Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Monthly Archives: July 2011

Bird watching

Our family recently returned home from a vacation in Branson, where my husband and I watched the Cardinals on Fox Sports Midwest in our motel room.  It made me realize how lucky we were that even though we were miles from St. Louis, we could still watch the games on TV.  Previous generations of baseball fans were not that lucky.

In order to follow the Cardinals from baseball’s beginnings to the late 1920’s, you either had to go to the games yourself or read the box score in the daily newspaper.  KMOX first started broadcasting Cardinals games in 1926 with the Cardinals-Yankees World Series, and began regular broadcasts of Cardinals games the following season[1].

Until 1958, the Cardinals were the only baseball team west of the Mississippi.  KMOX’s powerful broadcast signal covered most of the Midwest and on a clear night, into the West as well.  There are many stories of boys listening under their covers to a late night Cardinals game and becoming lifelong fans in the process.  The halcyon tones of Jack Buck and Harry Caray, and later, Jack Buck and Mike Shannon, narrated the game as it was happening, much as Mike Shannon and John Rooney do today. Their vivid descriptions and verbal flourishes made us feel like we were right there at the ball park.   The radio broadcasts of Cardinals games were taken over by KTRS in 2005[2].  In 2011, Cardinals games were once again broadcast by KMOX.

Cardinals games were first broadcast on TV in 1949 on KSD-TV, the first TV channel in the Midwest[3].  If you were an out-of-market fan, you could watch the Cards play on the Game of the Week on NBC, if it was their turn to be televised.  World Series games were televised for the first time in 1947, and for the first time in color in 1955.[4]

KSD broadcast Cardinals games until 1988.  KPLR took over broadcasting the Cardinals games in 1988 until 2006.  KPLR also broadcast games from 1959 through 1962.  From 2008-2010, KSDK once again broadcast games, which were Sunday home games.  Fox Sports Midwest broadcast all the other Cardinals games.  Fox Sports Midwest took over broadcasting all the Cards games in 2011[5].

You have many options to follow the Cards today if you are an out-of-market fan.  KMOX’s signal broadcasts throughout the Midwest, or you can listen to the Cardinals Baseball Network station nearest you if you can’t pick up KMOX.  You can watch the Cards play on the Fox Network Game of the Week if the Cards’ game is scheduled.  ESPN also broadcasts certain Sunday night Cardinals games.  If the Cardinals get to the World Series, you can watch on the Fox network.  There are radio stations devoted to sports alone, where you can listen to baseball sports shows and call in, if you have an opinion (and who doesn’t?).

Baseball may be an old-fashioned game, but today’s technology has made baseball more accessible to the modern fan than ever before.  You can watch Cardinals games by accessing MLB.TV with your computer, iPad, or smart phone.  If you’re not at the game but miss interacting with other fans, you can go on Twitter.com and do a search for the #stlcards hashtag.  If you follow the #stlcards tweets, it’s just like being at the ballpark.  If you have a smart phone, you can even tweet from the ball game.  There are online forums where baseball is discussed and you can chime in if you’d like.  DirecTV has the Extra Innings baseball package where you can watch as many baseball games as you want.  There are blogs like this one where folks like you and me give our opinions on Cardinals baseball. There are Internet radio stations (such as Blog Talk Radio) where baseball is discussed.  There’s no doubt that in the future, there will be more technological advances that will allow us to get even closer to the game we love.

That’s all for now!  Until next time –

Go Cards!

Diane

Happiness Is A Home Run

No, not the Lance Berkman power shot from last night.  Not even the Nick Stavinoha blast in the 14 inning AAA Memphis game.  No, it took a Brendan Ryan long shot (in more ways than one) to start my day off with a smile.

What is it about baseball’s sleeper moments that resonate with some of us so completely?  I regularly get the chance to admire Cardinals like Berkman, Albert Pujols and Matt Holliday smacking it out of the park, but seeing highlights of my former Cardinal-favorite & light-hitting Brendan get his first homerun as a Mariner tops them all.

It’s a recurring theme, probably the main reason I’m an AAA baseball fan.  I enjoy championing the underdogs.  Following minor leaguers on their quest to break into the Majors or cheering surprise clutch hits from players who are valued for their gloves, but don’t garner as much fan confidence with their bats feeds that fascination I have for the human side of the game.

Heart, personality, positive energy and a palpable, genuine love for baseball coupled with an overwhelming, single-minded drive to succeed.  THOSE are the qualities that capture my attention in the ballplayers worth watching.  Superstars often get quiet – sometimes overconfident – and don’t wear their heart on their sleeves once they make the big show.  At that point, they’ve often become part of a machine, part of a business.  Go to work, win the game, job accomplished.  Once a player gets to that point in his career, it seems I’ve usually lost interest.

Give me a reason to love you beyond your batting average or slugging percentage and I’ll cheer you through ups and downs.  For me, the human side of baseball trumps a team’s final W-L record. Don’t shoot me here … I LOVE my team, but I need to really love the players to truly celebrate wins or agonize over losses.  And honestly, it’s easy to admire a superstar who has tunnel vision focused on his job but harder to LOVE him.  The big names don’t “need” me to cheer for them.  Their names are on a gazillion tshirts and bandwagon fans are making enough noise for the rest of us.  Show me the underdog with that spark – those qualities I cherish – and I will delight in his random successes… the human side of baseball.

