Wednesday, August 2, 2017

First Cardinals Game in 2 Years

If you read some of my previous posts, you know my family and I attend a lot of minor league games.  This year we have been to 5 different parks in 5 different states.  Minor league baseball is one of the best values for your entertainment dollar regardless of sport.  It is hard to beat front row seats for less than $15, good promo items, and the laid back atmosphere.  The chance for in person autographs is also a big plus.

You may be wondering if we attend any St. Louis Cardinals games.  Of all the ballparks I have been to, St. Louis is the closest drive to me other than Indianapolis (2.5 hours vs 2 hours).  You would think we would go to a handful of games each year, but that has not been the case.  The last game we went to was in the spring of 2015.  My son and I left a dance competition early to catch an afternoon game.  Since we hit all the Cardinals minor league teams already this year, he wanted to go to Cardinals game to say he hit them all.

I found two seats in the top row above the Cardinals bullpen for last Friday's game on Stubhub for $30 each.  My wife and daughter chose to attend a swimming party, so it was just us boys.  We choose Friday's game for 2 reasons.  The giveaway was a 1967 World Series replica trophy for adults, while it was Academy Sports autograph night.  The first 100 children 15 and under get autographs from 2 current players.  After that, 2 former players sign for all fans for 45 minutes.  I knew a couple of weeks ago that Scott Cooper and Kyle McClellan were the alumni, but it was not until Thursday evening that I found out Alex Reyes and Carson Kelly were signing for the kids.  We arrived about an hour before the gates opened.  My son ended up with ticket #24.

I have mentioned before that Reyes is my son's favorite player because they share the same first name.  This was the 6th or 7th time we have gotten his auto at a ball park.  This ticket was from his MLB debut.

Earlier in July we got Kelly to sign a 2016 Futures Game ball at a Triple A game in Nashville.  This time we used a ROMLB.  I love the way he included his uniform in the loop.  I hope Kelly is in the majors for good this time.  He may only play once a week, but he should benefit from watching Molina play in person.

We had some time to kill before the alumni signed, so we watched the end of the Diamondbacks batting practice.  Not even 5 minutes after getting to our seats, one of the Diamondback coaches tossed my son a ball.

Had to tell from the pic, but there is a nice grass stain on the left.  There is also a large blue mark on the sweet spot.  This ball will go in the mini bat rack that I hope to have built before Christmas.

After BP, it was back to the alumni line where we waited maybe 10 minutes.

This is the first time we have gotten Scott Cooper.  He has appeared at Winter Warm Up before, but we were never able to get him.  He only played in St. Louis one year, but was born in the area.

This is the third time we have gotten McClellan.  He joked the picture on the 2010 Upper Deck card was way too much of  a close up.  McClellan was a good reliever his first three seasons, but become a starter in 2011 after Adam Wainwright had Tommy John surgery.  He did well the first half of the season, but his arm did not hold up.  He was left off the World Series roster, but did get a ring.  He pitched 2 more seasons as a reliever before retiring.  He is active in local charities and also appears on some Cardinals pregame shows.

The replica trophy is ok , but I am more of a bobblehead guy.  The Cardinals won the game 1-0.  About the only action in the first 6 innings happened when Luke Voit hit Dbacks pitcher Robbie Ray with a line drive.  The ball ended up being caught by the third baseman for an out.  I have never heard a stadium so quite as when Ray was on the ground.  He did get up on his own.  He is on the DL with a concussion now.  We left in the top of the 8th inninng after the Dbacks had runners on second and third with no outs.  We should have stayed to watch Trevor Rosenthal get a 6 out save, but I knew it was going to be close to 1 in the morning before we got home.  At least I was able to listen to the finish.  My son was asleep about 5 minutes after we got into my truck.


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