Cardinal Nation Is A Small World After All

Trip downtown and through Ladue and Olivette produces some surprising results.

You never know who you are going to meet within the confines of Cardinal Nation.

Ladue-Frontenac Patch, of late has been featuring the exceptional writing talents of transplanted Oklahoman Rhonda Weiche.

Rhonda has been living in St. Louis for two years and is eager to dive into the local social scene and learn everything she can about the world of journalism. So I invited her to come along on a World Series gambit on opening day.

We met up around three o’clock on the afternoon of Game 1 at Busch Stadium with the new nemeses, the Texas Rangers.

First stop was the platform at the Brentwood MetroLink station. We were there about 30 seconds when we ran into retired Globe-Democrat sportswriter Myron Holtzman and his lovely wife Eleanor.

The Holtzmans were all ready to settle into a warm night of game watching from their new retirement villa at Ladue Road and Olive Boulevard in Chesterfield. The phone rang earlier in the week, and they learned their two sons, living in Chicago and Phoenix, bought World Series tickets. So with a backpack stuffed with dinner and wearing heavy Cardinals‘ jackets, mom and pop were ready to brave the elements in what turned into be one thrilling series-opening victory.

Holtzman was one of the talented sportswriters who toiled under the watchful gaze of the veteran Bob Burnes. The morning paper had an all-star lineup, the likes of Jack Herman, Bill Kerch, Rich Koster, Dennis Dillion, Dave Lange and many others.

Back in the '80s, Holtzman and yours truly used to be sitting in the press box, covering the Cardinals in the fall classics. The conversation quickly turned to the late, great public relations vice president Marty Hendin who ruled the roost at the second Busch Stadium. Marty took care of his own, and Jim and Myron were always on the gold label media invite list.

Next stop was Kiener Plaza. Weiche got an earful working over Cardinal nation, writing furiously in her notebook. Then it was back to the main gate of Busch, and interview time with the real Rally Squirrel (a guy from Alton) then a brief chat with talented USA Today baseball writer Steve Gardner.

Gardner fielded questions like an international diplomat.

While folks were busy ringing the entrance dinger at Busch, the intrepid Ladue-Frontenac scribes were back on the train, headed to Brentwood.

Next was a quick detour to Walgreen's in Clayton. First rule of photo journalism, have a fresh set of backup batteries for your digital camera. I had extra batteries, uncharged for months.

After that, it was a stop at the first of the two local watering holes to get the true flavor of Cardinal fans at Lester’s in Ladue, then Fallon’s in Olivette.

At 6 p.m., we got the last parking spot on the lot, and the last table in the prep area between dining rooms. But that was fine because we needed somewhere to set up laptops and charge batteries. We could see several of 64 TVs in the place.

Sure enough, I ran into Marilyn Steinback of Frontenac, and her grown son Bobbie of Ladue. Bobbie graduated from Ladue High School with my daughter Emily.

The bar was packed like sardines stuffed in a jar. One could hardly move or breathe. The excitement was at a fever pitch.

Last stop on this adventerous night was trendy Fallon’s Bar & Grill in the Shoppes at Price Crossing in Olivette. Host Chris Whitworth could not have been more hospitable. The crowd was raucous but well behaved.

Holding forth at the corner of the bar was Shoppes at Price Crossing major domo Greg Yawitz. “I only watch games from my basement (retreat) at home, or from Fallon’s,” he said, hoisting an ice cold Guinness.

Ensconced in a booth in the dining room was Beckie Jacobs, owner of Serendipity Ice Cream in Old Webster Groves and former mayor of Olivette. She was out with “the girls.” Her husband Mitch and son were relaying photos from their seats in Busch Stadium.

The Cards won 3-2. The night is over at 11. Rhonda Weiche had her first MetroLink train ride, a World Series trip around Busch Stadium, and I doubt it could have gone better.


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