good lord, i took so many pictures at the CARDINALS OPENING DAY yesterday, mostly of the many festive opening day festivities, plus a couple of short videos.

it was fun to sit in the back seat of wayne’s car riding down to the game in style.  the game started at 3:15, but we went down early so we could have lunch first.  kevin took a picture of me with his new phone; he got one cause i got such a GREAT one.  they’re identical, but thank god the cases came today so we can tell them apart.

this was the first time i’d been to the new stadium, and it’s beautiful.  i want to take a tour sometime, to see the fancy boxes and stuff.  there were SO MANY people milling around outside; when we parked on the roof of a parking garage, some people were tailgating there on the roof.  they didn’t offer us anything, but that was OK because we’d had a fabulous greek lunch in collinsville on the way into town.

there were all kinds of crowds in parking lots around the stadium; aggie had heard on the radio that one party started at nine a.m.

there were SO MANY PEOPLE pouring in, but inside the stadium it wasn’t very full yet.

our seats were really good, behind 1st base.

wayne and kevin.  it was kinda chilly, but at least the sun was out for a while.

i would love to see inside all those fancy boxes.

because there were just so many signs and things, i didn’t notice the small signs that had the pitcher’s names and the speed of each throw til late in the game.

they kept showing the clydesdales on the screen; they were inside the stadium, and the team was admiring them.  and then out they came!  really, really cool.

by this time the stadium was absolutely packed with people.

the team was gathered around the entrance, but then they had to go back inside to climb into the pickup trucks.

i took a little video, too.  i did try to actually look at the clydesdales in between taken photos and video.

and then there was the long, long parade of trucks…first, a bunch of dignitaries, and then the different coaches.  plus the cardinal mascot and the t-shirt-catapulting girls.

such a pretty fellow.

everybody went CRAZY when stan musial came around.  naturally, i didn’t know much about stan, but i just read all about him on wikipedia, and WOW, what a guy!  for one thing, he’sNINETY YEARS OLD.   he played with the Cardinals from 1941 to 1963…TWENTY TWO YEARS!  damn, that’s a long, long time.  he had 475 home runs in his career, was named an ALL STAR 24 times, MVP by the National League three times, and this past february he was awarded the PRESIDENTIAL MEDAL OF FREEDOM by barack obama!  the Medal “recognizes those individuals who have made ‘an especially meritorious contribution to the security or national interests of the United States, world peace, cultural or other significant public or private endeavors.'”

other people who got the medal include MOTHER THERESA, stephen hawking, and chita rivera…chita rivera?  why chita rivera?  i started reading about her, wondering if she’d done something besides in many plays, etc, but then i decided i need to FOCUS HERE ON BASEBALL.

i couldn’t get a good picture of stan, but here he is on the big screen.  he looks great for a 90 year-old.

there were other baseball guys there including Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Red Schoendienst, Ozzie Smith and Whitey Herzog.

and then there was this guy roaming around the stands…he stood out amongst the huge amount of people all decked out for the game.  the cardinal of the cardinals.

here’s the coaching staff marching out, including mark mcguire, and this guy in the front in an unflattering pose with his hands deep in his back pockets.  why was he walking like that?  did he have an itch?  couldn’t it have waited til 46,000+ people weren’t looking at him?

here’s a video of the trucks circling.

each player’s name was affixed to either side of the truck, and it was these guys’ job to peel off the magnetic stickers.  kevin noticed that in one truck, which wainwright was riding on, some kids in the backseat reached out and pulled it inside before it got to the puller-off guys.  i bet they have to give it back, even if they are wainwright’s kids, or maybe they’ll just bill him the six thousand dollars or however much it cost to make them.

pujols is there in the middle.

the fascinating thing about this picture is – who’s the chick in the red dress and black pumps?  she’s not a professional photographer even though that looks like a fancy camera, because a professional wouldn’t be wearing those shoes, or that dress, for that matter.  is she a wife or girlfriend?  i’d like to know.

i kept taking many photos, and the short woman next to me started apologizing, hoping she wasn’t in my way, but she wasn’t.  then her boyfriend insisted on taking a picture of kevin and me, and he said “but if it’s blurry, it’s cause i’m drunk.”

the girl then started asking me if we were from this our that company; she said their seats, including the two that kevin and i were in, belonged to her dad, who gave tickets out to different companies every year.  i explained that the tickets belonged to our friends who were sitting in back of us, but she just gave me a glassy stare, and quickly said that she’d been drunk since 10 a.m.  “I don’t usually get drunk at 10,” she said, “but it’s OPENING DAY.  people would kill to get tickets to opening day!”

she then went on to tell me many many things, including that last year she’d gone to a game with a friend and they left halfway through, and the people sitting in our seats told on her to her dad.  i told her that since i didn’t know her dad, i wouldn’t tell him anything that they did during the game, and she gushed OH THANK YOU!  very very drunk.

here’s the cardinals and the padres lined up waiting for the national anthem, which was sung by Nikko Smith, son of Ozzie Smith.  Nikko was on american idol, and came in 9th in season four.  he did a fine job singing the song.  he also got to sing it at game 4 of the world series in 2006.

they also let loose a bald eagle, which flew around the stadium, but it was hard to capture it on film.  here are some honor guard guys.  at one point also some military jets did a flyover which was awesome, but too quick for me to even think about getting a photo.

mr. cardinal kept circling around, so kevin took my picture with him.  nice.  his big cardinal sceptre thing is, of course, a baseball.

and here’s pujols up at bat.

in between innings there were all kinds of things to keep the fans occupied, besides of course the huge amount of eating and drinking.  at one point they said they were going to flash a picture of a big mac on the screen and if you got a picture with your phone you’d get a free big mac.  here’s my picture.

whew, what a day it was.  a long day, but a good one.  it was exciting when the cardinals got a home run, but then the padres ended up winning.  we left during the top of the 11th inning, when there was only a remote chance of them scoring any more runs.

i have many things to say about sports and people watching sports and all of that, but it’s almost 4:30 and i PROMISED i’d publish all of this by then, so this is all for now.

ok then,

mrs. cardinals hughes.