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

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

Read all about it! Two new books about the Cards

What do you do on the days that the Cardinals don’t play, or they get rained out? Or on cold winter days when you dream about spring? Why, read a book about the Cardinals, of course!  There are two new books about the Cardinals that are well worth your time to read:  The Cardinals Way: How One Team Embraced Tradition and Moneyball at the Same Time by Howard Megdal and Taking Flight : The St. Louis Cardinals and the Building of Baseball’s Best Franchise by Rob Rains. Click on the titles to find them on Amazon.  Here’s a brief review of both books.

To fans of other teams, “the Cardinals Way” is a derogatory term.  But this book explains how that term came to be.  In this book, you will get a detailed overview as to how the Cardinals’ player development system came to be.  You will learn all about George Kissell:  his playing career, his coaching career, and his personal life.  There is a detailed description of how Branch Rickey set up the minor league system.  And you will learn how George Kissell made up the binder with all of his knowledge that became known as the Cardinal Way.  In later chapters, you will read about how Bill DeWitt, Jr. came to merge the Cardinals Way with the sabermetrics system made famous in Moneyball.  The Cardinals’ current advertising tagline, “Tradition Meets Today,” will make much more sense once you read this book.  There are fascinating chapters about how the Cards’ foreign scouting process works and also about the draft.  The book is a little dry in spots, but there is a lot of interesting details in this book.  I’m usually a pretty fast reader, but it took me several days to read this book since there was so much in it.

Cardinals Way author Howard Megdal, along with Bill DeWitt, Jr. and John Mozeliak, will be interviewed by Dan McLaughlin of FOX Sports Midwest on April 29, 2016, at 2 PM.  The panel discussion will be held in Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village. After the discussion, Mr. Megdal will sign books in the Authentics store at Ballpark Village until 5 PM. This should be a very informative session.

Rob Rains’ book shares some of the same subjects as Megdal’s book, but this book delves more into the Cards’ minor league system. Whitey Herzog wrote the forward to this book.  The prologue to the book details how Branch Rickey founded the minor leagues and provides information about George Kissell. Several players speak about George’s influence on them.  The first chapter details John Mozeliak’s career, and the next 28 chapters are about the Cardinals’ minor league players.  Each chapter focuses on one minor league player. Rains wrote minimal narration and he allowed the players to tell their own stories.  Two of the minor league players covered, Mitch Harris and Aledmys Diaz, are now on the major league squad.  Xavier Scruggs was cut by the Cardinals, but he now plays for the Marlins. There are also two sets of full-color photos in this book.  This is a lighter read than The Cardinal Way, but no less enjoyable.  While reading this book, I have discovered some new young players to root for and I’m sure you will too.

Rob will be signing his book at several locations this spring.  Here is the schedule:

Thursday, April 28, 2015, 4:30 PM – Missouri Cherry Blossom Festival, Marshfield, MO – Marshfield Assembly of God
Rob is receiving the Ella Dickey Award for Literacy and doing a book signing afterward.
Saturday, April 30, 2016, 10:30 AM – Barnes & Noble Springfield, MO. Carson Kelly is also scheduled to appear.
Saturday, May 14, 2016, 1 PM – Barnes & Noble, Fairview Heights, IL
Monday, June 6, 2015, 7 PM – Left Bank Books, St. Louis, MO
The Cardinals thankfully won one game out of the series with the Cubs.  The boys need to beat not only the bad teams but the good ones as well.  Tomorrow night, the Cards will be playing the Padres, who signed Jon Jay over the winter.
Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!
Diane

#STLisLou – Help honor Lou Brock

Lou Brock is one of my favorite Cardinals of all time. Not only was he a great Cardinals player, he is a great human being as well.  The Cardinals have launched a new social media initiative to honor Lou and to raise money to help children with diabetes.  You’ll find all the details below.

Cardinals & St. Louis Civic Leaders Launch #STLisLou to Honor Lou Brock

 Season Long Social Media Campaign Celebrates Lou Brock & the City of St. Louis While Also Raising Money to Help Children with Diabetes

ST. LOUIS, April 19, 2015 –The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have teamed up with the Mayor of St. Louis and other civic leaders to launch #STLisLou, a season-long campaign to honor Cardinals Hall of Famer Lou Brock, celebrate the St. Louis community, and raise money for children with diabetes.  The Cardinals will formally honor Brock in a special #STLisLou ceremony prior to tonight’s game against the Cubs.

