Cardinals Winning Streak Continues, Now 3 1/2 Out

June 18, 2014

Matt Adams returns from a calf strain to lead the Cards with 3 home runs in 3 days!

Matt Adams returns from a calf strain to lead the Cards with 3 home runs in 3 days!

The Cards 2014 season is finally starting to jell.

The offense has come back from the dead with First Baseman Matt Adams’ return from the DL.  Big City’s three home runs in three days led the Redbirds to a three-game sweep over the Nationals this past weekend and the Cards now ride a 5 game winning streak.  They’ve won 8 of their last nine, and look for another win and a sweep over the New York Mets today at Busch Stadium.

It hasn’t been easy.  Rookie Kolten Wong was sent back to Memphis in May, Randal Grichuk was brought up and sent back down twice, Oscar Taveras made his much-anticipated MLB debut with an opening night home run that turned into a two-week cup of coffee.  He’s back in Tennessee now too.   An offense that was so good with runners in scoring position in 2013 was sputtering until the return of Wong and Adams in June.

Fortunately,  pitching and defense kept the Cards in the hunt.  Adam Wainwright leads the NL with a 9-3 record and a 2.15 ERA.  Despite injuries to Jaime Garcia and Joe Kelly, the starters have kept this team competitive.  In the field the Cards have risen from the bottom of the pile in 2013 to a top-tier team in the National League this year.

The Cardinals haven’t been closer than 1 1/2 games out of first place this season and the team still finds themselves 3 1/2 games behind the surprising Milwaukee Brewers.

Of course, last time the Brew Crew won the NL Central was 2011, and we all know what happened then!

Go Go Cards!

 

 

With Spring Training Done, Let’s Do the 162!

March 30, 2014

Finally, the last weekend of  exhibition games!   So close to Opening Day and still it’s not a national holiday.

So what did the St. Louis Cardinals learn from Spring Training in Jupiter, Florida this year?   Aside from losing left-handed starter Jaime Garcia to more shoulder issues, the Cards came away from the Grapefruit League pretty healthy this spring – a big improvement over last year.  And it looks like the big bats in the Cards’ line up are ready to go.

Yadi, MCarp, and Allen Craig.

Yadi, MCarp, and Allen Craig celebrate winning the NL Central.

Matt Holiday,  Allen Craig, and Yadier Molina each had a good spring tune up.  Matt Carpenter is now at 3B with a big contract extension and great expectations to play like he did in 2013,  an All-Star leading the league in hits and doubles.  The new guy, Jhonny Peralta looks to be a good fit for the Redbirds at short, and the big guy, Big City Matt Adams proved that he deserves to start at first base day-in-and-day out this year.  Opening Day is oh so close!

Sorting out the competition for playing time, Kolten Wong got hot this spring and won the job at 2nd base.  Utility infielder Daniel Descalso played well too, so getting at-bats for newcomer Mark Ellis might be tough in the early going so long as Wong and Descalso keep hitting.   Right now, that’s a good problem to have.

The competition in center field wasn’t much of a competition for Peter Bourjos.  He flashed the leather in CF and showed his speed on the bases too.  For John Jay, it looks like he’ll be platooning all three outfield spots along  with Shane Robinson this season.   Another good problem to have!

KWong

Kolten Wong played his way into the starting line up this spring.

Like the big bats, the Cards’ starters accomplished what they set out to do.   Joe Kelly won the 5th spot in the rotation to join Adam Wainwright, Michael Wacha, Lance Lynn,  and Shelby Miller in what may be the best starting five in the National League.  The reliever spots haven’t changed much since the Cardinals won their 19th Pennant last year.  Trevor Rosenthal gets the closer role and Carlos Martinez is the 8th inning set up.  Deeper into the pitching staff, it’s a big plus having Chris Carpenter in his new role as a special assistant to the General Manager.  Excellent move for everyone in the organization!

Down on the farm it’s gonna be fun watching the progress of Aledmys Dias, the Cuban defector and phenom shortstop who just signed a 4-year deal with the Cardinals.   No doubt, his first game was pretty impressive last week going 2-for-2,  playing steady defense.  He’ll open the season playing for the AA Springfield Cardinals in the Texas League.

