Second verse, same as the first.  The Cards appear to be in the same offensive funk that ended their playoff run last season. One wonders how long it will take before someone figures out that John Mabry is the reason for the team’s offense problems.  This is Baseball 101 – you can’t win games unless you score runs.  Mike Matheny has stated that he wants to see more stolen bases this year and more aggressiveness on the base paths.  Gee, that sounds familiar – oh wait, that’s Whiteyball.  Home runs are nice, but I enjoy watching small ball as well.

Jhonny Peralta.  It always seems like the Cards have at least one player get injured during spring training, and this year is no exception.  On March 5  in a game against the Marlins, Peralta injured his thumb while fielding a ball. It’s the same injury that Yadi had with his thumb. Hopefully, Jhonny won’t have to have 2 surgeries like Yadi had.  Jhonny’s injury led to Mo signing Ruben Tejada, recently released by the Mets, to compete for the shortstop position.

The Cards didn’t have a game scheduled for today, and they have no more days off for the rest of spring training.  Hopefully, the team will start winning and get the momentum they need to start the regular season on a good note.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

extraThere was lots of news yesterday on the Cardinals front, some of it bad and some of it good. Where should I start – the bad news or the good news?  I believe it’s best to get the bad news out of the way first.

Late yesterday afternoon, the Cardinals announced that Lance Lynn had undergone Tommy John surgery and would be out for the entire 2016 season.  Perhaps this explains all the pitching trouble that Lance had during the last few weeks of the season and during the NLDS.

Without Lynn, the 2016 lineup looks like this:  Wainwright, Wacha, Lackey (if signed), Martinez, and Garcia.  But what happens if one of these pitchers is injured?   Alex Reyes would not be able to be brought up from the minors for a while, since he will be serving a 40 game suspension (10 games’ suspension will be for fall league games) in the because marijuana was detected in his drug test. Tyler Lyons showed grit and determination in his starts last season and it earned him a place on the postseason roster.  I would like to see him get another chance to pitch in the majors next season.  If any of the starting rotation pitchers are injured, Lyons should be the first one to be called up.

Fellow blogger Tom Knuppel (Cardinals GM) asked on Twitter and Facebook whether Trevor Rosenthal could be converted to a starter.  I replied that Rosey almost gives me a heart attack pitching in the ninth inning.  My poor heart couldn’t handle him being a starter.

Lynn’s surgery really throws a monkey wrench in the Cards’ offseason plans. Any hopes of letting Lackey go or trading Garcia are out of the question now.  I would like to see the Cards resign Lackey at the very least, even if only for a one year contract.

In other bad news, fan favorite Lou Brock had surgery yesterday to amputate his leg below the knee due to complications from an infection related to diabetes.  How ironic that the Cards’ best base stealer ever had to have part of one of his legs amputated.  I wish you Godspeed and quick healing, Lou, and I hope we will see you walk on the Busch Stadium infield with the rest of the Hall of Fame members on Opening Day 2016. Lan

Now for the good news – yes, there is some.  Yesterday evening, both Yadier Molina and Jason Heyward won Gold Gloves.  It was Yadi’s eighth Gold Glove in a row and Jason’s second. Both players are well deserving of their awards.  But the Cards should have negotiated to resign Heyward before the Gold Gloves were given out – Heyward’s asking price has just gone up.

Cards manager Mike Matheny was nominated for the Manager of the Year award yesterday.  In other years, Mike would be a shoo-in for this award for leading the team to 100 wins with all the injuries and the Oscar Tavares tragedy.  However, the other nominees are Joe Maddon and Terry Collins.  Maddon led the Cubs to their first NLCS since 2003 and Collins led the Mets to the World Series for the first time since 2000.  I predict Maddon will win the MOY award.

If you are interested in learning more about the Cardinals’ farm system and you’re in the St. Louis area, visit the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum for a special exhibit on the history of the Cardinals’ farm system.  Here’s some more information:

On Saturday, November 21, the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will open a new exhibit entitled “Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” which celebrates the rich history of the franchise’s minor league system. This display, which replaces last year’s special exhibition “Stan Musial: ‘The Man’ Off the Field,” will be previewed Friday, November 20, during an exclusive ticketed event with General Manager John Mozeliak.

The Cardinals developed baseball’s first successful farm system based on Branch Rickey’s concept in the early 1920s and few ideas have had a more dramatic impact on the game,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals. “We take great pride in our farm system and the impact our homegrown players have had on our franchise history; we’re looking forward to sharing those stories with our fans.”   

