ST. LOUIS -- With 22 Caravan stops across six states and the three-day Winter Warm-Up event at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, the Cardinals will unofficially open the 2016 season this weekend, one month ahead of the team's pitchers and catchers Spring Training report date.Nearly 70 current
ST. LOUIS -- With 22 Caravan stops across six states and the three-day Winter Warm-Up event at the Hyatt Regency St. Louis at the Arch, the Cardinals will unofficially open the 2016 season this weekend, one month ahead of the team's pitchers and catchers Spring Training report date.
Nearly 70 current and former Cardinals players are expected to participate in the Winter Warm-Up, which runs Saturday through Monday and will feature autograph sessions, memorabilia displays, various presentations, Q&A sessions with management, auctions and much more.
Among those scheduled to take the stage over the weekend are general manager John Mozeliak (Saturday), assistant GM Michael Girsch (Sunday), scouting director Randy Flores (Sunday), farm director Gary LaRocque (Sunday) and principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. (Monday). Fans will have an opportunity to ask management questions during some of these sessions.
As they will throughout the 2016 season, the Cardinals plan to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their 2006 World Series championship in several ways over the weekend. Members of that team, including David Eckstein, Jeff Suppan, Adam Wainwright, as well as manager Tony La Russa, will be signing autographs at the Winter Warm-Up. On Monday, Brian Finch, Cardinals manager of stadium tours and museum outreach, will host a special on-stage presentation looking back at the performance of Yadier Molina and Wainwright in Game 7 of the '06 National League Championship Series.
Players from that '06 championship team will also be honored at the 58th annual Baseball Writers' Dinner, which will take place at the Marriott Grand Hotel on Sunday. In addition to celebrating the 10th anniversary of the team's 10th World Series title, the dinner will recognize several standout members of the 100-win 2015 club. Tickets remain available at stlouisbbwaa.com.
In addition to attending the Baseball Writers' Dinner, La Russa will host his ARF's Wine & Whiskers event the following night from 5-8 p.m. CT at the Redbird Club in Busch Stadium. For more information on that event, visit arflife.org.
Cardinals Caravan begins Friday, with six different groups of current and former players spreading out to cover six states, 21 cities and 22 stops throughout Cardinals Nation. For a complete list of caravan stops and participants, visit cardinals.com/caravan.
For those who previously purchased passes to Winter Warm-Up, those can be picked up at the Hyatt Regency's Will Call window beginning on Friday and throughout the weekend. A pass can be used to gain entrance for the entire three-day fanfest. Fans can also purchase those passes on site over the weekend. The cost is $40 for those 16 and older and $10 for kids ages 5 to 15. Children under 5 can enter for free.
Members of the military, police and fire departments will receive one free pass by showing an active ID at the Busch Stadium team store (through Friday) or at the Winter Warm-Up.
Player autographs will require a ticket and, in many cases, a donation to Cardinals Care, the beneficiary of all funds raised at the Winter Warm-Up. Any autograph tickets not already sold online will be available for purchase at the event. Donation amounts and autograph schedules can be found at cardinals.com/winterwarmup.
The Cardinals have also changed protocol for obtaining free autographs this year. Player autographs which do not necessitate a donation will still require a ticket. For those signing free autographs during the first two hours each day, tickets will be available on a first-come, first-served basis in that players' autograph line. Tickets for players signing later in the day will be made available two hours prior to that player's signing time at the autograph and admission sales booth, located on level 2 of the hotel.
While the weekend will center around the events at the Winter Warm-Up, the Cardinals will also have their nearby Busch Stadium Team Store open daily with specially-priced items on sale. Guided tours of Busch Stadium will be offered every 30 minutes Saturday through Monday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the only time each year that a visit to the Cards' clubhouse is offered in the tour.
The Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum is also included in all tour ticket purchases. The Museum will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information on these tours or to purchase tickets, visit cardinals.com/tours.
Ballpark Village's Cardinals Nation Restaurant has announced that it will offer guests a 10 percent discount on food and drink for those who show a Winter Warm-Up admission pass.
To read additional information about all these activities and find detailed schedules of the events, visit cardinals.com/winterwarmup and cardinals.com/caravan.
Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB, like her Facebook page Jenifer Langosch for Cardinals.com and listen to her podcast.