Former Cuban National Shortstop, Aledmys Diaz in his first Spring with the Cardinals.

Former Cuban National Shortstop, Aledmys Diaz.

If you haven’t noticed, an outfield log jam is on the way from Springfield to Memphis and St. Louis.  Stephen Piscotty and Randal Grichuck made names for themselves in spring camp, displaying both the talent and hard work to make the big league club soon.  Grichuck was obtained (with Bourjos)  from Anaheim in the David Freese deal, and Piscotty was another selection the Cards got in the Albert Pujols defection.   Don’t be surprised if they get the call up even before top prospect Oscar Taveras.

Finally, the win-loss record;  it doesn’t really matter.   Wins and losses in Spring Training really are meaningless since pitching changes are based solely on getting starters and relievers enough work to be ready for the Opener.   So, Cards fans… that 11-13 Cards’ record from Jupiter?  Just throw it out the window,  it’s not an indicator of how well the Cardinals will compete this year in defending their National League Pennant.

Alright now, let’s start the real games!

Go Go Cards!

 

 

Happy Holidays Cards Fans!

December 19, 2013

2013 Cards celebrate winning the Pennant.

2013 Cards celebrate winning the Pennant.

2013 brought another great year of Cardinal baseball.  Starting off with holes to fill in a line up of injuries to our number one starter, the star shortstop,  and our reigning closer, the Cards’ filled the void from within to battle Pittsburgh and Cincinnati for the NL Central Division Crown.  They defeated the storybook Pirates in the NLDS in a thrilling Game 5 at Busch Stadium, and finished off Kershaw, Puig, and the LA Dodgers to win the Pennant – the 19th National League Pennant in St. Louis Cardinals’ history!

In the end, the Cardinals didn’t have the bench strength or the infield depth up the middle to win their 12th World Series Championship.  Allen Craig’s September injury hurt our playoff depth too, but it was a hellava season for Matt Carpenter, Yadier Molina, Adam Wainwright,  Matt Holliday, Allen Craig, Chief Mujica, Shelby Miller, and Michael Wacha.  The St. Louis Cardinals were pretty damn good in 2013.

The page has turned and change has come as Cardinal Nation says goodbye to David Freese and Carlos Beltran.  Beltran’s bat helped us heal and surge again without Albert #5 and, without a doubt  Freese’s Game 6 in 2011 will never ever be forgotten in Cardinal Nation!

A big Birds-On-The-Bat welcome to Pete Bourjos,  Mark Ellis, and Jhonny Peralta in 2014.   Here’s to 12 in ’14!

Go Go Cards!

Cardinals Begin Second Half, Best Record in Baseball

July 20, 2013

beltranline12The Cardinals get set to begin the season’s second half with the best record in baseball. So, who needs Albert Pujols?

Here’s a look at the 2013 Cards batting stats versus The Player Formerly Known As El Hombre:

PUJOLS VS. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS  –  2013 STATS

BA

OBP

SLG

ISO

OPS

OPS+

wOBA

Molina

.350

Carpenter

.394

Beltran

.535

Beltran

.234

Molina

.895

Molina

147

Molina

.386

Craig

.318

Molina

.392

Molina

.503

Pujols

.182

Beltran

.878

Beltran

139

Beltran

.377

Carpenter

.317

Craig

.357

Craig

.470

Holliday

.165

Carpenter

.858

Carpenter

138

Carpenter

.376

Beltran

.301

Holliday

.353

Carpenter

.464

Molina

.154

Craig

.827

Craig

128

Craig

.359

Freese

.278

Freese

.353

Holliday

.437

Craig

.152

Holliday

.790

Holliday

118

Holliday

.342

Holliday

.271

Beltran

.342

Pujols

.431

Carpenter

.147

Pujols

.755

Pujols

112

Freese

.332

Pujols

.249

Pujols

.324

Freese

.398

Freese

.120

Freese

.751

Freese

109

Pujols

.320

Kozma

.247

Jay

.323

Jay

.332

Jay

.088

Jay

.655

Jay

83

Jay

.287

Jay

.245

Kozma

.293

Kozma

.313

Kozma

.066

Kozma

.606

Kozma

69

Kozma

.266

Special thanks to Viva El Birdos  http://www.vivaelbirdos.com/2013/7/1/4481642/albert-pujols-the-bullet-the-st-louis-cardinals-dodged

Go Go Cards!

2013 RoadTrip Awards, Presented by Donnally

July 14, 2013

Thanks again to everyone who helped make the Go Go Cards Roadtrip a success this year!  With a week removed from the trip, it’s time now for this year’s MLB RoadTrip Awards, presented by Donnally.

Kal

Kal

Silver Slugger Award Winner:

Kal Kercher wins his first Silver Slugger Award,  best-of-the-best top zombie killer at Pier 39’s 7D Experience!  He led the group with way more kills than BillO and Davelee combined.

Spiegel

Spiegel

Rookie of the Year Winner:

Kenny Spiegle arrives in time to share stories and take in a Sunday afternoon game at the Coliseum.  He didn’t bring us a series winner but he was wearing the colors and talkin’ the talk in Oakland!

davelee

Davelee

Come Back Player of the Year:

Davelee had the sophomore jinx last year, picking up stray cats and losing coin flips, but he came back strong this year honoring the ground rules to end The Curse!

Donnally

Donnally

Gold Glove:

Donnally snares a foul ball on a bounce and gives it to an Angels’ kid.   Not much of a web gem but could be a Roberto Clemente nomination as well.

Jess

Jess

MLB Delivery Man Award:

Top Prospect Jess, despite a torn rotator cuff, becomes the unofficial designated  driver specializing in door-to-door drop-off and superior Costco voucher delivery.

PK Nails

PK

Roberto Clemente Award:

PK Nails, handing out discount tickets, and presenting baseball memorabilia in the spirit of the award as one who  “best exemplifies the game of baseball, sportsmanship, and community involvement.”

BillO

BillO

MVP Award:

BillO Baggins wins the MVP.   Now in our 11th year following the Cardinals on the Roadtrip,  BillO is the guy who keeps the mojo goin’ everyday,  every trip, every year!

Thanks again everybody for a great Roadtrip.  Rock On with the Rock On!

Donny  Baseball

Go Go Cards!

Cards Pour It On To End RoadTrip in Anaheim

July 3, 2013

Last game of the RoadTrip and the St. Louis Cardinals busted out the lumber in a 7-run 2nd inning against the Angels in Anaheim.

Under Disney ownership, Angels ballpark updated.

In the late 1990s, Disney Inc. updated Angels Stadium, removing the enclosed structure.

Anaheim Stadium expansion for football Rams in the late 1970s.

Anaheim Stadium enclosed expansion for the Rams during the late 1970s.

1966 photo, four years after construction with the Big A in left field.

Built in 1962, Anaheim Stadium with the Big A in left, and no outfield seating.

We met up with Julie Kercher and her husband Kevin for appetizers at The Catch before game time.   Not too sure what Kevin thought joining his wife for dinner with three other guys but once we starting talking Cardinals baseball he was  into it.

Located next to the stadium, The Catch was a perfect spot for a pregame meal.  There’s outdoor seating, a full bar and formal dining inside.  Along the walls inside,  photos of the ballpark  show the evolution of the Big A since it’s construction in 1962 near the orange groves of Anaheim.  From high above, it seems like a lone ballpark surrounded by a sea of parking spaces, but actually there’s not much that I don’t like about Angels Stadium.  It’s a great setting for baseball, the hotel and restaurants are nearby, and the fans are pleasant even if they are a little too laid back most of the time.

Just a month left before the trade deadline and it seems obvious we need a better bat off the bench.  I’d also like a short stop to jump start the bottom of the batting order, but not sure that’s gonna happen.   Pete Kosma’s just not enough to replace Rafael Furcal so something’s gotta give at the trade deadline.   The Cardinals  started the game 48-32,  second place behind the Pirates in the NL Central.

From the field box seats in Anaheim.

From the field box seats in Anaheim Bill & Dave sitting just in front of my Dodger friend in black.

We entered the ballpark from the left field side and walked down to field box seats beyond third base.  Shelby Miller gave up a hit to Mike Trout in the first, but then retired Pujols on a pop fly and struck out Josh Hamilton to end the inning.

