Back in late fall when the minor league schedules were released, I noticed my children's Easter break came during opening weekend for the Springfield Cardinals. I have never been to any season opener, so my wife and I decided to take the kids out of school a day early to catch Thursday and Friday's games. We arrived in Springfield around 3:00 in the afternoon. First stop was the ticket office where I picked up our game tickets and couple of additional items.
After the gates opened at 6:10, we headed for the team store. My only purchase was the 2016 team set for $2. We were able to watch the opening ceremony which was very similar to the one in St. Louis. Each player rode in a truck from the center field wall to home plate, was introduced, and then took his place along the first base line for the national anthem.
The game was not a very good one for a Cardinals fan. #6 ranked prospect Sandy Alcantara started the game and had control problems. While he did hit 101 on the radar gun, he gave up a first inning home run and 6 wild pitches in less than 5 innings. The offense was also less than stellar only scoring 1 run on a solo home run by Cuban Jose Adolis Garcia. The Cardinals lost the game 7 to 1. The post game fireworks was also lacking. There is a pyro plant in Springfield that sponsored the fireworks show. It lasted maybe 5 or 6 minutes with a show that reminded me of my small county fair show. I have seen much better fireworks in Peoria.
One of the more fun aspects of going to minor league games is getting autographs. The Cardinals usually have 1 or 2 players at 3 different gates to sign autographs for 15 minutes after the gates open. With opening ceremonies, none of the players were available. There was also very little time after the ceremony for the players to warm up, so they did not sign before the game. Since the team lost badly, most players left right after the final out. Even if they wanted to stay, the lights went out pretty quickly for the fireworks show. On the bright side, the weather was perfect and we had Friday's night game to look forward to.