Home Openers and Letdowns

Maybe it's just the kind of fan I am, but I was both disgusted and non plusse during the ninth inning yesterday. Maybe it's just hindsight - a way of protecting myself from getting all butt-hurt about a game played 1,000 miles away by no one I've ever known or likely ever will - but I think I saw that coming.

All the pagentry, the HOFers, the remembrance of Stan - and the only bright spots were the performance of our left-handed 'mental-case' and errors by their big offseason addition. If only they had waited until the ninth to blow the lead, the Cardinals could have given the faithful everything you don't want to see, all in one tidy inning: Errors, bloops, walks, wild pitches.

Perhaps my feelings of foreboding had nothing to do with any premonition, but rather a recognition of similar Home Opener beds that have been shit in in recent years.

4/1/2008 - 2-1 loss to Colorado

Franklin L and BS - 0.0 IP, 2 H, 2 BB, 2 R

ST. LOUIS (AP) -- No Clydesdales or convertibles. No success, either for the St. Louis Cardinals in their rescheduled home opener.

Third baseman Troy Glaus' throwing error allowed the tying run to score, and Jayson Nix walked with the bases loaded in a two-run eighth inning, helping the Colorado Rockies begin the defense of their NL championship with a 2-1 victory on Tuesday night.

4/6/2009 - 6-4 loss to Pittsburg

Motte L, BS 1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ER

ST. LOUIS -- Jack Wilson waited until the Pittsburgh Pirates were down to their last strike before coming through. Wilson's three-run double on an 0-2 fastball capped a four-run ninth inning off hard-throwing Jason Motte, leading Pittsburgh to an opening 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

3/31/2011 5-3 loss to San Diego in 11

Franklin BS 1 H, 1 R

ST. LOUIS -- Doing the little things paid off for the San Diego Padres. One big swing, too. Cameron Maybin tied it with a two-out homer in the ninth inning, then grounded a single that led to the go-ahead run in the 11th Thursday in a 5-3 opening win over the St. Louis Cardinals.

4/13/2012 9-5 loss to Cubs

Adam Wainwright L 3.0 IP, 7 H, 8 ER. Not a blown save, but a pants-shitting moment none-the-less, as this was Waino's first start after TJ surgery.

Ian Stewart hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Bryan LaHair later connected for his first career grand slam, and Starlin Castro had three hits, a walk, RBI and steal for the Cubs.

Four of the five previous home openers have been major letdowns, but we made the playoffs in three of those years, and even won it all in there too. Obviously one game is one game, and what happened on Monday doesn't have to be a harbinger of DOOM. But maybe there is something about the way STL does the home opener? Maybe the harmonica choir isn't the best way to get these youngsters riled up?

Speaking for myself, what I love about the Cardinals has been the players and the winning. I do appreciate the relative politeness of the fans - but I've never had too terrible of an experience in other ballparks, even here in Philly. I'm 35 now, not technically a young person. But the on-air talent and production value that go into the presentation of a Cardinals game seem to be aimed at a demographic at least 20 years my senior.

During the NLCS last year, much was made of the difference in energy levels between the Cardinals and Giants fans. I haven't been to a game in STL since 2006 - but my impression then was not overwhelmingly positive. Perhaps things have changed, but the presentation of the club appears to have two modes: lazy and corny. Have they brought in any local restaurants into the park? Can you get a Frozen Concrete at a game? Toasted Ravioli? Ribs? Or are the options Hot Dog Alley and Nacho Pavillion?

Are the PR people just in an impossible situation? If they started targeting a younger crowd would the old folks leave? What do you those that go to games on the regular think about this?

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