Anaheim Albert tweeted, “I went to high school with a Shelby Mitler, but I don’t think this is da same girl.”

In the second, the Cards got 5 hits and 4 walks off  Jerome Williams.   Jon Jay hit a 2-run homer that went into and out of Trout’s glove, over the wall to give the Cardinals a 6-0 lead!

jimhayesmcarp

The Cat interviews All-Star infielder Matt Carpenter on Cardinals Live.

Albert tweeted again, “I hope Dee Dee is not watching this.”  A blow-out win in the making,  and not a bad way to finish up the Roadtrip.

The Cards scored four more runs in the game.  Miller pitched 6 innings to pick up his 9th win of the season and  Matt Carpenter was the star of the game, going 3-6 with a home run and three runs scored.

Meanwhile, Pujols went hitless again for the Angels striking out three times during the past two games against his former team.

With the big 12-2 win, the Go Go Cards RoadTrip comes to an end with an even record of  2 wins and 2 loses in the Golden State.

Go Go Cards!

Calling All Angels on the Cardinal RoadTrip

July 2, 2013

TownPlace Suites, great place to stay near the Big A.

TownPlace Suites, great place to stay near the Big A.

Without a  doubt, Cardinal fans travel well.  Birds On The Bat were on display everywhere in Anaheim;  there’s  just too many stories to tell.

Like 17-year old David, who traveled  from Holland, Michigan with his grandfather on their annual trip to follow the Cards.  Or Lester, a retired printer from San Antonio who grew up listening to Jack Buck and Harry Caray on KMOX.

Trojan Bob, a USC alumnus and one-time college roommate of MLB Network host Matt Vasgersian, wore a Wrigley Field T-shirt at the TownPlace Suites pool.   A Cards fan wearing a Wrigley shirt?  What can I say…  been there done that!  T-Bob came down from the Land of the Hearst Castle to see the Cards play in Anaheim,  33 MLB ballparks now and counting!

Scene of the crime at entrance of Angels Stadium.

Scene of the crime, the entrance of Angels Stadium.

We had lunch at the Togo’s nearby then took the short walk over to the Big A, high fiving Cardinal fans along the way.  One girl had a “Yadi, Yadi” sign and a set of Mardi Gras beads to brag about.  This three-game series with Anaheim would be the first time the Cardinals would face Albert Pujols since he defected for a 10-year $280 million contract.

Lance Lynn was on the mound, facing Jered Weaver and Anaheim Albert  tweeted,  “Little knowng fact, Angel fangs.  Jeff Weaver was not this tall wheng he played with us ong da Cardinals.”

We entered the Angels main gate near the Big Hats, the same spot where A.J. and Albert gushed uncomfortably,  wearing their Anaheim jerseys for the first time in 2012.  A few photo ops later,  we made our way to the Club Level after a quick stop to find a scorecard for Donny.  But just like Oakland, there weren’t any scorecards at the ballpark, just game-day programs that have a magazine slick scoring sheet.  Holy Cow Harry, doesn’t anybody keep score on the West Coast?

The Big A in Anaheim.

The Big A shines in the evening Anaheim sun.

Cards players lined up for the National Anthem.

Cards players line up for the National Anthem.

In the 1st inning, Mike Trout singled with one out before Pujols came to the plate.   I was eager to hear the reaction of Angels’ and Cards’ fans to Albert’s first at bat.

Surprisingly, there wasn’t much of a reaction at all.   No applause, no boos.  Nothing really.  It seems as if Albert has now blended into the Anaheim woodwork.   The King is dead.  Or, he’s suffering from plantar fasciitis anyway.

Back to the game, Trout attempted to steal second base as Pujols struck out swinging, and Molina nailed the runner, strike ‘em out throw ‘em out to end the 1st inning!

“Sit your ass down,” Carla texted the Billoleaf.

Mike Trout on first,  just before Yadi guns him down stealing.

With Albert Pujols at the plate, Mike Trout is on first, just before Yadi guns him down stealing.

Unlike the spirited fans in Oakland, there wasn’t much mojo at all from Angels fans.  The most I got in the first two innings was a guy in front of us who insisted we were only here because of the “great weather.”   I gotta say, I get tired of this LA weather thing.  So big rip, enjoy it while you’re stuck in traffic I guess.  Anyway, this guy refused to believe the BillO was from St. Louis until he could see his drivers license!  Really?

