Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: Joe Mather

Baptized at Busch

The last day of school, the start of summer… Life-changing events for kids and parents.  This year we planned an exciting launch to summer with a momentous pilgrimage: an 8-hour journey to the Motherland …. Busch Stadium.
I am proudly raising two enthusiastic young baseball fans and am thrilled that Cardinals baseball has become a family interest.  We watch the games together on television and talk about all the Cardinals news and chatter.  So taking our kiddos to Busch Stadium for their inaugural FIRST game at Busch Stadium was a family milestone.
First on the agenda: a tour of Busch stadium. 
Last Wednesday, we joined the earliest tour of the morning, a small group of 8-10 people and ours were the only children. (An elementary school field trip filled the next tour group, so we were feeling very blessed!)  We entered a peaceful, quiet Busch stadium, empty except for the grounds crew and a handful of employees cleaning the ballpark.  The view of the ballpark in the early morning was breathtaking and was a perfect introduction to what would later be a loud cheering stadium filled with that familiar sea of red. Our tour guide led us through various areas of Busch stadium including Mike Shannon’s broadcast booth, the Champions Club, Musial’s bridge and onto the field, dispersing tidbits of Cardinals history along the way.   
Favorite part of the tour? 
Hands down, the dugout!  The kids loved standing on the steps where they had seen Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright and all the boys lean over the fence during games.  There was a special excitement in touching the phones Tony LaRussa uses to call the bullpen as well as sitting on the wooden dugout benches scarred by the cleats of countless Cardinals ballplayers.
*side note: if planning to take a stadium tour, be forewarned that it does NOT include a tour of the clubhouse (except during Winter Warm Up)
Next on our Cardinals Baseball Trip Agenda:
After the tour we ventured into the team store and did our best to contribute to the ‘Keep Albert Pujols’ fund, buying up far too much of the must-have Cardinals gear that can’t be found in our Oklahoma hometown!
On our road trip into St. Louis we had collected our Mobil On The Run 25-cent drinks, compliments of the Cardinals’ 6-run win over Washington on Monday.  And after our stadium tour, we continued our Cardinal broadcast commercial experience with lunch at Imo’s Pizza.  Driving past a Schnucks (non-existent in Oklahoma) also sent the backseat into a flurry of excitement.  Obviously advertising dollars spent during Cardinals games works – at least on this family!  =)
Pregame Adventures:
Batting practice before Wednesday’s game brought its own share of excitement. Cardinals sluggers Ryan Ludwick, Matt Holliday and Nick Stavinoha were all firing shots into the stands.  Several of the balls that didn’t make it into the seats were tossed up to fans by players on the field.  A Marlins player threw a baseball to my son, but sadly, moments later, the ball fell out of his glove, back over the wall.  Twice we ‘almost’ caught other balls hit into the stands, but a teenage boy stuck his glove right in front of ours, stealing the catch and the baseballs away at the last second.  So, despite our attempts to catch another, we left with merely a good story instead of a batting practice baseball. 
The Real Deal:  Baseball at Busch Stadium:
Even with drizzly and cool weather for Wednesday and Thursday’s games against the Florida Marlins, we were happy to be in the stands cheering on our Cardinals.  Hot chocolate may have helped, but the energy in the stands overcame the chill, and the kids were having fun, focused on the game and cheering for the players by name. I could not have been more proud of my little Cardinals fans!  They sang along to Matt Holliday’s walk up song, cheered their hearts out for Brendan Ryan, David Freese and the ‘Boys’, and they marveled as the wave made it all the way around the stadium.  They also worked feverishly to punch out their votes on as many All Star ballots as they could collect.  (I’m predicting an all-Cardinals team right now…)
Looking Back on It All:
The time in St. Louis flew by too quickly.  While we did visit the arch and enjoyed wandering through City Park and the streets between our hotel and the stadium, there was much left undone.  So, happily I can say that more family trips to St. Louis and Busch Stadium will definitely be in our future!   
The one memory I will forever cherish was watching the excitement of my kids as they hung on the Cardinals dugout fence, thoughtfully looking out over the field at Busch Stadium in that early morning light.  I have visited Busch Stadium before, but it was truly magical to see it through the eyes of children experiencing it for the first time.  I hope this is just the beginning of their love affair with baseball and that some day they too will be able to pass it down to another generation.
To help pass the time during a baseball ‘off-day’ today, here is a photo slideshow from our trip.  

Highlights include:
1-     Joe Mather in high socks
2-     Brendan Ryan and Felipe Lopez & their victory happy dance handshake
3-     David Freese and a killer grin
4-     Yadier Molina visits Jaime Garcia
5-     Albert Pujols, Matt Holliday, Nick Stavinoha and more…
Enjoy!  =)
GO CARDS!

When you can’t quit thinking about it…

We had planned on taking a blogging break on Sundays here at Diamond Diaries.  But I woke up thinking about the end to last night’s game and immediately went online in search of video and chatter about it.  So a quick Sunday blog wouldn’t hurt, right?

Yesterday was the Civil Rights Game and the boys were in vintage (~1947 style) jerseys.  So, watching the recap is a must just to catch a glimpse of those uniforms.  Adam Wainwright in high socks is something that cannot be missed!

You can watch the MLB.com recap here

And you can read the StlToday game recap here

But the moment of the game that I woke up thinking about is this one:

Al Behrman///AP

Should third base coach Jose Oquendo have sent Skip Schumaker home on Joe Mather’s 9th inning, 2-out smash hit to the left field wall?  If Skip had been safe, the answer would have been a resounding “Heck, yeah!”  But Skip was tagged out, the game was over and the Cardinals lost.

Watching the Reds’ left fielder fumble around for that baseball, I was certain Skip would be hustling across homeplate before the camera followed that long throw back into the infield. So close, but yet….

The Cardinals lost, but they RALLIED!!  Heartbreaking, but yet edge-of-your-seat EXCITING all at the same time.  Not the ending we’d hoped for, but a 9th inning effort that was pure baseball energy!

Have a wonderful Sunday, Cards Fans!!  🙂

Let’s win this one today!  GO CARDS!
(gametime is 12:10 pm CT)

…and lucky for me, it is a rare Sunday game that will be covered by FoxSportsMidwest  🙂

Chicks Dig the Long Ball?

I’m not about to beat a dead horse and talk about how reliant the Cardinals have been this year on the home run. Others have talked about it. A lot of others.

Anyone else remember this commercial from around 12 years ago?

Now, I’ll admit, this commercial makes me smile, partially out of nostalgia, and partially because it’s a funny commercial. But is it true? Would I be breaking some sort of ‘chick code’ if I told you it wasn’t? In all honesty, I like home runs as much as the next person (I was the happiest girl at Miller Park when Stavinoha silenced the crowd and hit that home run to take the lead a few weeks back), but my smile doesn’t get any bigger than when I’m watching a Cards game and see Brendan, Skip, or Flip swipe a base and make it around to plate the run.

I was in absolute heaven in Milwaukee a couple weeks ago when I saw a hit-and-run that involved Jaime Garcia going first to third on a Skip Schumaker hit, then watch him dance around the 3rd base line and frustrate Brewer pitcher Yovani Gallardo to no end until Albert Pujols singled him home. First of all, Garcia is quickly becoming a favorite of mine to watch, and will definitely be the rookie I follow this year (last year, for those interested, it was Blake Hawksworth). Second, Garcia is a pitcher. Pitchers don’t do hit-and-runs, they don’t distract the other pitcher with their basepath antics, and they don’t (as rookies anyway) go up against multiple teams’ aces and come out without a loss or two.

But I’m off topic (happens a lot). The point is – small ball rocks. It’s often said that the quickest way to kill a rally is to hit a home run, and I completely agree. A glance at Sunday night’s game against the Mets shows a Cardinal 5th looking a bit like this:

I’m supposed to say, ‘Yay! Colby blasted one to tie the game!’ but look at what happened afterward. Two flyball outs later and the inning is over with the score still tied. Bummer. What would have happened if Colby had hit a double? We might have only scored two at the time, but it would probably have changed how John Maine pitched to Yadier Molina and David Freese as well. From that vantage point, I’d rather see a double and take my chances with the hits continuing and a bigger inning.

I dig small ball. Give me some stolen bases and string a rally together with solid contact and base hits up the middle, and I am a happy girl!

Normally on Thursdays I think we’re going to run a weekly photo dump, with all the week’s chick comment worthy photos (okay, guys might like some of them too) in a nice tidy bow. This week I would’ve given you this shot of Joe Mather’s great sneak attack play against the Mets when he snagged the runner at second after faking that the ball wasn’t coming. But you’ll just have to wait for next week for the fun to begin.

%d bloggers like this: