Cardinals add twist to Opening Day tradition
ST. LOUIS – Opening Day in St. Louis is a holiday like none other in baseball. Clydesdales. Hall of Famers. A parade. And thanks to the Cardinals' World Series title last fall, a little gold.
The World Champs are adding a twist to their already impressive Opening Day tradition at Busch Stadium this year, wearing gold-trimmed jerseys and hats for the home opener on April 13 against the Chicago Cubs.
"The home opener is a pretty cool event in St. Louis anyway, and you throw the little gold jersey in there with the gold outlined hat, it just adds more to the festivities," infielder Daniel Descalso said. "It will be cool to wear them. We saw the Giants wear them last year when they celebrated their World Series, and now we get to do the same thing."
The historic birds on the bat logo, which has been nearly unchanged
for more than 100 years, will be gold, as will the names and numbers on
their backs. The STL logo on the front of the traditional red caps will
be filled with gold as well.
"I think it's going to be really
neat, especially because St. Louis has a special passion for baseball,"
infielder Tyler Greene said. "And it's going to be quite an experience
to be there and see the crowd and the memories from last year.
"I think it maybe brings a little something extra to the event and the occasion, and I think everybody will appreciate it."
The altered uniforms add an intriguing chapter to what already will be a special day in St. Louis when the Cardinals raise their 11th World Series Championship flag.
Nowhere do they ring in the new baseball season better than in St. Louis, where the majestic Budweiser Clydesdales take a lap around the warning track, and the players enter the field in the back of pickup trucks.
The day, which also features the appearance of the long list of living Cardinals Hall of Famers in their traditional red blazers, is cause for people to take the day off work and kids to be mysteriously absent from school.
The Cardinals plan to wear the jerseys for the first two home games,
Opening Day and the following day April 14, when they receive their
World Series rings.
They originally planned to wear the uniforms
all weekend before finding out April 15 is Jackie Robinson day. Players
will instead wear the traditional uniforms with No. 42 on the back to
honor him that day.
"I think its definitely cool to have gold
on there," outfielder Jon Jay said. "It's going to be cool to come off
the championship season and be able to wear that the first game. I think
its something different.
The Cardinals played in San Francisco for the Giants' home opener last spring and watched them wear similar jerseys and caps to celebrate their 2010 World Series title. Now, the gold will be on display in St. Louis.
The Boston Red Sox are the first known team to put gold on their uniforms for Opening Day, doing so with gold trim in 2005 to celebrate their drought-ending victory in 2004.
The Cardinals followed with similar gold-outlined uniforms to celebrate their 2006 World Series title but the letters and numbers remained in red.
The Phillies and Giants followed with gold-altered Opening Day jerseys but San Francisco was the first to use gold for the actual color of the names and numbers.
Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III said the outline used in 2007 wasn't noticeable enough from a distance and the club thought the gold fill would be a better choice.
DeWitt said Major League Baseball approached the Cardinals about wearing the altered uniforms in late November or early December and the club was open and excited about it from the start.
"They look impressive," DeWitt said. "We're excited to add them to our Opening Day festivities."
The Cardinals open the regular season on April 4 in Miami. They have seven games on the road before returning home to host the Cubs in the opener April 13.