Getting to know you, getting to know all about you – Part 2

As you may know, this blog is a member of the United Cardinals Bloggers organization.  During certain months of the year, the group assigns special projects to write about.  This month’s UCB project is get to know a fellow UCB blogger.  I was assigned to ask questions to Daniel Shoptaw, who is the head of the Cardinals Conclave blog conglomerate and the fearless leader of the United Cardinals Bloggers.  His photo is at the left.  Here are my questions and his responses:

When did you first become interested in Cardinals baseball?  Who introduced you to baseball? 

I have memories of some baseball interest beforehand, but I really started getting into baseball–both Cardinal and otherwise–in 1987 when I was 11 working on 12.  That was the year I started collecting baseball cards, but I was already a fan of Ozzie Smith, I remember.  My father was a Cardinals fan and the minor league team in Little Rock was a Cardinal affiliation so there was a lot of things pointing in that direction.

Did you ever play Little League baseball or softball? If so, what position did you play?

Given that I came to the sport later than some folks, I never did play Little League.  Given my natural abilities, that’s probably for the best.  I have played church league softball over the years and typically play catcher because I look like Matt Adams trying to field a fly ball.

When did you start blogging and why? 

I did some personal blogging before the Cardinal site and that was probably 2004-2005 when I did it.  My first post on C70 At The Bat, though, was July 14, 2007 at my first address.  I was at WordPress for a few months, then moved to Blogs By Fans (and www.cardinal70.com, which doesn’t exist now) before moving to The Cardinal Conclave in June of 2013.

What is your favorite baseball blog post that you’ve ever written?  Please provide the link for everyone to read.

My favorite post ever?  I’ve written roughly 3000 posts over my 10 years of blogging, so narrowing it down is pretty difficult.  My Lance Lynn “Lynning” post might be the one that I did the most statistical work on, but that’s not saying a lot.  Over the last year, I wrote things about Kolten Wong’s situation and Yadier Molina’s contract that were well received.  However, maybe the most fun post, because of what it related to, was my fairy-tale look at the 2011 season.

We all know that blogging doesn’t pay the bills (unless you’re a professional writer), so what do you do for a living?

What I get paid to do is be a certified public accountant, specializing in financial statement audits but obviously do a lot of tax returns in the early part of the year, which is one of the many reasons I’ve never been to spring training.

You do a lot of podcasts as well as blog posts.  Do you enjoy podcasting?  Do you think that podcasting is the future of blogging?    

Well, I probably wouldn’t have three different shows (four, if you count my irregular turns on UCB Radio) if I didn’t enjoy podcasting.  🙂  Podcasting, at least the way I do it, is a great way to delve into what’s going on with the club and do so interactively with the ability to elaborate more than you can on Twitter, for instance.  You’ll note that very few podcasts are monologs.  I’m the solo host of Conversations With C70, but the main thrust of that show is to interview bloggers both Cardinal and otherwise.  Meet Me At Musial has had some great co-hosts, from Dan Buffa to John Nagel to Allen Medlock, and Gateway to Baseball Heaven has been going strong since 2011 because of the contributions of Bill Ivie and Tara Wellman. One of the great things about being a fan is talking to other fans, and this lets you do that while letting others in on the conversation.

I interact with Daniel online on Twitter, Facebook, and play against him on Words With Friends, but I learned more about him with these questions than I knew before (well, I did already know he was a bean counter). If you would like to see any other of the UCB May project posts, you can go here.

For those who would like to read/listen to Daniel’s work, I present the following links:

Cards Conclave

Meet Me at Musial

Gateway to Baseball Heaven

By the way, I had a blast at Pitch Talks: St. Louis last Thursday. I wish more of you would have been able to come.  It was great listening to all the stories from the writers.  If Pitch Talks comes back to St. Louis next year, you should make your best effort to get there.  Kim Omelson was my contest winner.

Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

The Cardinals’ top 5 prospects

Top 5The United Cardinals Bloggers’ project for September is to write about who we think are the Cards’ top 5 prospects. Three of these prospects are already in the show, and two of those three are due to injuries to players on the parent club.

  1. Alex Reyes – Reyes is a great pitching talent. He has a 100 MPH fastball and great location. If Jaime Garcia gets released like he should be, Reyes will be a great addition to the rotation. But Alex needs to stay away from the reefer, mon.
  2. Carson Kelly – Kelly is being touted as Yadier Molina’s successor. He has been brought up to the majors this season to be the third string catcher for the occasional start when Yadi needs a rest, like for yesterday’s game.  The hope is the more Carson sees at the major league level, the more impetus it gives him to keep working hard so that he can come up to the show and stay there.
  3. Luke Weaver – Weaver has been a great fill in pitcher, but I think he needs another year in the minors before he’s brought up to the majors on a permanent basis. He has good pitches, but he needs some confidence building. He has appeared nervous on the mound. He didn’t look so good in his start against Colorado yesterday.
  4. Magneuris Sierra – Magneuris is speedy on the base paths and on the field.  he doesn’t have home run power, but should have good run production.  He still needs a couple of years in the minors for some seasoning.  He will be a good centerfielder a couple of years down the line.
  5. Harrison Bader – Harrison zoomed through the minor league system, and is now in Memphis. Harrison can play all three outfield positions; however, he is an average hitter. Harrison will compete with Magneuris for the centerfield position in a couple of years.

