Opening Day 2023

Yesterday was Major League Baseball’s Opening Day, and the Cardinals opened the season at Busch Stadium. It was an exciting day…Jordan Walker, the 20-year-old rookie who just got the call to the Big Leagues, not only started the game but got a hit in his first at-bat. Tyler O’Neill hit a home run for the fourth consecutive Opening Day, which tied a Major League record. We got our first look at our new catcher, Willson Contreras. Adam Freaking Wainwright sung the National Anthem before the game! But it was also bittersweet…how strange was it so see an Opening Day without Yadier Molina behind the plate? Wainwright, who should have been our starting pitcher, instead started the season on the injured list. Speaking of injuries, our brand new catcher took a 103 mph wild pitch to the knee. And in the end, despite scoring nine runs, we still lost (I think our pitching needs some work!). So it was a fun day, as always, but it didn’t quite go the way we had expected. That didn’t stop us from enjoying our traditional Opening Day feast, starting with a new addition of Cardinals sugar cookies that turned out surprisingly well, even though decorating cookies is not the thing I’m best at (I blame my poor handwriting skills for that!):

We had ballpark-style nachos as an appetizer…no matter how good they are, though, they’re just not the same as eating nachos at Busch Stadium!

For dinner, we had Chicago-style hot dogs and brats. They stopped selling neon relish in our area (the nerve!), but Ryan stopped at a new Chicago-style restaurant nearby, and they kindly gave him a cup of relish. Too bad I forgot all about the onions I chopped, though!

For dessert, we had ice cream sundaes, and I even got out the dish we got at Busch Stadium last summer:

I love Opening Day…it’s like baseball Christmas, and something I look forward to every year!

Chickadee Thursday

Saturday was a Very Exciting Day, because we went to the Cardinals game, and Chickadee got to see Fredbird for the first time in almost four years!

If you’re wondering what absolute joy looks like, this is it:

We also found a cool, life-size bobblehead of Paul Goldschmidt. Not as fun as Fredbird, but still exciting!

It was so good to be back at one of our favorite places!

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 naivetĂ©. 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!