PR Departments of all MLB Teams & MLB Sponsor Auction to Raise Money for Cancer Research – Click HERE to bid
Ron Watermon, Vice-President of Communications – Virtually everyone I know has been touched in some personal way by cancer. I lost my mother to lung cancer almost five years ago, a few months after I had moved departments within the Cardinals organization to work within public relations.
It happened so fast. My mom was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer just before the annual Winter Meetings in 2009. She died shortly before Spring Training 2010, a few days before she was slated to begin chemo and before I could tell her she was going to have a grandson.
To this day, I ask myself how did someone who never smoked or had any risk factors for lung cancer, end up with such an aggressive form of cancer? We may never know. Sadly, my story isn’t unique.
My colleague Melody Yount was diagnosed with breast cancer a few months before my mom and just before I moved into the office next to her when I began working with her with team communications.
Like so many of her co-workers, I found inspiration in the courageous, optimistic and resilient way that Melody handled her battle with cancer. I know it wasn’t easy, but Melody continued to work through her treatment. She drew strength from her strong faith and the support she received from her family, friends, our players and our front office.
After a reoccurrence, Melody finished treatment in 2011 and is cancer-free today.
Many others within the Cardinals organization have been touched by cancer. I can think of more than half a dozen colleagues within the front office who have successfully undergone treatment for one form of cancer or another. Sadly, we have all lost good friends and loved ones.
A few years ago, in response to a number of members of the baseball PR family like Melody who were battling cancer, the public relations departments of the thirty teams in baseball along with Major League Baseball banded together to raise money for cancer research by hosting an auction at the annual Winter Meetings. Over the last two years, through the combined efforts of this fraternity of baseball communication professionals, over half a million dollars has been raised for cancer research.
Earlier this year, Monica Pence Barlow, the Director of Public Relations for the Baltimore Orioles, passed away at the age of 36 due to complications from lung cancer. Monica continued to work and live her life to the fullest, even after her diagnosis.
Today, we have launched a charity auction offering unprecedented baseball experiences and rare items to raise awareness and funds for cancer research. Funds raised for this year’s auction will be donated to LUNGevity, the largest national lung cancer-focused nonprofit, in memory of Monica.
While we may never know what causes some cancers, we can continue to invest in developing effective treatments and cures. We can all do our part. If you haven’t yet finished your holiday shopping and you have a Cardinals fan on your list, I urge you to consider bidding on one of the amazing items on this auction list.
They are one-of-a-kind experiences you can’t get anywhere else. On behalf of the Cardinals and the communications department, we hope you can help.
The St. Louis Cardinals kicked off December in the Christmas spirit with the third annual Cardinals Care #Gifts4Kids toy drive at Ballpark Village Wednesday, sponsored by KMOV and the American Red Cross.
“We are grateful this morning to have all the donations from Cardinals fans and supporters to bring a Merry Christmas to a bunch of kids who deserve it,” Keith Brooks, Director of Cardinals Care said.
In it’s first two years, the event helped collect nearly 2,000 toys and gifts cards for children of local military families and others in need.
“They are just overjoyed and the parents are extremely grateful,” Brooks relayed the kids’ reaction when receiving gifts in the past. “This can be a stressful time for families, especially families who have a family member who is not with them during the holidays. So we get just a ton of positive feedback from those families.”
Fans were able to drop off new, unwrapped toys at the Clark Street entrance to Ballpark Village between 6 a.m. and 1 p.m. and received a Cardinals stocking and stocking stuffer, a coupon for a free pizza from Papa John’s, as well as a complimentary hot chocolate from Delaware North Sportservice.
“If you think about it, for these children, it’s almost like they are getting two gifts,” KMOV anchor and three year supporter of the toy drive Claire Kellett said. “In addition to the toy or gift card, they are also getting the thought that somebody is thinking of them this holiday season, supporting them, showing that they care. It’s unbelievable what our community does.”