For the most part,  Angels fans were pretty tame except for a few guys about four rows behind us, one of them a 40-something, self proclaimed surfer probably named Spicoli.  He had the promotional giveaway, a  soft-sided Angels cooler covering his head the entire night.

“They said it would keep my head cool,” he said.  “But it hasn’t worked!”

These guys were awesome fans and I was eager to engage them in some ballpark fun.   As the Angels rallied in the 2nd,  Spicoli yelled over to me,  “Bases loaded…  and there’s NO OUTS.”

“Hey, thanks for reminding me,” I said.

The view from our Club Level section.

A view from our Club Level section at Angels Stadium not far from the bouncing foul ball.

By the 6th inning the Angels led 5-1 but the Cards had their own rally going as David Freese hit a two-out double to left.   Weaver then struck out Jon Jay to end the inning and Spicoli’s buddy ran all the way down the isle next to me with the best umpire punch-out move I’d ever seen from a fan!   “Outta here!”

Wow! Good stuff at the Big A.

The Cardinals loaded the bases in the 8th with nobody out but another strikeout and a diving stop by Mark Trumbo turned a sure double into a 3-6-1 inning-ending double play.  That was the game right there, Angels 5-1.

Not long before that, a foul ball reached the first row in our isle a few seats down from us.  I stood up quickly, dropped my score card and ran down the isle,  grabbing the ball on a bounce!  The whole section started to cheer – which was kind of weird since I really didn’t catch the ball on a fly.

Anyway, after a high five with the BillO, I turned around to the crowd and yelled out, “Where’s a kid?”    8 rows up in front of me was a 9 year-old girl wearing a baseball glove and an Angels jersey.  I smiled and pointed at her as she ran down to get the ball from me.

That’s how you do it Angel fans.

Go Go Cards!

Roadtrippin’ Thru the Golden State Without a Car

July 1, 2013

At midnight a BART transit strike started the new week, turning the Bay Area into a rush-hour gridlock.  Fortunately, we had a taxi reserved for a quick trip to the Oakland Airport and our SW Airlines flight to John Wayne Santa Ana Orange County Airport.  We’re off to see the Cards and Angels in Anaheim!

barttraffic

Bay Area traffic during the BART strike this week.

Safely in the air and onward to our next destination,   Flight Attendant Amantha stopped by our row with a gift.  “I’ve got a free drink coupon, paid forward by another customer!”   Wow!  I love it when a free drink comes down from heaven.

“Here you go, St. Louis,”  she said.  That’s right, here we go Cardinals here we go!

IMG_20130702_053947_204An ABC Shuttle was waiting for us just outside the John Wayne terminal and we were first-in first-out to our hotel room near the Big A at the TownPlace Suites.   There was a Wheel of Fortune inside the lobby  near the desk clerk and I thought about using it to determine our Anaheim sleeping arrangements.

Instead, Davelee finally reversed the curse, ending his  three-year Roadtrip losing streak by winning a coin flip to claim the best bed.   In the end, he seemed much more relaxed in Southern California, not having to endure the bare, bed wires of the pull-out couch in Emeryville.

Secure in our surroundings,  we headed out in flip flops for what seemed like a 3 mile walk to the nearest beverage store.  It was a long hike in the late afternoon sun but the BillO was right;  it was the closest store, no question about it.   Still not too excited about the trudge back, we spotted a UPS driver at the check out.  I said,   “Hey, what can Brown do for you?”

He laughed and said he’d seen us walking along the road.  Then he asked us if we needed a ride.  Rock on!

Perfect pool weather for a Roadtrip.

Enjoying the pool sideways after a UPS lift in Anaheim.

The rest is legendary:  Davelee paid the UPS guy’s cashier bill for the snack items he was buying.  We made a few side stops to deliver packages to Josh Hamilton, some Brill Cream to Mike Trout, and a bunch of overstuffed cash envelopes to A. Pujols.

We were back at the hotel pool in minutes.   Hey, hey, welcome to Anaheim!

Go Go Cards!

Westbrook Loses Lead Twice, Cards Fall in Oakland

June 30, 2013

A'stix

Classic ticket stub still in vogue at Oakland.

