Rain can't dampen home opener festivities

Rain can't dampen home opener festivities

ST. LOUIS -- Rain cancelled an appearance by the famed Budweiser Clydesdales, but the Cardinals' home opener festivities otherwise went on as scheduled before Monday's 5-3 win over Cincinnati.

The weather cooperated enough for the Cardinals' seven living Hall of Famers -- including the most recent inductee, Tony La Russa -- and members of the 2014 club to be introduced via motorcade before first pitch. A steady light rain fell on them as they lined the field and later watched the 2013 National League champions banner be hoisted up a pole in left-center field.

The Cardinals had Mike Shannon, Danny Cox and Jim Edmonds carry out league championship trophies of the team's past before general manager John Mozeliak presented the one won in '13.

"I think part of the excitement that we have with the Hall of Famers and just the whole presentation of guys coming out the way they do in cars and trucks, it's unique," manager Mike Matheny said before the festivities began. "Everybody does it very well. People put a lot of time and effort into it. But it seems like there are some more long-standing traditions here than in other places."

A soggy Busch Stadium crowd saved one of its biggest ovations for Chris Carpenter, who brought his two children to the mound for a ceremonial first pitch. Matheny, his former batterymate, caught the pitch, which Carpenter threw with conviction.

"It was a great experience," Peter Bourjos said. "I've heard a lot about it, and everything I heard, it lived up to it. The fans were unbelievable. Getting to meet all the Hall of Famers and just driving around the stadium, getting to take it all in, was something very special that I'm never going to forget."

Like Bourjos, this was also Kolten Wong's first opportunity to experience Opening Day under the shadow of the Gateway Arch.

"It was magical," Wong said. "Even though it was raining, I was still super-excited and super-thrilled to see the amount of fans that came out. To be a part of the whole festivities that went down, it was awesome."

Jenifer Langosch is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, By Gosh, It's Langosch, and follow her on Twitter @LangoschMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.