Play Ball

Author’s Note: A previous version of this article was published on April 1, 2021. It has been updated for the 2022 season and to include the Moore to the Point commentary running on NewsTalkSTL April 7, 2022.


And now, for your reading enjoyment, a momentary diversion from all that is wrong with the world. (Because…there’s so much…)

Thursday is Opening Day for Major League Baseball and, as a red-blooded American who was raised on a love of the game — and of the Cardinals — I’m excited. Especially with the promise of Molina, Wainwright, and Pujols in the mix.

This year, the Cards open their season at home and St. Louis is abuzz in anticipation of the festivities. Think I exaggerate?

ST. LOUIS — The most important day on the St. Louis calendar has nearly arrived. Opening day at Busch Stadium is here again.

From the Clydesdales, to the parade of hall of famers and of course, the game, there’s a lot to take in on Cardinals opening day. Here’s a schedule of what to expect on Thursday.

10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

Before the gates open at Busch Stadium, you can stop by the official opening day pep rally at Ballpark Village. Fredbird and others will be on hand to welcome fans back to baseball as well as give away prizes and tickets.

12 p.m.

Gates open to all fans at noon on Thursday for the Cardinals’ opening day matchup against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

All fans ages 21 and older will get a magnet schedule giveaway, courtesy of Budweiser.

12:05 p.m. – 1:05 p.m.

The Cardinals and Pirates take batting practice on the Busch Stadium field. (Weather permitting)

2:30 p.m.

The world-famous Budweiser Clydesdales make their traditional opening day trek around the Busch Stadium warning track to welcome in another season.

2:33 p.m. – 2:37 p.m.

Fredbird, Team Fredbird and Cardinals ownership and management are introduced to the crowd.

2:38 p.m.

Cardinals hall of famers parade around the warning track before stopping at home plate for the ceremony.’s John Denton previously reported that Ozzie Smith, Whitey Herzog, Ted Simmons, Bruce Sutter, Mark McGwire, Scott Rolen, Tom Herr, Tim McCarver, Jim Edmonds, Jason Isringhausen, Ray Lankford, Mike Shannon, Vince Coleman, John Tudor and Willie McGee are slated to be on hand for 2022 opening day.

2:48 p.m.

The Cardinals will show a special video tribute on the scoreboard.

2:53 p.m.

The 2022 Cardinals will be introduced via caravan along the warning track. Albert Pujols is expected to make his return to the Cardinals’ starting lineup on opening day, with manager Oliver Marmol saying he will be the team’s designated hitter.

Adam Wainwright is scheduled to make the start for the Cardinals with long-time battery-mate Yadier Molina doing the catching.

3:04 p.m.

The visiting Pirates will be introduced along the third base line.

3:06 p.m.

Fleet Street will perform the National Anthem, with the Color Guard presentation by Fort Leonard Wood.

3:09 p.m.

The ceremonial first pitch will be thrown. The team has not announced who will be throwing out and catching the ceremonial first pitch yet.

3:15 p.m.

Wainwright will throw the first pitch of the 2022 season for the Cardinals to begin the game against the Pirates.


I won’t be downtown for all the fun today, but I’ll most certainly be watching it on TV.

I say I was raised on a love of the game — my folks were both serious sports fans. Loved football (particularly of the MIZZOU variety, variable successes, notwithstanding), college hoops, and, more than anything else, Cardinals baseball. I can’t remember a time as a kid during baseball season when the radio (or TV) wasn’t tuned to the game. As long as I am on this earth, I will always hear Jack Buck’s voice in my head. And Mike Shannon’s. But mostly Buck’s.

There’s a comfort in that — like the whirring sound of the furnace blower in my folks’ house at night that lulled us to sleep. Long before I understood or truly came to appreciate the game, listening to Buck call the game was, at times riveting, but always reassuring. Whether the Cards were winning or losing, all seemed right with the world when baseball was on.

St. Louis has a penchant for writing fairytale endings to its sport seasons. The Rams’ Greatest Show on Turf in ’99; the Cards’ improbable 2011 World Series win; the Blues’ fantastical comeback in 2019. Will St. Louis write itself another fairytale this year? Can’t wait to find out!

There’s no doubt my Dad loved the game, but the true sports fanatic in our house was (and is) my Mom.  As I wrote on the occasion of her 80th birthday:

When I tell other people about my love of sports – football and baseball in particular – I can’t help but smile at all the times we’d have a game on the TV and I’d know what was happening by how loud Mom was yelling at it.


(I may have picked up that yelling trait.) And I’m fairly certain she developed her love of the game at the feet of her grandfather, (“Pa”). My love for the game is thoroughly ingrained and I know I’m not alone in that. Witness such baseball masterpieces as “The Natural,” “Bull Durham,” “Major League” (I keed, I keed), and “Field of Dreams.”

In any event, as we prepare for the first pitches to be thrown out today, I thought it might be a fine time to share some of my favorite “Field of Dreams” quotes with you, dear readers:

The bitter-sweetest:

Archie Graham: We just don’t recognize life’s most significant moments while they’re happening. Back then I thought, “Well, there’ll be other days”. I didn’t realize that that was the only day.

The deepest:

Terence Mann: Ray, people will come Ray. They’ll come to Iowa for reasons they can’t even fathom. They’ll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they’re doing it. They’ll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won’t mind if you look around, you’ll say. It’s only $20 per person. They’ll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they’ll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They’ll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they’ll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it’s a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh… people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.


And, my personal favorite for its succinct sweetness:

Shoeless Joe Jackson:
Is this heaven?

Ray Kinsella:
No, it’s Iowa.

(Personal aside — my grandfather was named Joe Jackson — no relation, but one reason the story of “Shoeless Joe” has always struck a chord with me.)

It’s time, folks.  Play ball!


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