Diamond Diaries

Cardinal baseball, from the girls

Tag Archives: All Star Game

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!

Still Standing For Stan

Stand for Stan Day in 2010 (from Cadence)

Whenever we receive emails from the Cardinals beginning with the word “Bloggers,” it usually means we are being asked to do something. I’m not complaining, even if they are using me/us for free PR. This kind of PR is definitely worthy of a mention though.

Last year the Cardinals put on a “Stand for Stan” campaign to help Stan Musial receive a Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive. Towards the end of the 2010 season, the Cardinals even held a “Stand for Stan” day at the ballpark, and Cadence and Courtney were there to talk about it.

This year the Cardinals are taking on a mini-version of that tremendous effort. Leading up to the All-Star Game, Major League Baseball is having a vote of the greatest all-time All-Star moments. Now, Stan Musial himself had a walk-off winning home run in the 1955 All-Star game, and his home run has made it to the Final Four. The voting can be found here, and each email address can vote 25 times, just like for All-Star balloting.

Seeing as how the fans embarrassingly left Musial off the All-Century team in 1999, something that commissioner Bud Selig admitted was a huge oversight, this is a chance to help shed a little more light on an incredible player that has been largely overlooked by many. Head over to the vote and help Stan get a little more recognition!

Photo Diary of a Winning Streak

7 wins in a row. Beautiful feeling, isn’t it? 


We’re switching things up here on Cardinal Diamond Dairies and moving our photo day to Wednesday. Today instead of just random pictures I’m trying something out – a photo from each day of the 7 game streak (plus a bonus shot – you’ll see)! Hope you enjoy it!


7/11/2010 – Cardinals 4, Astros 2
Matt Holliday provided almost all of the offense with this 3 run blast the day before the All-Star break began. I don’t know how to point out the packet of sunflower seeds in his pocket that made me laugh without sounding like a #chickcomment… so there you go.

David J. Phillip – AP Photo

7/13/2010 – NL 3, AL 1
I couldn’t help but put in a shot of the Cards’ All-Stars together at the game in Anaheim. Hey, our team won that night too, so it fits!

Kirby Lee – US Presswire

7/15/2010 – Cardinals 7, Dodgers 1
The Cardinals jumped right back in after the break, putting up seven runs against Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers, who had been very effective against the Cards… until this night. After a day in which we were treated to no baseball at all, it was nice to be back seeing scenes like this one of Chris Carpenter pitching in the fifth inning.

Chris Lee – Post-Dispatch

7/16/2010 – Cardinals 8, Dodgers 4
You can’t help but enjoy a game that features runs and flashy defensive plays like this one Albert Pujols made from the seat of his pants! Two games after the break we were seeing what looked like a team that was putting things together. Solid pitching, scoring runs in bunches and defense? We love it!

Scott Rovak – US Presswire

7/17/2010 – Cardinals 2, Dodgers 0
With Adam Wainwright on the mound, thankfully the Cards didn’t need more than two runs on this day. Close games like this mean turning solid double plays like Skip Schumaker does here. Note where his feet are. Where is second base? (I’ll spare you all from the “Who’s on First?” joke I almost made here.)

Scott Rovak – US Presswire

7/18/2010 – Cardinals 5, Dodgers 4
The Cards were rather rude hosts to the Dodgers, running them out of town with ninth inning heroics on Joe Torre’s 70th birthday no less! Allen Craig didn’t care about Torre. He had his own 26th birthday to worry about, and he did it in style, making the hit to tie the game in the ninth inning and set up Matt Holliday for the game winning hit in the next at-bat!

Chris Lee – Post-Dispatch

7/19/2010 – Cardinals 8, Phillies 4
Back to back days of come from behind wins. This is a treat we were not privy to in the first half of the season. The team started chipping away at an early 3-0 hole behind Blake Hawksworth, scoring a single run in both the first and second inning before exploding for three home runs (including Allen Craig’s first big league HR!) and five runs in the fifth to blow the game open. This photo? Yadier Molina picking Jason Werth off first in the third inning. I like Albert sticking his tongue out at Werth. ‘Nana nana boo boo. We got you!’

Scott Rovak – US Presswire

7/20/2010 – Cardinals 7, Phillies 1
After a couple less than Carp-like starts towards the end of the first half, Carpenter has been a rockstar since the break, throwing 62 strikes over 90 pitches in eight dominant innings last night against the Phillies. Randy Winn kicked off the fireworks in the third inning with his second home run in as many days, and Matt Holliday put the game away for good with his three run blast in the fifth that put the Cards up 6-0. 

Chris Lee – Post-Dispatch

Winning is fun. How about we keep it going tonight, say 7:15? Jaime Garcia will be there…

Winner Winner at the All-Star Game

Disclaimer: The current time tells me that the NL just closed out the win about 10 minutes ago. Also, I’ve had caffeine. I’m a little hyper. This could be awesome.

