My experience of camping out for Cardinals Opening Day tickets

Fans gather outside the new Ballpark Village entertainment complex across the street from Busch Stadium before the start of a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds Monday, April 7, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Fans gather outside the new Ballpark Village entertainment complex across the street from Busch Stadium before the start of a baseball game between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Cincinnati Reds Monday, April 7, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Erik Frazin

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The St. Louis Cardinals and KMOX 1120 AM, the team’s flagship radio station, offer a voucher for “First Pitch Tickets” good for two tickets to that day’s game for just $11.20 for every home game during the regular season, including Opening Day.

The catch though is that it is only available to the first 275 fans to visit the Busch Stadium 8th Street Ticket Windows.

First Pitch Tickets voucher sales begin at 9 a.m. on the day of the game and continue until 2 hours before the scheduled game time, or until all vouchers are sold, and on Opening Day, they go fast.

That is why I wasn’t at school on Monday, April 13. I wasn’t even home on Sunday or Saturday. I began camping out with some of the best Cardinals fan and one of my best friends, Jeff Wilson, on Friday night for the KMOX 1120 AM First Pitch tickets.

The tickets are a virtual grab bag of locations returned to the ticket office by Cardinals players, the visiting club, sponsors, groups and others. Tickets may be anywhere within the ballpark, from Field to Terrace level or Standing Room Only. (We ended up with Standing Room Only)

We were prepared for the long haul. We had our tent set-up right across the street from Busch Stadium next to the Metro Link station and brought with us a fire pit, tables and a whole lot of food. We even had entertainment. When it got late, we would play a pick-up football game or Wiffleball game in the middle of the street.

And we weren’t the only ones there. There were about 30 tents set-up down the street and at least 50 people camping out with us. I have done this in previous seasons but there were less people camping out this year than in year’s past which was really surprising.

The stadium is named after a beer and that wasn’t the only thing associated with alcohol that surrounded us when we were there. Many people were drinking and causing problems. Fans were yelling, and cursing, and just causing trouble, and one of my friends that we camp with actually got into a fight with one of them.

Things weren’t too bad and by about 8 a.m. on Monday morning, there was a line wrapping pretty much all the way around the stadium.

We were near the front and were able to get a voucher for that day’s game, and there is a clear reason why the promotion is called “First Pitch Tickets”

The Cardinals allow voucher holders to enter the game just 10 minutes before the game time and fans are asked to produce the picture ID along with the voucher with their name on it at Gate 1 located on Broadway to claim their actual tickets. Tickets are sealed in an envelope and distributed on a completely random basis and you only find out where you are sitting after entering the stadium.

Because we had time before the game, we went home to sleep and then took the Metro Link down to the stadium. We we got off the train and walked up the stairs to the ballpark, we couldn’t see anything but red and tons of people. As we started walking around to do the pre-game activities, the parade of Clydesdales and the entrance of players being driven around the warning track in trucks inside the stadium started.

We got into the game during the second inning and began walking around to try and find a spot to watch the game but it was hard because the Cardinals set a new attendance record for the stadium.

We spent the first 5 innings standing in an outfield section and then found seats right next to the Cardinals bullpen for the rest of the game.

It was cool to go to Opening Day and what made it even more special was that it was Jeff’s first game ever. He said he had a blast and I am already looking forward to Opening Day 2016.

 

 

 

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