Vendors and ticket scalpers flood the BART station platform outside the Oakland Coliseum, but rather than sell our extra ticket for a few bucks yesterday, I gave it to one of three Cards fans near the sales gate.   In past years, I would’ve hawked the ticket for whatever price I could get but I’ve learned since then, paying it forward is the best the way to go.   Good things happen!

Baseball at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

Baseball at Mile High Stadium in Denver.

We started our last day in the East Bay with an early morning hot tub before breakfast with the Kerchners, sharing roadtrip stories with Colorado native Daryl Trujillo,  on assignment as interim postmaster in Oakland.    TruJo described the evolution of Mile High Stadium in Denver from it’s early beginnings as a minor league park for the Denver Bears baseball team, it’s expansion to accommodate the new AFL Broncos in the 1960s, and a unique design engineered to move a three-tiered grandstand using hydraulics, pumping water into the structure’s base to rotate the stands 145 feet either way for football or baseball games.   Almost makes me wish I had become an engineer.  Okay, not really!

A view toward Mount Davis.

A view toward Mount Davis in all it’s infamy.

IMG_20130630_132029_007

Daryl Trujillo and Ken Siegel join Cards Roadtrip.

Making his first Roadtrip appearance, former U of A roommate Ken Siegel arrived in town from Pasa Robles just in time for a quick visit and our trip down to the ballpark.  Jess came thru with great tickets for today’s game, purchasing field-level seats with a Costco voucher that also included $10 in ballpark food script.

Despite the decrepit environment of the Coliseum, baseball in Oakland is fun.  The fans are spirited, and the team is competitive.  Hopefully, the A’s will get to build their field of dreams one day soon in the East Bay.

We made two attempts before game time to locate the A’s Museum.  Our usher in Section 126 told us it was behind home plate in the upper level.   Attendants upstairs then directed us to an elevator to the first floor.  It was a baseball  scavenger hunt,  and we never got to see the 5,000th home run ball in Athletics history along with the placque recognizing TruJo’s son for catching and giving the ball back to the A’s organization.    Nevertheless, it was game time!

The scorecard in Oakland, available only with purchase of a program!

A scorecard at the Coliseum is available only with the purchase of a program.  What’s up with that Oakland?

Jake Westbrook was on the mound trying to win the series for the Cardinals.   In the top of the first, Matt Carpenter doubled and then Carlos Beltran and Allen Craig hit back-to-back jacks!!  The Cards had their hitting shoes on today.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Kunstel group and Bad Bobby K at the Elephant Bar.

bilbobdave

The Colonel, Bob Kunstel with nephews Bill & Dave.

Unfortunately, the A’s fought back with six runs in four innings against Westrick.   With a 6-5 game in the top of the 5th, our best chance for a comeback win fizzled with 2 on 1 out when Matt Holliday and David Freese both popped out.  Cards lose 7-5.

We were now 1-1 on the  Cards Roadtrip with two games to go in Anaheim.

Back at the hotel we met up with Liza Jaye, Rob, Darlene, and Bad Bobby K who drove down from Sacramento for an awesome family gathering at the Elephant Bar & Grill.

Good stories, and great memories.  Thanks for an excellent  night guys.

Go Go Cards!

First Place On The Line At Oakland Coliseum!

June 29, 2013

Top Prospect in the Texas League, First Baseman  Jeff Davis

Top Prospect in the Texas League, First Baseman Jeff Davis

The Cardinals opened the series Friday night in Oakland.   With Shelby Miller on the mound we watched the game unfold at an Emeryville eatery, not far from our hotel in the East Bay.

Like last year, PK shared some of his prized baseball cards with the group,  including a full set of the 1982 World Champs and a rare Texas League prospect card – a ’97 Jeff Davis  in mint condition!  Drafted by the Rangers in the 28th round,  JD  was a Top Prospect with a 7-2 record before tearing a rotator cuff in Spring Training.   It’s gonna take a lot to top that one next year!

1968 Cardinals SI Cover

1968 Cardinals SI Cover

In another  move,  the CDO grad presented me with a copy of Sports Illustrated’s cover photo of the 1968 Cardinals, lined up in the clubhouse.  It was the inspiration for this year’s SI Cover of the Cards’ pitching staff titled, The Cardinal Way.  Perfect for the Redbird Room back home, my friend.

