On Thursday there will be baseball at Busch Stadium and in a new twist from last year—there will be fans. Busch Stadium will welcome up to 32% capacity beginning with the home opener. Adam Wainwright gets the honor of starting. Rob Rains has more regarding the game elsewhere on STLSSportsPage.com.
Hopefully, Opening Day in St. Louis will have better weather than the road opener in Cincinnati where John Mozeliak is shown, left in his heavy winter coat. As of Monday– the weather is predicted to be: “Partly cloudy skies during the morning hours will give way to occasional showers in the afternoon. High 61F. Winds SW at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 40%.”– weather.com.
St. Louisans look at the Cardinals home opener as an unofficial holiday. There are still a lot questions as to how much “Opening Day” fanfare will there be. Will the Clydesdales be inside the stadium? The educated guess is “no” because of the MLB COVID-19 protocol. Only “tier 2” level people are allowed on the field so this would prohibit the Clydesdale drivers, but there could be some other way of having them there. Maybe they will be outside the stadium in a prominent place or staged somewhere else in the stadium.
Most probably there will be the parade of players as they have every year where the St. Louis Ford Dealers showcase their trucks with players riding around the outside of the field on the warning tracks. This is being planned, but the outside drivers will not be permitted on the field, so other provisions are being made.
How will the Hall of Famers be represented? Of course several will be missed no matter what happens as St. Louis lost two this past off-season: Lou Brock and Bob Gibson. Stan Musial and Red Schoendienst have also passed in recent years. This is where the Cardinals Red Jacket group of Hall of Famers who are nominated by the Red Ribbon Committee and voted on by the fans comes in. They may be able to come into the stadium and be seen somewhere other than the field, such as the grassy berm in the outfield.
This could be the case with the person who sings the National Anthem. They will most probably not be allowed on the field but could be staged elsewhere. At any rate, there will be fans in the stands and there will be a celebration at Busch Stadium on Thursday.
In the off-season the Cardinals worked on a plan developed in partnership with Mayor Lyda Krewson’s office & the St. Louis City Health Department and they hope the plan will ensure health and safety for all.
“We’ve all missed the fans at the ballpark and are confident that all fans will adhere to these policies for an outstanding game day experience.” said Matt Gifford, Vice President of Stadium Operations.
There are many rumors going around about what food will be available. Chef Norman Taylor says not to worry, the regular ballpark food will be there.
“What would Cardinals baseball be without hot dogs and nachos?!” said Chef. “Yes Hots, brats, peanuts, popcorn, burgers, and of course nachos!. The Home Plate nachos will be available in section 152, 251, and at our redesigned 133 stand” (Scroll down for more about the concessions.)
Though there will be fans in attendance, the Home Opener will go off with a lot less fanfare than in the past. Each year STLSportsPage.com compiles a list of the pep rallies and fun promotions happening in conjunction with Opening Day—which is always a holiday in St. Louis. Listed below is the latest information we have about the festivities of Opening Day.
The Night Before the Home Opener:
Rob Rains’ Virtual Pep Rally
Stadium announcer John Ulett will join Rains along with other surprises.
“I hope we get a good group to celebrate with us,” said Rains. “Everyone is welcome to wear their Cardinals clothes, bring some ballpark food and your favorite beverages—right in the comfort of your home. We will be giving out prizes, taking your questions, talking with special guests.”
The Cardinals and others are working hard to provide a special Opening Day Experience, but unfortunately it may look a little different this year due to the pandemic.
Day of the Game
Pre-Game Traditional Festivities
FOX 2 Pep-Rally- (No pep rallies this year)
Each year FOX 2 and KPLR have a big pep rally but this year, according to Laura Bond, Promotions & Events Manager for FOX 2 KTVI & KPLR 11 there will be “no rallies permitted this year downtown.”
They wanted to stay engaged with the fans so they are doing a special #MyHomeOpener promotion:
“FOX 2 and News 11 are getting into the baseball spirit by inviting our viewers to upload their baseball photos to celebrate the Home Opener using the hash tag #MyHomeOpener,” said Bond. “Photos submitted could be shown on our newscasts.” For more information CLICK HERE
They encourage viewers to send them photos of your family, friends and pets getting into the excitement of Opening Day. They say: “Show your spirit, be creative and you may see yourself on FOX 2 and News 11. Be sure to use the #MyHomeOpener on social media and tag @FOX2Now and/or @kplr11”
KMOX Kegs & Eggs- (Not this year)
KMOX has had a long tradition of doing things for Opening Day including the Kegs and Eggs but this year, they are helping fans celebrate at home by offering special “Baseball Boxes” for purchase. The boxes include barbecue, beer, and a tee shirt.