The last time the NL won the All-Star Game, I was 9. Despite my steadfast dedication to watching the All-Star game (which includes the year a storm knocked out the power and I freaked out in the dark for about two innings), I am fairly certain I didn’t really watch the game until around 1998. Therefore, I am really really excited about this win.


I was talking to my grandpa before the game started, and he ended the conversation the same way he always does – by saying, ‘Go Cubs!’ He’s the lost soul in my family. I laughed and said I didn’t think I’d be able to cheer for Marlon Byrd, even if it was the All-Star Game.

Then, the seventh inning rolled around. Even though Cardinal fans had been treated to a Yadier Molina single in the third, which was only the second hit of the night for the National League, there hadn’t been much to cheer for from the NL side of the stands. No NL batter had even made it safely into second base before the seventh began. It was then that the NL ‘Comedy’ Central took matters into their own hands (with a little help from the East).

After a quick groundout by Joey Votto (Reds), Scott Rolen (also Reds) came up and fought Phil Hughes (Yankees) in a 7 pitch at bat for a single. After watching Rolen for the past two days*, I remember all the things I loved about him as a Cardinal. He works his butt off, has a fun personality, and the man can flat out play third like no one I’ve seen. Anyway, after Rolen gets on, Matt Holliday lined a single up the middle and Rolen scampered all the way to third. Chris Young (D’Backs) popped out, and Marlon Byrd walked to load the bases with 3 members of 3 different teams in the Central. Then, NL fans everywhere watched with glee as Brian McCann (Braves) hit a double to the right field corner that cleared the bases. This was the scene at home:

cardinals.com

Yeah. You’re looking at a picture of a Cardinal, a Red, and a Cub high fiving and cheering together. I’m confused too. I even received a tweet from a Cub fan that was addressed to a Reds fan, a Cubs fan and myself that said, ‘The one night we can get along. Go NL!’ I couldn’t have said it better myself. I almost called my grandpa to apologize. Almost.

My other highlight of the night was the bottom of that same seventh inning: seeing Adam Wainwright take the mound. It was his first relief appearance since the last game of the 2006 World Series, and we all know how that ended! Adam was definitely pumped, hitting 96 MPH on his first pitch. Despite a botched catch in left field that I won’t go into detail on, Adam pitched a dominant inning, striking out two and making several batters look silly with their swings and misses. Torii Hunter (strikeout victim #2) said after the game that Wainwright’s stuff was flat out nasty, and I agree!

I love some of the fun insights you see at the All-Star game. Interviews (#chickcomment), anecdotes, and it’s never the player you expect to get the job done. After the game, Matthew Leach (mlb.com) and BJ Rains (foxsportsmidwest.com) had interesting tidbits to note afterward:

Food for thought…
I can’t wait to see it!

One last thing – today is literally the most boring day in the sporting world. No baseball games, the World Cup is over, and no other major sports are in season. That’s just sad. You’d think someone would have come up with some gimmicky thing to do every year on this day. Oh wait, the ESPY’s are on tonight. Leave it to ESPN…

*For those of you that missed it, Rolen was on MLBNetwork Monday during the media frenzy, and after basically conducting the interview himself by making fun of Kevin Millar (‘Why are you 40 with highlights? Why do your shoes look like that?!’), he described a priceless moment with AJ Pujols. Yes, 9 year old AJ was tearing up the media yesterday. Sign him up now! Anyway, Rolen walked into the room where the players were being interviewed, and after Albert pointed him out to AJ, the kid looks over at Scotty, opens his arms wide and goes, ‘How did YOU get here?!’ Amazing.
UPDATE! I found VIDEO!

Happy All-Star Break!

With the All-Star Game tonight and the anticipation of seeing five of our Cardinals there at Angel Stadium, it’s already a good day.

Hunky Holliday, living up to his nickname
Photo by Lisa Blumenfeld/Getty Images

Last night, Matt Holliday was in the spotlight as one of eight participants in the Home Run Derby. He only lasted one round, hitting five homers (and four of those mighty blasts when he only had one out left), but maybe that’s OK as you’ll see in my newest article today for Baseball Digest: “Is There a Home Run Derby Effect?” With all the talk about who wouldn’t participate this year, I looked at if swinging for the fences in the Derby negatively affects players for the rest of the season. Sometimes, as we remember from Albert last year, it can. The good news? In 2007, the last time Matt participated, he hit more homers in the second half of the season than he did in the first as the Rockies went on their incredible march to the World Series.

To get you ready for tonight’s game, take a look at Erika’s All-Star Expectations at i70 Baseball to find out her thoughts on learning to appreciate the All-Star Game as well as what she’s looking forward to tonight. Of course it’s our five Cardinals, but maybe a few other players too!

Hopefully, tonight’s game will finally be a National League victory again. And perhaps in late October the Cardinals will be the benefactor of the World Series home-field advantage that will be the prize for winning … Let’s go Cards and let’s go National League!

i70 Launch Day

There might not be a Cards game today, but we still have some exciting news for you. Today is the launch of i70baseball.com! The site focuses on both the Cardinals and Royals, will have a weekly radio show starting tonight, and is an affiliate of BaseballDigest.com.

