Tag Archive | "Cardinal Nation"

Yahoo: Albert Pujols Deserves Respect

I am well aware that the headline to this article puts me in the minority and will cause me to face the ire of Cardinal Nation, but I cannot help it.

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I wrote over at Yahoo! tonight about the facts behind my standpoint that Albert Pujols deserves respect from Cardinal fans.

He gave the St. Louis Cardinals, their fans, and myself 11 years of amazing baseball memories.  Meanwhile, he made one bad choice – to leave the team.

I don’t feel the choice outweighs the memories.

There was a commercial that aired a few years back that pointed out that the generation of fans before myself got to watch Bob Gibson pitch, Lou Brock run, and Ozzie Smith field.  My generation?  We got to watch Pujols do…everything.

That’s the player he was.  Dominant, game changing, something never seen before, and the guy that you knew could do something you never thought possible on any given day.

Fans will react in many different ways when the see Albert on their screens this week wearing a uniform other than a Cardinals one in a game the Cardinals are a part of.  Some will shrug it off.  Some will be full of hatred and spit whatever vile phrases that come to mind.

I’ll choose to take a page from Jack Buck.

Pardon me while I stand and applaud.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

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If Tyler Greene Homers In Chicago, Will Cardinal Nation Hear It?

St. Louis Cardinal fans are seemingly obsessed over former players.  Brendan Ryan, Rick Ankiel and Lance Berkman have all been on fans’ minds throughout the season.

Tyler Greene?  Not so much.

White Sox Mets Baseball

The middle infielder, who many believe cracked under the pressure that Tony LaRussa placed on him while they were both in uniform for the Cardinals, found himself on the outside looking in after a weak spring training with the Houston Astros.  He was released from his contract prior to opening day and he drifted off into oblivion.  Or Chicago.  Same thing in most people’s minds.

Tyler Greene is a Chicago White Sox infielder.  That news was a surprise to me as I read a recent article over at the St. Louis Sports Page about former Cardinals and how they are performing.  I had not heard anyone talking about him.  No fans rumbling about his arrival in the big leagues when Gordon Beckham went down hurt.  No sudden jubilation when he signed a contract with the pale hose on April 1st.

Surprisingly, not even a blurb on the internet when Greene went yard on April 26.

Greene is playing well in Chicago in very limited duty.  He has produced a .276/.323/.483 slashline in 29 at bats, producing a single home run and two runs batted in while scoring four times.  He has entered the game as a pinch runner or pinch hitter almost as many times (5) as he has on the field as a second baseman (6).  He has yet to attempt to steal a base and has committed one error in 29 chances.

Tyler Greene is a bench player in major league baseball, continuing to patrol the middle infield and run the base paths.  Leaving St. Louis has not injected his career with a sudden level of success.  The absence of Tony LaRussa has not allowed Greene to improve to the level that everyone thought.

Even so, it appears that no one cares.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at i70baseball.
You can follow him on Twitter by 
clicking here.

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St. Louis Cardinals 2013 Opening Day Details

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ST. LOUIS – April 5, 2013 – Monday, April 8th marks the annual return of baseball to St. Louis as the Cardinals take on the Cincinnati Reds in a 3:15 p.m. game. Opening Day 2013 will feature a pre-game ceremony that will pay tribute to Stan Musial.   Following is a schedule of official activities and information to help baseball’s best fans enjoy what has become an unofficial holiday for Cardinal Nation. Fans can join the social media conversation on Twitter with #OpeningDaySTL and #6.

Opening Day Ceremony

Opening Day marks the first time the Cardinals family will be together at Busch Stadium for a game since the passing of Stan Musial earlier this year.  On Opening Day, and throughout the 2013 season, the Cardinals will honor the legacy of the team’s greatest player who personified the Cardinal Way.  The team is wearing a jersey patch throughout the season and will host a full tribute to Musial on Friday, April 12th when the team dedicates a plaque in his honor.

On Monday, Stan’s four children will unveil an outfield wall marker as part of the Opening Day ceremony that begins at 2:30 p.m. with the Budweiser Clydesdales.

The ceremony will feature all four of the team’s Commissioner’s Trophies from each of those World Championship teams (’67, ’82, ’06, and ’11), as well as the introduction of the Cardinals Hall of Famers and 2013 Cardinals via a Ford motorcade.

 

Schedule

11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cardinals Official Opening Day Pre-Game Pep Rally, sponsored by Hardee’s:  The Cardinals and Hardee’s will host a pre-game pep rally in front of the Cardinals Team Store, located at the corner of Clark Street and 8th Street. Local rock band Trixie Delight will perform from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Fredbird and Team Fredbird will be on hand to give away Opening Day tickets, autographed items and other Cardinals prizes. Fans can stop by the free Hardee’s Photo Booth to get their Opening Day photo taken from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Fans can also purchase a Hardee’s Combo Meal after regular breakfast hours from the Mobile Diner or Hardee’s restaurant on Chestnut and receive a free Cardinals t-shirt while supplies last.  Other sponsors include: Budweiser, Dunkin Donuts, Fox Theatre, FOX Sports Midwest, Krispy Kreme, The Muny, Rawlings, Scotts, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and The Tan Company.

1:15 p.m.                   Gates open

                                    Budweiser Magnet Schedule Day:  All ticketed-fans, ages 21 and over, will receive a magnet with the 2013 Cardinals schedule, compliments of Budweiser Beer.

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

      Introduction of Missouri Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon, St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley, and St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay

      Introduction of Fredbird and Team Fredbird

      Cardinals Hall-of-Famers will be introduced via a Ford Motorcade, led around the warning track by the 2013 Ford Fusion. Each Cardinals Hall of Famer will be riding in a 2014 Ford Mustang Convertible.

      Tribute to Stan Musial:  Stan and Lillian Musial’s four children, Dick Musial, Gerry Ashley, Janet Schwarze, and Jean Edmonds will unveil a memorial marker in left center field.

      Introduction of the 2013 St. Louis Cardinals via Ford Motorcade. The players will ride in 2013 Ford F-150 Raptors.

      Introduction of the Cincinnati Reds and the starting lineups

      American Bald Eagle introduced, courtesy of the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis

      Color Guard and American Flag in Center Field, courtesy of Scott Air Force Base 

                                    The National Anthem will be performed by six members of the Gateway Harmonica Club of St. Louis. Stan Musial was an honorary member of the club.

                                    A moment of silence for the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, as well as a moment of silence for baseball great and St. Louis native Earl Weaver, former Cardinals Outfielder Chuck Diering, longtime organist Ernie Hayes, longtime Redbird Roost attendant Fanny Scholl, and the greatest Cardinal, Hall of Famer Stan Musial.

      Ceremonial First Pitch by former Cardinal closer Jason Isringhausen and former Cardinal center fielder Jim Edmonds, who are both new members of the Fox Sports Midwest Cardinals pre and post-game broadcast team.

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.

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) or one of the 124 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 13.

Getting to the Game

Fans will notice a few changes around the ballpark as a result of the Ballpark Village construction.  The biggest change for motorists is that 8th Street is now a two-way street between Clark and Market with two north and southbound lanes.

Temporary stop signs are currently in place at the intersections of 8th and Clark, as well as 8th and Walnut, until new traffic signals are installed later this spring.  Walnut is now also a two-way street between 8th and Broadway, with one westbound lane and two eastbound lanes.

Pedestrian traffic into the ballpark has also changed due to the construction of Ballpark Village.  The biggest improvement fans will notice is that the pedestrian bridge from Stadium West Parking garage has been removed and the intersection of Clark and 8th Street has been redesigned with a much larger sidewalk in front the plaza of champions the skirts the Cardinals Team Store.

