What a year it has been for everyones, but as we enter Thanksgiving week we realize there is so much to be thankful for. Here is a short list of the things St. Louis sports fans can be thankful for.
- That there was even an MLB season.
On March 13 of this year, Major League Baseball announced that the remainder of spring training games were cancelled and the start of the regular season would be delayed by at least two weeks,–April 9. At that time the coronavirus pandemic was shutting down most of the entire sports world and everything was so uncertain.
- That during a pandemic when so many players and other personnel got COVID-19 no one was seriously affected (that we know about)
The entire season was a question mark as far as the pandemic was concerned. There was special protocol for the Cardinals and all of the employees as well as the media. MLB had a shortened season of 60 games and during that time, the Cardinals had a coronavirus outbreak that hit 10 players and eight staff members and forced a 17-day interruption to their season.
- That the Cardinals made the playoffs.
To even have fielded a team this year was something, but as Matt Carpenter said on Aug. 17, “If we make the playoffs, I think it would be an amazing story of perseverance, grit and nothing short of a miracle to be honest with you.”
- That St. Louis was blessed to remember so great men who have worn the birds on the bat.
Though 2020 saw the loss of Cardinal greats Lou Brock and Bob Gibson, Cardinals fans can remember them fondly as the exciting players they were who brought World Series action to St. Louis in the 1960’s and the same year they passed away they join Stan the Man Musial who is celebrating his 100th birthday in Heaven.
2020 commemorated the 100th Birthday of the late Stan Musial and to commemorate what would have been Stan Musial’s 100th birthday, the St. Louis Sports Commission and the Musial Awards organized a drive-by birthday party parade on Saturday, Nov. 21 at the Musial statue outside Busch Stadium. Fans joined the procession which took place in the afternoon.
Stan’s family, including children and grandchildren who reside in St. Louis, were at the statue during that time. From their vehicle, at a safe distance, fans shareed well-wishes with them as they drove by.
- That St. Louis was awarded an expansion team in Major League Soccer
MLB Commissioner Don Garber came to town to deliver the announcement: “It is with great pride that we welcome St. Louis to Major League Soccer,” said Commissioner Don Garber. “St. Louis is a city with a rich soccer tradition, and it is a market we have considered since the league’s inception. Our league becomes stronger today with the addition of the city’s deeply dedicated soccer fans, and the committed and innovative local ownership group led by Carolyn Kindle-Betz, the Taylor family, and Jim Kavanaugh.”
The St. Louis team, will be the 28th team in the MLS, and will begin play in spring 2022. They will play in a new stadium to be built just west of Union Station, and will bring jobs to the area.
6. That the Blues made it to the playoffs.
Fans had high hopes for the Blues after the exciting year they had in 2019. Even though the Blues didn’t repeat as Stanley Cup Champions they did make the playoffs and like the Cardinals were able to finish the season.
7 That College sports were able to return.
Even though we have had to deal with a lot of cancelled and postponed games. The Missouri Tigers football team is playing a modified football schedule under their new head coach Eli Drinkwitz. The Tigers basketball team is getting ready to start as Saint Louis University and both have the potential of having really good seasons.
8. There are many who say the biggest thing to be thankful for is that there is only a little over a month left in 2020.
To quote Clark Griswold in National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation: “Worse? How could it get any worse? Take a look around you! We’re on the threshold of hell!”
Earlier in the year we posted a coronavirus timeline, and looking back on it, it is amazing that anyone was able to play any sports at all—and that’s why there is so much to be thankful for.
Chronology of Events With COVID-19 and MLB in 2020
Dec. 31, 2019- Chinese government releases that they have been treating dozens of “pneumonia” cases in Wuhan, China.
First week of January, 2020- coronavirus is identified.
Jan. 11- First case of death from coronavirus is in China.
Jan. 20- First case reported in the United States; in Washington State, where a man in his 30’s developed symptoms after returning from a trip to Wuhan, China.
Jan. 30 – World Health Organization (WHO) declares the virus to be a public health emergency
Jan. 31- President Trump suspends travel from China to the U.S. and advises against going to China.
Feb. 10- Pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Arizona and Florida.
Feb. 11- World Health Organization officially names the strain of virus COVID-19 from coronavirus 2019 (when it was first detected in China)
Feb. 12- Death toll in China hits 1,113 and total number of confirmed cases rose to 44,653, with 393 cases outside of China, in 24 countries.
Feb. 14- First death in Europe
Position players begin reporting to spring training.
Feb. 22- Spring Training games start
Cactus and Grapefruit League spring training games begin.
Feb. 29- First death in United States- near Seattle, Washington.
March 4– WHO confirms the 100th U.S. case of COVID-19.
March 7- A young woman from the St. Louis area tests positive for coronavirus, the first person in the state to be confirmed, officials announce.
March 9, 2020– Signs start to show that MLB is becoming concerned about COVID-19
Media is banned from locker rooms.
Following a conference call with all 30 teams, MLB announces its intent to continue playing spring training games and to open the regular season on March 26 as planned. The statement notes that MLB has been in regular contact with health officials. MLB does, however, limit clubhouse access to players and essential personnel.
March 10- Cardinals still planning events and selling tickets for regular season
Cardinals send out two press releases: 1) The St. Louis Cardinals will host an exclusive Speaker Series event with 2019 National League Manager of the Year Mike Shildt on Thursday, April 23, from 6:00 pm – 9:45 pm at Busch Stadium.
2) The St. Louis Cardinals have announced the 2020 Budweiser Ballpark Pass is on sale now at cardinals.com/pass. The popular ticket subscription service gives fans the opportunity to attend as many Cardinals home games as they want each month (excluding Opening Day) for a monthly fee of $29.99.
March 11– Coronavirus is deemed a pandemic by WHO.
President Trump in Oval Office message halts all travel to US from Europe.
Various cities announce bans on group gatherings including Seattle and San Francisco which causes MLB teams in those cities to have talks with baseball about alternatives for them.
NBA suspends play for the season after player Rudy Gobert tests positive for COVID-19.
March 12- Cardinals play their last Spring Training game and shut down the Spring Training season.
July 1- The Cardinals opened Busch Stadium up for training camp in preparation for the 60-game shortened season.
July 24- Opening Day for the Cardinals