“No person better embodies the spirit of our city or the importance of the Cardinals to St. Louis than Lou Brock,” said the Honorable Francis G. Slay, the Mayor of St. Louis.  “Lou Brock is St. Louis and St. Louis is Lou, so we hope everyone in the ‘Lou will join us in celebrating Lou all season long.”

The Cardinals are encouraging fans to show their affection for Lou Brock all season long by sharing video messages, photographs and other messages via social media using the hashtag #STLisLou.  The team is challenging fans to answer what does Lou Brock mean to you and what does he mean to St. Louis and the Cardinals?  Fans can learn more about the campaign and see what others fans are posting to social media at www.cardinals.com/lou .

 “Lou Brock is not only one of the greatest players to play for the Cardinals, he is also one of the nicest men to have ever worn the birds on the bat,” said Bill DeWitt III, President of the St. Louis Cardinals.  “Our fans selected Lou Brock as one of our Franchise Four, honoring him as being one of the most impactful players in Cardinals history, so we have no doubt that they will seize the opportunity to share their affection for Lou via social media this season.”

DeWitt said the team also developed #STLisLou as an opportunity to celebrate the St. Louis community.  “St. Louis is a remarkable community that is home to the best fans in all of professional sports,” said DeWitt.  “#STLisLou is not only a chance to honor one of our greatest players, but is our way to tip our caps to this great community.”

The St. Louis Cardinals partnered with Explore St. Louis and Downtown STL to develop #STLisLou and will be working with both organizations through the season to engage fans via social media with special promotions such as “Tuesday’s Are Lou’s Day – Find Lou in the Lou!”, a weekly social media based scavenger hunt around town that will reward lucky fans with tickets, exclusive #STLisLou Lou Brock autographed baseballs and other prizes.

 “It is no coincidence that our city’s nickname is the Lou,” said Brian Hall, Chief Marketing Officer, Explore St. Louis.  “Lou is St. Louis.  In many ways, he is the face of our community.  We are excited to be part of a community wide effort to honor Lou Brock while also celebrating our amazing city and helping kids in need.”

“We hope our entire community embraces #STLisLou,” said Missy Kelley, President and CEO of Downtown STL.  “St. Louis is a richly diverse community with people who care about one another and who proudly support their sports franchises in a way that is envied across the nation.”

Throughout the season, area hospitality workers and Downtown STL Community Improvement District (CID) Guides will be wearing a commemorative #STLisLou button as a show of support and chance to educate visitors about the campaign, as well as raise awareness for the #STLisLou fundraising effort to help children with diabetes.

“The team will be selling commemorative #STLisLou buttons to raise money for the special fund Cardinals Care has established in Lou’s name to help children with diabetes,” said Michael Hall, Vice President of Community Relations & Executive Director of Cardinals Care. “We hope fans will join Cardinals Care and Lou Brock in the fight against diabetes by making a donation to the fund or purchasing a button.”

All proceeds from the sale of the #STLisLou button will go toward the special fund.  Fans can purchase the button for $5 at Busch Stadium in the Cardinals Team Store or in the Cardinals Authentics store, as well as at the Cardinals Authentics Store at Cardinals Nation in Ballpark Village.  Fans can also purchase the buttons for $5, plus shipping & handling fees, or make a donation to the fund directly at www.cardinals.com/lou .

The team is planning a variety of other special #STLisLou promotions throughout the season to keep the campaign fresh, including a theme ticket promotion on Monday September 12th where fans who purchase a special theme ticket will receive a commemorative bobblehead replicating the #STLisLou image of Lou Brock on a Clydesdale.  The image, which was drawn by local artist Dan Martin, is a fun homage to the iconic statue of Saint Louis on Art Hill in Forest Park which served as a symbol of the city prior to the construction of the Gateway Arch. In addition to the regular Theme ticket, there are a limited number of VIP packages available, which will include the bobblehead and a pre-game autograph session with Lou. More details can be found at cardinals.com/theme.  A portion of the proceeds from the regular and VIP tickets will benefit the special Cardinals Care fund.

