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What to know for the 2024 St. Louis Cardinals home opener

ST. LOUIS – A tradition like none other is almost here: Opening Day in St. Louis.

The 2024 St. Louis Cardinals home opener is set for Thursday against the Miami Marlins at Busch Stadium. First pitch is set for 3:15 p.m.

Tens of thousands are expected to gather around Downtown St. Louis to celebrate. Upwards of 48,000 lucky fans have a chance to fill up the stadium. Others may enjoy the festivities from Ballpark Village, local sports bars or other destinations around downtown.

Even if you’re not planning to attend the game, there is plenty to enjoy around Opening Day. Here’s FOX 2’s guide on what to know and expect…

Tickets and how to watch

If you’d like to see the home opener in-person, some tickets are still available. Tickets start at $49 before fees on the Cardinals’ website or $35 before fees on Ticketmaster.

If you’re unable to attend the home opener or festivities, you can catch the action through Bally Sports Midwest. There will be an extended pregame special that includes some interviews to start, then quickly moves into the coverage of the pregame ceremonies. That begins at 1:30 p.m.

To find a cable service that uses Bally Sports Midwest near you, click here. Click here for details. You can also listen to the action on radio through 1120 KMOX in the St. Louis area.

The matchup

The Cardinals will host the Miami Marlins for their home opener for the first time in franchise history. The Cardinals will bring at least three victories into the contest after seven road games in California to open the season. The Marlins, as of Wednesday morning, have yet to win a game over six contests.

Thursday’s pitching matchup will be Lance Lynn (4 IP, 0 ER, 5 K, 1 BB) vs. Ryan Weathers (4 IP, 3 ER, 5 K, 2 BB). The manager matchup will also be intriguing as Oli Marmol faces Skip Schumaker, a former Cardinal who also served as bench coach in Marmol’s first season as head coach in 2022.

The weather

Thursday morning and afternoon are still looking a little overcast and brisk after a cold front moved in earlier this week. FOX 2 forecasts are expecting a peak in the low 50s and temperatures in the 40s for much of the day. Precipitation chances look low. If you plan to venture outdoors for the game or events around it, bring gloves and hats and dress in layers as desired.

Opening Day pep rally

Celebrations begin early at Ballpark Village and Kiener Plaza. Fans will have a chance to enjoy the Ballpark Village pep rally from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursday and the Kiener Plaza pep rally from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday.

BALLPARK VILLAGE

This pep rally is free for anyone to attend. Fredbird, Team Fredbird, DJ Todd Thomas, Cardinals organist Dwayne Hilton, Cardinals Alumni and others will take the stage at the Together Credit Union Plaza. Guests should expect music, food and drink concessions, and possible opportunities to win Cardinals tickets and other prizes.

KIENER PLAZA

This pep rally is also free for anyone to attend. Join FOX 2 and KPLR 11, along with our partners, Y98 and 102.5 KEZK, as we co-host pregame festivities. Fans will have a chance to enjoy giveaways, food, and fun for all ages.

Timeline of pregame ceremonies

Important message for anyone attending the ballgame and wanting to experience it all: Give yourself extra time to get into Busch Stadium. Make sure you are in your seats by 2:30 at latest. That time is approximately when pregame ceremonies will begin. Gates will open at noon in anticipation of a large crowd.

Pregame ceremonies begin with the Budweiser Clydesdales, as per tradition, will make the opening lap around the field. Ownership team members Bill DeWitt Jr. and Bill DeWitt III, along with lead executive John Mozeliak, will head to the field for introductions after that.

Just after 2:30 p.m., the Cardinals will welcome several St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame members in red jackets. All members will be escorted in a Ford convertible motorcade.

Around 2:45 p.m., the Cardinals will begin player introductions. The Cardinals coaching staff and players will ride out in a Ford motorcade in similar fashion of the Hall of Famers. Players in the starting lineup will be introduced after the coaches, bench players and bullpen arms. The expected starting battery of Lance Lynn and Willson Contreras will likely use that time to warm up in the bullpen, but everyone else will be introduced as they get out of their vehicles.

The Miami Marlins will be announced after the Cardinals, likely right around 3 p.m.

After the player introductions, country music artist Michael B. Whit will perform the National Anthem, along with a color guard presentation from the Ft. Leonard Wood Joint Service Color Guard.

Both teams will be ready for action quickly after that. Lance Lynn will deliver the first pitch around 3:15 p.m.

Batting practice

Unlike many games throughout the season, ticketed fans will be allowed into the ballpark nearly three hours ahead of game time for a chance to walk around the stadium and watch the Cardinals in batting practice. The Marlins will take batting practice after the Cardinals.

The Cardinals’ batting practice is currently planned from 12:05-12:55 p.m. The Marlins’ session is scheduled for 1-1:50 p.m.

One of the best spots to watch batting practice is the outfield bleachers for a chance to catch a home run ball. The section most below Big Mac Land is a popular spot for right-handed hitters to hit a big fly that fans might be able to catch. Also check for spots near the center-field lawn, around the bullpens and right-field foul pole.

Gates open at noon for anyone wanting to see batting practice, walk around or get to their seats quickly.

Parking/Transportation

If you venture downtown, be prepared for a bit of a walk to Busch Stadium. Though the Ballpark Village lot is a popular close option, it will likely be unavailable for most come Thursday.

Some other nearby options include the Start parking lot under Interstate 64 along 7th Street, garages near Kiener Plaza and Union Station. Check out Parkopedia.com for a closer look at options.

Rideshares will drop off and pick up on the east side of the stadium on Broadway near Spruce Street or on the west side of the stadium on Spruce Street near the Westin Hotel. There will be six MetroLink stations and more than a dozen MetroBus routes serving downtown St. Louis on Thursday. For the MetroLink, red-line and blue-line stops will be open for access to the ballpark.

Cardinals roster

The Cardinals will carry a similar roster to what they had for their season opener in Los Angeles.

CATCHERS

  • Willson Contreras

  • Iván Herrera

INFIELDERS

OUTFIELDERS

STARTING PITCHERS

RELIEF PITCHERS

The only difference from the first game in Los Angeles is John King in place of Riley O’Brien in the bullpen. O’Brien ended up on the 10-game injured list during the first series.

Dylan Carlson, Tommy Edman, Sonny Gray, Keynan Middleton, Lars Nootbaar and Drew Rom all remain on the injured list, though there’s hope Gray and Nootbaar will be back within the next week or two.

Also worth noting

The Cardinals say that all concession stands, kiosks, and other retail transactions made at Busch Stadium are cashless. You can pay through debit or credit cards or Cardinals Cash on the MLB mobile app.

Ticketed fans may bring in bags, purses and soft-sided coolers no larger than 10” x 8” x 10.” Outside food and non-alcoholic beverages in factory-sealed plastic bottles no larger than 2 liters are also allowed. Several other non-essential items are prohibited. Click here for a listed of prohibited items.

Ticketed fans for the home opener will receive a magnet with the 2024 Cardinals schedule on it.

There are several new concessions and one new vendor at Busch Stadium this year. New food options include the Slinger Dog, the Triple Play BBQ Box and FarmTruk eats.

The Cardinals are 76-65-1 all-time in their home opener matchups, having won three of their last four and five of their last eight, according to Baseball Almanac.

FOX 2 will have on-air coverage from Busch Stadium in the morning, afternoon and evening hours. Also keep an eye on our website and social media channels for digital content. Play ball!

For the latest news, weather, sports, and streaming video, head to FOX 2.