Clark Street is also being improved and will be open to pedestrian traffic on Opening Day.  The Cardinals Opening Day Rally will be at the corner 8th and Clark.

Highways and Other Roadwork 

MoDOT will not have any scheduled lane closures on state highways inside the city limits for Opening Day and Opening Weekend. The department does have several construction projects around the city scheduled for 2013, including a bridge replacement at Jefferson over I-64 that may have one lane closed on I-64 around the clock in both directions for several months. MoDOT will make every effort to have all available lanes open into and out of the city before and after Cardinal home games.  At this time, several I-64 and I-70 closures are planned for weekends, but will not be scheduled during Cardinal home games.

Alternative Transportation

MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving, allowing fans to avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic.  To avoid the traffic congestion and the cost of parking on game day, fans can use one of 19 free Park-Ride lots along the MetroLink line and take the train to Stadium Station, right across the street from the ballpark.  Check the Metro website www.MetroSt.Louis.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 2 ½ hours before the game and runs approximately every 5 minutes. On opening day, the RedBird Express will start running at Noon. 

Ballpark Village

In February of this year, the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cordish Companies broke ground on Ballpark Village – a mixed-use development on 10-acres adjacent to Busch Stadium.  The first phase of Ballpark Village will be completed by Opening Day 2014.

The first phase will include over 100,000 square feet of retail and entertainment space including Cardinals Nation, the Budweiser Brew HousePBR St. Louis: A Cowboy Bar and the Live! At Ballpark Village marketplace.

Cardinals Nation will be a first-of-its-kind venue in baseball totaling over 30,000 square feet on three levels. It will include a two story restaurant, a retail store, a Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, a special events space, and a 300-plus seat rooftop deck with views into Busch Stadium. A second building will house a 20,000 square foot, three-story Budweiser Brew House with a festive rooftop party deck also offering views into Busch Stadium.  The two signature structures will be joined by the Live! At Ballpark Village marketplace, an indoor marketplace with a retractable roof covering the event space, designed to be a vibrant gathering space throughout the year for thousands of visitors.

The $100 million first phase also includes all of the streets, parking and site infrastructure to support the future phases of the seven-block mixed-use project, allowing the city to attract future development with pad-ready sites.  The project is expected to have a positive impact on the local economy with nearly a thousand construction jobs and nearly 500 permanent jobs expected to be created as part of the initial phase alone. 

Ballpark Improvements

As the Cardinals begin their eighth season of play in Busch Stadium, the team has made a number of improvements to the stadium during the off-season, including sowing the seeds of another successful season with the installation of new sod.  During the fall, the Cardinals installed over 100,000 square feet of new sod.  The sod, which was grown in Fort Morgan, Colorado, is a four way blend of Kentucky Bluegrass set in a 10 inch root zone that is 85% sand, 10% peat, and 5% Zeopro mixture.

In addition to the new playing surface and the improved, expanded sidewalk outside the Cardinals Team Store and plaza of champions at 8th and Clark, fans will notice an improved front façade thanks to the installation of new windows on the second level on the Northwestern section of the Stadium.  The new windows run the length of the Budweiser Bowtie bar as well as Group Sales Corner above the Team Store and along the Group Sales Hallway above the ticket windows on 8th Street.

The Cardinals have installed new flooring in several areas of the ballpark and have added 150 energy efficient LED HD TV throughout the stadium.  The team has also upgraded the outdoor furniture in several all-inclusive areas, upgraded several party suites, added fresh coats of paint and made a number of smaller improvements throughout the park.

New Menu for 2013

Delaware North Companies Sportservice, the St. Louis Cardinals’ concessionaire for more than 50 years, is preparing to welcome fans back to the Stadium with a starting lineup of food to please every fan’s unique taste.

New at Section 135 is The Double Play Tap and Grill, where traditional ballpark fare gets a high-end makeover. Fans can enjoy a thick and juicy cheddar stuffed burger on a pretzel bun, or a customizable four-hand nacho platter, and choose fresh toppings for both to suit their unique tastes.

Likewise, fans will find new additions throughout the park. Look for Kohn’s Kosher Cart, featuring knockwurst and pastrami sandwiches at Section 147.  Dizzy’s Diner locations (Sections 139, 161 and 446) have also been beefed up with the addition of The Horseshoe, an open-faced burger consisting of two beef patties topped with fries and cheese sauce.  Other new additions include Bavarian Pretzel Sticks, at Sections 139, 161, 271 and 446, and Fried Pickle Spears, at Sections 271 and 509.

New Retail for 2013

From Opening Day apparel to personalized gifts, the Team Store has what fans need to look their game-day best no matter their unique style.   Adding to the Team Store’s most exclusive selection of limited-edition Opening Day apparel and accessories, new this year is the Cardinals’ retro-style alternate jersey, worn during Saturday home games. This ivory and red jersey proudly features “St. Louis” across the chest instead of the traditional “Cardinals” insignia.

The Team Store also will feature Opening Day baseballs, t-shirts and lapel pins, exclusive to the Stadium, in addition to the new batting practice cap by New Era. The Team Store also is carrying the exclusive Victoria’s Secret PINK line, perfect for the stylish yet casual Cardinals fan. Fans who want to make a statement — about their fashion and their favorite team — can now do so with new Alex and Ani bangle sets. The bracelets, which come in brushed Russian gold or silver, can be customized with a variety of charms and stacked to create a unique combination.

Aside from the Cardinals games, Busch Stadium also hosts several weddings each year along with hundreds of special parties and celebrations. Fans can commemorate their special day with personalized memorabilia, such as wedding invitations, hand-etched wine glasses, personalized baseballs, and custom Mega Tickets, enlarged to 500 percent the size of a regular ticket, to celebrate anniversaries, birthdays, and retirements.

As in years past, the Team Store offers dozens of $15 and under souvenirs, including baseballs, mini-bats, koozies, magnets, baseball cards, jewelry, posters, postcards, key chains, lanyards, pennants, pins — and the No. 1 seller — foam fingers, and claws.

And, even while the construction progresses around Ballpark Village, the Team Store is ready to help fans get prepared for Opening Day. The store is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., seven days a week, and offers free, 15-minute parking on the curb next to the store entrance at Clark and 8th Street, between Gates 3 and 4.  Sportservice also operates nearly 20 retail kiosks throughout the ballpark, as well as three other licensed stores around the stadium, including:

  • ·        Fans Nest at Broadway (including the Jersey Lettering Booth) – Main Concourse near Gate 1
  • ·        Fans Nest at Home Plate – Level 4 behind Section 450
  • ·        Fans Nest at Riverview Corner – Level 4 behind Section 437

Fans will want to stop by the Cardinals Authentics store in Ford Plaza (cardinals.com/authentics), the only place to get official, game-used, limited edition and autographed Cardinals memorabilia directly from the team. Fans can now order an engraved bat from Louisville Slugger, the official bat of MLB.

Cardinals In the Community – Redbird Rookies Celebrates 10 Years in 2013

Redbird Rookies, Cardinals Care’s free baseball league for boys and girls who may not otherwise have a chance to play baseball, turns 10 in 2013.  In addition to providing all the uniforms, gloves, bats, balls, and other equipment needed for each team in over 20 leagues in Missouri and Illinois, 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.

