ST. LOUIS — The Cardinals are spending millions of dollars on memorabilia in an effort to ensure their planned hall of fame and museum is first-rate. They also are getting a big assist from Stan Musial.
Cardinals president Bill DeWitt III and team general manager John Mozeliak met with invited bloggers for 45 minutes on Sunday afternoon, April 28, 2013, as part of the club’s annual Blogger Event.
Relaxed and talkative, DeWitt and Mozeliak answered every question asked of them in a lively and unrestricted question-and-answer session with bloggers in a Busch Stadium executive conference room.
DeWitt said the long-awaited Ballpark Village next to Busch Stadium “is on track for opening in spring of next year.”
“We’re really moving fast,” DeWitt said. “We should see steel come up in three or four weeks.”
Ballpark Village will have three anchor tenants, DeWitt said. Those are:
– Cardinals Nation. This will feature a Cardinals hall of fame and museum, bar, restaurant, store and party deck with a view into Busch Stadium, DeWitt said.
In addition to including Cardinals already in the National Baseball Hall of Fame at Cooperstown, N.Y., the Cardinals Hall of Fame eventually will honor 50 to 70 other Cardinals, DeWitt said. He added the club still is working on the criteria for induction.
“We’ve been on the lookout for Cardinals memorabilia to buy for the museum,” DeWitt said. “We’ve spent $2 million on Cardinals memorabilia to beef up this museum.”
DeWitt added that one reason the club was confident it could house a museum was because of the quality of its Stan Musial collection. “Stan donated a substantial amount of his great memorabilia to the Cardinals in the late 1960s and early 1970s,” DeWitt said. “We’re very fortunate to have a collection of Musial stuff.”
– Brew Pub. This will showcase the international brands of Anheuser-Busch and may include a shuttle to the brewery for tours, DeWitt said.
– Live Marketplace. This will include a music stage and will be a place for special events. It will be enclosed, with a retractable glass roof, DeWitt said.
Asked whether the museum would include the St. Louis Browns uniform of midget Eddie Gaedel that belongs to DeWitt’s father, who was a Browns batboy and who now is the Cardinals’ owner, DeWitt explained that the uniform is at the National Baseball Hall of Fame but that “it would be fun” to see it displayed in the Cardinals’ museum for a while.
Two other topics discussed by DeWitt:
– Whether the Cardinals will settle on blue caps or red caps with their road uniforms: “It’s likely we’ll use blue caps on the road against teams that have red as the primary color in their outfits and we’ll use red caps against teams not wearing red.”
– On the future of Memphis as the Cardinals’ Class AAA affiliate: “We intend to be in Memphis for a long time as our Triple-A club.”
Here were answers from Mozeliak to some of the wide array of baseball questions he was asked:
– On whether he agrees with national media comparisons of Cardinals outfield prospect Oscar Taveras with former big-league standout Vladimir Guerrero: “I understand the comparison. Both are from the Dominican Republic. Guerrero was a free swinger, though I think Taveras is a little more disciplined. But, with Oscar at age 20, I think of two other hitters: Albert Pujols and J.D. Drew. Then there’s Oscar.”
– On the progress of Taveras and two other premier Cardinals prospects, pitcher Michael Wacha and second baseman Kolten Wong: “These guys are major-league ready. We just don’t have a spot for them … My job is to create opportunities for these guys. We’re not afraid to promote from within.”
– On whether it is inevitable that the designated hitter will be adopted by the National League: “I don’t feel it is. I don’t see it on the horizon. I’m not overly concerned if we switch to it. I hope we don’t.”
– On Cardinals rookie starter Shelby Miller: “A special arm who will be a front-of-the-rotation type in the future.”
– On developing a shortstop: “Looking three or four years down the road, no one jumps out at shortstop. We’ll look into the draft now or look to the international market to address that.”
– On whether he sought advice from Stan Musial, who was general manager of the 1967 Cardinals, on how to do the job: “I never did. My interactions with Stan were in social gatherings. A gentleman I did speak with about it was (former Cardinals and Mets general manager) Bing Devine. Bing was a very good mentor to me.”
Previously: Cardinals executives candid with bloggers