ST. LOUIS -- The fans turned out for a game, but the truth is, the Cardinals will play 81 times at Busch Stadium this year.
Opening Day festivities are a once-a-year treat, and thankfully, the Cards got the ceremonies in before the rain started falling.
The pregame events included the traditional motorcade around the warning track -- led by the Budweiser Clydesdales with Hall of Famer Lou Brock riding on the beer wagon. Three fellow Hall of Famers rode around the warning track in convertibles, followed by the 2008 Cardinals coaching staff and team. Even the greatest Cardinal of them all, Stan Musial, was in attendance -- though he didn't take a ride around the track.
Manager Tony La Russa led the current Cards in a Ford Thunderbird, and he participated in an on-field interview with FSN's Jim Hayes while he rode. Then the players rode in Ford Mustangs, with nine Redbirds getting their first taste of playing in St. Louis as a Cardinal.
It wasn't all festive, however. The club recognized Marty Hendin, who passed away in January, with a moment of silence. Hendin was a team vice president and one of the Cardinals' great ambassadors.
A ceremonial first pitch was thrown out by two members of the University of Missouri football team -- quarterback Chase Daniel threw a football from the mound to receiver Jeremy Maclin. And for more Mizzou flavor, the "Mini Mizzou Marching Band" played the national anthem.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.