This sure has been a crazy season for the Cards. We are now in the last 2 weeks of the regular season and if things keep going well, the Cards should earn one of the wild card play-in slots.  The Cards won 4 games in a row, but given the way this season has gone, I don’t know whether to start getting excited or not.  Just when I think the Cards are on a roll, a bad game happens and they break my heart all over again.  In addition, every time the Cards play a game that would put them 10 games over .500, they lose, like yesterday.  It’s like they just can’t get over that hump. The emotions of Cards fans are like this song by the Foundations from 1968:

Why do you build me up (build me up), buttercup baby, just to let me down (let me down),

And mess me around and then worse of all (worse of all),

You never call, baby, like you say you will (say you will),

But I love you still.

I need you (I need you) more than anyone, darling, you know that I have from the start,

So build me up, buttercup, don’t break my heart.

Here’s the video for your viewing and listening pleasure – you can thank me or curse me for the earworm later:

Sorry I haven’t written much later.  I haven’t had a lot to say in long form.  I’ve been doing a lot of talking on Twitter lately, so follow me on there if you miss what I have to say.  If things pick up, I’ll hopefully be posting more.  Thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

Diane’s excellent dugout box seat adventure (and other notes)

13321711_1165327370172374_6324672859891808381_nI have a baseball hangover today, which is a good thing. A baseball hangover is what happens when you stay until the last out of an evening baseball game and don’t get to bed until later than you normally do.  Then when you do get to bed, you can’t sleep because you’re still thinking about the game.  You are then very drowsy the next day at work, and no amount of caffeine or sugar will help. You can’t take a nap because you’re at work, unless, of course, you’re self-employed.   It’s like that Diana Ross song, Love Hangover – “Sweetest hangover, I don’t want to get over.”

The cause of my baseball hangover is last night’s Cardinals-Giants game, which the Cardinals won 6-3.  An attorney at the law firm I work at gifted me his sweet Dugout Box seats three rows off the field, on the first base side. (Our view was actually better than seen in the photo.)  He had originally given me his tickets for May 1, but that turned out to be the game for the United Cardinals Bloggers blogger event.  He very graciously switched out the tickets for last night’s game.

The gates opened at 5:05 last night, so hubby and I got to the ballpark early in hopes of obtaining some autographs.  Unfortunately, by the time we got through the gate, received our promotional giveaway (a very nice beach tote), bought a scorecard, ran into hubby’s second cousin Amy and her family and then got down to the field, batting practice was already over.  I and several other folks waited by the padded infield wall in hopes that maybe a player would wander over our way and give us an autograph, but it was not to be.

Last night’s game was on ESPN and that’s why it was a Sunday evening game.  It was originally scheduled as a 1:15 PM game.  I’m glad it was changed so I wouldn’t have to miss church.  My daughter lives in Connecticut and I wanted to bring a sign that would have read, “Hi Rachel! Love, Mom,” but hubby wouldn’t let me.

We watched several people throw first pitches, including a 102 year-old woman who not only threw very well but appeared to have all her faculties, which is incredible.  Later on in the game, Fredbird and Papa John’s brought her a pizza and several other goodies to help her celebrate her birthday.

The game finally started.  Carlos Martinez looked very good for the first few innings, until he gave up a 2 run home run.  The Cardinals’ hitting started to break out in the 6th  inning.  It seemed like Bruce Bochy switched pitchers after every batter. I couldn’t keep up, so I stopped updating my scorecard.

Did you see the diving play that the Giants’ right fielder made in the 5th  inning?  It happened on the warning track on the first base side right in front of us.  He didn’t make the catch, but as he got up, we applauded his effort, as good, sportsmanlike Cardinals fans always do.  The poor guy probably had rug burns on his stomach.

There were a couple of foul balls hit in our direction, but neither of the foul balls came close enough to our seats to attempt to catch them.  I used to have a glove, but I donated it to Carlos Martinez’ Tsunami Waves charity last year.  I’m too old to play slow-pitch softball ever again.

I really enjoyed sitting in the box seats. The sight lines were great, and the people sitting around me were civilized, unlike those I’ve encountered in other areas of the stadium.  It was sometimes hard to see around the beer vendors, however.  I hope that nice attorney will think of me again in case he has no one for his tickets.  If there is a next time, I will take my son Phillip to the game. He wanted to go this time, but I told him his father had better dibs because I’ve known him longer.

