Today is Opening Day for the St. Louis Cardinals baseball season. If it was up to me, it would be a holiday for those of us who work downtown.
There's an air of festivity in the city today. Gitto's has red and white balloons on their canopy, the downtown Macy's windows are displaying Cardinal gear, there was a pep rally at Kiener Plaza during the lunch hour and people are walking the streets wearing their Cardinal Red. When I went out for lunch I could smell the mouthwatering aroma of hot dogs and barbecue. I love baseball.
I was thinking back on past opening days I've celebrated. And yes, I say celebrated because to me it's a party of sorts. Baseball season brings to mind warm nights and cold beer, hot dogs and nachos, and a camraderie of 30,000 strangers all rooting for the Birds.
My first Cardinals opening day was years ago. Our tickets were in the second to last row from the top. I think they gave us light bulbs in case any burnt out during the game, we could just turn around and change them. It was so cold they ran out of hot chocolate and coffee. It was closer to football weather than baseball weather. Willie McGee hit a home run to break the tie and win the game. He is one of my favorite players.
Several years later I went with my boss and a couple of his buddies We went to Paddy O's afterward and I got Jim Edmonds' autograph, and "accidentally" grabbed his butt. I don't remember who won but I do remember winding up at the bar at TGIFriday's at 10:30 pm. I noticed something flashing like a strobe light, so I looked outside and it was storming. I asked my boss "when did it start raining?" He turned and said "it's raining? When did that happen? We should have another beer and wait for the rain to stop." Ah, good times.
Last year I didn't go to the game but I did go to Al Hrbosky's with some friends and hung out in the outside bar area. It was gorgeous weather last year - sunny and warm. Hrbosky's is a fun joint to go before or after the game, or even just hang out if you don't have tickets. Be careful of the mirror in the ladies' room hallway - the boys can see you on the other side.
This year some friends and I will be going to Jack Patrick's after work for a few A-B products and watch the game, if they even play. Today's opening day forecast is cloudy, windy and a chance of storms. Ah well, we should be glad it's not snowing, after the winter we've had.