About Lou Brock

If it’s been said once, it’s been said a million times. The Cardinals’ acquisition of outfielder Lou Brock from the Chicago Cubs on June 15, 1964, ranks as perhaps the greatest steal in baseball history. St. Louis traded pitchers Ernie Broglio and Bobby Shantz and outfielder Doug Clemens in exchange for Brock and pitchers Jack Spring and Paul Toth.  Over the course of his career with the Cardinals, Brock established himself as the most prolific base stealer in baseball history to that time. His 938 stolen bases stood as the major league record until Rickey Henderson bettered the mark in 1991. Brock’s total remains the National League standard, and he holds the major league record with 12 seasons of 50 or more steals.

Brock led the N.L. in thefts on eight occasions (1966 to 1969 and 1971 to 1974). He set the season record with 118 in 1974, bettering the mark of 104 by Maury Wills during the 1962 campaign. In 1978, the N.L. announced that its annual stolen base leader would receive the Lou Brock Award, making Brock the first active player to have an award named after him.

But Brock was more than a base burglar. He was a career .293 batter with 3,023 hits. Seven times he batted at a .300 or better clip. In 1967, Brock slugged 21 home runs and had 76 RBI from the leadoff spot. He also had 52 stolen bases to become the first player in baseball history with 20 homers and 50 steals. The following year, Brock topped the N.L. in doubles (46), triples (14) and stolen bases (62), the first player in the Senior Circuit to do so since Honus Wagner of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1908. Brock joined the 3,000-hit club Aug. 13, 1979, with a fourth-inning single off Dennis Lamp of the Chicago Cubs at Busch Stadium.  Brock and Musial are the only Cardinals members of the 3000-hit club.

Brock paid immediate dividends in St. Louis, batting .348 for the balance of the 1964 season and propelling the Cardinals from eighth place in the N.L. to a World Championship over the New York Yankees. The Cardinals won the World Series again in 1967 over the Boston Red Sox and were N.L. champions in 1968. Brock was at his best in postseason play. His .391 career batting average (34-for-87) is a World Series record, while his 14 stolen bases are tied for the most all time with Eddie Collins of the Philadelphia Athletics and Chicago White Sox.  On the Cardinals’ career lists, Brock ranks first in stolen bases (888 – Vince Coleman is second with 549); second in games (2,289), at-bats (9,125), runs (1,427), hits (2,713), doubles (434) and total bases (3,776); fourth in triples (121); fifth in walks (681); and eighth in RBI (814). He was a six-time N.L. All-Star. Brock is second only to Musial in total hits.

 Brock has remained active in baseball since retiring as a player following the 1979 season. He worked in the Cardinals’ broadcast booth from 1981 to 1984; was a base running consultant for the Minnesota Twins in 1987, Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 and Montreal Expos in 1993; and has served as a special instructor for the Cardinals (base running and outfield play) since 1995. He was a first-ballot Hall of Fame inductee in 1985.  In 2015, Brock was voted by the fans as one of the teams Franchise Four, joining Stan Musial, Bob Gibson and Rogers Hornsby as one of the most impactful players who best represented the history of the St. Louis Cardinals.  No one embodies the spirit of St. Louis or the importance of the Cardinals to St. Louis more than Lou Brock.

 The Cardinals Care Lou Brock Fund & Cardinals Care

 Cardinals Care, the Cardinals’ charitable foundation that supports children, has established a special fund in the name of Lou Brock to help children with diabetes.  The Lou Brock fund proceeds will support the American Diabetes Association’s Camp EDI – The Ed and Gloria Hirsch Camp for Children with Diabetes, a one-week resident summer camp held annually at the YMCA’s Trout Lodge in Potosi, Missouri.  Besides the typical camp activities, such as swimming, canoeing and arts and crafts, campers participate in daily “wellness classes” and diabetes education with members of their medical staff.  The campers learn diabetes self-management skills and the importance of counting carbohydrates, diet and exercise. They also learn to be more independent in their diabetes management while at camp. Most importantly, they are able to interact with other children who relate to the challenges of living with diabetes.