In other news, the Cardinals optioned Kolten Wong to AAA today so that Jhonny Peralta can be activated. Peralta will join the team tomorrow in Cincinnati.  Matt Carpenter will move to  second base and Peralta will move to third.  Hopefully, Kolten will make the most of his time at AAA and get his head together so that when he comes back, he will play better.  Kolten was sent down to AAA in 2014 and he played a lot better when he came back.  Brayan Pena is due for a rehab assignment soon.  Yadi look rather tired last night.  He needs more than just tonight off.  Hopefully, when Brayan comes back, he can give Yadi some regular days off.

The Cards are playing a little better but as I write this, they are 10 games out of first.  At this point, I think the Cards are playing for a wild card spot rather than a division title.  Set your sights higher, guys!

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

Diane

 

Homestand Highlights – April 29-May 8

Home Sweet Home.2jpgAfter a long West Coast trip, the Cardinals are back home at Busch Stadium for a nice, long homestand, and they will host the Nationals, the Phillies, and the Pirates. Hopefully, the late game last night in the Arizona desert will not affect our guys for this evening’s game. There is a lot going on in this homestand, including some great promotional giveaways, so let’s get started!

HOMESTAND HIGHLIGHTS (Friday, April 29—Sunday, May 8, 2016)

Green Week, Bobblehead & Replica Ring Giveaways and Mother’s Day Highlight the Second Homestand of the Season 

ST. LOUIS, Mo., April 29, 2016 – The Cardinals are back at Busch for the first of two 10-game homestands this season—their longest of the season—which kicks off with a three-game series with the Washington Nationals (April 29-May 1), continues with a four-game series against the Philadelphia Phillies (May 2-5) and concludes with a three-game series versus division rival Pittsburgh Pirates (May 6-8). The homestand is highlighted by annual Green Week festivities, a Trevor Rosenthal bobblehead and a replica 1946 World Series Championship ring giveaway, three Theme Nights and Mother’s Day celebration.

Friday, April 29, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

  •  Adult Zip-Up Hooded Sweatshirt Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a fleece zip-up hooded sweatshirt.

hoodie

  • Cardinals 2016 Hall of Fame Induction Announcement: The Cardinals 2016 Hall of Fame induction class will be revealed on FOX Sports Midwest tonight during a 30-minute pregame television special at 6:00 p.m. CT.  The 2016 Cardinals Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony will take place on Saturday, August 27. 

The winners are Sam Breadon (organization selection), Terry Moore (Veterans’ Committee), Chris Carpenter and Joe Torre (fan selections).

  • Green Week Activity – Shoe Recycling: The Cardinals, in partnership with Shoeman Water Projects, will collect shoes at Busch Stadium gates before the game.  Fans are asked to clean out their closets of any unwanted, gently-used shoes, tie or band them together and drop them in the designated shoe collection bins.  Shoeman Water Projects creates clean drinking water for those in need by selling shoes to exporters for resale and then using the money generated from those sales to purchase well-drilling rigs and water purification systems in developing countries (#4AGreenerGame).  For more information about Green Week, visit cardinals.com/greenweek.
  •  Cardinals Museum Artifact Spotlight: Every Friday home game, the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will highlight artifacts in the collection not currently on display during a pregame presentation inside the Museum.  Today’s featured items will include Joe Medwick’s 1937 Triple Crown.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum (#CardsMuseum).
  • 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, past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visitcardinals.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 to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  Auction tables are located at Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.
  • MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.
  • Race To The Plate: At every Friday home game, fans will enjoy the Missouri Farmers Care: Race To The Plate—a mascot race featuring Captain Cornelius, Bessie the Cow and Simon the Soybean.  A new mascot will debut later in the season as well.  Join the conversation on how today’s food is grown and raised atMissouriFarmersCare.com (#GoFarmTeam).

Saturday, April 30, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

  •  Trevor Rosenthal Bobblehead Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a Trevor Rosenthal bobblehead with sound chip, presented by The Hartford.

rosie

  • Saturday Signings at the Museum: Former Cardinals catcher Glenn Brummer will be on hand to sign autographs at the Cardinals Museum from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Saturday Signings 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.  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.  Fans can visit cardinals.com/museum for the full schedule and additional details.
  • Green Week Activity – Shoe Recycling: See above (Friday, April 29) for details.
  • 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, past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visitcardinals.com/5050 (#Raffle4Kids).
  • MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

 Sunday, May 1, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Washington Nationals (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m. This is also the United Cardinals Bloggers’ blogger event day.

  • Randal Grichuk Kids Bat Promotional Giveaway: All kids, ages 15 and younger, entering with a ticket will receive a 28-inch Randal Grichuk bat, courtesy of Rawlings.

kids_bat_200x800

  • Kids Free Ticket Voucher: All ticketed-fans, ages 15 and younger, receive a free ticket voucher for a 2016 home game courtesy of Ritz.
  • Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday: Starting two hours prior to the game, bring the entire family to Ford Plaza for games, prizes and free North Star ice cream (while supplies last).
  • Green Week Activity – Shoe Recycling: See above (Friday, April 29) for details.
  • Green Week Activity Volunteer Recognition: During pregame ceremonies, the Cardinals will honor an outstanding Green Team volunteer.  During Green Week, and all season long, the St. Louis Cardinals Knight FM Green Team volunteers walk down the aisles of the seating bowl in-between innings and collect recyclables from fans while promoting recycling at Busch Stadium.  In exchange for their services, they are able to watch the game in standing room only sections of Busch Stadium.  For more information, visit cardinals.com/green (#4AGreenerGame).
  • Home Run Against Hunger Food Drive: The Cardinals, in partnership with Missouri Farm Bureau Insurance and Feeding Missouri, are hosting a food drive in the Ballpark Village parking lot before today’s contest from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.  Fans who bring a non-perishable donation will receive a voucher for two tickets to an upcoming Cardinals game.
  • St. Louis Blues Themed Batting Practice Jerseys Auction:  Online auctions for 31 autographed Blues-themed batting practice jerseys/sweaters worn by Cardinal players prior to the club’s inaugural Blues Theme Night on September 21, 2015 ends tonight at 11:59 p.m.  Proceeds from the online jersey auction will benefit Cardinals Care.  Go to cardinals.com/community to bid.
  • 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, past winning raffle numbers and kiosk locations, visitcardinals.com/5050 (#Raffle4Kids).
  • MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

 Monday, May 2, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

  • Boy/Girl Scouts Night Theme Tickets: The St. Louis Cardinals invite all Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and their families to enjoy Scout Night at the ballpark.  This is the second of three planned Scouts Nights for the 2016 season.  For just $14, each scout receives a ticket to the game as well as a voucher which can be exchanged for a Cardinals scout patch.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme).

Boy Scouts Patch Girl Scouts Patch

  • Green Week Activity – Shoe Recycling: See above (Friday, April 29) for details.
  • Green Week Activity – Operation Food Search Presentation: In a ceremony prior to the game, Operation Food Search will recognize the Cardinals and the team’s concessionaire, Delaware North Sportservice.  Together, the Cardinals and Delaware North Companies diverted nearly 78,000 pounds of unused food from concessions stands in Busch Stadium to Operation Food Search since 2010, which reduced the amount of waste going to landfills.  When food decomposes in landfills, it becomes a source of greenhouse gas emissions.  The Cardinals are exceeding their food recovery goals, which results in decreasing greenhouse gas emissions and slowing climate change while contributing to Operation Food Search’s efforts in feeding 200,000 of our neighbors in need  (#4AGreenerGame).
  • Live From UMB Champions Club:  FOX Sports Midwest will broadcast this evening’s game on television from the UMB Champions Club.
  • MLBPAA Auction: The Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association will conduct a baseball-themed silent auction inside Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

 Tuesday, May 3, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.  My son and I will be at this game, thanks to the Papa John’s $6.00 tickets.

  •  Jeff Suppan Budweiser Bash Theme Night: Fans who purchase this special Bud Bash Theme Ticket receive a voucher for a limited edition Jeff Suppan mini bobblehead as we celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2006 World Series Champion Cardinals.  VIP ticket-holders will also have access to a pregame autograph session with Jeff Suppan.  Fans must present the voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase general tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#BudBash).  

Suppan

  • Cardinals Care Stadium Auction: Fans have the unique opportunity to bid on exclusive autographed Cardinals memorabilia at the game.  The auction is a great way for fans and collectors to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  Auction tables are located at Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.

 Wednesday, May 4, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:45 p.m.

  • Tote Bag Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans will receive a reusable Cardinals grocery/tote bag, compliments of MLB Network.

tote_200x244

  • College Night Theme Tickets: The St. Louis Cardinals invite students, faculty and staff of local colleges and universities to the second and final College Night of the season.  Fans who purchase the $20 Right/Left Field loge theme night ticket, receive an exclusive, limited edition Cardinals lightweight hoodie.  Fans must present the special theme night voucher in order to receive this promotional item.  For more info, or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/theme (#CardsTheme).

college_night_tank_600x338_00sla0ix_nslmp5ar

  • Cardinals Care Spring Grant Ceremony: In an afternoon ceremony, Cardinals Care will distribute more than $130,000 to 64 area nonprofit groups that support local kids.  A Cardinals player, executives and Fredbird will all take part in the afternoon event (#CardsCare).
  • Saint Louis Football Club: Members of United Soccer League’s Saint Louis FC and “Mr. Soccer” Bill McDermott will be recognized on the field prior to the start of the game.
  • Battle at Busch: 105.7 The Point and the Cardinals welcome back the Battle at Busch concert series.  The 2016 schedule features 18 local bands over the course of six nights, at six different Cardinals home games in Ford Plaza.  Tonight’s battle features In the Arms of Machines, Hobo Empire and Shark Dad.  Gate 6 will open at 5:15 p.m. for the event.  Performances begin at 5:30 p.m. with each act given 20 minutes to perform.  Each band will be judged on a point system by Mozingo Music and 105.7 The Point.  The top four scoring bands of the summer will be invited back to play on September 28th 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.
  • Pregame Pom/Cheer/Dance Performance: Prior to the game, groups from Meghan Torno School of Irish Dance, Dancers On Tour, Flipside Gymnastics, H and F Cheer, and Vineland Dragonettes/Dragon Dudes will perform in the Riverview Corner (behind Section 432) beginning at 5:50 p.m.

 Thursday, May 5, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Philadelphia Phillies (12:45 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

  •  Charity Haircuts in the Plaza sponsored by Great Clips: During the game, fans can root on the Cardinals and shape up their roots with a visit to Ford Plaza for Great Clips’ Charity Haircuts.  For a $10 donation, Great Clips – who sponsors the event every weekday afternoon game during the season – will cut your hair and donate all proceeds to Cardinals Care. 

Friday, May 6, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (7:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 5:15 p.m.

  • Replica 1946 World Series Championship Ring Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a wearable 1946 World Series Championship replica ring.

1946_ws_replica_ring_100

  • Academy Sports + Outdoors Autograph Night: Get free autographs from current and former Cardinals players, courtesy of Academy Sports + Outdoors.  Two current Cardinals players (TBD) will sign 100 autographs inside Ford Plaza for fans 15 years old and younger from 5:45-6:15.  Former Cardinals Danny Cox and Tom Lawless will sign autographs for fans of all ages from 6:15-7:00.  *Players subject to change*
  • Cardinals Museum Artifact Spotlight: Every Friday home game, the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum will highlight artifacts in the collection not currently on display during a pregame presentation inside the Museum.  Today’s featured items will relate to the 1946 World Series including Stan Musial’s Sporting News Player of the Year award.  For more information or to purchase tickets to the museum, visit cardinals.com/museum (#CardsMuseum).
  • 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, past winning raffle numbers 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 to obtain specialty Cardinals items while helping support the programs that Cardinals Care provides to youth in the community.  Auction tables are located at Gate 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, inside the Cardinals Club, UMB Champions Club and Redbird Club.
  • Race To The Plate: Every Friday night, fans will enjoy the Missouri Farmers Care: Race To The Plate—a mascot race featuring Captain Cornelius, Bessie the Cow and Simon the Soybean.  A new mascot will debut later in the season as well.  Join the conversation on how today’s food is grown and raised at MissouriFarmersCare.com(#GoFarmTeam).

Saturday, May 7, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

  • Adult Replica Mike Shannon Jersey Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a 1966 Mike Shannon replica jersey, courtesy of Goodwill.

mike_shannon_jersey_200x169

  • 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, past winning raffle numbers 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 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

Sunday, May 8, 2016 — Cardinals vs. Pittsburgh Pirates (1:15 p.m.)

Gates open at 11:15 a.m.

  • Adult Performance T-Shirt Promotional Giveaway: The first 30,000 ticketed fans, ages 16 and older, will receive a Cardinals performance t-shirt with pink accent colors in honor of Mother’s Day, presented by Power of the Pink!

adult_performance_tshirt_200x272

  • Kids Free Ticket Voucher: All ticketed-fans, ages 15 and younger, receive a free ticket voucher for a 2016 home game courtesy of Ritz.

 

  • Prairie Farms Ice Cream Sunday: Starting two hours prior to the game, bring the entire family to Ford Plaza for games, prizes and free North Star ice cream (while supplies last).
  •  Special Mother’s Day Uniforms: For the first time, the Cardinals and MLB will celebrate Mother’s Day with specially designed uniforms that incorporate pink into the Cardinals’ regular logos, with caps highlighted by a dark grey crown and brim.  In honor of Mother’s Day, MLB will donate its licensed uniform royalties to the Susan G. Komen and Stand Up to Cancer charities.

MD Jersey  MD Cap

  • Honorary Bat Girl: As part of MLB’s Honorary Bat Girl Program, the Cardinals will recognize Christina Sego, a breast cancer survivor, with an on-field ceremony and honorary first pitch before the game.  Ms. Sego was nominated by her son, Jordan, who described how she has been affected by her diagnosis and her commitment to battling the disease.
  •  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, past winning raffle numbers 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 1 (Section 137), Gate 3, UMB Champions Club and the Cardinals Club from the time gates open through the fifth inning.  All proceeds will benefit Cardinals Care and the Players Alumni Association, a non-profit group that strives to preserve the game of baseball while supporting a variety of charities.

This afternoon, I attended the The Cardinals Way at Cardinals Nation presentation, at which Dan McLaughlin interviewed Bill DeWitt, Sr., John Mozeliak, and Howard Megdal, author of The Cardinals Way (which was reviewed in my last blog post) about the contents of the book.  It was an enjoyable and entertaining presentation.  Howard signed my copy of his book, mentioned that he read my blog and thanked me for my nice review.  That was so encouraging!  There were Cardinals Insider members taping the presentation, so you may be able to see it on Cardinals Insider soon.

Sunday is the annual United Cardinals Bloggers blogger event at Busch Stadium, and I’ll post all the details in my next blog post.  If you’ll be at tomorrow’s game and/or have nothing to do tomorrow night, there will be a UCB get-together tomorrow night at Cardinals Nation and you’re welcome to join us for some Cardinals conversation.

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

Diane

Q&A with Cardinals GM John Mozeliak – Part 2

UCB_11For the second year in a row, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak has graciously answered questions from various United Cardinals Bloggers writers. Many thanks to Lindsey Weber of the Cardinals’ communication department for assisting in this opportunity to pick Mo’s brain.

There were 60 questions asked by the bloggers.  I had two questions, but only one got answered, probably because there were so many questions. Here is my question, with Mo’s response:

WWLCB:  As we all know, baseball has a long regular season and then, if a team has a good enough record, a long postseason as well. One reason the offense suffered in 2015 may have been the lack of scheduled days off for the non-injured starting lineup. Will there be more of an effort made to give the starting lineup scheduled days off during the 2016 season?

Mo: That’s an interesting question and I’m not exactly sure if that’s a chicken and the egg situation. I think being more proactive on creating a balanced team to where you can give Yadi an extra day, or Matt Holliday, Matt Carpenter, Peralta; the fact that we’re naming names means it’s probably a good strategy. I think that’s something that Mike and his staff are going to be very conscious of.

If you would like to see the other questions that Mo answered, you can go to United Cardinals Bloggers to see the other posts.

The winter meetings start this week, so hopefully Mo will do some wheeling and dealing to pick up some players for the Cards.  My next post will be the annual WWLCB Holiday Gift Guide, so look for that.  Until next time, thanks for reading!

Diane

It’s time for the 2015 Cardinals Blogger Award ballot!

UCB_11While you’re waiting for the 2016 season to begin, you can think about and vote for what Cardinals blogs (hopefully this one) you’ve enjoyed and podcasts you enjoyed this past season.  You can also think about and vote for your favorite players and favorite games as well.

The Blogger Awards are split into two parts, On-Field Awards and Blog Awards.   Click this link to vote on the ballot.  Here is a preview of the ballot, to get you thinking about how you’re going to vote:

On-Field Awards:

1.  Cardinal Player of the Year

Matt Carpenter
Jason Heyward
Jhonny Peralta
Stephen Piscotty
Other

2.  Cardinal Pitcher of the Year
Jaime Garcia
John Lackey
Carlos Martinez
Trevor Rosenthal
Other

3. Game of the Year

May 31 vs. LAD (Martinez pitches on OT Day)
August 31 vs. WAS (five run rally)
September 9 vs. CHC (Piscotty caps rally)
September 20 vs. CHC (Heyward throws out Rizzo)
September 28 vs. PIT (Scoreless into 9th)
September 28 vs. PIT (Scoreless into 9th)
Other

4. Surprise Cardinal Player of the Year

John Lackey
Stephen Piscotty
Trevor Rosenthal
Other

5. Disappointing Cardinal Player of the Year

Peter Bourjos
Jon Jay
Brandon Moss
Other

6. Cardinal Rookie of the Year

Mitch Harris
Tommy Pham
Stephen Piscotty
Other

7. Acquisition of the Year

Jonathan Broxton
Steve Cishek
Jason Heyward
Brandon Moss
Other

8. Most Anticipated Cardinal

Anthony Garcia
Michael Ohlman
Alex Reyes
Luke Weaver
Other

9. Biggest Cardinal Injury

Matt Adams
Matt Holliday
Carlos Martinez
Adam Wainwright
Other

Blog Awards

10. Cardinal Blog of the Year, One Writer Only

Your answer

11. Cardinal Blog of the Year, Two or More Writers

Your answer

12. Best Media Coverage

Derrick Goold
Jenifer Langosch
Bernie Miklasz
Rob Rains
Other

13. Best Rookie Cardinal Blog

Me and Willie McGee
The Redbird Retreat
Other :

14. Post of the Year

Are the Cardinals Supposed To Be Scared? (About.com)
Talking Twitter With the Cards (C70 At The Bat)
In Defense of Mike Matheny (KSDK)
Carlos Martinez, Human Tsunami (The Redbird Retreat)
Why Billy Southworth Managed Cardinals With Heavy Heart (RetroSimba)
Other

15. Best UCB Podcast

Best Dans in Baseball
Bird Seeds (video cast)
Conversations with C70
Gateway to Baseball Heaven
STL CardGals
Talking About Birds
UCB Radio Hour
Other :

16. Best Non-UCB Podcast

Best Podcast in Baseball
Cubs Cards Cast
St. Louis Cardinals Extras (MLB.com)
Viva El Birdos
Other

17. Best Cardinal Podcaster (one name)

Your answer

18. Best Cardinal Twitterer

Your answer

Just in case you missed the link, here it is:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1ZBbpjQHEH6VLtH3jwZ2tTPGRc4xvZCsI7vdM8AsB-ic/viewform  Hey, don’t forget to vote for me!  My Twitter handle is @Diane1611.  If you want to see the winners of the Awards, you can go to http://www.unitedcardinalbloggers.com/.

Thanks for reading! See you  next time!

Diane

2015 United Cardinals Bloggers blogger event report

UCB_11On Sunday evening, the Cardinals hosted the United Cardinals Bloggers for their annual blogger event.  This event is usually on a Sunday afternoon, but this year, we were treated to an evening game.

My friend Kim was my guest for this year’s blogger event.  It was my husband’s turn to attend, but since it was a night game and he gets up at 4:30 AM for work, it wouldn’t have worked out. Kim was very happy to be invited. Hopefully, next year the blogger event will be back to the afternoon schedule and my hubby will be able to attend.

The event was supposed to start at 5 PM, so I decided to get there early and get a front row seat.  My son and I arrived at the event right before starting time last year, so we had to sit in the back and I couldn’t see or hear very well.  Kim and I got to the administrative offices so early, the packets and the name tags hadn’t been put out yet.  I had to go back later and get a packet, plus write out name tags.  The packet was a nice folder with the party room menu on one side and handouts listing various events on the other.  The packet also contained an envelope with our game tickets.

Since we were there before everyone else, Kim and I had a nice discussion with Ron Watermon, the Cardinals’ Vice President of Communications, about the security problems on Opening Day.  He admitted that the gates should have been opened sooner that day.

The other bloggers began to show up and it was nice to catch up with folks I only talk to on Twitter. There was a nice crowd, considering it was a Sunday evening game. Finally, Mr. Watermon came to the podium.  He welcomed us all to the blogger event. Mr. Watermon mentioned that Daniel Shoptaw, the head of the UCB, was unable to be at the event because of the death of Daniel’s father-in-law, and that their thoughts and prayers were with Daniel’s family.  Mr. Watermon then spoke about the fan video contests and how they engage Cardinals Nation.  Mr. Watermon talked about the minister who won the Ultimate Fan contest.  Mr. Watermon asked the bloggers to help Red feel the love by posting videos telling Red that we love him.

It was then time for Bill DeWitt and John Mozeliak to speak.  Rather than stepping up to the podium, Mr. DeWitt and Mr. Mozeliak stayed seated in their chairs, like a “fireside chat,” Mr. DeWitt stated.  DeWitt and Mozeliak have strong voices that carry well and we were all seated fairly close, so neither one of them really needed a microphone in order to be heard.

Mr. DeWitt was the first speaker. He talked about the business side of the organization. Mr. DeWitt spoke about some of the modifications that have been made to Ballpark Village, such as the extra video screens that will allow fans to watch both the Blues and the Cards at the same time.  Mr. DeWitt said that they were proud of Ballpark Village and that the BPV concept didn’t exist anywhere else in Major League Baseball.  There are now giveaway days at BPV during 25 of the Cardinals’ away games.  He said that there is an empty retail location that should be filled soon. He spoke briefly about the second phase of Ballpark Village, which may include an office complex, retail and a hotel.

Mr. DeWitt then spoke about improvements at Busch Stadium.  The Champions Club (an all-inclusive area) has been expanded.  Gate 5 has been renovated for the installation of metal detectors and for a better view for the fans in the rooftop seats at Ballpark Village.

Mr. DeWitt also spoke about the metal detectors that had been installed at the stadium.  He said that all the stadiums in Major League Baseball had installed metal detectors.  He admitted that the team hadn’t opened the gates early enough on Opening Day, and long lines ensued.  Mr. DeWitt said that Opening Day was different than other games, closer to playoff games, and they should have opened the gates earlier than they did, and they learned from their mistake.  There are also more cameras in the stadium.  Mr. DeWitt also mentioned that stadium security now has a bomb sniffing dog that can follow the trail of someone who might have an explosive device in a moving crowd. To my mind, that was reassuring.  I have watched The Sum of All Fears and The Dark Knight Rises a few too many times. I can see that kind of scenario happening at Busch Stadium, especially during a playoff game.

Mo spoke next. The team has gotten off to a very good start.  Mo is bullish about what is going on at the minor league level. Mo said that the team is competitive at the major league team level and that there are enough players coming through the pipeline at the minor league level. He talked about the $5 million Academy that the team is opening in the Dominican Republic to train the young prospects. The complex will help attract players.  Mo said that the people that have run the drafts the last few years have done a good job.  Mo said that there is a hard working group in the minor league level that helps develop the players.  Mo is looking at the future and he is very excited.

Then it was time for the Q & A session.  A question was asked about Sam Freeman.  Mo said that we could have gotten 3 lefties but they wanted someone that was an innings eater and that was the spot for Villanueva.  Freeman didn’t have control or command.  Freeman couldn’t throw strikes.  Freeman was traded instead of being put on waivers so the Cards could get something for him.

