|Courtney and I with our Flat Stan’s. 10.2.10|
Saturday, October 2nd, 2010 was “Stand For Stan” Day at Busch Stadium. Having decided a few weeks ago that Courtney and I needed to go to one last game for the 2010 season, we thought going to Stand For Stan Day would be the best idea. We know that everyone was able to see the awesome ceremony on TV during the middle of the 6th inning, but being there was an unbelievable experience. I have seen several other tributes to Stan Musial throughout the years, but this was the first one I have been to that was all about The Man. As the top of the sixth inning came to an end, John Ulett announced that it was time to stand as Stan Musial was about to make his way around the warning track. The music – like from the triumphant climax of your favorite sports movie – began to play and I grabbed my camera and handed Courtney one of our Flat Stan the Man’s. We stood to join the rest of the crowd in waving them and cheering as The Man entered from the right field corner. I noticed right off that all of the guys in both the Cardinal’s and Rockies dugout were all standing out in front of it; our guys with their own Flat Stan’s and some of the Rockies had them too! Then Courtney directed my attention to the bullpen. All of the guys in the bullpen were standing on the fence on their tippy-toes waving their Flat Stan’s at Stan Musial as he rounded the warning track. I almost cried. It was the cutest thing I think I had ever seen, and knowing how much personality some of the guys in the bullpen have, it was almost like they were all little kids again. I am starting to tear up thinking about it now. Stan continued to round the outfield and each section roared with cheers as he passed. Once Stan got to the Cardinal Dugout, he shook hands with every single player, and several people around us all said at the same time “Oh, look! There’s Red!” as he shook hands with Mr. Schoendienst. We couldn’t help but hope it would last longer. No words were spoken, no speeches were made, no pause in the action – just a tribute to the greatest Cardinal to ever wear the uniform, and it was perfect.
|The bullpen wave their Flat Stan’s at Stan Musial.|
The St. Louis Cardinals Organization has been campaigning all season to convince President Barack Obama that Stan “The Man” Musial should be awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom – the highest civilian honor.
|Stan finishes up his trip around
Throughout the game, everything had to do with Stan “The Man”; the word puzzle of the day, the vision test, the highlight videos of poignant moments in his career on the scoreboard between every half-inning. And while this was obviously the main attraction, the Cardinals also paid tribute to Ernie Hays, retiring organist, throughout the game and Jay Randolph before the game. If you think about it, kind of bittersweet considering the season we just went through. But, like anything else, the Cardinal’s did a great job in recognizing those two as well. While Jay may not have always got everything right this year, he had an amazing career and I respect the job he did. As for Ernie Hays – one of the nicest people you will ever meet. Courtney and I met him on the metrolink after a game a few years back and he was the sweetest man. He let us bug him about his job and explained to us how very few organists are left in major league ballparks. I surely hope that whoever fills Ernie’s bench next year will be able to live up to his standards. We will miss you, Ernie!
|The walk-off “beating” of Matt Holliday|
To wrap it up, the Cardinals ended their season on a 5 game winning streak and winning 7 of their last 8. It is frustrating (the word of the season apparently) at the same time to see the team win 5 in a row after a dismal season, but I will take it and move forward. Thankfully, Courtney and I were able to end our season on a high note; a walk-off 1-0 win in the 11th inning on a base hit by Matt Holliday and an infield beating by his teammates. One of my favorite things to see – and Courtney and I have seen a couple of those this year. While we looked back and asked each other “where was that the last couple months?”, we know that we have so much to look forward to next year. Though the majority of the starters in the last 3 games were playing in Memphis most of the year, I am very pleased with how this team finished. The 2011 Cardinals may look different, but one thing is sure; we will love them no matter what.