Cardinals Care was established to give fans a way of teaming up with Cardinals players and the Cardinals organization to help children in our community – both on and off the baseball field.  Since it was established in 1997, Cardinals Care has invested nearly $19 million in helping children, including providing nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations, and building 19 youth ball fields in neighborhoods in both Missouri and Illinois.  Cardinals Care is urging fans to support their on-going efforts to help children a variety of ways:

  • ·        Go RED for Kids - Businesses, schools and other organizations are being asked to rally behind the team and Cardinals Care by participating in Cardinals RED for Kids.  Cardinals RED for Kids is the team’s version of an office “dress down” day in which participating organizations make a donation to Cardinals Care in exchange for the opportunity to sport their Cardinal colors around the office on Opening Day. To participate, local businesses and organizations can visit cardinals.com/red.
  • ·        Cardinals Care 6K and One Mile Fun Run – Lace up your jogging shoes and join the team for the 4th annual run and walk on Sunday, August 18th.  Learn more and sign up atwww.cardinals.com/6K.
  • ·        Donate directly at cardinals.com/community.

Cardinals Magazine Releases Season-Opening Issue, Digital Edition, and Collectible Scorecard

Cardinals Magazine kicks off its 21st season of publication with a star-studded cover story featuring three of the club’s most dynamic centerfielders of recent history: Willie McGee, Jim Edmonds, and Jon Jay. From spectacular catches to everyday responsibilities, this dynamic trio shares secrets about the art of playing the position. Other issue highlights include a Q&A with skipper Mike Matheny, an in-depth look at the club’s highly regarded farm system, Adam Wainwright’s monthly journal, fresh insight into the club’s spellbinding comeback in Game 5 of the NLDS last fall, and the release of the first of six collectible Stan Musial posters.

Also available at the ballpark is the popular 2013 Official Scorecard, which teaches fans how to score the “Cardinal Way”—a storied tradition by club officials that dates back more than 50 seasons. This year’s collectible scorecard features Fredbird sporting the new Cardinals home alternate jersey that includes the Stan Musial No. 6 patch as well as the Musial statue. The retro and contemporary hybrid design of the scorecard comes from local artist Mike Right, who has been creating the timeless Cardinals scorecard imagery since 2003.

During games, fans can purchase Cardinals Magazine and the Official Scorecard together for just $5 at all gates and at the Team Store. Outside the ballpark, fans can buy the magazine at many St. Louis area retailers, including grocery stores, QT, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, and Cardinals Clubhouse stores inside 6 local malls. To start a subscription (7 issues for just $35), call 314.345.9303 or visitcardinals.com/publications.– more –

Finally, new for 2013 is the digital edition of Cardinals Magazine which will be available for download on iPhone, Android, PC, Mac, and iPad. One-year subscriptions are $25; individual issues will be available for purchase for $5. The first issue is scheduled to be released on April 15 through cardinals.com/publications. Stay tuned for additional information.

BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDERS

Bag Inspections Policy

  • ·        The standard game-day bag inspection policies for Busch Stadium will be in effect. Bags will be allowed that meet Major League Baseball’s standard size restriction (16”x16”x8”), 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.  
  • ·        Non-alcoholic beverages such as water and soda in open cups or in clear plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters are allowed.
  • ·        Alcohol, bottles, cans, thermoses, hard-sided coolers; hard plastic cups/mugs are not permitted.
  • ·        Small banners and signs are allowed.  Banners may be displayed as long as they do not hinder or interfere with a ball in play or distract or interfere with the view of another guest. Banners may not be displayed in fair territory, be obscene or in poor taste, attract abuse or cause a disturbance among other guests. They should be baseball-oriented and not commercial in nature.
  • ·        Please minimize items you bring into the stadium to speed up the inspection process. 
  • ·        Expect long lines upon entry and allow yourself plenty of time to go through the inspection process.

Exit/Re-entry Policy

Standard Exit/Re-entry Policies are in effect.  Guests wishing to leave the stadium, but planning to return during the same game must have their hand stamped at Gates 1, 2 or 4 as they exit the stadium. Guests must show ticket upon re-entry. Inspection policy will also be enforced.

No Smoking Policy

Standard Busch Stadium Smoking Policy is in effect.  Busch Stadium is a smoke-free facility. Exit/Re-Entry turnstiles will be set up at Gates 1, 2 and 4 to allow fans access in and out of the stadium if they wish to smoke. Fans will get their hand stamped as they exit the stadium. Guests must show ticket upon re-entry. Inspection policy will also be enforced.

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Cardinals And Rawlings Launch “Varsity Club”

The St. Louis Cardinals and Ralwings Sporting Goods team up to launch “Varsity Club”
Exclusive fan club for teenagers is first-of-its-kind amongst MLB teams

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (February 7, 2013) – The St. Louis Cardinals today announced an expanded partnership with St. Louis‐based Rawlings Sporting Goods to benefit area youth. Through the partnership with Rawlings, the team is launching the Cardinals Varsity Club presented by Rawlings, a membership-based program exclusive to teenagers and young adults in Cardinal Nation.

“Rawlings stepped up to the plate when we launched Redbird Rookies in 2004 and they have been an outstanding partner,” said Michael Hall, Vice President of Cardinals Care and Community Relations. “We are very excited about this new venture and we look forward to sharing Cardinal baseball with more kids in our community.”

The membership-based fan club is exclusive to teens and young adults, ages 14-19, and offers a personalized fan experience for the age group. Although many teams have fan clubs, the Rawlings Varsity Club is considered to be the first-of-its-kind for the teen demographic among major domestic professional sports leagues. The $35 membership includes a ticket voucher for two tickets to a 2013 Cardinals home game, two exclusive promotional items – Varsity Club backpack and Cardinals flat bill cap – a Cardinals coupon book, two issues of Cardinals Magazine and more. The year-long Varsity Club membership culminates with Rawlings Varsity Club Day at the Ballpark on Wednesday, August 14, 2013. Members will receive two tickets to the game, early access to the ballpark for a program featuring Cardinals front office executives, Rawlings representatives and Cardinals players, and the opportunity to parade around the warning track pre-game. Fans can visit cardinals.com/varsity to obtain more information or to register for the 2013 season.

“The Rawlings Varsity Club membership program is a natural progression of our continuously-expanding partnership with the Cardinals,” said Kurt Hunzeker, senior director of brand marketing for Rawlings. “This first-of-its-kind sponsorship platform allows us to better connect and engage with our core target market, offer exclusive product discounts and tailor unique experiences as they progress in their playing careers and fan avidity for the Cardinals.”

In addition to the Varsity Club sponsorship, Rawlings renewed its presenting sponsorship of the Cardinals Kids Club (formerly the Cardinals Crew Kids Club) in an effort to grow with young Cardinals’ fans and fortify its commitment to enabling baseball in the St. Louis community. The Kids Club, for fans ages 15 and under, is in its 13th year and this season features Jon Jay as its official spokesman. This marks the third year that Rawlings will participate as the lead sponsor of the Kids Club in which 7,300 kids took part in 2012.

Membership for the Cardinals Kids Club presented by Rawlings is $25 and includes two Cardinals tickets, a Cardinals drawstring bag designed to look like Jon Jay’s new 2013 “St. Louis” home alternate jersey, a stylish pair of headphones, a Cardinal-themed lunch bag, a new 2013 Cardinals Kids Club lapel pin, membership card and lanyard, as well as an invitation to an exclusive member’s only party at Busch Stadium featuring autographs, food, fun, Fredbird and more. Fans can renew or purchase memberships and obtain more information at cardinals.com/kidsclub, or call the Cardinals Kids Club hotline at314.345.9888.

In addition, the Rawlings Replay equipment trade-in program will continue as part of these sponsorships, which has outfitted more than 8,000 Redbird Rookies players since its origin in 2011. Rawlings is the Official Batting Helmet and Ball Supplier of Major League Baseball.

