OK, so it doesn't feel like baseball season. The sky is gray, the wind is cold, and there's snow predicted in the weather report. Surely, spring training can't be over yet!
And yet...Opening Day is Thursday. Ready or not, it's practically time for that ceremonial first pitch.
To get you into the proper Cardinals state of mind, we've got a wealth of great stories in this week's issue. Kristie McClanahan sat down with the oldest vendor at Busch Stadium to learn what keeps him going. (See "Life of a Salesman.") Kholood Eid checked in with the Cardinals' audio team to learn about how players choose their at-bat music — and makes a few suggestions of her own. (See "Music to Swing To.") Larry Borowsky is here to report on all the "@#!& Colby Rasmus' Dad Says," while the RFT's own sports blogger, Aaron Schafer, has a preview of this year's season ("Smoke 'Em If You've Got 'Em"). If you're into funnies, the U.S.S. Catastrophe gang brings us an all-new, totally awesome Cardinals-themed comic: Amazing Facts and Beyond: In Search of Opening Day Jitters.
Last but not least: Remember the Cardinals' much-celebrated social-media campaign, calling on fans to "Stand for Stan"? Well, we've got a campaign of our own — we'd like to invite you to "Stand for Ernie." Haven't met Ernie Hays or his organ? Well, it's about time we introduced you.
Stand for Ernie
The long-time Cardinals organist deserves a lasting tribute
Amazing Facts & Beyond with Leon Beyond presents In Search of Opening Day Jitters
By Kevin Huizenga, Ted May and Dan Zettwoch
Shit Colby Rasmus' Dad Says
The father of the St. Louis Cardinals phenom is never at a loss for words. But what he says might surprise you.
By Larry Borowsky
Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em
Think of the 2011 Redbirds as your emphysemic, three-pack-a-day uncle
By Aaron Schafer
Music to Swing To
At-bat music can tell you a lot about a baseball player. Just ask Skip Schumaker.
By Kholood Eid
Life of a Salesman
Nobody has been selling programs longer than Joe Palermo
By Kristie McClanahan