A pre-game ceremony that showcases “Cardinal Nation,” honors the team’s Hall of Famers, pays tribute to Stan Musial on receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom and includes a first pitch by Cardinals retired center fielder Jim Edmonds will punctuate a day of activities celebrating the annual return of baseball to St. Louis on Thursday, March 31st. The Cardinals will take on the San Diego Padres in a 3:15 p.m. game. Following is a schedule of official activities, some fun franchise facts and information to help baseballs’ best fans enjoy what has become an unofficial holiday for Cardinal Nation.
We Are Cardinal Nation…and this is Our Opening Day
We Are Cardinal Nation - It is the theme of the 2011 season and the focus of the home opener this year. No one day better captures the sheer joy, eternal hope and unity that come from being part of Cardinal Nation than Opening Day. Opening Day 2011 is dedicated the unique connection between fan and team that few other professional franchises can claim.
Cardinal Nation is not defined by traditional geographical boundaries – it is a community whose traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Its representatives are the likes of Hornsby, Stan the Man, Gibby and Albert. It is the 3 million in the stands and millions at home. It is 43 Hall of Famers, 10 World Championships and counting. It is the first team this side of the Mississippi – the best fans this side of anywhere. We are all part of Cardinal Nation and this is our Opening Day.
11:00 a.m. – 2 p.m. Cardinals Official Opening Day Pre-Game Pep Rally, sponsored by Hardee’s: The Cardinals will host a pre-game pep rally located in the Ballpark Village Lot, located directly across from Busch Stadium, at the corner of Clark Street and South Broadway. Local 80s cover band Trixie Delight will perform from 11.30 a.m. to 1.30 p.m.
Cardinals Alumni, Danny Cox and John Mabry, will be signing autographs and Fredbird and Team Fredbird will be on hand to give away Opening Day tickets, autographed items and other Cardinals prizes. Fans can stop by the Hardee’s Photo Booth, where they can get their Opening Day picture taken for free and visit the Hardee’s Mobile Diner where, with the purchase of a Combo Meal, the will receive a complimentary Opening Day t-shirt. Other sponsors include O’Charleys, Papa John’s, Scotts, Bad Boy Mowers, Krispy Kreme, The Muny, the Tan Co., Fritz’s Frozen Custard, Pure Power, Vatterott, the Qdoba Street Team and Dunkin’ Donuts. For more information, visit cardinals.com/peprally
1:15 p.m. Gates open
Busch Magnet Schedule Day: All fans ages 21 and over will receive a magnet with the 2011 Cardinals schedule, compliments of Busch Beer.
2:30 p.m. Pre-game ceremonies begin with an appearance by the famed Budweiser Clydesdales. Nine-year-old Alex will fulfill a wish thanks to Cardinals Care and the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Missouri by riding with the Budweiser team throughout the festivities.
Introduce Missouri Governor Jeremiah “Jay” Nixon, St. Louis County Executive Charlie A. Dooley and St. Louis Mayor Francis G. Slay
Cardinals Hall-of-Famers and the 2011 Cardinals will be introduced via a Ford Motorcade around the warning track.
Introduce former Cardinals Players Andy Benes, Scott Cooper, Tom Henke, TJ Mathews, Kerry Robinson, Ted Savage and Mike Shannon.
American Bald Eagle flight, courtesy of the World Bird Sanctuary of St. Louis
Color Guard – The U.S. Army St. Louis Recruiting Company
A moment of silence for the victims of the earthquake in Japan and Pacific tsunami.
A moment of silence to former Cardinals hitting coach Mitchell Page, former Cardinals shortstop Marty Marion and former Cardinals owner Andrew Baur.
Nikko Smith, singer-songwriter and star of American Idol, will sing the Star-Spangled Banner.
U.S. Marine Corps Flyover – C-130 Transports
Ceremonial First Pitch – Jim Edmonds
3:15 p.m. Game Time
Watching on TV
Fans can watch the game and pre-game ceremony in High Definition on FS-Midwest.