“Farming the Business of Cardinals Baseball” features over 100 artifacts which bring to life the rich history of the franchise’s farm system from the 1920s through today. Exhibit highlights include Branch Rickey’s 1919 road jersey worn while managing the Cardinals; George Kissell’s hand-written pocket-sized coaching manual – the genesis for the club’s organizational guidelines that are still in use today (on loan from the Kissell family); a game-worn barnstorming jersey from Jim Bottomley, the first superstar from the farm system; Dave Duncan’s pitching chart of rookie hurler Bud Smith’s no-hitter in 2001; top prospect Oscar Taveras’ Carlos Martinez-model bat used during the 2014 season; an original eight-foot-by-five-foot banner featuring the Hamilton, Ontario, Canada farm team that flew over Sportsman’s Park circa 1954; and much more.

A limited number of tickets remain for the exclusive exhibit preview on Friday, November 20. With the purchase of a $60 ticket ($50 for museum members), fans receive a private, after-hours first look at the exhibit with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres in the Cardinals Museum, a farm-to-table dinner buffet and drinks in the Hall of Fame Club at Cardinals Nation, and an after-dinner Q&A session with General Manager John Mozeliak and broadcaster Dan McLaughlin. For more information or to purchase event tickets, fans can visit cardinals.com/museum.

The Cardinals Museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the offseason. The special exhibit, which is open to the public from November 21, through the conclusion of the 2016 baseball season, is free with the cost of museum admission. To purchase Cardinals Museum tickets or learn more about museum membership, visit cardinals.com/museum.    

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

NLDS ponderings and playoff game schedule

Cubs-CardsIt’s the most wonderful time of  the year!  No, not Christmas (although Christmas is great) – it’s the postseason!  Only 8 teams are good enough to compete in the postseason and the Cards, of course, are one of them.

By now, you hopefully have heard about the roster that Mike Matheny has set up for the NLDS.  If you haven’t, you can click on the link here and listen to Mike read it for yourself.  Notable players missing from the NLDS roster are Matt Adams, Peter Bourjos, Randy Choate and Steve Cishek.  The roster consists of 11 pitchers and 14 position players.  One of those position players is our favorite catcher Yadier Molina, and Cardinals fans everywhere are breathing a big sigh of relief.  You may or may not agree with Mike’s selections, but then again, they don’t pay us to be the manager.

The Cards will be playing the Cubs in the NLDS for the first time.  This is going to be a wild series.  It should make for a very electric atmosphere. Hopefully, there will be no bench brawls like the one in last night’s wild card game.  Hopefully, the fans will behave themselves (I think more the Cubs fans than the Cards fans – Cards fans have more class).  And hopefully, the Cubs will play cleanly and not try to injure any of the Cards’ players. Yours truly will be at Game 1 tomorrow evening. I am so excited, I may not be able to sleep tonight! It is the first playoff game I have ever attended in my over 40 years of being a Cardinals fan.  Since my son Phillip has a job now, he purchased our tickets – thanks, son!   I can now mark this off my Cardinals bucket list.  We will be at the pep rally prior to the game, so look me up!

Speaking of pep rallies, here are all the details about the NLDS and everything that’s going on at Busch Stadium before and after the games, along with some reminders about attending games at Busch Stadium.  There are some new food items and new postseason merchandise.

2015 NLDS at BUSCH STADIUM

St. Louis Cardinals – Chicago Cubs 

How fans can enjoy the historic Division Series matchup and rally support for the Cardinals         

ST. LOUIS, October 08, 2015 – For the third consecutive year, the Cardinals clinched a Central Division championship and punched a ticket back to the National League Division Series. With the best record in baseball, the Cardinals hold home-field advantage for the best-of-five series against the division rival Chicago Cubs. The 11-time World Champion Cardinals are making their fifth consecutive postseason appearance and the 28th postseason appearance in franchise history (#12inSTL). This is the first time in history the Cardinals and Cubs will face each other in the postseason. While there are currently no remaining tickets available for the Division Series games at Busch, fans are encouraged to check back at cardinals.com/postseason or visit our partner site, StubHub.com. Here are details on how fans can enjoy postseason baseball in St. Louis.

GAME SCHEDULE & HIGHLIGHTS

NLDS Game 1 – Friday, October 9, 2015 – Busch Stadium – 5:45 p.m. CT (TBS)

  • 1:45 – 4:15 p.m. Official Cardinals Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Lot, located at Clark and Eighth Street
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, and more
    • Appearances by Fredbird, Team Fredbird, a former Cardinal and the FOX Sports Midwest broadcasters
  • Gates open 2 ½ hours prior to first pitch at 3:15 p.m.
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals rally towel courtesy of Mercy, the official healthcare provider of the Cardinals
  • Pregame Ceremony starts at 5:10 p.m., approximately 30 minutes prior to first pitch
    • Budweiser Clydesdales will parade the warning track
    • Introduction of both teams on field
    • National Anthem by 4-Digit Chord, an acapella vocal group of Civilian, Active Duty, and Retired Military volunteers employed at Department of Defense agencies in the St. Louis Metro-East area
    • Colors and flag presented by soldiers from Ft. Leonard Wood
    • Former Cardinals outfielder (2004-2005) Reggie Sanders will throw the ceremonial first pitch. This year marks the 10th anniversary of Sanders’ 2005 NLDS heroics.