In addition to the annual Breakfast with Santa to be held at Scott Air Force Base Dec. 6, organizations like foster home support group Angels’ Arms will be receiving toy drive donations as well.
“To tell the kids that a group with the Cardinals has adopted you and asked the community to support you, that means a lot,” founder of Angels’ Arms Bess Wolfong explained. “For the first time these kids are going to get a lot of gifts and we can’t wait to see their faces.”
Cardinals Care received $1,100 in gift cards and 772 gifts, while also donating another 600 items, reporting more than 1,300 gifts to be donated as a result of this year’s toy drive.
“I’m so moved to see what people are doing,” said Wolfong. “They don’t even know where these gifts are going and they are digging in their pockets and doing what they can to give something.”
An anecdote from Cardinals Care Director Keith Brooks on how the #Gifts4Kids holiday toy drive began:
“This all started when Bill DeWitt encouraged our front office to adopt a family at Christmas. It was such a popular thing that the front office did, that we lavished families with gifts to the point where we added families. As it evolved we realized that this was a time of year where people really wanted to be generous, so we partnered with American Red Cross to find other families outside those that we were adopting to support during the holidays. And so, the first year we were just overwhelmed by the generosity of the public for supporting this. Year two it grew even more to the point where we felt we need to add some recipients. We wanted to spread the wealth, if you will, to a number of kids. So every year we’ve grown in the number of toys we’ve collected, and subsequently we’ve grown in the number of kids we’ve been able to support with the toys.”
~ Teryn Schaefer
Click here to see more photos of the event.
In celebration of Stan Musial’s 94th birthday, Friday the St. Louis Cardinals honored ‘Stan the Man,’ cutting the ribbon of the new, year-long “Man off the Field” exhibit.
“People really come here to see baseball, so we have our Stan Musial baseball stuff, but this really addresses another five decades of his life in a way that is really compelling,” Paula Homan, Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum curator explained. “And it helps people know why Stan is such a great guy, why Stan is ‘The Man.’”
Several of Musial’s family members gathered, along with Cardinals President, Bill DeWitt III to reveal the new exhibit inside the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum at Ballpark Village, running until November of 2015.
“Without mom, a lot of these things wouldn’t be here,” Dick Musial, Stan Musial’s son, explained how all of these historical mementos made their way into this exhibit. “She saved them all, thank goodness.”
Many had their hands in the making of this project. Among them, some of their favorite pieces range from his boy scout neckerchief he wore during his retirement ceremony on Sept. 29, 1963, to his Cardinal red jacket.
“The red jacket is special. My dad wore that as much as possible,” Dick said. “He loved the Cardinals. He was a Cardinal, no doubt about that.”
A Cardinal that the organization was proud to put on display Friday.
“For us as the Cardinals, how lucky are we that our greatest player was also our greatest ambassador off the field,” said DeWitt.
The Museum is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., daily. Visit cardinals.com/theman for more information.
~ Teryn Schaefer
Members of the St. Louis Cardinals front office staff, along with team mascot, Fredbird, delivered school supplies and smiles to area school children today. The group participated in the KidSmart Wish Bag Celebration at Oak Hill Elementary School in St. Louis.
The volunteers helped deliver backpacks full of school supplies, books, and other treats to each classroom.
Ann Seeney, Director of Human Resources for the St. Louis Cardinals and volunteer said:
“It was so exciting to see the kids get excited over their new backpacks and school supplies that were donated to the KidSmart program. One little girl in a class we visited had just told her teacher that morning that she didn’t have a backpack. Needless to say, she was elated with her new cool pink backpack. The highlight was seeing the kids erupt when Fredbird walked in and decided to dance with the teacher. Hopefully, after all the excitement, the teachers were able to get everyone focused and back on task. What a great way to start a Friday morning.”
The front office staff at the Cardinals also participate in Push for Pencils, a school supply drive to benefit KidSmart.