 Cardinals Care was established to give fans a way of teaming up with Cardinals players and the organization to help children in our community – both on and off the baseball field. Since it was established in 1997, Cardinals Care has distributed nearly $21 million to support St. Louis area non-profit youth organizations and built 22 youth ball fields in local disadvantaged neighborhoods.  2016 marks the 13th year of Cardinals Care’s innovative Redbird Rookies program, a free baseball league for kids who otherwise might not have the opportunity to play. In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls and other equipment needed for each team, Redbird Rookies also provides extensive off-field support in the areas of health, education, mentoring and the cultural arts for each of the nearly 4,500 kids who participate in the program each year.  Fans can team up with the Cardinals to help children in our community by donating to Cardinals Care at cardinals.com/donate.  Fans can donate to the Cardinals Care Lou Brock fund directly at cardinals.com/lou.

Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Home Opening Day is on Monday!

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

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

 2016 Opening Day in St. Louis

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

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

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

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

Pre-Game Schedule

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

12:45 p.m. – 3:15 p.m.    Opening Day Pre-Game Party at Cardinals Nation:  New this year, Cardinals Nation will host the Official Pre-Game Party of the St. Louis Cardinals.  This ticketed pep-rally style party will be located on the second floor of Cardinals Nation in the Hall of Fame Club, two and a half hours prior to every Cardinals home game during the 2016 season.  The exclusive pre-game event includes a full buffet menu, all-inclusive bar and a DJ or live music all the way until first pitch.  Only 250 tickets will be allotted for each game, which fans can purchase at cardinals.com/pregame for digital delivery.  Tickets can also be purchased at any box office or at the Cardinals Museum in Cardinals Nation.  Opening Day tickets are currently sold out, but fans should continue to check cardinals.com/pregame.

 12:45 p.m. Gates open

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

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

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

Introduction of Fredbird and Team Fredbird.

Hall of Famers will be introduced via a Ford Motorcade around the warning track.  Each Hall of Famer will be riding in a 2016 Ford Mustang convertibles

Busch Stadium 10th Anniversary / Tradition Meets Today Video

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

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

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

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

Moment of silence for Joe Strauss and Joe Garagiola.

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

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

 Ceremonial First Pitch by Hall of Famer Lou Brock.

 3:15 p.m. Game Time!

Watching on TV

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

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) or one of the 141 stations in the Cardinals Radio Network to hear Mike Shannon and John Rooney call the game.  The expanded pre-game show starts at 1:40 p.m.

 Online or On The Go

Fans may also follow the game for free on cardinals.com using the Gameday application or via the team’s Twitter account, @Cardinals.  From mobile devices, fans can keep tabs on the score using MLB’s mobile app, At Bat 16.

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

Getting To The Game

MoDOT will have several lane closures on I-44 inside the city limits on Opening Day.  The department will have one lane closed in each direction on I-44 between Jamieson and Kingshighway.  In addition, the department will have one lane closed on the ramp from eastbound I-44 to northbound I-55.  Outside of the city, one lane will be closed around the clock on northbound and southbound I-55 at Reavis Barracks Road.  Fans heading to Opening Day activities should consider using I-70 or I-64 to get downtown, or allow themselves extra time to get through the work zones on I-44.  As usual, Clark Street will be closed in between the stadium and Ballpark Village.

Alternative Transportation

MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving.  To avoid the traffic congestion and the cost of parking on game days, fans can use one of 21 free Park-Ride lots along the MetroLink line and take the train to Stadium Station, right across the street from the ballpark.  The Stadium Station has been updated since the off season and the Spruce Street Bridge has been replaced.  New stairs have been added to the south side of the station and the overpass will be open to both vehicle and pedestrian traffic with the exception of the south sidewalk, where construction will continue into the summer.  Check the Metro website MetroStLouis.org for schedules and the Park-Ride lot nearest you.

There are also plenty of buses in Missouri and Illinois that will get fans to Busch Stadium including the RedBird Express that departs from the Water Tower at St. Clair Square in Fairview Heights, Illinois.  The first RedBird Express leaves 2½ hours before the game and runs approximately every 3-5 minutes.  On Opening Day, the RedBird Express will start running at noon.  MetroBus is another great option for getting to downtown St. Louis on Monday.  Fans can catch the #40 Broadway or #99 Downtown Trolley, which both have stops near Busch Stadium.

#CapsOn for Opening Day

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

Ballpark Improvements for 2016

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

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

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

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

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

8th Street Market, a new grab-and go concept, has been added behind home plate in the location Build-A-Bear Workshop previously occupied.  The self-serve, pay at the register store will give fans the option to purchase a variety of soda, beer, water, dry snacks, novelty ice cream, and premade sandwiches and salads in a quick and efficient manner without having to wait in concession lines.