Dennis Lawson asked if some of the bloggers could take over the club’s social media accounts for a game.  He wondered what it would take to unlock that door.  Nervous laughter ensued from the room. Mo asked, “What do you mean?”  More laughter.  Dennis thought we could take over the Twitter and Instagram accounts, under the watchful eye of a supervising adult, of course.

Mo was asked how much the team used sabermetrics for strategy. Mo said that the Cards are a very data driven team and that they utilize sabermetrics to make decisions.  There is a balance between the analytical world and the scouting world. Sabermetrics power the entire team as to the decision making process.

There was a question about a timetable for Jason Heyward’s contract extension.  Mo said he knew there would be a Heyward question.There is no timetable to discuss an extension. Deadlines irritate on one side or the other.  They want Jason to experience St. Louis and see what the city’s all about.  He doesn’t envision a timetable, although he projected mid-season as a time to look at where they’re heading.

The next person said he was at the game on Saturday and he wanted to thank Mr. DeWitt for keeping the Blues information on the screen during the game. He wanted to know how who spearheads efforts between the teams.  DeWitt explained who in the Blues’ organization works with the Cards for cross-promotions.  There is an overlapped fan base between the teams.

The next question was about when Oscar died – was there a specific type of player that they had in mind to replace him?  How long do you mourn? There wasn’t going to be a lot of opportunity out there.  There was a couple player options they could pursue.  The team had heard good things about Jason Heyward.  The timing was good.  They do a lot of due diligence on players before they’re signed.  Heyward is a positive addition to the club.

Mo was asked what if he was encouraged about the early pitching of Michael Wacha and Carlos Martinez.  Mo said that during spring training, they talked about having a competitive camp and that the media all laughed about it, Mo was shocked to see how well Garcia was pitching. Marco Gonzales was the next guy that threw well in camp.  The 5 who ended up in the rotation was interesting because it showed how deep the pitching could be.  The only concern is volume, how that is managed as the season goes.  Neither Wacha or Martinez has pitched over 100 innings in a season and Mike and Lilliquist are conscious of that.

The last question was that once upon a time, when teams had 4 man rotations, and they pitched 200 innings, you never heard about the sore arms that you hear about now.  Are the pitchers so finely tuned today that every little thing can throw them off balance and cause injuries?  Mo said that it would take hours to discuss.  Injuries are a concern to everybody because of all of the money invested in players.  Mo blamed it on all the hours that kids are pitching in Little League, and high school and college ball, and that by the time they get to the majors, they’re worn out.  Back in the 40’s 50’s, and 60’s, 250 innings were the norm.  The team looks at “stress” innings, like innings with lots of pitches.  That’s when injuries happen.

After the Q& A session was over, Mo and Mr. DeWitt left.  Larry Johnson, the team chef, spoke to us about all the good food waiting for us in the party rooms.  Stomachs could be heard rumbling all over the room, including my own.

Finally, it was time to go to the party rooms. Our party rooms were closer to home plate this year than last year. I tried the chicken and waffle sandwich. There was maple bacon gravy to put on the sandwich. I thought it was going to be overpowering, but it was actually very subtle and added a nice little zing of flavor to the sandwich.  Kim tried the spinach and artichoke pizza and said it was delicious.She also liked the cowboy mac n’ cheese, with baked beans in it.  I tried the walking taco, which was a large bag of either Doritos or Fritos Scoops (I picked the Fritos) that you zipped open the side of the bag and added shredded lettuce, taco meat, pulled pork, chicken carnitas and/or shredded cheese.  I tried the tater tots tacos, which I had last year.  I also tried the deep fried Oreo cookie, which came in a shot glass sized cup with whipped cream and chocolate syrup on the bottom for dipping.  I thought there could have been some more breading on the Oreo – it was thin and the cookie was soft.  Other desserts included an Oreo churro and strawberry shortcake. There was lots of other food, but there was just too much to try it all.

Kim and I sat at a table with Matt Whitener of Cheap Seats Please and Matt’s father, and we all had a delightful conversation with Ron Watermon about some of the other major league baseball stadiums.  They mostly talked; I listened, since Busch is the only stadium I’ve ever been too.

And oh yes, there was a game between the Cards and the Reds Sunday evening. It was a thrill to see Matt Carpenter hit a home run out on the outfield berm during his first at bat.  It was a classic pitcher’s duel between Adam Wainwright and Mat Latos.  Adam only gave up one run  Adam jammed the bases during the Reds’ half of the 8th, but he got out of it.  Trevor Rosenthal was not available to close, so Jordan Walden came in and got his first save for the Cards.  It was a really quick game – it started at 7:05 and ended at 9:09.  The talking heads at Baseball Tonight on ESPN probably had to scramble to fill up the extra time they had allotted for the game. We didn’t get a group shot of all the bloggers because the game ended so soon.  Sorry, Daniel – I did talk to Dathan about the group shot, but it didn’t work out.

I really enjoy the blogger events and I can’t wait until next year’s event.  I hope you have enjoyed reading about this year’s event.  Thanks for reading!  See you next time!

Diane