See more photos from the day in the gallery below.
~ Marybeth Rea
The Cardinals Radio Network is comprised of 133 stations in nine Midwest states that air radio broadcasts from who we think are the world’s best radio announcers, Mike Shannon and John Rooney. We have outstanding radio affiliates that are also diehard Cardinals fans. We truly appreciate their support and always look forward to seeing them at a game.
We are fortunate to have a fantastic group of radio stations that are a part of Cardinal Nation. Caps off to our CRN affiliate in Park Hills, MO…B104.3.
POSTSEASON (SATURDAY, OCTOBER 11) – by Larry State.
Being early in day, before start of NLCS in St. Louis: Buzz around Busch Stadium – inside, outside – building, mid-morning.
Game 1 of NLCS between Cardinals-Giants, later tonight.
Postseason logos, receiving fresh touch-up paint on foul-territory grass.
Cool, overcast morning; large fans assist with drying of field paint.
Cameras, technicians, other equipment abound throughout ballpark. In service-level hallway, small monitor displays Cardinals lineup graphic, likely to be used later during broadcast. Around two corners of hallway, TV camera operator sets up, waiting, waiting, waiting patiently, near entrance to visiting team clubhouse; will capture video of Giants arrive, when Giants arrive, for TV.
Outside ballpark, crowd mills here, there, back again. Among crowd, large wedding party, dressed in marriage finest, taking photos. Patrick and Michelle, to become the Holloways later in day, ceremony not long after 4 p.m. Couple stopped by reporter, agree to smile for camera. Wedding a big day for both; despite busy day of nuptials, couple-to-be asked if they root for the Cardinals during game. Couple answer in unison: “I do.”
POSTSEASON (THURSDAY, OCTOBER 9) – Being an off-day, between NLDS win and Game 1 of NLCS still two days off:
Overcast, almost cool, after late-night/early morning rain. Warning track behind home plate, mushy. Left field, into left-center, covered by silvery-white infield tarp. Postseason logos, still painted on grass but fading somewhat, four days after first painting. Field crew, many shovels, shoveling on tarp, removing sediment accumulated from tarp use during games. Will prevent sediment from dumping back on infield grass next time tarp needed to cover infield.
Ballpark tour group filing down through seats to field. Group walks on warning track, takes photos at home plate, more in home dugout. In seats behind home plate, camera technician assembles parts of TV camera, new TV camera position for excitement of NLCS games.
On service level of stadium, provisions being delivered for upcoming series: fresh mushrooms, heavy whipping cream, diced celery, cheese slices. In mostly empty Cardinals Club – upscale dining area inside stadium, behind home plate seating, under stands – chefs and other staff testing new pizza oven, for future use at Cardinals Nation venue across street from stadium. Chef inspecting pizza when cooked, noting firmness of crust, then cooking another. Can confirm suitability of both cheese and pepperoni varieties of new product.
Noon approaches, Cardinals begin to take field for workout. Pitchers to rightfield corner, jog, knees high, warmup exercises. Marco Gonzales, promising young southpaw, runs lap around field on warning track, threading between TV-equipment carts near visiting dugout; completes lap in right field and joins fellow pitchers. Position players play catch near infield, take positions on field. Three coaches, all near home plate, hitting ground balls at nearly same time to infielders. Nearby, field crew watching intently, seeming ready to pounce and protect field if heavy rain begins.
Workout ends, players go inside. Swarm of media to home dugout, interview ahead with Cardinals manager Mike Matheny. Waiting, waiting, for manager to arrive. Word sent, rainfall to move interview indoors. Media herd marches across warning track, into usual interview room, now furnished for larger crowd. Cameras, lights, set up and turned on quickly. Manager enters, calm smile on face, takes place at table, fielding questions.
On field, field crew in action, pulling tarp over infield. Bird, landing on seatback in first row, with excellent view of field. Asked to pose for photo with field in background. Bird takes umbrage at media request, flies away in huff, refusing to answer questions.