 NLDS Game 2 – Saturday, October 10, 2015 – Busch Stadium – 4:37 p.m. CT (TBS)

  • 12:30 – 3 p.m. Official Cardinals Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Lot, located at Clark and Eighth Street
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, and more
    • Appearances by Fredbird, Team Fredbird, a former Cardinal player and the FOX Sports Midwest broadcasters
  • Gates open at 2 p.m., approximately 2 ½ hours prior to first pitch
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals rally towel courtesy of Edward Jones
  • Pregame Ceremony starts approximately 30 minutes prior to first pitch at 4 p.m.
    • Budweiser Clydesdales will parade the warning track
    • National Anthem by retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Generald Wilson
    • Colors presented by The United States Marines with Recruiting Station St. Louis
    • 2015 Cardinals Hall of Fame Inductee Ted Simmons will throw the ceremonial first pitch

 NLDS Game 3 – Monday, October 12, 2015 – Wrigley Field – Game Time TBD (TBS)

 NLDS Game 4 – Tuesday, October 13, 2015 – Wrigley Field – Game Time TBD (TBS)*(If necessary)

 NLDS Game 5 – Thursday, October 15, 2015 – Busch Stadium – Game Time TBD (TBS) *(If necessary)

  • Official Cardinals Pep Rally in Ballpark Village Lot, located at Clark and Eighth Street; begins approximately 4 hours prior to first pitch and lasts 2 ½ hours
    • Music by DJ Todd Thomas, entertainment, prizes, and more
    • Appearances by Fredbird, Team Fredbird, a former Cardinal player and the FOX Sports Midwest broadcasters
  • Gates will open approximately 2 ½ hours prior to first pitch
  • 40,000 fans receive a Cardinals rally towel courtesy of Phillips 66
  • More info to come

 Watching On TV

Fans can watch the Cardinals’ National League Division Series games on TBS. For channel information, check your local listings. FOX Sports Midwest, the TV home of the Cardinals, will produce postgame shows after all postseason games. Pat Parris will anchor from the network’s Ballpark Village studio, with a rotation of analysts that includes Al Hrabosky, Rick Horton, Jim Edmonds and Brad Thompson.

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into the flagship station KMOX (1120 AM) and the 140 Cardinals Radio Network stations to hear Mike Shannon & John Rooney call the games. Mike Claiborne will also provide interviews throughout the series. The Cardinals Radio Network pre-game and post-game shows will be hosted by KMOX’s Chris Hrabe from Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village.  The national broadcast of the NLDS games can also be heard on ESPN Radio (101.1 FM) or SiriusXM Radio.

Social Media

Fans participating in the postseason action on social media can follow the Cardinals at Facebook.com/Cardinals, on Twitter (@Cardinals), on Instagram (@Cardinals) and more. Join the social conversation using #12inSTL.

The Cardinals have also launched a unique #12inStL Fan Video Rally encouraging fans of all ages to rally behind the team during the 2015 Postseason by sharing videos demonstrating their spirit, enthusiasm and support for the team’s quest for a 12th World Series Championship. The first five hundred fans who share a video with the team this postseason will be sent two complimentary official #12inStL Cardinals Rally Bands. For more info visit cardinals.com/fanflix.

Online Or On The Go

Fans can follow every Cardinals Postseason game for free on cardinals.com on their computers and laptops using MLB.com Gameday. The MLB.com At Bat mobile application is the most popular way to follow live Cardinals games on-the-go with scores, stats, schedules, news and analysis. During this year’s Postseason games in the National League, a subscription to At Bat Premium offers fans live radio broadcasts, replay reviews, Statcast, Postseason.TV, video highlights and more. Cardinals fans can download MLB.com At Bat on their favorite smartphones or tablets by visiting the app store or MLB.com.

Driving To The Games

MoDOT has limited roadwork when the Cardinals are at home during the National League Division Playoffs. Currently, fans can expect no significant traffic impacts due to construction on Missouri interstates heading into Busch Stadium or heading home.

Alternative Transportation

MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving, allowing fans to avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic. Fans can park at any one of 21 free Metro Park-Ride lots in Missouri and Illinois and ride the train to the Stadium MetroLink Station, right across the street from the ballpark. Check the Metro website MetroStLouis.org for schedules and to find 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 2 1/2 hours before the game and runs approximately every 5 minutes.

