ST. LOUIS — Cardinals baseball is finally back in St. Louis.
This year's team led by newcomer Nolan Arenado and veterans Adam Wainwright and Yadier Molina will welcome fans back to the ballpark for the first time since 2019 on Thursday against Kolten Wong and the Milwaukee Brewers.
This year's Opening Day will look a little bit different of course because of COVID-19 protocols and guidelines. However, the Cardinals are planning for as close to a "normal" home opener as possible with around 30% fan capacity allowed socially distanced in the stands.
Here's a rundown of the day's events inside the stadium ahead of the game:
12:00 – 12:50 p.m.
Cardinals batting practice (subject to change)
12:55 – 1:50 p.m.
Brewers batting practice (subject to change)
1:00 p.m. Gates Open
All fans, ages 21 and older, will receive a magnet featuring the 2021 Cardinals schedule, compliments of Budweiser.
Pregame ceremonies begin with an appearance by the famous Budweiser Clydesdales.
Lou Brock and Bob Gibson tribute.
Introduction of Cardinals Hall of Famers to centerfield batter’s eye.
Salute to Mike Shannon from KMOX radio booth.
Introduction of Cardinals Chairman and CEO, Bill DeWitt Jr. at home plate.
Introduction of the 2021 St. Louis Cardinals via Ford motorcade. The players will ride in 2021 Ford F-150 Lariat trucks.
Introduction of the Milwaukee Brewers.
Moment of silence.
National Anthem performed from centerfield batter’s eye by Dr. Shephali Wulff, an infectious disease specialist with SSM Health in St. Louis.
Cardinals Opening Day video.
Ceremonial First Pitch by Cardinals Hall of Fame 3B Scott Rolen to current Cardinals 3B Nolan Arenado.
What to know this year
If you're lucky enough to have a ticket to Opening Day this year, or any game for the foreseeable future, here are some other things you need to know before you go:
To begin the season, up to approximately 32% of capacity will be allowed to attend games at Busch Stadium. The stadium has 46,000 seats, which means up to 14,720 tickets could be sold per game.
A number of policies and protocols have been implemented to ensure the health and safety of fans, employees and players in 2021, including:
- Socially-distanced seating: Guests will be seated in pods of four or less with a minimum distance of 6-feet between seating pods in all directions.
- Masks required: Masks will be required at all times in all areas of the stadium, including the seating bowl, unless guests are actively eating and drinking.
- Mobile-only ticketing: All game tickets will be delivered via the MLB Ballpark app, ensuring a touchless entry into the ballpark.
- Cashless transactions: Concession stands, kiosks and other retail transactions made in the stadium will be cashless and only offer credit and debit payment options. Debit cards will be available for purchase using cash with no service fees at a limited number of locations inside the stadium.
- Designated entry gates: Guests will be directed to enter and exit the stadium through one of six designated entry gates to expedite the process and limit crowding at any one entrance. A designated entry gate will be noted on each ticket. Guests will not be permitted to exit and re-enter the stadium.
- Bags not permitted: To reduce contamination and ensure touchless entry, bags will are not permitted to be brought in to Busch Stadium, except for medical or diaper bags.
- Hand sanitizer: Hand sanitizer dispensers are widely available throughout the ballpark.
- Staff health screenings: All full-time employees and event staff are subject to health and temperature screenings before entering the stadium.
- Cleaning: Busch Stadium’s HVAC systems have been upgraded by replacing filters in the ballpark to MERV 13 to ensure cleaner air in any enclosed spaces. Electrostatic sprayers and EPA registered disinfectants will continue to be utilized to disinfect rooms and surfaces throughout the ballpark.