Opening Day, Stan the Man, and what it means to be a Cardinals fan.

The green grass blows in the wind.  The sound of a baseball smacking into a glove.  The pop of bubble gum, the smell of beer and hot dogs, and the crack of a bat as the best time of the year is finally upon us.  There is nothing better to a baseball fan than Opening Day.  I’m from St. Louis, so to me, and to so many fellow St. Louisians, Opening Day is better than Christmas.  Opening Day is when the team that never disappoints us finally comes back.

Gone are the days watching the Rams toil and fail, the Blues lose in overtime again.  Gone are those dark, dreary days of teams not amounting to anything.  Back are our boys in red and white, with that cheeky red bird proudly emblazoned on their chests. Back are the nights when you scream with joy as our team crushes the Cubs, bludgeons the Brewers, and tonight, annhilates Arizona.

Now, our greatest warrior, our perfect knight, Stan Musial, Stan the Man, is no longer with us.  But his memory will live on forever in St. Louis, because he is St. Louis. You can see him in the joy of every little kid that hugs Fredbird, every old man who reminisces about the good old days.  He’s the rally flags, the rally squirrel, the winning home run on the last strike, he’s in every single one of us.

When I heard he had passed, I bawled.  Disclaimer, I cry at anything Cardinals or St. Louis  related, that how deep my obsession with this city and team runs.  The Blues scored six goals in their game the night Musial died? Waterworks.  The Budweiser Clydesdale commercial during the Super Bowl? Niagra Falls.  The coverage of Musial’s funeral? Absolute meltdown.  But the way the city came together, the funeral procession he was given, is enough to make any baseball fan shed a tear.  You will not truly understand what it means to give your heart to team until you understand what it is like to be a Cardinals fan.  And Stan the Man understood what it meant to be a Cardinal fan.

The Cardinals will be wearing patches on their jerseys for him, and the city named one of the new Clydesdale foals after him.  Stan Musial will live on, as long as there are cheers in Busch Stadium, and the Redbirds are still flying high.  So rejoice St. Louis! Baseball is back, and so are the Birds.

Long live Stan Musial. Long live the Cardinals.

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