 New Concession Items

  • Popcorn Shrimp & Sweet Potato Tater Tots topped with white queso cheese, Sauce Louis, diced green onions and a lemon wedge (Sections, 161, 446 and inside the Redbird Club)

ShrimpSweetPotatoTots2

  • Chicharrones: house-fried pork rinds topped with your selection of nacho cheese, taco beef or BBQ pork, salsa, jalapenos, sour cream, banana peppers and/or diced red and green onions. (Sections 151, 131, 450 and at the Redbird Club Nacho Bar)

PorkRindNachos1

  • The Hill Slugger: 24” DiGregorio local Italian Sausage wrapped in hand-stretched  pizza dough, topped with melted butter and Parmesan, and served with a side of marinara (Section 152 and Redbird Club pizza stand)

HillSlugger3

Postseason Merchandise

  • Busch Stadium Team Store: The Team Store will be open seven days a week from 9 a.m. – 7 p.m.  In addition to standard merchandise, the store will also carry exclusive postseason and Central Division Champions merchandise including hats, t-shirts, pennants, pins and more. A variety of items are also available in ladies and youth sizes. Fans can also buy official t-shirts and hoodies, just like the players wear (#BuschStadiumTeamStore).

         

  •  Cardinals Authentics: Cardinals Authentics is the only place to get official, game-used, limited edition and autographed Cardinals memorabilia directly from the team. Featured items include game-used baseballs, bases, bats and jerseys from the 2015 season, 11X World Series Champions themed items, and exclusive autographed memorabilia. Known as the store where every piece tells a story, Cardinals Authentics has a variety of items to fit every budget. The Cardinals Authentics Store located inside Busch Stadium at Ford Plaza is open 2 hours before game time and a half hour after the game ends. The Cardinals Authentics Shop located inside Cardinals Nation at Ballpark Village is open 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. (or one hour after the game ends) every day of the week. To take home a piece of the game, follow them on Twitter at @CardsAuthentics (#CardsAuthentics) and shop online at cardinalsauthentics.com to take home a piece of the game.
  •  Cardinals Magazine and Cardinals Yearbook:  Celebrate the Cardinals’ return to the postseason by purchasing three keepsake items at Busch Stadium during the Division Series. The new Cardinals Magazine features Yadier Molina, whose work behind the plate guiding baseball’s best starting staff in the regular season garnered praise from teammates, coaches and opponents who all shared insights into baseball’s best defensive catcher. The 2015 Cardinals Yearbook celebrates the history of Cards’ uniform numbers and the legends who made them famous. This 224-page keepsake also includes action and studio portraits of the 2015 Cardinals. Fans can also still pick up the 2015 Scorecard featuring beautiful retro cover art on the cover, team rosters inside and detailed instructions on how to score the “Cardinal Way.” The magazine ($5), yearbook ($15) and scorecard ($2.50) are available at the newly refurbished Cardinals Publications vendor carts inside each stadium gate, at cardinals.com/publications, or 314.345.9000. The magazine and yearbook are also on sale at the team store, Cardinals Authentics, and area retailers like Schnucks, Dierbergs, QT, Walgreens and Cardinals Clubhouse (#CardsMag, #CardsYearbook).

          

Support Cardinals Care

Throughout the postseason, fans will have multiple opportunities to support Cardinals Care, the charitable arm of the team and organization.

Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle: Fans, ages 18 and older, may play the Cardinals Care 50/50 Raffle by going to any of the seven ticket kiosk locations throughout the stadium from the time gates open until the middle of the 7th inning. One lucky fan will receive 50 percent of the gross proceeds from the game’s raffle ticket donations, and the other half will benefit Cardinals Care, 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 every postseason home 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.

Cardinals Nation Restaurant & Bar

Cardinals Nation, the team’s two-story restaurant in Ballpark Village, rolled out a variety of new menu items and specials just in time for the 2015 postseason (#CardsNation).

  • Tuna Wontons
  • Meatball Sliders
  • BBQ Hawaiian Pizza
  • Meat Lovers Pizza
  • Steakhouse Salad
  • Jerk Chicken Sandwich
  • Buffalo Chicken Wrap
  • Turkey Wrap
  • Ribeye Steak
  • Two Birds on a Plate
  • Porterhouse Pork Chop
  • Spaghetti & Meatballs
  • Octoberfest Burger (back by popular demand for the month of October)

20 oz. Souvenir Cardinals Nation Postseason 2015 Cup: Keep your cup with every game day draft beer purchase.

cards nation cup

G&W Grill: The fan-favorite G&W Grill will be outside Cardinals Nation every home game serving up St. Louis’ favorite G&W Bratwursts and hot dogs. There will also be a satellite location inside the Pep Rally.

Live Music: Stick around after every postseason home game for free live music in the Hall of Fame Club, on the 2nd floor of Cardinals Nation.

  • Friday, October 9 – Borderline
  • Saturday, October 10 – Carrie and the Catapults
  • Thursday, October 15 – Borderline (if game is played)

 Giveaways: On home game days, Cardinals Nation will have postseason rally towels and koozies for fans.

 Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum

Before every postseason game, the Cardinals Hall of Fame will host an Artifact Spotlight giving Museum visitors the chance to see postseason-themed artifacts in the collection not currently on display. On Friday, the presentation is scheduled from 3-3:30 p.m. Saturday’s presentation is scheduled from 1:45 – 2:15 p.m. Thursday is TBD. These programs are free with paid admission to the museum. For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum (#CardsMuseum).

Ballpark Village

Ballpark Village is the home of the official Cardinals Postseason Away Game Watch Parties replicating the game-day excitement of Busch Stadium for fans while the team is on the road. Fans will enjoy pep rally entertainment, complete with celebrity emcee, games and limited appearances by Fredbird and Team Fredbird. Giveaways include cowbells, thundersticks and megaphones. Learn more here.

  • Bob Gibson Book Signing: Cardinals Hall of Famer Bob Gibson is coming to Ballpark Village to share and sign his new book PITCH BY PITCH: My View of One Unforgettable Game at the Budwesier Brew House Sunday, October 11, from 2- 5:30 p.m. Don’t miss the FREE live on-stage interview by sports broadcaster Dan McLaughlin followed by a ticketed book signing. Learn more here.

For more information, visit stlballparkvillage.com (#BallparkVillage).

BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDER 

Bag Inspections And Guest Screening Policy

Standard game-day bag inspection policies for Busch Stadium are in effect. Bags will be allowed that meet Major League Baseball’s standard size restriction (16” x 16”x 8”), and all bags will be inspected prior to entry.

As a reminder, the Cardinals and Major League Baseball have implemented the use of walk through metal detectors at all entrances to Busch Stadium to ensure the safety of all guests. As part of the process, guests will have to remove cell phones, cameras and other large metal objects before passing through the detectors. Guests in wheelchairs and those with medical devices that may set off the detector are subject to alternative screening methods. Guests will still be required to have their bags inspected prior to entering the stadium.

Guests will be permitted to bring small personal cameras as long as they do not obstruct other guest’s view and will be subject to inspection.  No professional-sized photography equipment, including tripods and monopods, will be allowed except for members of the media with proper MLB Postseason credentials.

Non-alcoholic beverages such as water & soda in open cups or in clear plastic bottles no larger than 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

Exit/re-entry will only be allowed starting at game time and extending through the end of the 7th inning. Guests wishing to leave the stadium, but planning to return during the same game must have their hand and ticket stamped at Gate 4 only as they exit the stadium. Guests will also receive a re-entry card which they must show with their stamped ticket and stamped hand upon re-entry. Inspection and Guest Screening policy will also be enforced.

No Smoking Policy

Standard Busch Stadium Smoking Policy is in effect.  Busch Stadium is a smoke-free facility. 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 have their hand and ticket stamped at Gate 4 as they exit the stadium. Guests will also receive a re-entry card which they must show with their stamped ticket and stamped hand upon re-entry. Inspection and Guest Screening policy will also be enforced.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 2015 SEASON

  • The Cardinals completed their 124th season of play in the National League with an 100-62 mark, the top mark in the majors. The team won the N.L. Central for the 11th time and for the 3rd consecutive season, as they qualified for the postseason for a 5th consecutive season – the 1st  time in franchise history to have done so.
  • The Cardinals are meeting the Chicago Cubs for the first time ever in postseason play. The Cardinals were 11-8 against the Cubs this season, going 7-3 at Busch Stadium & 4-5 at Wrigley Field. The Cards trail their all-time series with the Cubs, 1,147-1,197. St. Louis is 53-36 (.596) at home against the Cubs since 2006 when Busch Stadium III opened; they are 446-512-2 (.466) all-time at Wrigley Field.
  •  The Cardinals won a Busch Stadium III record 55 home games, tying the L.A. Dodgers for the top home mark in the majors. The Cardinals have won an N.L.-best 491 home games since moving into Busch Stadium III in 2006.
  •  The Cardinals put together the 75th winning season (+.500) in franchise history. The Cardinals have now compiled eight consecutive winning seasons, doing so for only the 2nd time in franchise history.
  •  The Cardinals were the first team in the majors to clinch a spot in the postseason, doing so for a franchise-record fifth consecutive season and in each of the four seasons that Manager Mike Matheny has been at the helm.
  •  With 100 wins this season, the Cardinals are just the ninth team in franchise history to reach the century mark in wins (1942 – 106; 1943, 1944, & 2004 – 105; 1931, 1967, 1985 – 101; 2005 & 2015 – 100). They are the major’s first 100-win team since Philadelphia in 2011 (102).
  •  The Cardinals were 32-23 in one-run games, 15-15 in shutouts, and 8-8 in extra-inning games.
  •  The Cardinals had a N.L. best +121 runs scored differential (647-525), second only to the Toronto Blue Jays (+222).
  •  The Cardinals allowed the 2nd fewest home runs (123) in the majors, with Pittsburgh allowing the fewest (110).
  •  The Cardinals’ 70 postseason wins since 1996 are 2nd in the majors (NY Yankees, 97).
  •  Mike Matheny is the first manager in Major League history to take his team to the postseason in each of his first four full seasons. The Cardinals are 375-273 under Matheny, owning the majors’ top winning percentage (.579) in that four-season span (2012-15) and they have also appeared in a Major League-high 39 postseason games.

