Cardinals super fans pumped for Opening Day

6:23 PM, Mar 31, 2011   |    comments
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St. Louis (KSDK) - Some of the most well-known St. Louis Cardinals fans joined NewsChannel 5 to celebrate Opening Day, the unofficial city holiday.

It was a sea of red at Busch Stadium on Thursday, the day people have been waiting for since September.

There was a noticeable red presence outside Busch stadium around 10 a.m. Thursday and the fans were pouring in once the gates opened at 1:15 p.m. Some fans said it was their first opening day, while others have been coming for years.

One mother/daughter team has been coming together since 1951. Mary Jane Thaman has been coming since 1926, which was the first time the Cardinals were the World Championship team.

Thaman and her daughter, Jackie Niekamp of St. Louis, say they come back year after year and never miss a game no matter if it's a good season or bad. They always stay for the whole game even if it's raining, snowing, or very hot. They also say it's a bonding experience and it tops their list of things they do together.

The Cardinal players even recognize them and always make a point of saying hello.

Thomas Lange has been turning heads of years at Busch Stadium with his elaborate hats that pay tribute to players and great moments in Cardinals history. He is affectionately known as "The Hat Guy." Lange joined NewsChannel 5's Kelly Jackson to discuss this year's head gear of choice. Click on the video player to watch the interview.

Joe Gearon, of Florissant, turned his basement into a Cardinals' shrine.  He has been collecting memorabilia for 30 years and has autographed balls and trinkets all over his basement.  His basement is also a man cave that is perfect for watching Cardinals games.  Click on the video link to watch the interview with NewsChannel 5's Kelly Jackson.

Kirk Pound is a Cardinals super fan who tried to rally fans to get behind the effort to sign Albert Pujols. He turned his back and chest into a painted billboard to voice his feelings about the slugger.  He also has a website dedicated to his efforts.

Juli Adelsberger writes about all things Cardinals on her Cardinals Dispora blog. Her latest blog is about the top five Opening Day traditions., which she said includes Fords that drive around the field at Busch Stadium, easy-drinking Busch Light, Cubs-taunting shirts, crowds of fans and the Clydesdales.

To read Adelsberger's latest blog visit Cardinals Dispora and click on the video player to watch Kelly Jackson's interview with her.


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