No day looms quite as large on the St. Louis sports calendar as the Cardinals’ home opener. Even though other cities put on a show for the start of baseball season, St. Louis stands out from the crowd – at least according to Derrick Goold, a sportswriter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
“Opening day is a special time of year for a lot of teams mainly because they get a packed house, they're coming back from spring training – but the Cardinals add to it the Clydesdales and the parade of cars and the Hall of Famers,” Goold told St. Louis Public Radio reporter Rachel Lippmann on Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air.
“And I think that's what sets it apart. You have this swirl of activity. In no other place is it a civic holiday like it is in St. Louis.”
Though Thursday’s gloomy weather meant that Cardinals fans will have to wait another day to see the team play the season’s first game at Busch Stadium, Goold said that the St. Louis faithful should have a lot to look forward to this season.
One reason to be optimistic, Goold said, is how upbeat veteran catcher Yadier Molina has been in the lead up to the opener.
“He has a read on teams, and often he wears his fondness for his team and for the team's chances on his sleeve. He wants to play on a contender and he wants to get a team back to October. He's bothered by their absence,” he added.
“And the bounce in his step through spring and into this season, even with somewhat of a rocky start tells you that he thinks this team is getting there. That's as good of a barometer as anything early in the season.”
Goold also spent the last year editing, updating and revising his book on Cardinals history, “100 Things Cardinals Fans Should Do and Know before They Die.” The newest version of the book includes obscure tidbits from the team’s history, such as the 1886 “ghost” championship and the urban legend of Enos Slaughter being buried in his Cardinals jersey.
Goold said that revisiting the book allowed him to not only retell and expand on the stories that he had covered as a reporter, but also the stories he heard from his grandfather, a lifelong Cardinals fan.
“To do this book the first time and then revisit the second time gave me such a chance to understand the details of the stories that he shared with me that maybe I didn't appreciate as a kid, but I can still hear in his voice,” he said. “That's a treasure.”
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