That’s all for now!   Go Cards!

Diane

Resilience despite adversity

ResilienceI wrote a blog post earlier this season about how the infirmary was getting full of Cardinals players.   Maybe that was bad luck –  who knows?  The Cardinals have endured more than their share of injuries this season.  I’ll list them so we can see the magnitude of the injuries:

Jordan Walden – shoulder
Adam Wainwright – torn Achilles tendon
Matt Adams – torn right quadriceps muscle, Grade 4
Matt Holliday – torn right quadriceps muscle, Grade 2
Matt Belisle –forearm tenderness
Jason Heyward – hamstring strain
Randal Grichuk – muscle strain lifting weight, elbow strain
Jon Jay – recovery from off-season wrist surgery
Yadier Molina – slight tear of left thumb ligament
Carlos Martinez – strained shoulder
Stephen Piscotty – outfield collision with Peter Bourjos

(If there is anyone I missed, or if I goofed up on the injuries, please let me know in the comments section below.)

Yet despite all these injuries (and with some great pickups and call ups by Mo), the Cardinals are in first place in the NL Central with the best record in baseball.  The magic number to clinch the NL Central is 2, and if the Cards win tomorrow at Pittsburgh, it will be zero.  This will be the Cardinals’ first 100 win season since 2005.

The Cardinals have shown amazing resilience this season. A lesser team would crumble under the weight of all these injuries. But the Cardinals have not crumbled, thanks to the managing of Mike Matheny.  Mike is the glue that has held this team together through all the injuries and all the other craziness this season (hacking? What hacking?).

Now we Cards fans and bloggers may not agree with every move Mike makes, but you can’t argue with results. This is Mike’s fourth year managing the Cardinals (heck, managing a major league team, period) and the team has gone to the postseason every year for the last four years.  How many managers can claim that honor during their first four years of managing?  If you want to get some insight as to how Mike manages a team, I highly suggest you pick up and read his book The Matheny Manifesto (click on the title to find it on Amazon).

Mike deserves the NL Manager of the Year award for the way he has handled the Cardinals during this season of adversity.  However, we Cards fans all know that the NL MOY award will go to Joe Maddon, since he turned those loveable losers the Cubs into playoff contenders, and Chicago is a larger market than St. Louis too.

The Cards’ game tonight was postponed until tomorrow due to rain.  It will be made up tomorrow with a day-night doubleheader.  Game time for the first game is 12:35 PM CST.  I will be listening to the game on KMOX at my desk. I will be hoping and praying for no more injuries, and that the Cards will clinch the division.  Last night’s game made my stomach upset; I’m hoping for an uneventful win tomorrow.

Thanks as always for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Random thoughts and observations on the 6/2/15 game

M-STLI was fortunate enough to have attended last night’s game. It was quite an entertaining game.  We had great seats in section 248, which are the best seats I’ve ever had in Busch Stadium III.  They were behind home plate, the next level up from the field box seats in the Home Redbird Club. You could hear the ball hit the catcher’s mitt and the ball crack the bat.  If Joe West had made his calls any louder, we could have heard them too.

Speaking of Joe West, if his strike zone had been any bigger, you could have driven a Mack truck through it.  Matt Holliday was right to argue the called strike 3 and the Gameday graphic of his at bat backs him up.  Mike Matheny came out to back up Holliday (and hopefully cool him down), but sadly, both of them were ejected.  It was also Holliday’s last at-bat, so his on-base streak of 45 games ended with the botched call.

One of the benefits of baseball’s slow pace is that you can check Twitter and Facebook on your smartphone between batters.  There were various Joe West memes flooding Twitter and Facebook last night. One of my favorite memes consisted of 2 of the same photos of West ejecting Matheny side by side and in the second photo West’s head is replaced by Grumpy Cat’s head.  I think Grumpy Cat would object to that, however, and it might even be copyright infringement. Joe West needs retire for good.  There needs to be a definite retirement age for umpires, if there isn’t one already.

There was an amusing play in the fourth inning when three of the Brewers, who were chasing a foul ball hit by Matt Carpenter, and two of them (Segura and Ramirez) tumbled into the third base field box seats.  It reminded me of a Cubs play.

Yadi has lost too much weight, I think; he almost looks anorexic.  I wonder if the weight loss has affected his hitting.  The weight loss is good for his knees, but not for his hitting.  His timing is off at the plate.  He is swinging at the first pitch too much, although he did a little better today.

And speaking of hitting, where is the offense?  Grichuk went 2 for 3.  The Cards hit into 3 double plays, and didn’t have a runner in scoring position after the second inning. It would have been nice to have some of those runs from today’s game last night.