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

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

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

New Concessions for 2016

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

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

New Suite Menu Items

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

New Retail for 2016

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

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

Cardinals Authentics Shop

Fans can visit one of the two Cardinals Authentics locations (first floor of Cardinals Nation inside Ballpark Village and Busch Stadium in Ford Plaza north of Gate 6)  to shop for authentic Cardinals gear and to take home a piece of the game.  Cardinals Authentics specialize in official, game-used, limited edition and autographed memorabilia direct from the club.  Both shops offer a great selection of current and vintage Cardinals apparel, as well as one-of-a-kind collectibles.  The Cardinals Nation location is open daily from 10:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m. (April-October) and 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. (November-March) on game nights, the Busch Stadium shop will remain open 30 minutes after last pitch while the Cardinals Nation shop will remain open for one hour after last pitch.

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

Ballpark Village

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

Cardinals Nation Restaurant & Bar

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

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

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

The Cardinals Hall of Fame & Museum at Cardinals Nation

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

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

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

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

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

Club Launches Cardinals Insider TV Show

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

2016 Video Engagement Initiative For Fans (#CardsFanFlix)

#CardsFanFlix is the St. Louis Cardinals’ ongoing fan engagement initiative developed to encourage fans to create videos that celebrate the team.  Throughout the season, the Cardinals will be sponsoring a variety of promotions, contests and campaigns under the umbrella of #CardsFanFlix to encourage fans to creatively use video to demonstrate their enthusiasm and support of the team while also having some fun!

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

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

In December, the Cardinals launched a High School Video Challenge initiative offering high school students in the St. Louis Metropolitan area an opportunity to compete for the chance to create a video with the team at the students’ school featuring both Fredbird and Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.  Students were asked to develop an original video that promotes the St. Louis Cardinals and the students’ high school while including a Science, Technology, Engineering, Art/Design and Math (STEAM) curriculum connection.  Eight finalists were announced and fans voted online for their favorite student produced rough cut video to determine the winner.  The winner will be announced on Opening Day.

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

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

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

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

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

2016 Official Scorecard Celebrates 10th Anniversary Of Busch Stadium III

One of the longest-standing collectible souvenirs in baseball, the scorecard represents much more than a means to keep track of the hits, runs and outs that occur over the course of a game.  It’s a tangible keepsake commemorating a game that might be memorable for any number reasons—a fan’s first game, a couple’s first date or a record-setting performance.

It’s no wonder that the first order of business at Busch Stadium for baseball’s best fans is a stop at a Cardinals Publications vendors cart inside each gate entrance to purchase the Official 2016 Cardinals Scorecard—sold individually or included with each copy of Cardinals Magazine.

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

2016 Official Team Media Guide

The St. Louis Cardinals official team Media Guide has long been relied upon by journalists and broadcasters who cover the team.  Containing stats, photos and biographies of every player in the entire Cardinals organization, along with the definitive history of the club since its inception, the 2016 Media Guide is the best and most comprehensive book about the Cardinals.

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

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

2016 Economic Impact Analysis

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

BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDERS

Bag Inspections Policy

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

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

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

Exit/Re-entry Policy

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

No Smoking Policy

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

 Thanks for reading! See you next time!

Diane

Striking out (literally and figuratively)

Backwards KWe are two days into the 2016 season and the Cardinals have yet to win a game.  The Cardinals have had too many strikeouts in these two games.  This is not acceptable.  The Cards can’t be leaving runners on base either. In Monday’s game, there were 10 runners left on base.  It’s not just that the guys can’t hit; they can’t score either.  Randall Grichuk has struck out every time he’s come up to bat. He’s riding the bench for tonight’s game; Jeremy Hazelbaker is getting his first major league start.

The guys came close to a win last night, but as we old timers know, close only counts in horseshoes, hand grenades, and making out in the back seat of a car.  The bullpen, however, was lights out, with the exception of Seth Maness.  Jedd Gyorko hit his first HR in a Cardinals uniform.  Aledmys Pena and Jeremy Hazelbaker got their first major league hits.  There was some offense, but not enough runs for a win.  But that Stephen Piscotty has a heck of an arm.