The KMOX website says, “For the past many years, baseball fans have gathered with KMOX, Y98, 102.5 KEZK, 97.1 FM Talk, Hot 104.1 and 96.3 The Lou in downtown St. Louis to celebrate St. Louis’ most well-known Unofficial Holiday … baseball’s Home Opener,”
Because face to face celebrations Opening Day in St. Louis, KMOX is combining Sugarfire Smokehouse, 4 Hands Brewing Company and Arch Apparel to offer a special Home Opener Box.
The box contains all the fixing’s for some Sugarfire Smokehouse BBQ Nachos that will feed up to four people, giant tray of chips, cheese, barbecue pork and toppings, plus a 4-pack of CITY WIDE American Pale Ale and a commemorative BBQ, Beer and Baseball shirt from Arch apparel.
They suggest you order today as there will be a limited number. CLICK HERE
Ballpark Village (No Pre-game Pep Rally)
Beginning on April 8, 2021, Ballpark Village will have spaces open in the follow areas: (more info at end of this article)
- Fox Sports Midwest Live! (reservations required)
- Sports & Social
- Cardinals Nation
- The Bullock at Live! by Loews
- The Together Credit Union Plaza
- Budweiser Brew House Rooftop Bud Deck (reservations required)
Opening Day Inside the Ballpark:
“Unfortunately we are not allowed to have vendors in the seats just yet, but we have set up kiosks, what we used to call portables, along the concourse,” says Chef Norman Taylor. “Most of these will be beverage only to help move the line through quickly.”
There has been a lot of uncertainty about how purchases can be made in the stadium. It will be cashless, but Busch Stadium is accepting credit cards and debit cards.
“All credit and debit cards can be used throughout the stadium,” said Taylor “For those who have cash, please visit one of our markets and you can purchase the gift cards there. Markets are located in section 153, 450, and Gate Five by the right field flag pole.”
Each year Taylor likes showing off his new creations for the year to the media. Things are different this year and he says they want to wait and see how everything goes. Once they get a few home games going, he is hoping to roll out at least one of the new items by mid-May.
“My main focus right now is to insure everyone in Cardinals nation has a safe and enjoyable experience here at baseball heaven,” he said. “We all miss being here so once we get this ‘new normal’ under our belts, we can start enjoying some great new products as we cheer on our Cardinals.”
All fans who are over 21 and lucky enough to be in the ballpark for the Home Opener will receive Magnet Schedules.
This And That
* The Cardinals look to make it 14 consecutive winning seasons, and fans are excited to welcome Nolan Arenado to Busch Stadium.
* The Cardinals reached the 85% threshold in vaccinating members of the traveling party, which will let them loosen some of the COVID protocols among the players and top tiered players and team personnel. This involves restrictions regarding going out to a restaurant and other things.
* John Ulett starts his 39th season with the Cardinals Kids Show.
He stars as “Professor U-Man”—with the “PU” on his lab coat. The show is a big hit on Saturday mornings.
It’s a local Saint Louis television show starring Fredbird, former Cardinals pitcher, and member of the 2006 World Series Championship team, Brad Thompson and Ulett. 2021 Cardinals Kids episodes air Saturday mornings at 11am CT on Bally Sports Midwest. For more info: CLICK HERE
* What does Jack Flaherty have in common with Carrie Underwood, James Harden, Mike Trout and Megan Rapinoe? They have all signed on to represent BODYAROR sports drink. BODYARMOR debuted a national campaign with its newly launched caffeinated sports drink EDGE.
* How would you like to get a call from a major league ballplayer— or a movie star for that matter? Several members of the Cardinals are on the website Cameo.
Adam Wainwright joins a growing number of celebrities who are listed on Cameo. You pay a fee and they will call you or whoever you wish. “Proceeds from bookings will go to my charity Big League Impact,” Wainwright says. To find out more: CLICK HERE.
* Tommy Edman is also supporting Big League Impact on Cameo and to find out about that: CLICK HERE.
Harrison Bader (CLICK HERE for Bader) and Lane Thomas (CLICK HERE for Thomas) are the other current players listed on Cameo and it was not clear if they are donating their proceeds to charity or not but if you want to schedule a conversation or private message with them or any of the others on Cameo– check out Cameo.
Others from the Cardinals family include Ozzie Smith, John Ulett, Stubby Clapp and Willie McGee.
* Players will again have freedom to express themselves and showcase their personalities by incorporating creative designs on their cleats. Cleat designs expanded last year and will continue to allow messages, illustrations, and any colors.
* Looks like the Cardinals have put their name on an alcoholic drink. This week, Cutwater Spirits sent out a media release welcoming the return of baseball by introducing new co-branded canned cocktails while also increasing its in-stadium presence through partnerships with teams across the league.
Safety Precautions at Busch
There are a lot of precautions being put into place for the safety of all involved. One thing is no purses or bags—read the information carefully—no clear bags this year to save the stadium employees at the entrances from touching inside to search them.
There are also specific entrances you must go in, which are determined by your seat number and cash and credit cards will not be handled by concession stand employees or the Team Store. It is all being done through a Cardinals app.
“Busch Stadium’s vast open-air footprint, six entry gates and wide concourses gives us the ability to create the safest environment possible for guests to root on the Cardinals this year,” said Matt Gifford.
The Cardinals upgraded Busch Stadium’s HVAC systems by replacing filters in the ballpark to ensure cleaner air in any enclosed spaces. Electrostatic sprayers and EPA registered disinfectants will continue to be utilized to disinfect rooms and surfaces throughout the ballpark.
Social distancing and proper hygiene will be enforced and encouraged by staff throughout the ballpark. The organization will continuously evaluate all guidelines, seek guidance from local and Major League Baseball health experts, and adjust policies or protocols as necessary.
Here are some of the policies and protocols that will be in place to ensure the health and safety of fans, employees, and players in 2021:
- Socially-distanced seating: Guests will be seated in pods of four or less with a minimum distance of 6-feet between seating pods in all directions.
- Masks required: Masks will be required at all times in all areas of the stadium, including the seating bowl, unless guests are actively eating and drinking in their ticketed seats.
- The ticket offices are closed. The only way you can buy tickets is online as they will have Mobile-only ticketing: All game tickets will be delivered via the MLB Ballpark app, ensuring a touchless entry into the ballpark.
- Cashless transactions: Concession stands, kiosks and other retail transactions made in the stadium will be cashless and only offer credit and debit payment options. Debit cards will be available for purchase using cash with no service fees at a limited number of locations inside the stadium.
- Designated entry gates: Guests will be directed to enter and exit the stadium through one of six designated entry gates to expedite the process and limit crowding at any one entrance. A designated entry gate will be noted on each ticket. Guests will not be permitted to exit and re-enter the stadium.
- Bags not permitted: To reduce contamination and ensure touchless entry, bags will not be permitted to be brought into Busch Stadium, except for medical or diaper bags.
- Hand sanitizer: Hand sanitizer dispensers will be widely available throughout the ballpark.
- Staff health screenings: All full-time employees and event staff will be subject to health and temperature screenings before entering the stadium.
Additional changes will be implemented to ticketing, concessions and retail operations to further reduce touch points among staff and guests.
Fans can view the full list of Busch Stadium policies and protocols for the start of the 2021 season at cardinals.com/backatbusch.
More Info on Ballpark Village:
Officials at Ballpark Village have implemented several changes to keep guests and employees safe, including requiring masks when not eating or drinking, spacing out tables and reducing capacity.
In pre-COVID-19 times, Ballpark Village would be packed with fans cheering on the Cardinals. Since that can’t safely happen yet, organizers have launched a reservation system to fill seats during peak game times.
Venues requiring reservations/ticketing:
Budweiser Brew House Rooftop Bud Deck
The rooftop deck across the street from Busch offers direct views into the ballpark. Ballpark Village will offer 100 seated tickets for each game leading up to the All-Star Break. Tickets will be sold in groups of two or four only. Packages range from $20-120 per person, based on the opposing team, day of the week and ticket package options. Fans can buy all-inclusive packages or a seat-only ticket with optional upgrades.
FOX Sports Midwest Live!
The venue inside Ballpark Village features a huge 40-foot LED wall of TV screens. Opening Day reservations will be for either the pregame session (noon-2 p.m.) or game time session (2:30 p.m.-end of the game). Tickets will be sold as tables of two-10 people at $40 a seat. The fee will serve as a food and beverage credit for each guest toward their bill for the day.
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