ST. LOUIS (KPLR) - You could say the area around western Kentucky is a long, long way from Busch Stadium in downtown St. Louis, but it depends on your standard of measurement. While geography says it’s a long trip, it's far from distant. Affection shortens the miles.
Over four days in mid-January, the Cardinals Caravan carried current and former players, broadcasters, and staff members to destinations around the Midwest, in states like Arkansas, Tennessee, Indiana, and Kentucky; in effect, "touching the bases" on a field that fans like to refer to as home.
On Martin Luther King Day, the Cardinals Caravan wheeled its way to McCracken County High School in Paducah. The hallways were empty due to the holiday. But in the gym, Cardinal highlights played from a video screen more familiar with Kentucky high school basketball.
And hundreds of fans turned-out for a mid-winter session of hero worship.
Here, kids behaved like kids; and Cardinal players behaved like perfect ambassadors of baseball.
Current players who made the trip included Matt Adams, Greg Garcia, Charlie Tilson, and Dean Kiekhefer. They were joined by Fox Sports Midwest broadcasters Dan McLaughlin and Al Hrabosky, plus former pitcher Danny Cox. Fredbird could be seen giving high-fives in the crowd as well.
Cardinals management has been utilizing this mobile marketing tool for years. And the Cardinals Caravan will roll on, through the ages and across the country. Because 30 years from now, one of the kids who turned out that day will recall the day when one of those players signed his application for membership, making him an official member of Cardinal Nation.