And what’s with the bunts?  Matt Carpenter is the leadoff batter and he should not be bunting. Bunts need to be executed by the 8th and 9th place hitters, not the leadoff hitter.  And if the hitter is not good at bunting, then he shouldn’t be bunting at all.  (Yes, Kolton Wong, this means you. I’m thinking about your GIDP in Game 1.)

And to make matters worse, sadly, like last year, the infirmary is getting full again.  Here is the list of current patients and their maladies:

Brayan Pena – Knee surgery to remove loose cartilage in knee – out at least 1 month.

Jhonny Peralta – Thumb ligament tear – out at least until June

Ruben Tejada – Left quad grade 1 strain – on 15 day DL

Tommy Pham – Left oblique strain – out for at least 2 weeks

Mitch Harris – Right arm compression syndrome – on 15 day DL

Jordan Walden – Grade 2 lat sprain – out until June

I’m sure that there are fans out there who are thinking, It’s only the first two games of the season. The season is a marathon, not a sprint.  While these sayings are true, there’s some fine tuning that needs to be done.  Otherwise, this season will go by very, very slowly.  Please play better, guys; I’m tired of hearing my husband whine that I’d better get used to seeing the Cards play like this because it’s going to happen all season.

There is a bit of good news: Sir Paul McCartney will be playing a concert at Busch Stadium on August 13th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Beatles’ concert at Busch Stadium II.  Tickets go on sale on Friday, April 15 at 10:00 AM CST and you can purchase tickets here.  My husband and I saw Sir Paul in concert at Busch Stadium II in 1993.  It was a very good show.  I was impressed with the pyrotechnics during “Live and Let Die.” This show should be just as good, if not even better.

Let’s hope the Cards go on a winning streak starting tonight.  I’m looking forward to seeing Mike Leake pitch.  Thanks as always for reading and see you next time!

Diane

Spring training is over – hallelujah!

BalloonsThe Cards’ last spring training game today was a doozy and to make things even better, it was against the Yankees.  There were home runs a-plenty – 2 by Stephen Piscotty, 1 by Tommy Pham, 1 by Jeremy Hazelbaker and 1 by Brandon Moss.  Hopefully, the hitting slump is over and the team meetings the other day did the trick in getting the guys motivated.

Let’s hope the Birds will have some of today’s firepower in Pittsburgh on Sunday, despite the fact that the high temperature this Sunday in Pittsburgh is supposed to only be 39 degrees – and that’s Fahrenheit, not Celsius. I’ve attended games in early October in St. Louis in those kinds of temperatures and I feel sorry for those poor fans who will be shivering in the stands.  When MLB assembles the schedule for next season, they should ensure that no games are played in the Northeast, the upper Midwest and Toronto in the first part of April, since there is still the possibility of cold weather and even snow. Unless, of course, the games are scheduled in Milwaukee and Toronto, since those stadiums have roofs.  In contrast, the high temperature in St. Louis this Sunday will be 68 degrees.  That’s a perfect temperature for a ball game – not too hot and not too cold.

I was so hoping that the Cards would leave spring training without a major injury.  Unfortunately, Jhonny Peralta tore the same ligament on his thumb that Yadier Molina did during the playoffs last year. Jhonny will be out at least until June.  Peralta’s injury led to the signing of Ruben Tejada.  However, Ruben left today’s game with a left quad strain. Jeremy Hazelbaker, who has been hot during spring training, is going north with the team due to Tejada’s injury. Mitch Harris will start the season on the disabled list with compression syndrome.  And Jordan Walden, who looked like he would be good to go up until Wednesday, is now on the DL with shoulder issues.  Walden’s injury led to an opening on the roster for Rule 5 player Matt Bowman, who pitched in today’s game.

But the most devastating injury out of spring training was not to a player. Third base coach Jose “Secret Weapon” Oquendo is out for the season due to a knee replacement surgery that went awry and had to be repeated.  The Cardinals offered to let Oquendo do some coaching from the bench, but he said if he couldn’t do the job he was hired to do that he didn’t want to be there at all.  Jose’s absence will be a great loss for the team, since not only does Jose work with the Spanish-speaking players, he works with the other players on base running.   First base coach Chris Maloney has moved over to third base to replace Jose and Bill Mueller has moved to first base.  Time will tell how much Jose’s absence will affect the team.