Since its inception in 1997, Cardinals Care has invested nearly $18 million in helping children, including providing nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations, and building 19 youth ball fields in disadvantaged neighborhoods in Missouri and Illinois. For nearly a decade, Cardinals Care has run the 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. Cardinals Care has distributed more than $16 million to area children’s organizations. To learn more about all of Cardinals Care’s programs visit cardinals.com/community.

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Big Mac Leaves St. Louis

One year ago, Cardinal Nation tasted the very definition of bittersweet as the team reveled in its 11th—and inarguably most dramatic and improbable—World Series Championship while also saying goodbye to Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan, the outgoing brain trust of so much on-the-field success over a decade and a half in St. Louis. Their departure set in motion a transfer of eras to new manager Mike Matheny, and on Friday another big chunk of that transfer disappeared from the Busch Stadium landscape and headed west.

As reported in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Cardinals hitting coach Mark McGwire is expected to depart for the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he will assume the same role under manager Don Mattingly. McGwire cited a desire to be closer to his family as the reason for the move.

It’s hard to know just what a hitting coach contributes to a major league team. He does not teach players to hit—they have to know how to do that before they get past Double-A. He can’t provide a magic bullet to kill a slump, or a magic potion to prolong a streak (not in this era, anyway). Certainly some combination of encouraging words, a watchful eye for changes in approach, and a general bank of knowledge to pass on to the younger generation has a lot to do with it. In the World Series film from 2011, a scene from the batting cages before Game 6—yes, that Game 6—shows David Freese horsing around a bit with McGwire and talking about his stance. McGwire tells him, “Just keep doing what you’re doing, David.” Was it a profound, Nostradamus-like vision from Big Mac? Maybe, maybe not. But it was a neat moment that perfectly framed the notion that McGwire knew what he was talking about as a coach at least some of the time. He wasn’t just the recipient of a bone tossed by La Russa, as so many surmised after the announcement of his hiring before the 2010 season.

But there was Mark McGwire the player, too, and no matter how controversial his feats as an on-the-field Cardinal were, he left an indelible mark on this great franchise in 1998. And though injuries were making it the twilight of his career, he did contribute to the playoff teams in 2000-01 that started the remarkable run the Cards had under La Russa and continue to have under Matheny. It seems odd that McGwire was in the same lineup as Albert Pujols, doesn’t it? But he was…they were teammates for Pujols’ first year as a Cardinal, and he was Pujols’ hitting coach for his last year as a Cardinal. Now that’s bookending a relationship.

And, really, McGwire did the same with the Cardinals as a whole. No one felt any closure with Big Mac after the steroid scandal broke, and we all watched uncomfortably as he painfully stood before that congressional hearing in 2005. He finally took his medicine—albeit years too late—and redeemed himself by doing his job and doing it well. He proved he deserved to be a part of the game again, and he proved he was worthy of donning the Birds on the Bat again. Both were longshots at best for almost a decade.

Maybe it is a shame that McGwire is leaving the Cardinals but still coaching. In the storybook version of this tale, he retires a Cardinal and that’s the end of it. But this is real life, and moving on to another team not only validates his desire to remain in the game; it validates the game’s desire to keep him around.

So long, Big Mac. Thanks for the memories.

Chris Reed also writes for InsideSTL Mondays and Bird Brained whenever he feels like it. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

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I hate your face, St Louis

“I love it when a plan comes together” – John “Hannibal” Smith

Two weeks ago I decided to write today’s article about the city of St Louis, their baseball team, and their unbearable fans. I spent countless hours researching, and remembering, all the things I dislike about this pompous trinity and was just beginning to feel prepared as I settled in to watch Friday night’s game. Less than 4 hours later, the best fans in baseball gave me all the ammunition I would have ever needed.

I should have seen it coming. You see I had developed a theory that determines how much you hate the Cardinal Nation, and Friday night’s experience just proved it. The theory basically states that hatred of the Cardinals begins with a person’s decency and is positively correlated with how much exposure you have to their fans. In other words, the more you get to know them, the more you hate them…and Friday night was a window into their souls.

Cardinals fans are, at their core, spoiled little brats. They’re the kid you hated in high school because he drove a brand new BMW, wore Abercrombie and Fitch to school every day, and always had that smirk on his face like he knew something that you didn’t. Everything in life was so easy for him. The hot chicks adored him because of his car, he never got in trouble because of daddy’s money, and he certainly wasn’t working a job in the summer. Remember how that kid acted when he something didn’t go his way? He threw a fit, just like Cardinals fans did Friday night. Remember how he acted when someone had a great accomplishment? He tried to diminish it, just like Cardinals fans did when Johan Santana no-hit them a couple of weeks ago. And if that didn’t work? Well then, he generally went off his rocker, like sending death threats to the family of an umpire because he had the audacity to blow a call.

The thing I always hated the most about that kid was that he actually thought we were all jealous of him, and of course so do Cardinals fans. They self-gloss with the ”best fans in baseball” tag, they talk about their 11 World Series rings any time you dare to question them, and most of all they love to act like they don’t give a damn about the Kansas City Royals because that would be beneath them.

Much like the rich kid, they’re just over compensating for their obvious shortcomings. I mean, c’mon they live in one of the dirtiest, most crime riddled cities in America. It’s no wonder they flock to the K every year, who wouldn’t want to get out of that abyss for a few days? I think the city of St Louis wanted to be Chicago but could only duplicate the crime and pollution. They like to compare their barbecue toKansas City, but the fact that they consume more sauce per capita than any city in the country tells me they probably aren’t very good at cooking their meat either. Maybe their team is a divine gift after all, to make up for how terrible every other aspect of life is in that cesspool.

Of course, Cardinals fans aren’t just making up for the inadequacies of their city, they have some of their own. For one, they are incredibly hypocritical. Their love and adoration of Mark McGwire as he injected his way to the home run record was sickening in itself. It became more so when it was replaced by indignant cries as Barry Bonds did the same thing, only better. Finally, when McGwire finally came clean, they no longer seemed to have a problem with steroids, as long as you admit it. So using the moral compass of the Cardinals, it seems that cheating is fine, drunk driving is to be revered, but human error from umpires is intolerable. I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, these are the same people who cheered on Leonard Little long after his conviction for manslaughter.

Another thing the “best fans in baseball” pride themselves in is their knowledge of the game. That’s why I found it odd watching last night and hearing the roar of the crowd when Matt Holliday hit a can of corn to Jarrod

Dyson in medium-depth center field. Maybe their knowledge doesn’t include depth perception. Surely, though they stood and applauded when Alcides Escobar made one of the best plays the brilliant shortstop has ever made, right? Well, they were standing, but that’s because many of them were on their way out of the stadium…before the final out. I obviously don’t understand what makes a good baseball fan.

Now I mentioned the trinity at the beginning of this article, and I haven’t spent any time at all on the team. Honestly, before last night I didn’t have many feelings about this team. They’ve been ravaged by injury much of the season and at this point it appears to be a pretty mediocre collection of scrappy players and nearly has-beens. Of course, that’s generally good enough to win in the inferior league, but with no Albert Pujols to lead the way it won’t be this year. In fact, another Royals win tonight combined with a Reds and Dodgers victory would put the Royals closer to first place than the Cardinals, I wonder what the “best fans in baseball” would think of that?