Lance Lynn did a masterful job pitching with only 1 run in support, and the BFIB cheered loudly when Matheny took him out and put Kevin Siegrist in.  Lynn acknowledged the fans’ love by tipping his hat to us.  He certainly is a class act.

Trevor Rosenthal did his usual job of making me a nervous wreck when he pitches.  In the bottom of the ninth, there were runners on first and third and only one out.  Thankfully, Kolten Wong and Kevin Reynolds turned an excellent double play and the fireworks went off.

Since the son and I took the Metrolink, we didn’t get home until almost 11 PM  But we had a good time, even though I was dragging at work today.  We had a great time.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

2014 United Cardinals Bloggers Weekend report

UCB_11UCB Weekend is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  I get to visit with old friends and new friends who are also fellow bloggers, watch the Cardinals play and have some great food.  It can’t get too much better than that.

The UCB dinner was held Saturday night at Joe Buck’s restaurant in downtown St. Louis, which was a new venue for this event.  I unfortunately was unable to attend, but I understand the Fox Sports Midwest Girls made an appearance.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to attend this shindig next year.

Sunday was the annual Q&A session/Cardinals baseball game.  My son Phillip was my guest this year. He is finally discovering at the ripe old age of 17 (almost 18, as he reminds me daily) how great Cardinals baseball is.  I wanted to take his photo to put on this post, but he hates having his photo taken, even though I told him how handsome he looked in the promotional giveaway, which was the batting practice cap.  I even tried asking him to let me take his photo so his sister who lives in Connecticut could see him, but that idea went nowhere.  I can see now it’s going to be a struggle getting his senior picture taken this year.

I worked the room, walking around and talking with bloggers that I’d met in years past, and making new friends as well.  The meeting started promptly at 12 noon.  Ron Watermon, the director of public relations for the Cardinals, was the MC.  He welcomed us and introduced his staff to us.  Mr. Watermon also let us know that there were tickets to the Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum in the envelope with our tickets and encouraged us to visit the museum.  Mr. Watermon told us that the team is going to debut a digital version of the media guide and that we bloggers would have the first opportunity to view and give our feedback on it.  The world has migrated to digital and the Cardinals are excited about the first digital version of the media guide.

The first speaker was John Mozeliak, the senior vice president/general manager of the Cardinals.  Mo said that we are always a fun group and he gets to read about what we write about.  Mo said that this is one of those years that you leave yourself open to a little scrutiny and a little bit of questioning.  He said that the season hasn’t gone as planned, but  frankly, never does the season go as planned.  Mo said that he was still pretty excited about what where the team is.  Mo said that the Cards have a lot of exciting things going on in the minor leagues.  He said that from a performance standard, there are people stepping up and exceeding their expectations.  Those players going to be knocking on the major league door in the near future, which is great news.  Mo said that it has been a frustrating year at times because when you think about how this team was put together, the thought was that it was going to be an offensive club and there just hasn’t been a situation where the we’ve broken through and found that right combination.  Mos said that the Skipper was trying another lineup that day. Mo emphasized that the teams was not going to give up the future to win now and he asked us to please be a little more patient with the team.  He said that he’d be back to answer questions.

The next speaker was Peggy Ryan,  who is the vice president of food service and merchandising for both Busch Stadium and Cardinals Nation.  Ms. Ryan spoke about how Busch Stadium is open only 6 months out of the year, but Cardinals Nation is open all year long.  4 components of Cardinals Nation – the restaurant, the buffet, the museum, and the rooftop deck.  She spoke at length about all these components.  She invited us to consider Cardinal Nation and Busch for corporate events.

The next speaker was Bill DeWitt III, the vice president of the Cardinals.  He said tht Ballpark Village is unique in all of baseball.  Ballpark Village was part of the master plan in designing the ballpark.  The field was left open to provide for BPV.  Mr. DeWitt said they were looking forward to Phases II, III, and IV of BPV, although they were still getting their sea legs on the operations of Phase I.  Mr. DeWitt spoke about the purchase of the Memphis club, and mentioned that the Cardinals owned the Memphis club, the Springfield, MO club and the high A Palm Beach club.   He said that no other club owned their top 3 farm league clubs.  He said that the purchases weren’t planned, but it was an opportunity they couldn’t pass up.  Mr. DeWitt said that attendance should be over 3 million for the season.  The Cardinals are a bottom market team that acts like a large market team.  His job as president is to not take that great fan support for granted.

After Mr. DeWitt was finished, it was time for questions and answers. The first question was about whether tobacco products should be banned in the clubhouse. Mo said that tobacco is banned at the minor league level.  At the professional league level, the club no longer provides tobacco products, but they can’t stop anyone from bringing it in.

