Many of you realize that I am a member of the group called ‘United Cardinal Bloggers’. (1) Well the weekend of September 8th and 9th we had what we call ‘UCB Weekend’. It consisted of an event on Saturday night and the St. Louis Cardinals game on Sunday. It was actually way more than that. It was an extremely cool weekend and my wife commented that you better keep doing this cause this was really cool.
Saturday night’s event was held at Patrick’s in Westport Plaza about a mile or so from my house. I commented that I could have walked there. It was an opportunity to meet other Cardinals bloggers and fans from literally across the country led by our leader Daniel Shoptaw of C70. (2) The group from Any City Sports Fan (3) provided appetizers and told us about their cool new website designed to help fans meet other fans wherever you are in the country. I will write more about them later down the road. Also presenting was a group from Chicago called Burton History Trees. (4) I am really excited about these guys because they asked us to help with the design and product of the St. Louis Cardinals tree. My son Josh found a print error pretty quick so we are excited to sit down this week and go over the project with a fine tooth comb. This was a good chance to mingle with the group and get to meet this great group of bloggers in real life.
Sunday morning at about 11:30 a.m., we were ushered up to the Cardinals main conference room, told to get some beverages and we were treated to a presentation from the Cardinals, led by Ron Watermon, head of the Cardinals Public Relations Department. He thanked us all for coming and then Bill Dewitt III and John Mozeliak took some time with our group. Mr. Dewitt talked about why the Cardinals are still excited about Ballpark Village including a rooftop viewing area for the stadium, and that there will be a groundbreaking ceremony in mid November with an expected opening of Spring 2014. He also stated that the Cardinals plan to have a bigger presence in social media. We also learned the he and his father despise the Designated Hitter.
General Manager John Mozeliak talked the most and answered the most questions. He was concerned about how bloggers are being ‘cannibalized’ by mainstream writers and wondered how we felt. I have a copyright on the bottom of my page and one of my wife’s best friends is a lawyer is all I am saying. J He mentioned that age has been the ‘Achilles heel’ of the Cardinals this year, but he believes that someone will step up. To me that looks like it has been Allen Craig more than others. He has taken over for Lance Berkman who as Mo put it ‘we won the lottery on for 2011 and lost it all in 2012.’ He also noted that depth is a strength of this organization. This has shown brighter recently as the Springfield Cardinals have just won the Texas League Championship. Mo believes that if we prepare the young guys ‘the Man’s way’ they will be prepared in the long run and will understand the pressure that comes with winning in the Cardinals organization. He will reengage in the offseason with the Baseball Operations staff to revisit the status of the team. Mo was kind enough to give the group an update on Dave Duncan and his wife Jeanine. He stated that Dave is where he is supposed to be at this time.
Executive Chef Jessica Helms then talked to us about the food options we would have available in the suites during the game. There were your standard nachos, brats, and hot dogs and then they added some more for us. One suite had a Build a Mac station. This was macaroni and cheese with added extra nacho cheese and pulled pork. There is actually a kiosk for this in the stadium where you can choose other flavors, but this was the one they offered to us. The other station they offered was my favorite, bacon wrapped hot dogs. I have bought these at the stadium before so to get another one with a nice cold Budweiser made it extra special.
We got to watch the game from the Jack Buck and Lou Brock suites. These suites were perfect for me. Both of those Cardinals greats I consider as heroes. It was a good game with more socializing and the Cardinals won. They are 2-0 on the blogger events. The Cardinals treated us well.
A big thanks also goes out to Lindsey Weber of the Social Media team of the Cardinals for treating us really well all the way around. St. Louis can be proud to say that they will be a great spot for baseball for many, many years to come.