- Larry State
POSTSEASON (Saturday, October 4, early morning) – Cloud-free, sunny day in St. Louis, literally and figuratively, after comeback win previous evening in L.A.
Later in evening, Game 2 of Cardinals-Dodgers battle on tap. At moment, a quiet, chilly, early morning, many perhaps still asleep. Around Busch Stadium work continues, readying ballpark for Game 3 of NLDS, scheduled for Monday.
On field, five-man crew performing traditional, near-annual St. Louis chore, painting designs in grass for postseason games. In foul territory, first- and third-base side, identical patterns taking shape. Large, vinyl patterns, 16 feet by 42 feet, set on grass. Many holes pre-cut in vinyl patterns. Painters use rollers, apply paint over all precut holes, red, white, blue. Vinyl patterns folded, carried away; painted, connect-the-dots pattern remains, painted on grass. Painters do connect dots, completing MLB postseason image seen on grass of all fields hosting playoff games.
Trick of field-painting trade learned while observing. High frequency of grass mowing, leading to presence of small grass clippings. Painters, careful to use paint rollers slowly, avoiding phenomenon of white-painted grass clippings bouncing off ground, into air, and onto painter.
Behind home plate, familiar Birds-on-Bat logo ready for painting. Large pattern, used many times in past, made by sign company performing painting job. Many pieces to assemble. Duct tape, masking tape, some 200 nails, all helping hold things in place. Nearby, member of Cardinals field crew takes care not to soak painters while watering infield grass.
Field-painting crew gone, other work continues around stadium. Two-man crew updates rotating advertising signs to display during postseason games. Different paint crew, between 5-10 painters, continues job, begun roughly month earlier, applying new coat of paint to all structural steel in ballpark. Around lowest level of stadium, taped signs posted, providing directions to newcomers from national media,how to find various workrooms for media during playoffs. Media interview room, normally laid-back layout of one podium and two small rows of chairs, upgraded; raised platform in front (for interview subjects, to be seated at table) and back (for two-tiered multitude of TV cameras), indicating next game at ballpark, figuratively speaking, to be played on bigger stage.
Being an unofficial, semi-personalized account of life behind scenes and around edges of Cardinals
POSTSEASON (Friday, October 3) – Postseason being not just event or schedule, but seeming at times to become actual place of its own …
Cardinals-Dodgers matchup in Game 1 of NLDS set to start in three hours, far off in Los Angeles.
In St. Louis, chilly, windy, gray, off-and-on rain falling during parts of day at empty Busch Stadium, home of Game 3 of series three days hence. Red-white-blue bunting, already in place around façade of multiple seating decks for postseason games, ripples in wind, only sound in otherwise silent seating bowl of ballpark. Video board at stadium serving as giant TV, displaying Tigers-Orioles Game 2 of ALDS.
Team employees, seeming to forget existence of any shirt color other than red. Excitement building during day through office and cubicle, with team-employee watch party on tap for start of game on TV at 5:37 local time. File cabinet in hallway stocked with delicious, non-nutritional snacks, sent to office as postseason-celebration gift; employees avoid lethargy despite mass consumption of pretzels, corn chips, candy corn.
Chatter throughout team front office likely same as many other places – lineup predictions, greatness of Wainwright-Kershaw matchup, review of other games throughout day. Some meetings and discussion topics perhaps unique to front office, during prep for Series arrival in St. Louis on Monday: identity of anthem singers, exact timing of lineup introductions, location and nature of pregame Monday pep rally.
Late in day, word arriving of possible 8:37 local game time for Monday game in St. Louis. Employees scurrying to last-minute, end-of-week tasks, halls growing quiet, as all hurry to watch-party gathering site near stadium. Silent, resting, ballpark awaits Saturday arrival of field-painters, sign-makers, for NLDS prep work over weekend.