The next question was about the revenues and profits of Ballpark Village and whether they have exceeded the team’s projections, and whether profits from BPV used for baseball operations.  Mr. DeWitt said that BPV has done well against expectation in some areas, but some areas are being fine-tuned.   The mission of BPV was to provide a 365 day operation. There is a $2 million marketing budget for non-game days activities such as concerts.

The next question was about Darryl Kile’s death 12 years ago on Sunday. TLR had to handle the team after DK’s death.  Could Matheny handle it if something like that happened today?  Mo says that Matheny was a leader on the team when DK died.  Mike is a tremendous leader of men and someone who understands people, and Mo said should something like that happen again that Mike is the person he would want in that position.

The next question was asked about all the pitchers drafted in this year’s draft and whether that was in response to all the pitchers that have had to have been called up, or was it because the talent was available.  Mo discussed the draft strategy.

The next question was about the trade deadline coming up and whether if someone that could help offensively was available, would you trade out of the minor league surplus or would that be against what you’ve done.  Mo said that there may be opportunities that may make sense.  If it’s a fair deal, they’d do it, but they don’t want to trade away the future.

The next question was about player development. What are the characteristics that allow the team to develop minor league players so well that they succeed at the major league level?  Mo said there is a more dramatic curriculum for each player on and off the field to help prepare them for the big leagues.

Mo said he was waiting for hard questions, since he reads all our tweets.  Nervous laughter ensued.  Someone asked about Oscar Tavaras.  Mo said that Adams’ injury was a great chance to bring Oscar up to see what he could do, but he didn’t play well enough.  Mike was left with the decision about playing time for Oscar.  “If he’s here, he’s gotta play,” Mo said.  Mike was concerned.  If Oscar wasn’t going to play 5 times a week here, he should go back to Memphis.

The next question was about Scott Rolen.  If the situation was during Mo’s tenure, would he have made the trade?  It was during Mo’s tenure.  He didn’t want to trade Scott, he liked Scott, but Scott needed to get traded for obvious reasons.  Scott said he wants out.  So Mo made a deal. He then called Scott and his agent.  Good news, you’re traded.  Bad news – it’s to Toronto.  Dead pause.  His agent said he’d call back. Everyone laughed. Scott had a $4 million signing bonus after 10 years, which was deferred.  Scott demanded it be accelerated.  Internal dynamics is sometimes not always what they appear.  The Cards try to be as transparent as they can be but sometimes you can’t.  Scott and Mo are still friends.

The last question was about Mark Ellis. How do you view a guy like Mark Ellis in the 2nd half, when he hasn’t had much of an opportunity to prove himself?  Mo said he didn’t think Ellis really got going, and now that Kolton is on the DL, Ellis has a chance to prove himself.  Mo said that this is a hard league to learn at or to get back to what you once were.

Norman Taylor, the chef from SportsService, then went to the podium and told us about all the scrumptious food that would be waiting for us in the party suites.  There would be food from the concession stands, the party suites and Cardinals Nation for us to try.  There is new food being developed for Ballpark Village all the time.  Fried Oreos were mentioned, but they were unfortunately unavailable. Sad sighs were heard all over the room.

Since there were lots of bloggers and guests, we had 2 adjoining party rooms to hang out in for the game. The food available in Suite 208 from the stadium concessions/suites was poached pear salad, fruit platter, hot dogs, B&W bratwurst, pulled pork, BBQ beef brisket, Home Run nacho bar, Giaoa’s Hot Salami subs, and chocolate chip cookies and brownies. The Action Station table had Ultimate Stadium Tots, which were tater tots with your choice of pulled pork, chicken, or taco meat with mozzarella cheese and/or sour cream. I had the pulled pork, and the tater tots and they were delicious. The food available in Suite 209 was from Cardinals Nation and there was Asian chicken salad, deviled eggs, pretzel bites with beer cheese, Home Team pork steaks, chicken Mondega, Home Run Mac & Cheese with pulled pork and fried cheesecake bites (the substitute for the fried Oreos). The Action Table was cheese tortellini. I tried the pork steak, the pretzel bites and fried cheesecake. And of course, there were beverages, beer and soda.

The party suites are nicely air conditioned, and there are TV’s to watch the game on if you don’t want to go outdoors. Thankfully, there was an outlet for me to plug my cell phone in to charge it. The outdoor seats have padded seats, which are very comfortable. I parked myself near the door so whenever someone went in or out of the room, I got a nice blast of air conditioned air. There are TV’s above the outdoor seats in each party suite.  This was nice, because from where we were sitting, we couldn’t see the scoreboard very well.

The Cardinals won 5-3, which was good, since the Cards lost on Blogger Day last year.  We had a nice turnout, as evidenced by the photo below (taken by my son Phillip):

2014 UCB weekend 015

I apologize if Phil cut anyone’s body off.  It’s hard when you have so many people to photograph.  I had a great time and I can’t wait until next year!  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane