(BaseballStL) -- There is something special about a home opener in any sport. The St. Louis Cardinals, though, take it to a whole new level.
The Budweiser Clydesdales followed by a caravan of the hall of famers and current players. The World Series trophies surrounding home plate. The bald eagles flying out to the batter’s eye in centerfield. The flyover after the National Anthem.
It’s a custom we have been spoiled with in St. Louis.
In recent years, the home opener always brought a certain mystery: Will Stan ‘The Man’ Musial be there? Will he be riding around the track waving to the crowd and showing off that sweet swing of his?
Sadly, we knew the answer this year.
His passing in January gave us all a reminder about why it’s special to be a Cardinals fan and why we shouldn’t take the magical experience of a home opener in St. Louis for granted.
Mr. Musial wasn’t there on Monday, but he also wasn’t forgotten.
Stan and Lil Musial’s four children unveiled a marker on the left center field wall. That marker is designed the same as the patches worn by the players throughout this season.
There was a video tribute to the life and career of Mr. Musial.
Finally, the National Anthem. It wasn’t a pop star belting out their own personal rendition. It was performed by members of the harmonica club that Mr. Musial belonged to. It was simple, yet so fitting.
Mr. Musial wasn’t there on Monday, but at the same time he will always be there. His statue will stand tall outside the stadium. His picture and the No. 6 will stay on the left field wall and the newest marker in left center will remain.
Those are the reasons Mr. Musial will never be forgotten. He will only be missed.