Back at Busch

Yesterday, for the first time in I’m not even sure how long (at least five years!), the whole family went to a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium! We took a walk around Ballpark Village when we arrived downtown:

It’s changed a lot in the last few years!

We stopped to say “hi” to Stan, of course:

And then got in line almost an hour before the gates opened:

The reason we got in line so early was to make sure we were there in time for the giveaway…Molina and Wainwright Mystery Championship Replica Rings. This is my favorite type of giveaway, and they’re really nice!

Our seats were excellent…we were in the last row, so we had a nice breeze, and we were in the shade for pretty much the entire game! Plus, we could see the Arch, which is always nice.

When we were walking around, we found this cool life-size bobblehead of Ladybug’s favorite player who isn’t named Albert Pujols:

And Bunny, Chickadee, and I went in search of Fredbird:

Ballpark food is the best!

It was the perfect day. We got to see everyone’s favorite battery (Wainwright and Molina) start their 316th game together, putting them in a tie for second place on the all-time battery list! And we got to see Tommy Edman get his first walk-off, which was a total thrill! We couldn’t have asked for a better ending!

It was so good to be back at my favorite place!

The only thing that could have made today better is if we had gotten to see Pujols bat, but we did see him in the dugout, so we’ll call that good enough, and the perfect day at Busch!

Opening Day 2022

Yesterday was one of the funnest days of the year…Major League Baseball’s Opening Day! And the Cardinals got to start their season at home with a win in Baseball Heaven. Chickadee and I were very excited!

As usual, we had a special Opening Day dinner. We started with the traditional ballpark appetizer of nachos:

Hot dogs and brats were the star of the meal…with root beer, of course!

For dessert, I decided to put in a little extra effort…I made baseball cake pops!

This is going to be such a special season for the Cards, with Yadi, Waino, and Albert riding off into the sunset together. It’s just the beginning of our fairytale ending…I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds!

“And You Were Going to Hate Him For the Rest of Your Life”

With apologies to Clark Gable as Rhett Butler…

Back at the end of the 2011, when Albert Pujols left the Cardinals, I wasn’t very charitable. As a matter of fact, I was convinced I was going to hate him forever. In retrospect, it’s kind of embarrassing just how angry I was and just how personally I took it. I think that goes to show how much our local athletes mean to us, when that sense of betrayal cuts so deep. At the time, I didn’t want him to be happy or successful without the Cardinals, and I certainly didn’t want to see his team win.

But as the years went by, I realized how ridiculous that was. I mean, I wasn’t going to cheer for him, but I realized I didn’t hate him, and never actually had. Time heals all wounds, I guess, and time did indeed march on, and my resentment faded, to the point that when he returned to Busch Stadium in an opposing uniform, I was actually happy to see him back in “Baseball Heaven.” It made me smile to see the ovation he got from the people of St. Louis, because he deserved it.

And then more recently, the rumors started swirling that he and the Cardinals were talking…we are going to need a DH this season after all (not thrilled about the DH development, but at least now there’s a silver lining to it!). At first it started out as a near-impossibility, as he was also in talks with other teams. But then the rumors started to ramp up, and it sounded like maybe, against all odds, he was going to come home to finish his career. A fairytale ending that baseball and the city of St. Louis needed.

The words that Bernie Miklasz wrote over a decade ago about Albert’s departure suddenly flipped the narrative:

“…but I still suffer from the disease of naiveté. Baseball does this to a lot of people, me included. Makes us all sappy and romantic. You want the hero to stay and complete the storybook. But it doesn’t work that way in modern sports. Not very often, anyway.”

I guess just this once, in the end, it did work out exactly that way. The hero may not have spent his entire career here, but he was here when it counted, and he returned to complete the storybook. A fairytale ending.

Opening Day in the Time of COVID-19

If you had told me at the beginning of the year that we would be celebrating baseball’s Opening Day at the end of July, I wouldn’t have believed you, but here we are. Like so many other things this year, our Opening Day dinner was a bit scaled back, but we still enjoyed some favorites like nachos, Chicago-style hot dogs, and brats, and Chickadee is, as always, ready to cheer on the Cardinals!

The Boys Are Back in Town!

It’s that time of year again…today, the Cardinals returned to Busch Stadium for their home opener! I made sure we had the ingredients for all of our baseball favorites on hand for tonight’s dinner…pretzels with cheese sauce, stuff for hot dogs (including the chili and Chicago-style variety), brats, nacho fixin’s (I finally bought a container of Matt Carpenter’s Mojo Salsa at Schnucks!), and “Baseball Cakes” for dessert, in both the day game and night game flavors:

It’s always a fun meal to put together, and everybody’s dinner ends up being a little bit different:

It’s too early to say whether or not the Cards will have their first Busch Stadium win of the 2019 season today or not, but it’s been a fun day, and it’s #TimetoFly!

The Home Opener

Baseball is back in St. Louis!

After what has seemed like a never-ending winter (that still isn’t over!), today’s Cardinals home opener came as a bright spot in an endless sea of grey. We had our traditional Opening Day dinner of hot dogs, brats, pretzels, and nachos, with special baseball cupcakes for dessert. All the fixin’s for Chicago-style hot dogs, chili dogs, and brats are quite a sight!

As always, I also took a picture of the Fab Five in their Cardinals gear:

Happy Baseball Day St. Louis!

Baseball Hall of Fame Tour

This morning, I took a few hours to go visit the We Are Baseball: Baseball Hall of Fame Tour, which is currently set up at Ballpark Village, across the street from Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis.

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The mobile exhibit consists of five trailers, each with a different theme, and an IMAX movie.

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The first trailer I visited was Our Game Today and Tomorrow. This was the much-anticipated virtual reality portion of the exhibit. After donning a headset and headphones, I visited several different ballparks, and saw them from different vantage points, including a batter’s eye view. It was really thrilling to see the action of a baseball game this way, but I really hoping they weren’t recording me, because I was spinning around in my chair, and looking up, down, left, and right, trying not to miss a thing!

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Next I toured Our Hall of Famers. In this exhibit, you can virtually view any Hall of Fame plaque…I made sure to look through all the former Cardinals players who have had the honor of being inducted. There are also several artifacts in this part of the tour, including a cap that was worn by Stan the Man, a glove that belonged to Johnny Bench, Joe DiMaggio’s and Ty Cobb’s jerseys, and a pair of shoes worn by Cool Papa Bell. You can even make your own Hall of Fame “plaque,” which will be e-mailed to you if you choose.

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Our Memories was the next part of the exhibit. Here you can see clips of famous baseball moments, check out even more artifacts, such as David Freese’s shredded Game Six jersey and the cap worn by Nolan Ryan when he pitched his fifth no-hitter. There is also a spot for you to record your favorite baseball memories…like many other visitors, mine focused on watching Game Six at home! You can even picture yourself in a moment of baseball history, as a player, an ump, or even a member of the famous Milwaukee Brewers sausage race!

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The Our Traditions trailer was perhaps the most whimsical. There were many photos from around the nation, of ballpark foods, mascots, and traditions. There were also a few more artifacts, including a piece of the Green Monster, and a pair of Harry Caray’s glasses. There was even a game station, where you have the opportunity to earn points for your home team!

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The Our Stories exhibit, on the other hand, was the most serious one. It focused on courage, diversity, and playing through adversity. There were narratives of players with physical disabilities and illnesses, descriptions of heroes like Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente, stories of dark times in American history, like the internment of Japanese Americans in the 1940s, and what baseball meant to them, and even information on the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

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Finally, there was a IMAX movie…even though it was indoors, the seats had a ballpark feel! The movie talked not only about Major League baseball, but baseball at all levels, from t-ball in small town parks through the Little League World Series in Williamsport PA, and beyond, and not only in America, but around the world. It also offered a glimpse at the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, which has strengthened my resolve to go there someday and see it for myself.

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This was a fantastic exhibit, especially for someone like me who loves baseball and history, but who lives pretty far away from the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Every person working there was friendly and knowledgeable, and all of the exhibits were extraordinarily well done. This tour will be in St. Louis through September 11, 2016…if you have time to get downtown before it leaves, I highly recommend it!

The Home Opener

Today was the Cardinals home opener. As always, we enjoyed it from the comfort of our home:

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Even though we had a big Opening Day dinner for the season opener just over a week ago, we had another special ballpark-themed meal today:

It was a fantastic Opening Day. The rain left the area just in time, the sun came out, a nice breeze was blowing, our rookie Hazelbaker had an awesome game, and the Cardinals pounded the Brewers. You really can’t ask for more!

A Ballpark Style Feast for Opening Day

Today was Opening Day, not just for the Cardinals, but for all of Major League Baseball. No, the Cards didn’t play at home, and no, they didn’t win, but that didn’t stop us from enjoying our traditional Opening Day feast that Ryan started several years ago!

We had all your traditional ballpark foods: hot dogs (with a variety of toppings, including my homemade chili), brats (I like mine with sauerkraut and spicy mustard), nachos, and Super pretzels. We even had sundae cups for dessert!

And, as always, I took a picture of the children in their favorite Cardinals gear:

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After waiting (rather impatiently) all winter, it’s hard to believe another Opening Day has come and gone all ready. I’m just hoping this first game wasn’t a harbinger of things to come for the Cards, and they have another great season!