Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Monthly Archives: August 2011

How to be a Cardinals fan on the cheap

Times are tough financially for a lot of folks right now, including my own family.  We, along with many others, have learned how to cut corners and pinch pennies so hard that President Lincoln screams.  It can be expensive to be a Cards fan, so here’s some tips for how to be a Cards fan without spending a fortune.

Fan gear

Do the prices at the Cardinals shop online or the gift shop at Busch Stadium really get you down?  There is lots of Cardinals gear available at discount stores like Walmart and Kmart.  If you’re not one of those fashionistas who need the latest, greatest thing, just wait until the end of the season when the item you want may go on clearance.  Be sure to get on the Cardinals’ e-mail list (you can do that here) to receive notices of merchandise sales and ticket specials, as well as a team newsletter.

Game tickets

The best price for game tickets is free, of course, like when someone gives you tickets to a game.  If that doesn’t happen for you very often, there are other ways to save money on tickets.  The KMOX First Pitch Tickets are a great, inexpensive way to get tickets to a Cards game.  I explained more about how this works here.  Craigslist is another place you can purchase cheap tickets.  Just put the word “Cardinals” in the search box and there are lots of folks with tickets for sale.  If you’re an out-of-market fan who lives in a city with a MLB team that the Cards come to play, you could search the local Craigslist for tickets. You can also go to StubHub.com to see if you can score cheap tickets.

All inclusive tickets – You might be thinking, “Diane, are you kidding?  Those tickets aren’t cheap!”  You are correct – they aren’t.  However, if you’re planning on eating and drinking at the game anyway, these tickets may be your best bargain.  You can eat your fill (for 2 hours) and drink beer from 30 minutes before the game up until the middle of the 8th inning.  You can read about the all inclusive tickets here.

Season tickets – Does the company you work for or someone you know have season tickets?  If they aren’t using them for a particular game (and you grovel enough), perhaps they would give them to you.

Getting to and from the game

Driving to and from the ball game can be such a hassle.  Highway driving (and the traffic jam after the game) can give you road rage, not to mention the cost of gas and parking.  If you are within driving distance of a MetroLink station, leave the driving to your friendly light rail train driver and sit back and relax.  The cost of riding the train is only $2.25 each way (and if you work in downtown St. Louis like I do and commute via MetroLink, you probably already have a monthly pass).  The Stadium MetroLink station is right across from the Stan Musial statue on 8th Street.

If you live in St. Clair County, Illinois, you can ride the Redbird Express bus to Busch Stadium.  Round trip fare is only $5.00.  The Redbird Express bus picks up from the water tower at the St. Clair Square shopping mall in Fairview Heights and drops you off at 7th and Clark.  There is more information about the Redbird Express here.

Food and drink

Yes, you can bring food and drink (except alcohol) into Busch Stadium.  Click here to see the specifications on what food and drink can be brought into the stadium.

If you are going to eat a meal before and/or after the game, there are lots of restaurants within walking distance of Busch Stadium.  I have seen people get fast food and bring it into Busch Stadium as well.  Just remember that it has to fit into the bag that fits under your seat.

If the beer is too expensive for you, there are a few bars close to Busch Stadium where you can wet your whistle.


If you enjoy watching Cards baseball on TV, subscribe to MLB.TV and watch on your computer, laptop, or smartphone.  If you subscribe to a satellite TV provider or cable provider, you may be able to get a cheaper program package if you don’t need Fox Sports Midwest.  And if you have a laptop, you can watch MLB.TV anywhere that Wi-Fi is available.  For the out-of-market fan, MLB.TV may be the only way to get your Cards fix.

Cards games are broadcast on KMOX radio, which has a far reaching signal.  If you’re not within listening distance of KMOX, you can listen to any of the stations on the Cardinals Baseball Network.  If you’re not within listening distance of any of the Cardinals Baseball Network stations, you can subscribe to Gameday Audio from MLB.com.

Do you buy a scorecard and keep score (like I do)?  Bring your own pencil – it’s cheaper.  Better yet, either bring a mechanical pencil or two regular pencils.  You never know when your pencil’s going to break.

If you have suggestions on how to save money on your Cardinals habit, please feel free to comment below.  Until next time –

Go Cards!


Catching Up With Bombs, Pags and the Walrus

Mather and Wallace meet up at 1st base

Okay, first things first:  I know Brett Wallace doesn’t like that nickname, so I am not going to repeat it (again)….but it made for a catchy title this morning while I was adequately caffeinated.