My baseball habit may have moderated a bit lately while I’ve had opportunities to focus on summer events and precious moments with family, but in moments like today I enjoy a sudden surge of baseball fever from watching one of my beloved ballplayers crack a huge smile in the dugout after a baseball moment that took us all by surprise.

Happiness is a Brendan Ryan homerun.

Want to smile?  Here’s the link.

Blessings and Go Cards!!

;)

My FanFest memories

As you may recall, in 2009, the All Star Game came to St. Louis.  Amid all the festivities was a special event called FanFest – a festival for baseball fans.  Yours truly worked at FanFest, and I had a great time.

In the spring of 2009, the Cardinals announced on their website that Major League Baseball was looking for volunteers to work at FanFest.  After clearing it with hubby (you had to be able to work 1 shift a day in 3 consecutive days – he’d have to watch our son), I filled out the form and hit submit.  A couple months later, I received a letter from the Cardinals – I was one of the folks selected to attend an informational meeting about FanFest at Busch Stadium.  At this meeting, representatives from MLB talked about FanFest, how things were going to be set up, etc.  After all the questions were answered, each of us had to meet with a MLB representative and talk about why we wanted to work at FanFest.  I told the lady that interviewed me that I loved baseball, I enjoyed working with people, and that there would probably not be another All Star game in St. Louis in my lifetime.  I must have impressed the interviewer because I received a letter than said that I had been selected to work at FanFest.

The Tuesday evening before FanFest started, I had to attend orientation at the America’s Center, the convention hall in downtown St. Louis where FanFest was held.  A MLB representative gave us a pep talk and thanked us for volunteering.  We received our schedules saying when we were supposed to work. We received an All Star Game fanny pack and an All Star Game lanyard with a FanFest pass.  The lanyard and pass was to be worn at all times. The pass allowed us access to FanFest at any time, even when we weren’t working (a nice perk, considering admission was $30.00).

My first shift was on Friday evening.  I walked over to America’s Center after work and reported for duty.  I received a FanFest polo shirt, an All Star game lanyard with a pass on it, a big button and a couple of pins.  If you go to my bio page, you can see my Build-A-Bear with the pins on it.  Our uniform was the shirt, our lanyard with the pass, the big button and the fanny pack.  We also got a ball cap, but I didn’t wear it because I’m not a hat person.  :D We were also supposed to wear nice shorts and tennis shoes were highly suggested.

On Friday night, I worked at a game.  It was a race.  There were 3 bases and you had to run the distance from the base to the back wall, which was  90 feet.  I ran the computer.  It was  a nice sit down job.  The kids who ran the race got a poster when they were done.

I worked the Saturday afternoon shift.  Another nice perk of working at FanFest was that you got 2 free tickets to FanFest.  Hubby, son and I went  to FanFest on Saturday morning.  We got Ricky Horton’s and Andy Benes’ autograph and a couple of others.  Hubby and son took a shot at the game I worked at in the afternoon, where you got to try to hit against your pitcher of choice.  It’s not easy trying to hit Chris Carpenter’s fastball. We also saw Rollie Fingers signing autographs.  He still  had the handlebar mustache and he still looked good.

The boys got their photos taken in the photo booth.  Here’s the photo:

The boys went back home and I stayed for my afternoon shift (after eating lunch, of course).  I worked at the aforementioned game in the Holiday Inn line.  If  you visited the Holiday Inn booth and signed up, you received a wristband that allowed you to jump ahead in line, sort of like the Flash Pass at Six Flags.  I got to sit down for this job too.  :)

I came back early on Sunday to get John Tudor’s autograph and to view the FanFest on my own.  Rawlings gave a demonstration and showed how a baseball is stitched together.  It was noted that the baseball manufacturing plant was in a Caribbean country. I thought how ironic it was that baseball is America’s national pastime but the equipment used to play it is made in a foreign country.

There was a great display of items from the Baseball Hall of Fame.  It really fueled my desire to try and go there some day. Some of the ladies from the All American Girls Professional Baseball League were there signing autographs.  There was a big display on the history of the Cardinals.  There were also vendors selling baseball merchandise.  There was also a neat booth where you could pick a play to call and it was recorded.  You were given a card with a number on it to go on line and hear your call.  There was also a baseball diamond set up.  There were fielding and hitting demonstrations. On the second floor, there were games for the little ones to play.  There was an autograph table set up there and that’s where John Tudor was signing autographs.  I finally got up to the table and stood in front of him, and got tongue tied.  :(

My shift on Sunday was at the pitching game again, but this time, I didn’t get to sit down.  I stood for about 5 hours.  My hammys were mad at me by the end of my shift.  But I enjoyed it nonetheless.

At the end of my third shift, I reported back to the lounge on the second floor.  There were more presents from MLB for finishing the three shifts, including a certificate for a set of Cardinals tickets and this lovely baseball:

 

 

 

 

 

 

If the All Star Game comes to a stadium near you and you have the opportunity to work at FanFest, go for it! I had a great time and met some new friends.  If you don’t want to work at FanFest, consider attending.  It is well worth the price of admission. It is a true celebration of baseball.

That’s all for now!  See you again soon!

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