Fans can tune into KMOX (1120 AM) or one of the 117 stations in the Cardinals Radio Network to hear Mike Shannon & John Rooney call the game. The expanded pre-game show starts at 1:30pm on opening day. Shannon is celebrating his 40th season and John Rooney is celebrating his 6th season behind the microphone for the Cardinals.
MoDOT will not have any lane closures on state highways inside the Interstate 270 loop and the Mississippi River on Opening Day. The 11th Street Ramp on eastbound I-64 will be open for Opening Day. Rehabilitation work will resume on April 1. The ramp will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays Monday - Friday and it will open for the weekday morning and evening rush-hour times. As of now, this schedule will continue throughout 2011. If there are any changes, MoDOT will immediately inform motorists. There will be various lanes closed on eastbound I-64 between 21st Street and 8th Street for earthquake seismic retrofitting work throughout the 2011 season. MoDOT will only close one lane on the interstate during Cardinals' games, so motorists can easily get to the game on time.
Alternative Transportation Reminder
Metro Link is a convenient alternative to driving, allowing fans to avoid the cost of parking and game day traffic.
As the Cardinals begin their sixth season of play in the new Busch Stadium, several improvements have been made during the off-season.
The Redbird Club has been extensively renovated to improve the fan experience. Utilizing fan surveys as a guide, the team added more indoor seating for dining, more TVs, improved the view from inside the club by removing the back row of seats outside and added ceiling fans to improve air circulation in the outdoor seating areas. The redesigned club will now feature almost double the number of seating locations for dining, a more open layout, and improved concession facilities with digital menu boards and refreshed gourmet options. Additional improvements include an updated and more vibrant décor, new flooring, brick wainscoting, and forty new High-Definition televisions, including a nine-screen video wall and another six-screen wall. The renovation includes the installation of a special outdoor patio area on the third base side of the club.
A new Quality Ford Dealers sign in centerfield features a 2011 Ford Super Duty Truck with an impressive 271 square foot, three dimensional chrome grill. The Ford Super Duty Truck promises to be a real fan favorite as its lights will flash and its horn will sound following all Cardinals home runs.
The Cardinals have added approximately 100 new field box seats in sections 141 and 142 by reconfiguring and relocating a television camera position.
While it may not be as noticeable as other improvements, Busch Stadium continues to become more energy efficient as part of the team’s 4 A Greener Game initiative. Through participation in Ameren Missouri’s Business Energy Efficiency Program, the team will be able to reduce its energy usage this year by another 2,000,000 KWH (Kilo-watt-hours) or 12%. This comes on top of a 15% reduction in energy usage since the ballpark debuted in 2006.
New for the 2011 Season
The Cardinals are implementing a new value-based ticket pricing system that allows the team to more accurately price single-game tickets on a day-to-day basis. When single-game tickets went on sale to the public last month, more than a quarter of the games had tickets available at a starting price of $5. Among the goals of dynamic pricing is broadening the ticket-buying fan base, rewarding fans for buying earlier in the season, and protecting season ticket holder value.
The Cardinals are providing each Cardinals Hall of Famer with his own custom made two-button red jacket. The matching Brooks Brothers blazers have been fashioned from 100% wool yarn in a sturdy weave that will perform well all year long in St. Louis weather. Each jacket features the classic Cardinals bird on the bat logo on the outside breast pocket, as well as an interior label bearing the Hall of Fame member’s name, number and year of induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Fans will want to stop by the Cardinals Authentics store in Ford Plaza, the only place to get official, game-used, limited edition and autographed Cardinals memorabilia directly from the team. New this year are two collectibles commemorating Stan Musial receiving the Presidential Medal of Freedom, a special collectible commemorating Matt Holliday’s 2010 Silver Slugger award that includes a piece of a game-used bat, as well as a variety of items to fit every budget.
In the Cardinals Team Store and in other retail outlets throughout the ballpark, fans will find more souvenir items priced $12 and under, including the pin of the month, mini-bats, koozies, magnets, baseball cards, jewelry, posters, postcards, foam fingers, foam claws, key chains, lanyards, pennants, player plaques and sunglasses.