My local AAA ballpark was hopping this weekend, full of former Cardinals.  The Colorado Springs Sky Sox were in town for a series against the OKC Redhawks and one glimpse at the Sky Sox roster had me grabbing the kids for the Friday night festivities.

My kids love Joe Mather — I admit, they probably caught that bug from me – and Joe is now with the Colorado Rockies organization playing with the AAA Sky Sox.  As usual, Joe was not an eager autograph hander-outer, and he burst from the dugout pregame without so much as a look towards the stands to his right where a small minion of mostly older men were waiting with baseball card catalogues.

Joe and the kiddos

The kiddos are accustomed to this as getting Joe to venture towards the stands has challenged them before, but they’re persistent – and having me prodding them on with confidence that Joe would LOVE to sign for them seems to boost their persistence.

This time we had a special memento for Joe to sign – a photo that he took with us the last time he was in town (as a Memphis Redbird, still part of the Cardinals family.)  With a little help from Mom, my kids did finally coax Joe over and as hoped, we got a smile out of him when he saw their 8×10.  I snapped another quick photo of the three off them before Joe had to get his game face back on, and we had ourselves another Mather story to add to their baseball memories.

We alone cheered on the Sky Sox that evening, three lonely voices in the crowd, but the kids were having a blast with it.  The Sox lost. And no, they don’t wear high socks.  (I know, I know… someone needs to nudge the Sky Sox and tell them that high socks should be mandatory with a name like Colorado Springs SKY SOX.)

Sunday offered another chance to head back to OKC’s Bricktown Ballpark and test out some new camera equipment on one of my favorite subjects: ballplayers.  Former Cardinals?  Even better!

Pagnozzi catching

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Colorado Sky Sox roster (and why would you?) you’ll be surprised to know that Joe is playing among friends.  Matt Pagnozzi is catching and Clayton Mortensen is a pitcher.  As an added bonus, former Redbird Brett Wallace (now with the Houston Astros) was manning 1st base for the OKC Redhawks after being sent down to AAA earlier in the month.

Ah, the Astros… but that’s a different subject. 😉  (My local OKC Redhawks, former Texas Rangers AAA ballclub, became the AAA affiliate of the Astros this season.)

This weekend’s fun gave me a good reason to dig up a little information on these former Redbirds and share some photos of the boys.

So, here ya go!

Joe Mather

First, of course, we start with Joe Mather (“Joey Bombs”):

Joe Mather (buddy of Brendan Ryan, remember?) played with St. Louis in 2008 and 2010.  His 2009 season was hampered by recovery from surgery for a broken bone in his left hand, injured September 2008.

Joe played with AAA Memphis from 2007 through 2010.

In November of 2010, Joe was selected off waivers by the Atlanta Braves and played in 55 games with the club before being granted Free Agency June 23rd.

On July 7th, Joe signed as a Free Agent with the Colorado Rockies.  Since joining the Rockies, Joe has batted .346 with 5 home runs and .928 OPS in 36 games.

Matt didn't like the called 3rd strike over the weekend

Matt Pagnozzi (“Pags”)

Matt was drafted by the Cardinals in 2003 and made his first appearance with AAA, catching for Memphis in 2007.  In 2010 Matt hit .242 in AAA and during his service with the big club in 2010 (15 games) he batted .359 with his first Major League homerun.

Matt became a Free Agent in November 2010 and signed with the Colorado Rockies.

This season Matt is batting .262 with 3 homeruns while catching for the Sky Sox (44 games).

Wallace holds Mather on 1st

Brett Wallace (if he has a new nickname, I’d love to know what it is. For now, I’ll just say he is NOT the “Walrus”.)

Brett was drafted in 2008 by the Cardinals and was playing in AAA Memphis in 2009.  On July 24th, 2009 Wallace was part of the trade with the Oakland Athletics that brought us one of my personal favorites, Matt Holliday.

In December 2009, Brett was traded again, to the Toronto Blue Jays.

Then, in July 2010, Wallace was traded to Houston where he made his Major League debut July 31, 2010.  In 2011, he played 101 games with the Astros before his recent move back to AAA (OKC Redhawks).  His 2011 MLB batting average is .268 with 4 homeruns.

It was a great weekend of baseball.  And great to see Joe. 😉

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