Tag Archive | "Game Fans"

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


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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Cardinal fans team up to beat human trafficking

Cardinal fans team up to beat human trafficking
Every time the Cardinals win a game, fans now have a new way to make a difference in the world. A new donation platform called Snoball is uniting baseball fans to fight human trafficking.

The idea is simple. Every time the Cardinals win a game, a fan donates $0.25. The money benefits Not For Sale, an organization that exists to end present day slavery.

There are more victims of human trafficking today than any other point in history–nearly 30 million. These victims are raped, abused, and even murdered by their abductors.  Of the victims, 70 percent are women and 50 percent are children.

It’s easy to give. Just visit http://tinyurl.com/gostlcards, click the donate now button, and sign in with your Facebook account.

After donating, fans are encouraged to share the “Let’s Re-Abolish Slavery” snoball on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #cardsunite.  Cardinals fans can prove, once and for all, they are the greatest baseball fans on the planet.

Imagine the difference we can make just by cheering on our favorite baseball team. Every quarter donated makes a dent in the world’s third largest illegal industry–human trafficking. If 1000 fans donate $0.25, just one Cardinals win would represent enough money raised to free 3 people from slavery.

Baseball fans can also help Not For Sale by joining Matt Holliday and Jaime Garcia of the Cardinals. They are part of a special Facebook application called Free2Play.  It allows users to create donations based on statistics of their favorite players. All money raised helps Not For Sale prevent the human trafficking of children.

For additional questions or comments, contact jason@snoball.com (Twitter: @jasonpoemusic)

About Snoball:
Snoball is a micro-donation platform that makes charitable giving easy, social, and fun.  Users can instantly donate to over 1.7 million nonprofits through customizable “snoballs.” Snoballs are automated donations based on a user’s interests.  An example snoball could be defined as:  “When Matt Holliday hits a home run, I will donate $1 to the American Red Cross.”

For more information about Snoball, visit https://snoball.com

About Not For Sale:
Not for Sale creates tools that engage business, government, and grassroots in order to incubate and grow social enterprises to benefit enslaved and vulnerable communities.

For more information about Not For Sale, visit http://notforsalecampaign.org

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Highlights and Lowlights: A Look Back at the First Half

June 30 marked the end of the first half of 2011. Additionally, at the end of June, the Royals had played 81 games – the exact mid-way point of the season. So in those two respects, the beginning of July provides a good time to look back on a half year of the life of the team.

Photo credit - Minda Haas

Unfortunately, for a club that stood at 33-48 at the halfway point, there haven’t been too many high points on the field. So, unfortunately, there have been some significant valleys to go along with the peaks.

The half-year highlights of 2011

March 31- April 3: Taking three out of four from the California Angels

After losing a disappointing opener (looking all too much like the Royals of old), the team showed serious grit and a flair for the dramatic by winning the next three games against the Angels. A walk-off homer by Kila Ka’aihue and a dramatic eighth-inning rally highlighted the opening weekend. Two days later, the Royals would win another walk-off against the White Sox, giving them four straight games won in their final at-bat. The youthful celebrations that followed these early-season comebacks endeared the team to its fans.

April 2: Storm Chasers vs. Naturals at Kaufman Stadium

Off-season rankings that called the Royals farm system not just the best collection of prospects in 2011, but one of the best in history generated considerable buzz for this exhibition game. Fans got a chance to see eight players ranked in Baseball America’s top 100 prospects, highlighted by a dominant performance by Mike Montgomery.

May 6: The Promotion of Eric Hosmer

Several key prospects started the season with the team out of spring training, so Hosmer wasn’t the first. And fellow blue-chippers Danny Duffy and Mike Moustakas were soon to follow. But no roster move inspired the excitement or optimism that the promotion of Hosmer did. It seemed to signal that the team was going all-in with their prospects – “Super-Two” status be damned. And by aggressively replacing the struggling Ka’aihue with a rookie when the team was still in contention, it signaled that the team was going to try to win this season.

Hosmer’s promotion caught the attention of more than just the most devout KC fans. National media outlets picked up on the significance of the move as well. For a moment, there was hope and excitement about Royals baseball. Hosmer didn’t prove to be the spark needed to keep the team in contention, but he hasn’t disappointed. May 6, 2011 may yet turn out to be a day of great significance in the history of the franchise.

May 12: Taking two out of three in New York

Freshly in the fold, Hosmer belted two homers in the series, giving the Royals their first series win in Yankee Stadium since 1999. The Royals left New York with a 20-17 record, 3.5 back of Cleveland. Unfortunately, in just one week the team would be below .500 and 6 games back in the standings.

June 6 – The Drafting of Bubba Starling

The date of the draft could be a red-letter day in the first half of the season for every team, every year. Particularly if the team perennially holds one of the top five picks. But this year was different for the Royals. Not only did Kansas City hold a top-five pick, but there was a prospect on the draft board who had achieved legendary status right in the team’s own back yard.

As fate would have it, Bubba Starling was still available when the Royals’ turn came up. Though some would argue that the real need of the hour was pitching, and that Starling’s lack of polish makes him a risk, KC pulled the trigger. This is undeniably a high-risk, high-reward move, but one that pumped a needed infusion of local interest into the farm system.

With the big-league team floundering along at 26-34 on draft day, KC fans were once again looking to the future, and Starling gives them something to be excited about. Now it’s time to start positioning for a high-draft slot for 2012.

The half-year lowlights of 2011

April 20: Hochevar chokes on perfect game

Hochevar was perfect through five innings. But in perfect Hochevar-fashion, he allowed one big inning to do him in. He allowed a single. Ok. No big deal. Then a balk. Then a double. It’s ok. He induced two groundouts. A nice job of stopping the bleeding, right?

But then he balked in a runner from third. Then he gave up a single, double, walk and another double. By the end of the inning, Hochevar had gone from perfect to putrid.

If that were just a one-time-deal, it would be easily forgotten. Unfortunately, it just reads like a script that Hochevar faithfully follows.

May 16: Suffering one of the worst losses in team history

After a hot start, the Royals still possessed a winning record on May 16. But while the wheels hadn’t come completely off yet, they were certainly wobbling. No one expected, however, the 19-1 beat-down KC would suffer at the hands of the Indians that afternoon.

Not even Kyle Davies can be this bad. He started the game by walking three of the first four batters. Turns out he was experiencing shoulder problems, so he exited. Most times, removing Davies leads to improved pitching on the Royals part. But not this time.

Nate Adcock got the Royals into the third, but the Ned Yost summoned Vin Mazzaro. It was in the fourth that all hell broke loose. By the time it was over, Mazzaro would produce one of the worst pitching performances in history. The guy the Royals gave up David DeJesus to get would cough up 14 runs in just 2 1/3 innings – the most by a reliever since 1942. Mazzaro would become the first pitcher to give up 14 in less than three innings since 1900.

The 18-run margin tied the worst in team history. And any hopes KC had of challenging Cleveland seemed unrealistic after the beating.

May 19: Prospect John Lamb goes down to elbow injury

When Baseball America’s #18 prospect exited a Northwest Arkansas game in the first inning, Royals fans with an eye on the future held their breath. The word came out a few days later – Lamb would need Tommy John surgery and wouldn’t pitch again in 2011. Just more bad news for a team on the slide and in desperate need of some quality starting pitching.

June 2-5: Getting swept at home by Minnesota

The Royals were dropping in the standings by June, but they had a golden opportunity to get right. Limping into town for a four-game set came the once-proud Minnesota Twins with a league worst .315 winning percentage. Sweep this series and the Royals would be right back in business.

The Royals managed just six runs. In four games.

Four days later, the Royals’ lead on the dismal Twins had gone from 7.5 to 3.5 games. It essentially terminated KC’s chances of winning the Central Division and signaled that the Twins weren’t about to settle into the basement.

June 19: Dropping into last place

It didn’t take long.

The walk-off heroics and days of jockeying for the division lead seemed like distant memories. By dropping a game to St. Louis, the Royals slipped quietly into their familiar position of last place in the Central Division.

It just continued to get worse from there. By the mid-way point, KC trailed Minnesota by 2 games and division-leading Detroit by 10.5. They finished the first half with the worst winning percentage in the AL.

The hot start gave us something to be excited about. There were flashes of a gritty, gutty team that wouldn’t go down easy. There was plenty of young talent in the bullpen and some of the future stars matriculated to the big leagues. Jeff Francoeur and Melky Cabrera seemed to revive their careers, and as promised, Alex Gordon finally started dominating.

But the losses just piled up too quickly for the era of good feelings to last. The team has a lack of starting pitching no amount of guts, determination and youthful exuberance can overcome.

Time to start the auditions for 2012. And time to get in position for that draft pick. Once again.

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