Why are we so excited about this new project? Because Erika and I will be contributing to the site on a weekly basis! Erika will have her first piece up there tomorrow, but I have a couple links for you already:

All-Stars At The All-Star Break: A look at all five of the Cardinal All-Stars that are on their way to Anaheim right now and how they perform from the first to the second half.

Surprising Frustrations: The Cardinal Players Of The First Half: Checking on who’s been up and who’s been struggling so far this season. Don’t yell at me about which All-Stars made the ‘frustrating’ lists – read first, then argue! :)

The Cards finished off a series win against the Astros with a W yesterday. Blake Hawksworth had his fourth consecutive outing of 5 or more innings while allowing 3 runs or less. Matt Holliday continued his hot streak by blasting a 3 run home run, and Jon Jay is carrying an 11 game hitting streak through the break.

For those of you interested in the Futures All-Star game that was played yesterday evening, Shelby Miller (Team USA) and Eduardo Sanchez (Team World) both appeared and had flawless outings, facing a total of 5 batters, hitting 95 MPH on the gun and getting 5 groundballs. Somewhere, Dave Duncan has a huge smile on his face!

Tonight’s All-Star festivities include the Home Run Derby (Go Holliday!) and the Celebrity All-Star Game. It’s not Cardinal baseball, but at least we’ll see a few St. Louis hats out there tonight, and with any luck, Ozzie Smith will be there and playing!

Short post today, because we want you to head over to i70 Baseball and check out what is already going on over there. We’re excited about the new project and hope you enjoy it!

A New Baby, Cardinal All Stars and Brendan Bashing

First, congratulations and welcome to the newest member of the Cardinals family, Arianna Molina, born this weekend to Yadier and his wife, Wanda.  Welcome to the club baby girl!  Your Daddy is a big reason for my falling in love with baseball!    
Cardinals Nation had other big news to celebrate over the holiday weekend as well:
Five Cardinals were named to the National League All Star team:
Albert Pujols – No surprise here. Albert deservedly snagged more votes than any other player in the National League.  I am of course very proud of Albert but we do expect greatness from him.  More noteworthy is that Albert turned down the invitation to participate in this year’s Home Run Derby.  I doubt anybody will blame him as he has participated three times before (’03, ’07 and ’09) and the Cardinals will need all the homeruns he can hit in the coming months!
           
Yadier Molina  – Molina may not be at the top of his game lately, but he is a worthy All Star nominee nonetheless.  I hope to see Yadi gunning down some American League All Stars next week.  After all, nobody does it better than Yadi “Arm like a Cannon” Molina.
photo from cardinals.com
Matt Holliday – I was pleasantly surprised to see that Matt made the All Star cut, figuring  his slow start to the season was too fresh in the minds of fans. (The players’ vote did get him the nod this year.)  But Matt does have a cute cameo in the All Star game commercial; so it would have been slightly embarrassing if he had not made the team.  Let’s hope he keeps showing off those All Star skills for the rest of the season!
Chris Carpenter – Despite the thankfully rare ugliness that was Saturday’s game against the Brewers, Carp is Carp.  The guy is a fierce, talented pitcher and definite All-Star material.  No argument there.
           
Adam Wainwright – Like Albert Pujols, Waino’s 2010 All Star spot was a sure thing in my book.  The Cardinals are blessed to have two pitching aces in Carpenter and Wainwright, but  Wainwright is undeniably leading the charge.  (How is this just his first All Star nomination??)
And Then There’s Brendan Ryan
I know the ‘Brendan situation’ is worsening when I get sympathy comments.  Friends are hedging their baseball opinions with “sorry Erika, but …”

The statements include:
– If Brendan keeps playing like this, he won’t be a Cardinal next year.
– Who can the Cardinals get for Brendan in a trade?
– It’s not just a slump anymore, it’s a bad season.


Being a Brendan Ryan fan has not been easy lately. With serial slumps and a procession of failed side-arm slings and fielding errors, rallying excitement for our quirky mustachioed shortstop has certainly become more of a chore.

Brendan’s amazing defensive skills last year were consistent and dependable. Even this spring when he was floundering and trying to find his swing, we were confident in the value of his glove. Call me naive or silly or just plain dumb, but I still have faith in him.  It is not time to give up on the Boog.

I prefer to be optimistic. Brendan’s troubles will fade. Baseball history is full of examples of players with prolonged slumps who bounced back and went on to have great careers in baseball.

The Cardinals do need something, anything, to shake out of this rut. If the priority is to fix what’s broken and win games, then let’s find the problem.  But Brendan’s performance is not the club’s only issue. Dumping a young player with proven talent would be a mistake.  Brendan has spirit, passion and an energy that brings more to this club than a box score could reflect. His potential far outweighs any current liability.

I may be stubborn, but I am loyal.  And while Brendan’s struggles may seem to send him further into the doghouse with fans, I would hate to see the Cardinals give up so soon.
Patience with Brendan, please.  This too shall pass.
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