Cards fans to celebrate Rally Monday

Cards fans to celebrate Rally Monday

ST. LOUIS --- When it comes to baseball-related celebrations in St. Louis, there are never conflicts of interest.

After a weekend packed full of events to commemorate the final season at Busch Stadium and the Taste of St. Louis going on downtown, the Cardinals and Major League Baseball will host Rally Monday -- a pep rally intended to create excitement about the playoffs, which start next week.

Those who know Cardinals fans well don't expect any dropoff due to the event-packed weekend. On the contrary, Thane van Breusegen, senior director of corporate sales/marketing & stadium entertainment for the Cardinals, expects the crowd to be as large or larger than last year, when more than 8,000 showed up at the St. Louis Arch.

"It's the perfect storm," van Breusesgen described it as.

At 4 p.m., music will begin blaring outside the Gateway Mall located on Market Street and in between 10th and 8th Street, just two blocks from Busch Stadium. There will be food vendors and inflatables, most which will be left over from the Taste of St. Louis (which will be held in the same area). At 5:30, Cowboy Mouth will perform. The band -- which will perform a combination of its own songs and cover songs -- performed at last year's rally and received a great response.

"Cowboy Mouth has a loyal following. They play all over the country in smaller venues," van Breusegen said. "They are a great band from New Orleans. You will have people show up just to hear the band. It will be good because they interact (with the crowd) and you understand the words to their songs. Some people will come for the music, some for the event and some for both."

At 6 p.m., Cardinals radio and television announcers will be introduced, as well as former and current Cardinals players. Exactly which players will be there has yet to be determined.

At 6:30, Cowboy Mouth will take the stage again and play until dark, when fans will be treated to a fireworks show.

Rally Monday will take place in all eight cities of playoff-bound teams. Last year was the first year Rally Monday was held. After last year's turnout, van Breusegen said Major League Baseball was "overwhelmed" with the turnout.

"That's just typical St. Louis, in that our fans tend to overachieve at whatever we do, especially compared to our market size," van Breusegen said.

Van Breusegen feels the Cardinals have two advantages working for them: both years the team has clinched a playoff spot early enough to plan and give fans advance warning, and St. Louis' reputation as "Baseball City, USA."

"What's great is the type of people you get; everyone was decked out in their red like the game was getting ready to start," van Breusegen said. "That tends to impress people who come to our town. They say, 'Now I get it. This is why they talk about your town like it's a college football town. Its Monday night and people are dressed in baseball caps and all red.' "

Moving the location from the Arches to the Gateway Mall will make the venue more accessible to fans.

"What we think might happen is that when we have the party in downtown, you have the spill over -- people looking from outside their window or hotel or business or restaurant and say, 'Hey, let's pop over to that event," van Breusegen said.

"Whatever we are doing now fans want to be a part of it. Whether its T-shirts with the 'Final Season' logo or the Busch logo -- our fans can't get enough of it."

Stephen A. Norris is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.