ST. LOUIS, MO. (KTVI) – It was a night to celebrate at the Busch Stadium, Wednesday; after the defending World Champion Cardinals clinched a playoff spot overnight.
Players and fans seemed to be making up for last time.
After winning it all last year, you might not expect much celebrating.
After all, the Cardindals only clinched a wild card. They have to win Friday to keep playing.
But Wednesday night was special. The fans got to share the joy of another playoff run with the players; up close this time.
The Cardinals stayed on the field and tipped their caps to the fans, after beating the Reds Wednesday night.
The best part of the evening happened before the game.
Nearly the entire Cardinal team took to the field to talk with fans for almost 30 minutes. They signed a ton of autographs.
Pitcher Lance Lynn joined Carlos Beltran, Jason Motte, and a host of teammates in signing the Jana Portell`s Cardinals jersey.
It absolutely made her trip from Oklahoma City worthwhile.
'It`s huge. This is setting us up for the rest of the playoffs and another world series. I`m pumped. Pumped as I`ve ever been,' Portell said.
And move over Rally Squirre, little Lucy Barnard, 8 months, was there. Though, in a way, she was at the World Series last year, too.
'She was in my belly, now she`s a good luck charm,' her mother said.
Even though the Cardinals must win Friday, to host any playoff games, round one tickets were almost gone.
Nelson Metz of Edwardsville got a pair.
'We`re in the playoffs. Hey, a lot of teams aren`t you know, like the LA Angels won`t be, sorry Albert (Pujols),' Metz said.
Perhaps it was a sign: St. Louis survived the loss of Albert Pujols; his old teammates going back to the playoffs without him.
The Cardinals even launched the Cardinals Red for Kids campaign to benefit the Cardinals Care charity.
The team is calling on fans to donate so they can wear Cardinal red during 'dress down' days at work and school.
'This is about celebrating the great baseball culture of St. Louis; having some fun; supporting the team and helping kids at the same time,' said Ron Watermon of the Cardinals.
Cardinals Care has invested $18million in St. Louis area youth over 15 years; including the construction of 19 ball fields in underprivileged neighborhoods.
It may be 9th time since 2000 that the Cardinals have made the playoffs; but it is St. Louis; it is Cardinal baseball; and it never gets old.