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.

Twenty Years

Today, Ryan and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary!

The traditional 20th anniversary gift is china, so Ryan gave me this beautiful vintage brooch (from England!):

I had Cardinals jerseys customized as my gift to him:

We’re still not comfortable eating out, so we had Portillo’s Italian beef and sausage shipped right to our door:

And I made s’mores bark for dessert:

We couldn’t go on the trip to London that Ryan had planned for our 20th anniversary (maybe next year…or the year after), but he could take a trip to visit my island of Gloriana, which I had ready for a wedding celebration:

It’s hard to believe it’s been 20 years…I hope the next 20 don’t fly by quite as quickly!

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!

One Nation

I spent a good chunk of yesterday at Busch Stadium, taking in the “One Nation Classic.” It was billed as the Closing Ceremonies for the Winter Classic, which was held at Busch on January second.

The One Nation Classic had several parts. When I got there, people were skating on the ice on the field. This was actually a surprise to me, as I had not heard about that part. I don’t know if it was available to anyone who had a ticket, or if you had to pay extra or know someone to get to participate, but it was fun watching people skate on Busch’s ice!

After the free skate was over, there were three events that I did know about. First, a skills competition between “Team Steen” and “Team Pietrangelo.” This was a lot of fun to watch…at times it was silly, and at other moments, you really got to see how talented the players are. It included events such as a 3-on-3 competition, a hilarious relay race, and a hardest shot competition. In the end, “Team Pietrangelo” won by a score of 14-11.

Next up was St. Louis’ Greatest Pick-Up Hockey Game. This featured “Team Stillman” (of the Blues) vs. “Team Dewitt” (of the Cardinals), and included former players from both teams such as Peter Stastny and Jim Edmonds, and other personalities. Fredbird and Louie even made an appearance…have you ever seen a giant cardinal on skates? It was fun to see the fur and feathers fly, especially when they both ended up in the penalty box! Like the skills competition, the players wore a prototype jersey that was designed in 1966, but never actually worn by the players…it was so cool! I think my favorite part was the very first goal, which was scored by Bill Dewitt against Darren Pang in goal. In the end, though, Team Stillman prevailed, and won by a score of 5-4.

The final event was a first responders game between local police officers and local firefighters. I’m not going to lie…I was so cold at that point, that I left almost immediately after puck-drop. But it was cool to see how many participants there were…both teams even had their own jerseys! I will say that I think the police team had an unfair advantage, as their lineup included not only officers, but members of the DOD and the NGA!

I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed Winter Classic activities…Ryan got to go to both the Alumni Game, and the Winter Classic itself. He got the best view, because by the time I got to Busch, they had removed the guitar from the field, and the banners from outside the stadium. Fortunately, he got some good pictures for me, allowing me to live vicariously:

It was definitely a cold day at Busch, but I’m so glad I got to go and see the ice for myself. Who knows if and when the Winter Classic will come back to St. Louis? I hope it does someday, but for now, I have some great memories of seeing Busch Stadium in a whole new light!