A city-wide day of rest: Why the Cardinals home opener should be a holiday in St. Louis

Apr 5, 2019; St. Louis, MO, USA; The Budweiser Clydesdales runs around the warning track prior to the St. Louis Cardinals home opener against the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium. (Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports)


Shabbat is a special day on the Jewish calendar. It’s the only holiday celebrated on a weekly basis, giving those who observe a day to refrain from work, relax and unwind. After all, who doesn’t need a true break from the distractions that cause stress during the rest of the week?

Given the benefits of a day off work for Jews and non-Jews, I have a suggestion for an additional holiday on the secular calendar in St. Louis: the “Holy Day of Obligation,” for local sports fans, also known as the Cardinals’ home opener.

This is something I’ve been preaching since my days as sports editor of my high school newspaper. There’s no secular day that deserves a “day of rest” more than watching America’s pastime, while taking in the sights and sounds of an organization, and fanfare that’s been around for generations. Like on Shabbat, fans get to relax, unwind, and forget about their stressful lives.

For big sports fan such as myself, there are many special days, but the one that always sticks out in my mind is that first game at Busch Stadium. During these unprecedented times, the day will look a little different than years past, but I expect the tradition and memories to remain the same.

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I cherish the day because I grew up in St. Louis and was indoctrinated into Cardinals Nation at an early age. Now at age 23, I see the Cardinals as the standard of a winning organization in Major League Baseball.

I have been lucky enough to witness two World Series Championships; four National League Pennants; countless All-Star appearances; and a once-in-a-generation talent, Albert Pujols, don the Birds on the Bat for 11 years.

Given how much the team means to me and others in St. Louis, one thing has always confused me: Why do we have to work on the day of the home opener?

Maybe if it fell on a weekend or in the evening that would be one thing, but this year it’s scheduled to begin at 3:15 on a Thursday (April 9) afternoon.

The home opener is one of the reasons I fell in love with Cardinals baseball. The fanfare demonstrated by the organization on this day is second to none: whether it’s the return of Cardinals legends; the clomping of the Clydesdales around the outfield; or the sound of the organ blaring through Busch Stadium.

So, here’s my message to you, Cardinals Nation: Even if you don’t have the day off, take a moment to witness tradition and fervor at the reopened Busch Stadium, even if in limited capacity. 

See the Cardinals Hall of Famers, donning their red jackets, take the field once again. Pay tribute to Cardinals past, while honoring those we have lost, and look forward to the bright future ahead that is Cardinals baseball.

Happy Baseball Season, Cardinals fans. America’s pastime is back.