I think I’ve graced the Cardinals’ Winter Warm-Up with my presence three times. The last one came in 2002, and when they introduced new Cardinal So Taguchi to the stage, that was it for me (though I believe I was the first to boo Tino Martinez as he was also making his debut appearance as a Cardinal that weekend).
The funny thing is, I’m sort of a memorabilia and autograph dork. I’ve got a shit-ton of that stuff back at the folks’ house, and most of my top childhood memories are from hanging around old Busch getting autographs.
So with dozens of dealers selling their memorabilia and many players signing autographs, not to mention all the Cardinal-related hubbub in mid-January, you’d think I would have a McKernan-at-a-porn-convention sized boner of excitement.
But I don‘t. The money is an easy excuse, as it’ll be $40 to walk in the door. Then, unless you really like Q & A sessions with John Rooney, everything else costs money. However, since I’m a little saint, I won’t use monetary reasons for skipping out on a charitable function. The real reason I’m turned off on the Winter Warm-Up: the fans.
Do you remember those “Cardinal Fans of the Week” that joesportsfan.com runs? Those are the people who show up to this thing. Don’t get me wrong - I love going to the stadium, and when it’s clappy clap time, everyone blends in together. But if you look - I mean, reeeeally look - at us (well, them) once in a while…we are some hideous, nut job motherfuckers.
Hopefully you don’t take what I’m saying to offense. The studies show that ALL insideSTL readers are beautiful people on the outside. I’m talking about “them.”
So that’s why I stay away. You, however, are welcome to go. And in the sake of ignoring the charitable benefits, here’s how much you’ll be spending over the weekend:
Admission Pass - Unless you know a guy who knows a guy, this is the minimum. The passes used to be laminated at least; you just can’t catch a break, can you? Total: $40 (if you’re a single loser; if you have kids, then God help you)
Pujols Autograph Instant Win Scratch-Off - You could either pay $175 for Bert’s autograph, or five/ten bucks for a scratch-off ticket. Who are you kidding, you love the drama a fucking scratch-off ticket brings. You’ll buy two. Then three more. Then five. Total: $10 ($1 each)
Somebody’s Autograph (player TBD) - Think of the awesome 30 second conversation you could have with a Chris Duncan or Jack Clark (Dirty Sanchez’s and buffets, respectively). Adam Kennedy is $5, that could be fun if you want to try to get kicked out for cursing. You could talk to Jason LaRue about his facial hair plans for ‘09, or Brad Thompson about playing amateur ball for Jerry’s Kids. Despite some appealing free autographs (ie. Brett Wallace, Stan Royer), you’ll break down and buy an autograph from somebody. Total: $10
Food/Drink - All this excitement is making me thirsty. If it’s Cardinal-related, get out the credit card. Total: $11 (rounding up from the odd $10.75 total they always throw at you)
All Star Game Crap - You didn’t want to be “that guy” back in August ‘08, buying All Star Game shirts eleven months in advance. But we’re at least within the same year, so you’ll find a shirt, a hat, a pin, a patch…or all of the above. My mom already succumbed to buying ASG paraphernalia, so you’re next. Total: $30
Discount 2006 World Series Commemoratives - Yup, they still have it. Yup, it’s 70% off. Yup, you’ll buy it. Total: $25
By now you’re ready to walk out the door. Then you see Team Fredbird selling more of those Pujols Scratchers. You’ll pull out your last ten bucks, realizing you ought to go home with something left (as the dignity was gone hours ago). So you ask the girls for three more scratch-offs. They tell you that you can get your picture taken with them for the full ten. Fuck! Those evil bitches, they are conniving. Total: $10
And there you have it: $136 total. See ya next year.
I’ll leave it up to Mr. Hooks or Mr. Kiley to take on any on-the-scene journalism if they so desire. If you’d like a picture of me on my couch, I’ll see what I can do.
For more HMW, check out www.bertflex.com