Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

More Fun at Busch Stadium

I finally had some time to sit down and write about the first-class Cardinal Bloggers Event hosted last weekend by the St. Louis Cardinals.  The experience was so much fun that I had to split it up into two posts! Yesterday I touched on our meeting with John Mozeliak and the thrill of walking into the administrative offices as well as the wonderful time we had mingling with other Cardinal bloggers/writers in Cardinal Hospitality.  Today I want to share some other stories that made the event even more memorable for me.

Visiting the Busch stadium press-box during a game has topped my list of curious places behind the scenes of Cardinal baseball. (Okay, visiting the clubhouse right after the game would be numero uno.  A gal can dream, can’t she?!)  In my mind, I’ve had a picture of what the press-box scene might look like.    So the chance to discover if the scribes bicker out loud (instead of just across twitter) or if there are piles of pizza boxes or taco trash in the corner was a whole bucket of exciting!
One of my favorite highlights from Sunday’s Blogger Event at Busch was an impromptu tour of the press-box!  As luck would have it, I caught up with Matthew “Pip” Philip, editor and principal writer for Fungoes.com, when he stopped by the party suite for some food.  When I asked where he was off to next, Pip replied that he was heading back to the press box, and I (of course) jumped at the chance to ask him for a tour (not at all shy when it comes to opportunities like that!)  Pip was awesome and happy to oblige.  So I grabbed Hubby and we wandered back through the stadium with Pip, past the guard at the door to the press box.  (Guarded to keep potentially overexcited fans like me from interrupting a broadcast by cheering “AttaBoy Hunky!!!” too loud from the booth?… I’m just guessing.)
Anyway… Hubby and I quietly behaved ourselves in the press-box corridor while Pip took care of some MLB.com datacasting.  He was training a woman on the process for entering data for MLB Game Day/ MLB At Bat.  (I’d always wondered how that happened…. now I know!)

One of the funny things about the press box was the seating chart posted on the wall as you enter the corridor.  It reminded me of elementary school.  “Everyone find your chair!”
Hubby and I wandered up to the 2nd level of chairs (with permission, of course) and sat to watch some of the game from that glorious birds-eye view.  Among the dozen or so men in the seats below us I recognized Bernie Miklasz (sorting his itunes library), Derrick Goold, Rick Hummel and BJ Rains with his dad, Rob Rains, one row behind.   They were all quietly watching the games or casually typing on their computers.  What I assumed would be a glorified man cave was actually pristinely clean and orderly.  No piles of stadium food littered the desks or corners.  And honestly the box felt like a library, very quiet with only occasional hushed talking as crowd noise drifted in through an open window.  Another curiosity was seeing Matthew Leach (MLB.com reporter) sitting alone in a darker room full of desk cubbies across the hall from the elevated press-box seats.  I had the chance to ask him about this later in the afternoon…

Pip returned to give us a fabulous quick tour of the press-box (honestly, there’s not all that much to tour, but he did it up right!) He even let me snag a few of the game notes and information pages provided for the press who use that area. Score one for random baseball souvenirs!  😉  Whether he knew it or not, Pip made a dream come true.  It was wonderful and the staff in the press box were warm and welcoming.
We managed to find our way back to the UCB suites to enjoy more of Jaime Garcia’s unbelievable complete game shutout (wow!) with the other bloggers.  Towards the end of the game, Matthew Leach made an appearance in the suites and hung out to meet everyone and talk about the Cardinals.


When the game ended and the employees politely tried to move our chattering UCB group on our way, Matthew Leach kindly hung out with several of us in the concourse.  I grabbed my chance to ask him pretty much any and every question I’d wanted to ask him over the past few years… about his job and the Cardinals.  He was great about it and I learned a lot.
For instance….
· The reason he was alone in a dark room in the press box?  Leach wasn’t reporting on the Cardinals game that day and was instead working on a different article for MLB.com….while watching a tennis match.)
· He explained his process of taking notes during a game in order to quickly put the details together into an entertaining and informative game recap.
· Matthew has been working in baseball for 10 years now, and yes, it does get tiring, especially when traveling.
· He has authored one book (I didn’t know this) titled “The Game of My Life, St. Louis Cardinals,” but it is out of print and costs anywhere from $86 to $297 online now.  So, it must be a REALLY good book!  😉
· He gets a lot of questions for his Mailbag, but current/timely questions are sometimes hard to come by. So when he sends out a request for questions, he really does need them!

I also “peppered” Mr. Leach (Dustin McClure’s words, not mine) with questions about some of my favorite Baby Birds such as Daniel Descalso including how long Matthew expects him to stick with the big club.  I verified that no, Matthew Leach is not a Cardinal fan and asked how he can spend so much time covering the Cardinals with such excitement and interest, yet not be a fan. Then I finally couldn’t help myself and brought up the topic of one of my favorites, former Cardinal shortstop Brendan Ryan.  Matthew agreed that it was hard to understand how Brendan would be surprised that his former teammates were frustrated by his antics when it was quite obvious to many around the clubhouse.  I wish I’d had a tape recorder so that I could remember everything we discussed, but it was the most fun to talk to someone with that much experience and such a close connection to our team.   Matthew Leach was great to meet and kindly stayed for all of our questions and discussions, joking about how hard he is to reach otherwise.  (He is,in fact, extremely easy to reach and is quick to respond on Twitter as well as answer reader questions in his MLB/Cardinals blog, Obviously, You’re Not a Golfer.)

Christine, Chris, Justin, Dustin, Dathan and me
After the doors were shut and the stadium was quieting down, a small group of us leftover UCBers made the hike out of the stadium, past the players’ parking lot… where we paused to try and identify some vehicles in true fan fashion.  We continued on to Paddy O’s where we soaked up some postgame excitement along with our refreshments.  Being from Oklahoma, I rarely get to celebrate a win, in St. Louis, surrounded by a crowd of Cardinal fans.  It was wonderfully fun and the perfect ending to a fabulous gathering.

Thanks again to the St. Louis Cardinals for hosting the event; Molly and Kathy for their hard work in setting it all up and their hospitality; Melody Yount, Derek Throneburg and especially John Mozeliak for giving the UCB a memorable event at Busch Stadium.  Thanks also to the staff in the suites who made us all comfortable and provided us with great food, drinks and service.  And my special thanks to the two Matthews, Philip and Leach, for adding so much to my experience.

It was especially wonderful to meet everyone that I associate with my Cardinals, from twitter and blogs to the guys behind the MLB tools I use daily.

The Cardinals begin the first of their 10 games on the road today as they face the San Francisco Giants.  Game time is early today at 3:35pm.
Go Cards!!  =)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: