On the last Saturday night home game of the 2016 regular season, thousands lined up outside Hammons Field, well before the first pitch, to cheer on the Minor League Double-A Texas League affiliate of the 11-time World Champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Larry and Sharla Beurlein of Walnut Grove, Missouri, were among the thousands in line dressed head-to-toe in Cardinals red.
“If we’re not busy, we don’t miss a game,” said Larry, a die-hard fan of the Springfield and St. Louis teams. “There’s nothing like spending an evening at Hammons Field. And what’s so special about catching a Springfield Cardinals game is that you get to watch these players, some of whom will end up playing in the big leagues in St. Louis.”
The Beurleins were part of a crowd that marked the largest of the season and 13th-largest in team history.
“It’s just exciting!” added Sharla. “We think Springfield Cardinals fans are the best in the Minor Leagues and just love the eclectic atmosphere at these games. We’ll be here every season.”
Matt Gifford, vice president and general manager of the Springfield Cardinals agrees wholeheartedly.
“We do have the best fans in Minor League baseball because they are Cardinals fans,” said Gifford. “There’s such a pride in Springfield! You can see the future of Cardinals baseball at such an affordable price here in Springfield and you can get close to the players, you can get their autographs. It’s just a unique experience.”
Indeed, player interaction with fans is one of the special perks of attending a Cardinals game. Each night at Hammons Field, several players are stationed at the gate entrances to greet fans and sign autographs as the gates open. Players are sometimes available by the home dugout on the first base side before and after the game and are available to sign as time permits.
Gifford credits the Cardinals’ dedication to fans and the city of Springfield to the popular response the team has had in Springfield. “I still remember the reception [from people when we came to Springfield] and I would start with a handshake and they would find out I was with the Cardinals and that turned quickly into a hug,” he said.
Through the end of the 2015 season, a total of 73 former Springfield Cardinals have made their big league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals and more than 4.4 million fans have visited Hammons Field in the first 11 seasons of Springfield Cardinals Baseball.
Take yourself out to the ballgame! The 2017 season home opener is April 13!
The following are the planned game day giveaways for the 2017 season:
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