The Cards have two days off before Opening Day on Sunday.  I’m ready for regular season baseball, aren’t you?  I’m ready to come home from work and know I’m going to be seeing my favorite team playing ball on TV.  This Sunday is going to be awesome – church in the morning and then coming home in time to watch the Cards’ opener on TV.  Are you ready for some baseball? I know I am!

As always, thanks for reading! See you next time!

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

A passion for politics and for baseball

R-D baseballSorry I haven’t posted in a while.  It’s been a really busy last couple of weeks.  I’ve been calling and canvassing for my favorite presidential candidate, which has taken up a lot of my time.  In addition, I’m the back-up assistant for another legal assistant at work.  Her husband passed away, so she was off work for a week and a half.  Doing her work and mine really wore me out. I didn’t mind helping her, but I was too tired to think, let alone write a blog post.  Thankfully, there was a survey and a script to follow for calling and canvassing for my candidate, so I didn’t have to do too much thinking, just talking and walking.  The other legal assistant is back to work now and things are slowly getting back to normal here at work.  Yesterday was the presidential primary in the state where I live.  Now that all that is done, I can now start turning my focus back to baseball.

While reflecting on the primary results last night, however, it occurred to me that there are a lot of similarities between being a baseball fan and the presidential race.  People who are passionate about baseball follow their team no matter if they win or lose, although they may be disappointed when their team loses.  When a person has a favorite presidential candidate, they follow their candidate by watching the polls and the primary results, and are disappointed if their candidate loses a primary or he or she suspends their campaign.  If a person’s favorite candidate is making an appearance somewhere near where they live or work, they will go and see the candidate, like a baseball fan going to a baseball game.

The primaries can be compared to regular season games.  Each primary has a winner and several losers, depending on how many candidates have thrown their hats in the ring.  Various websites show the standings as to how many delegates each candidate has, much like the baseball standings showing what team is in first place.

Then the nominating conventions take place and that can be compared to the playoffs.  If there are not enough delegates voting for a candidate in the first round of voting, then there is a second round, and so on, until one candidate gets the required number of votes to be the party candidate. The first round of voting could be compared to the LDS, and if there is a second round of voting, it could be compared to the LCS.  The presidential nominees in both political parties could be compared to the National League Champion and the American League Champion.

The presidential election can be compared to the World Series. The candidate with 270 votes from the Electoral College wins the election.  Here’s where the comparison ends, however: the World Series is best of seven; but if there is no president elected in the first round of Electoral College voting, then the House of Representative elects the president.

Don’t worry, I’ll be posting about Cardinals baseball again in my next post.  Until then, thanks for reading and see you next time!

Diane

Bibliography:  “Electoral College (United States),” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electoral_College_(United_States)

Happy Pitchers and Catchers Report Day!

Today may be Hump Day but more importantly for Cardinals fans, today is Pitchers and Catchers Report Day! Baseball is back, baby! PCRD is a major holiday on the Cardinal calendar. It signals the end of the off-season and the beginning of spring training. Some of the Cardinals players reported to camp early, including new Korean relief pitcher Seung Hwan Oh. (Oh, the puns that will be made with that last name. Poor guy.)

I saw a meme on Facebook the other day that changes the names of the calendar seasons with baseball seasons. Instead of spring, summer, fall and winter, there is spring training, regular season, post-season and off-season.  Although the winter has been pretty mild here in the St. Louis area, the grey, dreary days leave me longing for baseball.  This has been a long week this week, waiting for Wednesday.

I’m so excited that baseball is back! I hope you are too.  Here’s a poem I posted in February 2014, and it still applies today:

Ode to Spring Training

Cardinals fans cheer! The day’s finally here,
We’ve waited for all winter long,
It’s time to rejoice, so lift up your voice,
And come and join me in this song!

Pitchers and catchers report,
Pitchers and catchers report,
Four words that say spring’s on its way,
Pitchers and catchers report!

The winter’s been long and dreary,
With snow and cold galore,
And although our hearts were weary,
They’re not that way anymore!

Because today –

Pitchers and catchers report,
Pitchers and catchers report,
Four words that say spring’s on its way,
Pitchers and catchers report!

Yes, there is a tune for this, and hopefully some year, I will make a video of me singing it. Until then, however, you’ll have to enjoy the printed lyrics.

Thanks as always for reading!  See you next time!

Diane

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.