The Cardinals concessionaire Sportservice has added Busch Stadium’s first Farmers’ Market-style stand located near Gate 1 in Section 137. The new Farmers’ Market stand offerings were developed specifically with gluten-free dietary needs in mind, including garden and chef salads, yogurt and fruit. The stand also features fresh turkey and Italian sub sandwiches, veggie wraps and a variety of beverages, including regular and gluten-free beer, water and soda.
Sportservice will debut a new Food Network portable cart in Section 144, which will feature two steak sandwiches: the Food Network Signature Red, White and Blue Steak Sandwich is topped with blue cheese and a sweet and spicy pepper mayonnaise; while the St. Louis Food Network Sandwich includes St. Louis-style barbecue sauce and cheddar cheese.
The Cardinals concessionaire Sportservice has also developed a new menu in the Luxury Suites in collaboration with the Food Network. The new menu includes buffalo chicken mac ‘n’ cheese, crunchy Asian shrimp lettuce cups, and a slow roasted drunken pork sandwich with celery root slaw.
The Redbird Club’s menu has been upgraded as well, with new Artisan Salads and New York Pizza by the Slice joining the familiar favorites such as Build Your Own Nachos, homemade cupcakes, and the Barbeque Bacon Dog. The Artisan Salads in the Redbird Club include chicken Caesar, Athenian, Cobb and Chef salads, as well as made-to-order salads hand-tossed by chefs from a variety of fresh ingredients chosen by fans.
At Gate 1, fans will be encouraged to take advantage of pulled pork that is smoked daily at Busch Stadium. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase Pig Skins (Pulled Pork Potato Skins), which can be topped with fresh tomatoes, jalapenos, sour cream and more. Fans can also take advantage of the Build Your Own Nachos stand, creating their own signature topping with pulled pork, lettuce, tomatoes, cheese, jalapenos, green onions, pico de gallo, and three types of hot sauce to satisfy mild or spicy cravings.
There are no increases in concession pricing for 2011 season and family values continue to be the name of the game in the U.S. Cellular Family Pavilion (section 507) as fans can purchase a kids’ meal with a hot dog, chips, cookie and juice or milk for $8.75.
BUSCH STADIUM – POLICY REMINDERS
Bag Inspections Policy
The standard game-day bag inspection policies for Busch Stadium will be in effect. Bags will be allowed that meet Major League Baseball’s standard size restriction (16”x16”x8”), and all bags will be inspected prior to entry.
Fans will be permitted to bring small personal cameras and will be subject to inspection. No professional-sized photography equipment will be allowed except for members of the media with proper MLB credentials.
Non-alcoholic beverages such as water & soda in open cups or in clear plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters are allowed.
Alcohol, bottles, cans, thermoses, hard-sided coolers; hard plastic cups/mugs are not permitted.
Small banners and signs are allowed. Banners may be displayed as long as they do not hinder or interfere with a ball in play or distract or interfere with the view of another guest. Banners may not be displayed in fair territory, be obscene or in poor taste, attract abuse or cause a disturbance among other guests. They should be baseball-oriented and not commercial in nature.
Please minimize items you bring into the stadium to speed up the inspection process.
Expect long lines upon entry and allow yourself plenty of time to go through the inspection process.
Standard Exit/Re-entry Policies are in effect. Guests wishing to leave the stadium, but planning to return during the same game must have their hand stamped at Gates 1, 2 or 4 as they exit the stadium. Guests must show ticket upon re-entry. Inspection policy will also be enforced.
No Smoking Policy
Standard Busch Stadium Smoking Policy is in effect. Busch Stadium is a smoke-free facility. Exit/Re-Entry turnstiles will be set up at Gates 1, 2 and 4 to allow fans access in and out of the stadium if they wish to smoke. Fans will get their hand stamped as they exit the stadium. Guests must show ticket upon re-entry. Inspection policy will also be enforced.