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Coach Berkman

*Note: at the time of the writing of this article, Adam Wainwright had just completed a four-hit shutout, which provided a tremendous boost to an overused St. Louis Cardinal bullpen and a huge step towards Waino reaching the consistency he desperately longs to regain. He struck out 9 and walked only 1 and said “..that might be the best feeling I’ve ever had pitching…I’ve done some things that are pretty fun, but I can never remember feeling that emotional after a game”. Huge news in Cardinal Nation, but not a topic I want to delve into in this  space…however, rest assured that weighs easy on this writer’s mind as we deal with a tougher topic here…

Lance Berkman.

He is one of the guys that reminds me that baseball is ultimately a game people play because they love it, or at least at one point in time they did.  Berkman is one of the few guys that does not give “jock-talk” interviews, but actually speaks openly and honestly with the media. He stands up and takes the heat when the team does not play well. He is refreshingly honest about what he is good at, and what he is not. And he is also a dang good baseball player.

2011 postseason heroics aside (which will always be revered in Cardinal Nation), Berkman revitalized his career after a very disappointing and injury marred 2010. For the season, he played in 145 games, hitting 31 HRs 94 RBI and a slash line of .301/.412/.547. He was, in my opinion, unquestionably the first half MVP last year, putting up 24 HR and 63 RBI by the All-Star break. He did all of this after rehabbing a knee injury that greatly hurt his 2010 performance. Many doubted at 35 years old, he would be able to return to “the Berkman of old”, and that the Cardinals were throwing 8 million dollars down the drain last season.

We all know how that story ended. Berkman was a key piece of the 2011 World Series title, felt he could still contribute at a high level, and wanted to stay in St. Louis. Speaking openly with the club and the media, he said his services should be worth 12 million for the 2012 season, and the Cardinals agreed. Contract signed. Full speed ahead in the attempts to defend the crown.

Then come the injuries.

Berkman had just returned from the DL when he re-injured his right knee last weekend against the Dodgers, on a seemingly routine play. An MRI Monday revealed a tearing of the meniscus and cartilage responsible for cushioning the knee. Berkman is undergoing surgery this week, which will be his fifth knee surgery. Early prognosis is he will be sidelined a minimum of six weeks.

I bragged on Berkman’s honesty earlier, and will again. He is just not sure he wants to go through the grinding rehab one more time to get himself back to playing at an elite level at 36 years old. I can not say I blame him for feeling that way. It would be a terrible way for him to go out, but reality is, he may never play again. There is some time needed to figure out what the rehab process will look like following surgery, but I began to run through the “what-ifs’ regarding a Berkman retirement…and not from the standpoint of replacing his production on the field, but figuring out a way to keep his leadership, toughness, and knowledge within the organization.

The Cardinals have shown a trend towards hiring former players as coaches in recent years. Jose Oquendo has been third base coach for a long time, Mark McGwire the hitting coach the last two seasons, and John Mabry was brought into the fold as assistant hitting coach this season. Why not make Berkman an offer to stay on as a coach if he finds out his playing days are done? I realize there is not an open slot at this moment, but the organization should make a commitment to him, just like they did Mike Matheny, and give him a chance to scout or coach.

Of course, there is a great chance he would say no. He may want to return to his ranch in Texas or even rejoin the Astros organization. I just hope Mozeliak would make his best effort to keep Berkman in the mix after his playing days are over. The organization would be much stronger for it.

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How will Cards respond to adversity?

As I wrote last week in this space, everything was rainbow and lollipops in Cardinal Nation after such a fast start out of the gate, beating up on division foes.  The St. Louis Cardinals were the first defending World Series champions to win their first six series of the season since the 1922 New York Giants. That, as you know by now, came after a season of incredible turnover and uncertainty heading into 2012.

Going into Opening Day, this was the talk, “Yes this team has talent, how will they respond without Pujols, Duncan, and LaRussa?”  “Can the team hold up through injuries with so many veterans?”

Then something happened. The team started winning in convincing fashion. And subtly, expectations became reset.

Opponent Date W/L Runs For Runs Against Record Run Differential
Miami Apr 4 W 4 1 1-0 +3
Milwaukee Apr 6 W 11 5 2-0 +6
Milwaukee Apr 7 L 0 6 2-1 -6
Milwaukee Apr 8 W 9 3 3-1 +6
Cincy Apr 9 W 7 1 4-1 +8
Cincy Apr 10 W 3 1 5-1 +2
Cincy Apr 11 L 3 4 5-2 -1
Chicago Apr 13 L 5 9 5-3 -4
Chicago Apr 14 W 5 1 6-3 +4
Chicago Apr 15 W 10 3 7-3 +7
Cincy Apr 17 W 2 1 8-3 +1
Cincy Apr 18 W 11 1 9-3 +10
Cincy Apr 19 L 3 6 9-4 -3
Pitt Apr 20 W 4 1 10-4 +3
Pitt Apr 21 L 0 2 10-5 -2
Pitt Apr 22 W 5 1 11-5 +4
Total 82 46 +36

A tremendous start to the season. Heading into the Chicago series, the Cardinals led the NL in almost every offensive category and in run differential (second only in the league to Texas Murderer’s Row Rangers).

Then the first two games against the Cubs happened. Both 3-2 losses. Both 2-1 leads given up by the bullpens in the 9th inning. Now the team is 11-7 and only two games out in front of the Brewers. Now the team is dealing with the bats cooling off. Now they are dealing with fighting through blown calls by umpires and the bullpen giving up leads. They are dealing with multiple injuries that test not only their depth but their resolve. In a word, for the first time of the Mike Matheny era, they are dealing with significant adversity.

Making too much of a simple two game losing skid against Windy City Rivals? I am not so sure.

There are 9 more games in a row against the NL Central. As I have written many times before, these games are crucial. Even if they go 5-4, the fast start would ensure a 16-11 record, which is nothing to make light of. Personally, I think the team should be shooting for 17-10 or 18-9 through the NL Central start of the schedule. They still have the opportunity to run out to a good lead in the division, but it will depend on their ability to push through adversity, to push through a lack of run support for pitching over the last four games, the bullpen shaking off a couple of tough losses and blown saves.

This is the moment a lot of Cardinals fans have been waiting for. To seem what the team is truly made of. As my UCB co-host Dathan Brooks often says, every win in April is a win you don’t have to get in September. These April games really matter because they are all against the Central. And these next nine games will show us how the team handles its first bit of adversity on the young season.

It sure would be nice if they could give Wainwright a little bit of support as he is trying to get back to form. So far, he has had zero, that’s right zero, run support in his first four outings. That will change. His stuff still is not what it once was, but that is to be expected at least for a couple more months. He showed last night he will fight to make pitches and get outs with less than his best stuff. It is a move in the right direction. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Waino doesn’t go for another four games.

The first battle to get back on track and further the division lead is today at Wrigley Field at 1:20 Central Time. Can the Birds shake off a couple tough losses, and show the resolve and grit their new manager preaches? Or will they allow the sting of the last two nights to carry over and leave them in a division dogpile?….

It sure will be fun to watch and find out.

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Everything you need to know about Opening Day in St. Louis

ST. LOUIS – April 11, 2012 – A pre-game ceremony that officially welcomes home the reigning World Champions will punctuate a day of activities celebrating the annual return of baseball to St. Louis on Friday, April 13th.  The Cardinals will take on the Chicago Cubs in a 2:15 p.m. game.  Following is a schedule of official activities, some fun franchise facts and information to help baseball’s best fans enjoy what has become an unofficial holiday for Cardinal Nation.

Opening Day Ceremony Celebrates World Champions

While Opening Day in St. Louis is always special, this year promises to be extraordinary.  Fans won’t want to miss a single minute of the opening ceremony that will begin at 1:30 p.m. with the Budweiser Clydesdales and will pay tribute to the 2011 World Championship team described as the greatest comeback team in the history of baseball.  The ceremony will feature all four of the team’s Commissioner’s Trophies, as well as representatives of each of those World Championship teams (’67, ’82, ’06 & ’11).  The ceremony will culminate with the formal raising of the 2011 World Championship Banner by the family of U.S. Army Specialist Jeffrey L. White, Jr. of Catawissa Missouri.  Specialist White, who was serving his country in Operation Enduring Freedom, died April 3 in the Khost Province of Afghanistan when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.   Specialist White was an avid Cardinals fan who was home on leave for Game 7 of the World Series last October and was planning to attend Opening Day with his family before he was killed.  Specialist Whites’ mother Paula, father Jeff and brothers Michael and Kyle will raise the championship banner.                                     

Schedule

10:00 a.m. – 1 p.m.          Cardinals Official Opening Day Pre-Game Pep Rally, sponsored by Hardee’s:  The Cardinals will host a pre-game pep rally in the Ballpark Village Lot, located directly across from Busch Stadium, at the corner of Clark Street and South Broadway. Local rock band Trixie Delight will perform from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

Fredbird and Team Fredbird will be on hand to give away Opening Day tickets, autographed items and other Cardinals prizes. Fans can stop by the Hardee’s Photo Booth, where they can get their Opening Day picture taken for free and visit the Hardee’s Mobile Diner where, with the purchase of a Combo Meal, they will receive a complimentary Opening Day t-shirt.  Other sponsors include: Budweiser, the United States Marine Corps, the United States Air Force, Dunkin Donuts, Energizer, First National Bank, Fox Theater, Fox Sports Midwest, Girl Scouts, Krispy Kreme, Lumiere/River City, MO Secretary of State, Muny, Papa John’s, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the Tan Company and Qdoba

11:45 a.m.                           Gates open

 

                                                Busch Magnet Schedule Day:  All fans with a ticket ages 21 and over will receive a magnet with the 2012 Cardinals schedule, compliments of Busch Beer.

 

1:30 p.m.                             Pre-game ceremonies begin with an appearance by the famed Budweiser Clydesdales.

 

                  Introduce Missouri Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon, St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay         

                 

                  Introduce Fredbird & Team Fredbird.

 

                  Cardinals Hall-of-Famers will be introduced via a Ford Motorcade around the warning track, led by the 2013 Ford Escape.

 

                  Video Tribute to the 2011 World Champions                                  

                  Introduce representatives of the last four World Championships who will escort in the Cardinals last four World Championship trophies….Mike Shannon (’67), Tommy Herr (’82), David Eckstein, Jim Edmonds (’06) and Tony La Russa and Dave Duncan (’11)

                  Introduce the reigning World Champion St. Louis Cardinals via Ford Motorcade (2012 Ford Platinum F-150s and 2012 Ford Raptor F-150s)

 

                  The family of U.S. Army Specialist Jeffrey L. White, Jr. will raise the 2011 World Championship Banner in Leftfield.

 

                  Introduce the Chicago Cubs and the starting lineups

 

                  American Bald Eagle flight, courtesy of the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis

 

                  Color Guard – The U.S. Marine Corps

 

                                                A moment of silence to former Cardinals pitcher Bob Forsch

 

                  Shannon Magrane, singer and Season 11 contestant on American Idol, will sing the Star-Spangled Banner.

                                               

                                                U.S. Air Force Flyover – Two F-16s

 

                  Ceremonial First Pitch

 

2:15 p.m.                             Game Time

 

 

Watching on TV

Fans can watch the game and pre-game ceremony in High Definition on FS-Midwest.

 

Radio Coverage

Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) or one of the 117 stations in the Cardinals Radio Network to hear Mike Shannon & John Rooney call the game.  The expanded pre-game show starts at 12:30pm.

 

Getting to the Game / Ramp Closures on I-64
MoDOT will not have any lane closures on state highways inside the city limits for Opening Day and Opening Weekend, except for those behind permanent barriers on Interstate 70. The department will start a project to renovate the driving surface of the double deck bridge on I-64 in May. One lane will be closed around the clock on westbound I-64 until late September. One lane will be closed around the clock on eastbound I-64 from late August until late October.  At this time, several I-64 closures are planned for weekends, but will not be scheduled during Cardinal home games.

 

Alternative Transportation Reminder

MetroLink is a convenient alternative to driving, allowing fans to avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic.  To avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic, fans can use one of nineteen free Park-Ride lots along the MetroLink line and take the train to Stadium Station, right across the street from the ballpark.  Check the Metro website www.MetroSt.Louis.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 2 ½ hours before the game and runs every 5-10 minutes.

 

Ballpark Improvements

As the Cardinals begin their seventh season of play in the new Busch Stadium, the team has made a number of improvements to the stadium during the off-season.

  • The Cardinals have updated all of the team’s World Championship signage throughout the ballpark to reflect the team’s 11th World Championship, including installing an 11th flag pole on the World Champions sign atop the out of town scoreboard, freshly painting pennants atop the Cardinals dugout and updating the exterior signage on the south side of Busch Stadium facing I-64, as well as other signage.

 

  • The Champions Club has been rebranded the UMB Champions Club.  The UMB Champions Club is the home to all four of the Cardinals World Championship Trophies (1967, 1982, 2006 and 2011) – officially referred to as “the Commissioner Trophies” in new custom built illuminated cabinets.  The Cardinals have the distinction of having both the oldest and the newest Commissioner’s Trophy.  The first Commissioner’s Trophy was awarded in 1967, when the Cardinals defeated the Boston Red Sox.   The Cardinals hold the record for the most Commissioners trophies won in the National League (4), second only to the Yankees (7). Tiffany & Company developed the current trophy design beginning in 1999 for the winner of the 2000 World Series.  The 30-pound trophy stands two-feet tall, has a diameter of 11 inches, and features 30 gold-plated flags – - one for each of the Major League Baseball teams — which rise above an arched baseball with latitude and longitude lines symbolizing the world that contain 24-karat vermeil baseball stitches. The team has also upgraded to new High-Definition energy efficient LED televisions, including the six-screen video array that acts as a major focal point in the club.

 

  • The St. Louis Cardinals, in partnership with Sachs Electric, Microgrid Energy and the Electrical Connection and its IBEW Local One / NECA, have installed 106 Solar Electric panels on the roof of the ticket building and a concession canopy in the Ford Plaza.  The new solar array will produce 37,000 kilowatt hours of energy each year, which is enough electricity to power all the retail stores at Busch Stadium for a year.  While the savings achieved through the solar system demonstration project will be modest, the system will serve as an educational tool for renewable energy and become another focal point for sustainable efforts by the Cardinals as part of their “4 A Greener Game” program.  The Cardinals have reduced their energy use by 20% and water use by 10% since the stadium opened.  The team has recycled more than 1836 tons of solid waste, more than 575 tons of yard waste and more than 110 tons of composted organic material since 2008.
  • 150 energy efficient LED flat screen HD televisions will be installed throughout the stadium this year, including a new special nine-screen video wall on the main concourse, just to the third base side of home plate.  This array will measure approximately 7 feet by 13 feet, giving fans a great view of game action.  Early in the season, all premium areas of the ballpark will be upgraded to HDTV to take advantage of the 24 HD channel in-house network.
  • The Cardinals will be playing on a new infield and new warning track this season.  The infield has a refined new mix of clay and sand to enhance overall playability in good weather, as well as improve its ability to handle more rain and remain playable.
  • The Cardinals have added a few hundred seats at the terrace level of the ballpark, as well as painted and made additional smaller improvements to numerous areas of the ballpark during the off season.

 

New for the 2012 Season

  • The team has installed nine ticket kiosks located outside the main Ticket Box Office on 8th Street.  The convenient touch-screen kiosks allow fans to purchase or print their tickets 24 hours a day at no additional cost than if they were purchasing or picking up their tickets at the box office.  One kiosk is also located within the Team Store at Clark & 8th Street.  A dozen more kiosks will be installed around the perimeter of the ballpark over the next few weeks.

 

  • While only the players can satisfy the fans’ hunger for another victory, Delaware North Companies Sportservice, the St. Louis Cardinals’ concessionaire for more than 50 years, is satisfying their hunger for great taste sensations by revealing four new live-action stations at the concessions level. Each station offers completely customizable, fresh menu options sure to please every appetite. New concepts include:

 

    • The Asian Café at gate 1, featuring either rice or noodles topped with chicken or beef, fresh veggies and Asian-inspired sauces;
    • The Carvery at gate 2, featuring marinated turkey or beef sliced right off bone, then piled high onto fresh-baked bread from St. Louis’ own Fazio’s Bakery;
    • Sliders and Fries at section 148, featuring braised beef with au jus, pulled chicken with chipotle mayonnaise, and St. Louis-style barbecue pulled pork with grilled onions; and
    • Coke Island at gate 1, popping up several delicious flavors of fresh popcorn, including butter, white cheddar, Cajun and Cinnamon Sweet Cardinal Corn.
    • Back by popular demand from the World Series are two favorites: the St. Louis Barbecue Bacon Dog (available in sections 133, 168 and the Redbird Club), and Build Your Own Nachos (available in sections 131, 151 and the Redbird Club).

 

  • The Official Cardinals Team Store features St. Louis’ widest selection of World Series Gold Program apparel – a limited-edition line of gold-lettered Cardinals World Series Championship jerseys, T-shirts, hats and more. Players will wear the commemorative jersey and hat throughout Opening Day Weekend. Fans will also find exclusive expanded lines of merchandise, including player look-alike toys and items for the home and outdoors, such as the “I ‘Heart’ David Freese” street sign. Back for the 2012 season are dozens of $12 and under souvenirs, including, mini-bats, koozies, magnets, baseball cards, jewelry, posters, postcards, foam fingers, foam claws, key chains, lanyards, pennants, player plaques, sunglasses and a pin of the month, now expanded for all 12 months of the year.

 

  • Fans will want to stop by the Cardinals Authentics store in Ford Plaza (cardinals.com/authentics), the only place to get official, game-used, limited edition and autographed Cardinals memorabilia directly from the team.  New this year are a number of exciting 2011 World Championship themed items, as well as items commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the 1982 World Championship.  Fans can now order an engraved bat from Louisville Slugger, the official bat of MLB.

 

Cardinals Care Celebrates Fifteen Years of Helping Kids

Cardinals Care, the team’s charitable foundation, is celebrating 15-years of supporting children.  Since 1997 Cardinals Care has invested nearly $18 million in “Caring for Kids” both on and off the baseball field.  Cardinals Care has provided nearly $11 million in grants to over 800 non-profit youth organizations and built 19 youth ball fields in local disadvantaged neighborhoods.  Cardinals Care also runs Redbird Rookies, 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.  Last year, Cardinals Care established the Joplin Recovery Fund with over $200,000 in fan donations to help the thousands of Joplin area children recover from one of the most destructive tornadoes in American history.                                    

 

To mark the 15-year anniversary of the foundation, Cardinals Care is urging fans to support their on-going efforts to help children a variety of ways:

 

  • Go RED for the Kids – Businesses, schools and other organizations are being asked to rally behind the team and Cardinals Care by participating in Cardinals RED for Kids.  Piloted during the 2011 postseason, Cardinals RED for Kids is the team’s version of an office “dress down” day in which participating organizations make a donation to Cardinals Care in exchange for the opportunity to sport their Cardinal colors around the office on Opening Day. To participate, local businesses and organizations can visit cardinals.com/red
  • 6K Run Home for Kids – lace up your jogging shoes and join the team for the 3rd annual run & walk on Sunday, September 16th.  Learn more and sign up at www.cardinals.com/6K
  • Donate directly at cardinals.com/community


Some Fun Franchise Facts

  • ·          The Cardinals were founded in 1882 as an American Association Team called the St. Louis Brown Stockings. 
  • ·          In 1892, the team moved to the National League and changed the team name to the St. Louis Browns.  In 1899, the name was changed to the Perfectos, and in 1900, the name was changed to the St. Louis Cardinals.  
  • ·          From 1902-1954, an American League Team called the St. Louis Browns also played in St. Louis.  In 1954, they moved to Baltimore and became the Baltimore Orioles.
  • ·          The Cardinals have won more than 9,300 games, 11 World Series Championships, 18 National League Pennants, 3 National League Eastern Division Titles, and 8 National League Central Division Titles.
  • ·          There are more than 40 former Cardinal players and managers enshrined in the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York.
  • ·          In March of 1996 a group of investors led by Bill DeWitt Jr. purchased the Cardinals from Anheuser Busch.
  • ·          Over the last 16 seasons, the team has finished in first place eight times, won three NL pennants and two World Series while drawing over 50 million fans
  • ·          Baseball America named the Cardinals the 2011 Baseball Organization of the Year for the first time, recognizing that the team’s big league success was built upon a strong foundation of a restructured organization that claimed two minor league titles in 2011 and that since 2005 has among the most team-drafted players debut in the majors.
  • ·          The Cardinals bring more than 3 million fans downtown each year, with more than a million coming from outside of the state of Missouri.  90% of fans come from outside the City of St. Louis.
  • ·          In 2006 the Cardinals moved into the new $411 million Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis on April 10, 2006 (beating the Brewers 6-4). The team covered nearly 90 percent of the cost of the project, including infrastructure.
  • ·          Nearly 21 Million fans have attended Cardinals games in the new Busch Stadium since it opened on April 10, 2006 (20,130,635 regular season attendance; 839,583 post season attendance).
  • ·          There are approximately 3,000 day-of-game employees at Busch Stadium.
  • ·          The St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA) estimates that the economic impact of the 2012 Cardinals’ season on the St. Louis region will be approximately $322 million, with an estimated $160 million this year in direct impact and $162 million in in-direct regional economic activity.
  • ·          In 2011, the Cardinals drew 3.093 million fans, with 27 sellout games – ranking 7th in MLB in attendance.
  • ·          In 2011, the Cardinals had 36 Promotional Giveaways, ranging from magnet schedules and wall calendars to bats, hats, pennants and bobbleheads.
  • ·          In 2011, the Cardinals implemented a new value-based ticket pricing system called Dynamic Pricing that allows the team to more accurately price single-game tickets on a day-to-day basis.  The dynamic system was a success in helping achieve the goals of broadening the ticket-buying fan base, rewarding fans for buying earlier in the season, and protecting season ticket holder value.  80% of the games in 2011 were priced lower than in 2010.  65% of the games had tickets available for $10 or less.  35% of the games had tickets available for only $5.
  • ·          Over the last 16 seasons, the Cardinals have donated nearly 4 million tickets to children and charities
  • ·          Cardinals Care has distributed more than $18 million to area organizations and built 19 Youth Baseball Fields since it was founded in 1997.
  • ·          Redbird Rookies now has 20 leagues, serving more than 4,500 kids in the St. Louis metropolitan area, as well as parts of rural Missouri and Illinois. In addition to organizing leagues for kids, Redbird Rookies provides services to kids such as youth mentoring programs, health screenings, and scholarship opportunities.
  • ·          In 2011, Cardinals telecasts on FOX Sports Midwest generated the 2nd highest local market television ratings in Major League Baseball, the 12th straight year in which the Cardinals ranked among the top three teams.  FOX Sports Midwest-produced Cardinals telecasts are shown in nine states and available in millions of homes.
  • ·          The Cardinals radio network is the second largest in baseball with 117 stations in nine states (Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee) with the potential to reach over 21 million listeners.
  • ·          In one year, the Stadium sells:

o    540,000 hot dogs;

o    181,000 pounds of nacho chips; and

o    32,000 gallons of nacho cheese.

  • ·          During a typical season the Cardinals go through:

o    7,315,200 ft of paper towels

o    15,373,800 ft of toilet paper

  • ·          The Cardinals’ “4 A Greener Game Program” launched in 2008 is credited with recycling more than 1836 tons of solid waste, more than 575 tons of yard waste and more than 110 tons of composted organic material.
  • ·          The Cardinals have reduced their energy use by 20% and water use by 10% since the stadium opened in 2006.
  • ·          The team’s concessionaire Delaware North Sportservice has donated more than $159,000 worth of food to Operation Food Search, with a waste diversion rate of 29%.
  • ·          The Cardinals Web site (cardinals.com) is very popular with fans, drawing over 32.7 million visitors in season and over 13 million unique visitors a month.
  • ·          The Cardinals have also been active in social media.  The team has more than 1.2 million fans on Facebook (facebook/cardinals), and more than 120,000 followers on Twitter (@cardinals).  In 2010, the Cardinals launched a social media based “Stand for Stan” campaign to celebrate Stan Musial that culminated in President Barack Obama awarding Stan Musial the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
  • ·          In 1998, the Cardinals opened the $28 Million Roger Dean Stadium and Sports Complex in Jupiter, Florida.  In 2002, the team purchased the Charlotte Rangers, renamed them the Palm Beach Cardinals and moved them to Jupiter.
  • ·          Since 2005, the Cardinals have owned and operated the Class AA Texas League Springfield Cardinals franchise that plays at the new Hammons Field in Springfield, Missouri.
  • ·          The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum (www.cardinals.com/museum) collection is the largest team-held collection in Major League Baseball and is second only to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in terms of size with over 16,000 memorabilia items and over 80,000 archival photographs.

 

BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDERS

 

Bag Inspections Policy

§  The standard game-day bag inspection policies for Busch Stadium will be in effect. Bags will be allowed that meet Major League Baseball’s standard size restriction (16”x16”x8”), 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.

§  Non-alcoholic beverages such as water & soda in open cups or in clear plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters are allowed.

§  Alcohol, bottles, cans, thermoses, hard-sided coolers; hard plastic cups/mugs are not permitted.

§  Small banners and signs are allowed.  Banners may be displayed as long as they do not hinder or interfere with a ball in play or distract or interfere with the view of another guest. Banners may not be displayed in fair territory, be obscene or in poor taste, attract abuse or cause a disturbance among other guests. They should be baseball-oriented and not commercial in nature.

§  Please minimize items you bring into the stadium to speed up the inspection process.

§  Expect long lines upon entry and allow yourself plenty of time to go through the inspection process.

 

Exit/Re-entry Policy

Standard Exit/Re-entry Policies are in effect.  Guests wishing to leave the stadium, but planning to return during the same game must have their hand stamped at Gates 1, 2 or 4 as they exit the stadium. Guests must show ticket upon re-entry. Inspection policy will also be enforced.

 

No Smoking Policy

Standard Busch Stadium Smoking Policy is in effect.  Busch Stadium is a smoke-free facility. Exit/Re-Entry turnstiles will be set up at Gates 1, 2 and 4 to allow fans access in and out of the stadium if they wish to smoke. Fans will get their hand stamped as they exit the stadium. Guests must show ticket upon re-entry. Inspection policy will also be enforced.

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Baseball’s Greatest Games Giveaway

Our friends at A+E Networks Home Entertainment/MLB Productions are expanding their Baseball’s Greatest Games set to include a game near a dear to all of our hearts.

From A&E:

BASEBALL’S GREATEST GAMES: 2011 WORLD SERIES GAME 6 Bluray/DVD Combo Pack
The St. Louis Cardinals thrilled Cardinal Nation with a game full of heart-stopping comebacks, including a spectacular 11th inning walk-off home run. Hometown hero and budding star David Freese smashed the solo shot in the final inning that provided a fitting finale to a spectacular Fall Classic matchup.
In Game 6 of the 2011 World Series, on the edge of elimination, the Cardinals trailed five times and were twice down to their last strike. But Freese, Lance Berkman and a resilient lineup evened the score each time until Freese delivered the second of his incredible moments–the wondrous walk-off homer. All of the drama, thrills, exhilaration and jubilation of this Fall Classic masterpiece are here to enjoy for the first time in pristine HD with the roar of the crowd in 5.1 surround sound.

Direct from the archives of Major League Baseball, this extraordinary television broadcast includes the quintessential making of an iconic moment, and one unforgettable baseball game available for the first time on Blu-Ray!

WORLD SERIES GAME 6, THURSDAY, OCTOBER 27, 2011, BUSCH STADIUM

A special audio feature allows fans to watch the television broadcast and listen to the radio play-by-play in English or Spanish!

In addition, the great box set of Cardinal World Series moments is still available as well.  Again, directly from A&E:

ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2011 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD SET
History unfolded before our eyes and every clutch pitch, game-winning hit, and record-setting moment is digitally preserved in THE ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 2011 WORLD SERIES COLLECTOR’S EDITION DVD. Featuring every game of this remarkable Fall Classic–including Game 6 which instantly became one of the greatest postseason games ever played–this eight-DVD set celebrates the Cardinals unforgettable, exhilarating, dramatic, and uplifting comebacks and victories. Each World Series game is now on DVD and wrapped with stats, player facts, and historic notes.

This eight-DVD collection displays the fortitude of the Red Birds under manager Tony LaRussa and the heroics of David Freise, Albert Pujols, Lance Berkman, Allen Craig, Yadier Molina, and Chris Carpenter along with every glorious Cardinals moment.

A special DVD audio feature allows fans to watch the World Series television broadcast and listen to Cardinals Radio Network announcers!

BONUS FEATURES

Walk-Off Winners; Milestones; Cardinals clinch NL Wild Card: Last Out and Celebration; NLDS Highlights, Last Out, and Celebration; NLCS Highlights, Last Out, and Celebration; NLCS Trophy Presentations; World Series Last Out, Celebration and Trophy Presentation; St. Louis Victory Parade; Multiple Audio Tracks Featuring World Series Announcers: Joe Buck, Tim McCarver, Ken Rosenthal (Fox Sports), John Rooney, Mike Shannon (Cardinals Radio Network), Eric Nadel, Steve Busby, Bryan Dolgin (Rangers Radio Network), Ernesto Jerez, Guillermo Celis (ESPN Deportes Radio)

See there here

The best part?  We’ve got three of each to give away.

Very simple, in the comments below give us the results of the upcoming weekend series with the Milwaukee Brewers.  Do the Cards win one, two, or all three games?  As the tie-breaker, give us the total amount of runs the two teams will score over the weekend.  A sample comment/entry would look like this:

Cardinals take 2 of 3, total runs scored = 12.

On Monday, we’ll announce the winners of the DVD’s and ask you to email us your address for delivery.  It’s that simple.

So, how do you think the opening weekend will go?  Tell us below and you could earn some swag….

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