Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Opening Day

One of the things I’ve never done with my favorite baseball team (the Cardinals) is go to opening day. I’d heard it was quite the spectacle and almost a local holiday in St Louis. I’d gotten an email from the Cardinals offering the opportunity to go Opening Day if you bought tickets to two other games that year. I didn’t need any more encouragement (to go see a couple more games) than that, so I bought tickets. I ended up with two diamond boxes down the third base line about 10 rows up from the field. I talked with Josh and he was willing to come down and meet me in St Louis so we could go. So, it was all set! I was all in a lather though the days before we left. The weather prediction was for rain all day that Monday. If that happened, Josh wouldn’t be able to stay for the makeup game Tuesday. I hoped that the weather prediction would be wrong.

Josh and Shelby came down early on the weekend to St Louis before opening day which was on a Monday. Donna and I drove up on Sunday after church. We met then at our hotel in Fairview Heights. Donna was of course thrilled to see her baby. We went to Collinsville church of Christ for evening worship. One of our preachers had been there for two years and of course they had many good things to say about him. Afterwards, we met up with one of Josh’s old college friends who lives there – Jesse Yannelli for dinner. We had a really good time. I ordered a brat burger which wasn’t as good as I’d hoped it be though.

Monday morning, we headed for the Children’s Hospital at Barnes. When Donna had her three year checkup with Dr Bridwell in March, she was asked to participate in a study to see if scoliosis (which she had) was able to bespotted via a DNA marker. She had trouble giving the blood sample that day so she said she’d come back and try to hydrate better. We went to the Metro station at Fairview Heights and rode into St. Louis. There is a station within walking distance of the hospital so it worked out well. Josh went with Donna and I headed to Einstein Bagels to pick up the Monday Bakers Dozen Special. By the time I got back, Donna was done. We hopped back on the Metro and headed back to Fairview Heights. The only issue was it drizzled on us the whole time. The prediction now was the weather would clear in time for the game though.

We went to the St Clair Mall and walked around. As we walked around, I was thrilled to see the sun shining through a skylight. Josh and I got on the Redbird Express. It took a lot longer than usual to get to the Stadium with the traffic. When we got off and got to the first gate, the line was monstrously long. We kept walking and finally found a line that was a little more reasonable. We got in just a few minutes before the festivities started. Our seats were perfect for viewing the parade around the park. The skies had completely cleared!

First, the Clydesdales come out. They are always an impressive sight. Then, all of the living Cardinal Hall of Famers drive up each in a Ford Mustang. I was pleasantly surprised to see Tony LaRussa there (he works for the Diamondbacks now). Even 93 year Red Schoendienst was there. Then, each current Cardinal is driven around the warning track in their own Ford F-150. Finally, Lou Brock went out to throw out the first pitch. That was very special because Lou was my first favorite Cardinal player. Second, he’d recently had part of one of his legs amputated because of a diabetes related incident. To catch him was another of my favorite Cardinals, Ted Simmons (recently elected to the Cardinals Hall of Fame). Lou didn’t go out to the mound but stood about 35 feet from Ted and fired a perfect strike to him. The crowd went crazy.

There was a ballgame with the Brewers to play now. Michael Wacha started and gave up two one out hits but then induced Jonathan Lucroy to hit into a double play. In the bottom of the first (with one out), Jeremy Hazelbaker tripled. Holliday doubled him in. Grichuk doubled Holliday in, then Molina drove in Grichuk and the Cardinals had a 3-0 lead. They tacked on two more in the 2nd and then erupted for four more in the third to knock out the Brewer’s starter. Josh and I loved this of course. The Cardinals ended up winning 10-1 capping a great day.

We took the Redbird Express back to Fairview Heights. Donna and Shelby picked us up. We ate from the hotel provided dinner and then Josh and Shelby headed back for Wisconsin. I made a Krispy Kreme run and the Hot Light was on! I didn’t think the day could have gotten any better! Donna and I stayed the night and headed for home the next morning.

If you are a Cardinal fan, you have to at least once in your life go to Opening Day. Josh and I loved it and I am sure you would too.