We found a good spot with a big screen TV in the food court nearby and convinced the security guard on duty to switch channels to the A’s-Cards game.  Unfortunately, by the second inning Miller was in meltdown mode giving up five runs  in 1 2/3 innings and the A’s were on their way to a 6-1 win.   The loss knocked the Cards out of first place for the first time in nearly two months.

Marty texted me from the ballpark.  “I never give up hope,”  he said,  “Hopefully, your game doesn’t start like this.”

Waino warms up before Saturday's start in Oakland.

Cards’ win leader Adam Wainwright warms up before Saturday’s start in Oakland.

Our game was Game 2 on Saturday and the Coliseum was packed for Coco Crisp bobble head day.  A’s fans lined up around the ballpark hoping to score one of only 10,000 bobble heads available for the sold-out crowd.

As we made our way thru the crowd an old timer…  a Redbird fan in his ’80s yelled over to us,  “Go Cards!”

So we stopped for a quick high five the guy tells us he’s Daniel Descalsco’s grandfather.  That’s Double D, the Cards’ infielder.  How cool is that!

Kyle, Phil, Don, & Jeff soaking in the Oakland sunshine and a 7-1 Cards victory.

Kal, Philbert, Donnally, & Jess soaking in the Oakland sunshine during  a 7-1 Cards victory.

We  entered the stadium on the first base side and  Oakland fans started booing us as we approached our seats in Section 209.  Amazing!

“Hey Cardinal fans,  be careful,” one guy called out.  “You could get something thrown at you!”

BillO was quick to respond. “That’s okay, it’s gonna come right back at ya!”

In the end it didn’t take  long before we all became baseball buddies after the usual derogatory banter, packed in tight among the sold-out crowd.

WainoCrisp

Waino in Oakland, looking for his 11th this season .

The sold-out crowd on Coco Crisp Bobble Head Day.

No doubt about it, Oakland fans have a lot of spirit.  They’re flag waving, drum pounding, cape-wearing, bearded, and masked fanatics that chant, “Let’s Go Oakland”  the entire game.

They’re also quick to show their hate to opposing players like Matt Holliday and Carlos Beltran, two guys that left Bay Area teams to join the Cardinals.  Both were booed throughout the game while  fans in the left field seats on Mount Davis chanted, “Holliday sucks, Holliday sucks!”

With Wainright tossing zeros and still no score in the 3rd inning, an Oakland fan greeted me in typical fashion.

“That’s great,” he said.  ” I finally get here and there’s a f###ing Cardinals’ fan in my seat!”   Pointing toward  Kyle, I snapped back.

“Come on man, there’s kids here!”   That was just enough to break the ice and we became interleague friends in no time.

Despite being bobble head day for Crisp, Coco didn’t have much luck at the plate or in the field.  After a diving attempt for a ball that got away to the outfield wall, Billly yelled out.  “He couldn’t make the catch ’cause he’s got too many bobble heads in his back pocket!”

The Cards finally got on the board with 2 runs in the  5th and then exploded for four more runs in the 6th, led by Matt Adams 3-run homer.  “Big City” hit another home run late in the game and Wainwright went the distance to get the complete game.  That’s a winner!  A Cards winner, 7-1.

The 2013 Go Go Cards Roadtrippers, clockwise left to right: PK Nails, Jess,, Kal, Davelee, BillO, and Donny Baseball.

The 2013 Go Go Cards Roadtrippers at the Black Bear Restaurant.   Clockwise from left to right: PK Nails,  Top Prospect Jeff Davis, Kal Kercher, The Davelee, BillO Baggins, and Donny Baseball.

Back at the Hyatt House in Emeryville, we cooled off in the pool before heading out to dinner at the Black Bear restaurant.   Celebrating another Cards  victory,  Bill was lucky to hear there was still a Prime Rib end cut available tonight.   Actually it was a huge piece of gristle gently placed under a small slice of prime.

“Hey, this isn’t an end cut!” Bill complained.

It must’ve been the Oakland cut!

Go figure.

Go Go Cards!

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