Updated 10 p.m. Friday, March 31, with details of pregame ceremony.
Sorry, Cardinals fans. There’s no reason to sneak out of work early to celebrate Opening Day in St. Louis this year.
Instead of the usual Monday afternoon game, the Cardinals will open their 2017 season against the Chicago Cubs, their National League division rivals, on Sunday in a nationally televised game that starts at 7:35 p.m. at Busch Stadium.
It’s the first time in 20 years that the Cards will hold their home opener at night, said Ron Watermon, the team’s vice president of communications.
But fans can expect all the traditional Opening Day trimmings, he said.
Weather permitting, the Budweiser Clydesdales will circle the warning track at 6:45 p.m., and the team and Hall-of-Famers will arrive by motorcade. Ingrid Berry, daughter of the late Chuck Berry, will sing the national anthem.
“It will be the same magic day that it always is, year after, but it will be a little different because we’ll have the lights on, and it will be nighttime,’’ Watermon said.
This year’s home opener was originally scheduled for the afternoon of April 3 but was moved to Sunday night after the Cubs won the World Series. So expect to see islands of Cubs blue in the traditional sea of Cardinals red.
Fox Sports Midwest will broadcast the pregame ceremonies. The game will be on ESPN.
As far as that night opener, here’s some baseball trivia: The Cardinals were the first Major League team to open a season at night, according to Watermon. That was in 1950.
If you’re going to Sunday's game:
* Stadium gates will open at 5:05 p.m.
Joe Abernathy, the stadium’s chief of operations, says fans should allow plenty of time to get through security, which includes the metal detectors that were installed at all gates in 2015. Cell phones, cameras and metal objects, such as keys, must be removed before walking through the detectors.
* Leave your backpack at home.
Backpacks are now prohibited at Busch. Abernathy said backpacks slowed security procedures because screeners had to inspect all the compartments. Small duffle bags, tote bags and purses are allowed but will be inspected. These bags can’t be larger than 16-by-16-by-8 inches.
* Bringing your own snacks
As in past seasons, fans can bring their own food and nonalcoholic beverages into the stadium. Water and soda must be in factory-sealed plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters. Alcohol, glass bottles, cans and hard-sided coolers are prohibited. Fans will not be allowed to bring cups or mugs filled with beverages into the stadium.
* Better sound and faster selfies
During the off season, 150 speakers were installed throughout the stadium to improve game audio in the main concourse. And AT&T has increased mobile internet coverage at the stadium.
Follow Mary Delach Leonard on Twitter: @MaryDLeonard