Cheap Seats

Game 8: Cubs 9, Cardinals 5

The Cardinals showed little of the type of play that led to their 2011 World Series championship Friday as they hosted their first game at Busch Stadium since clinching the title, a 9-5 loss to the Cubs.

Starting pitcher Adam Wainwright was touched for eight earned runs on seven hits -- including a three-run homer and a grand slam -- and he never seemed to find a groove. The Cardinals could only mount one successful rally, scoring five runs with two outs in the bottom of the fifth to make the score 9-5.

The game could have been much closer. The Wee Bears's third inning grand slam just barely crawled over the wall into the left field bullpen. Meanwhile Cubs right fielder David DeJesus killed a pair of rallies with a running catch just in front of the right field wall on one occasion and a diving catch coming forward on another.

For Cardinals fans, most of the fun came before the game when the traditional opening day ceremonies were put on along with the 2011 World Series banner raising.

The four St. Louis World Series trophies (the Commissioner's trophy has only been presented to World Series winners since 1967) were placed on white pedestals near home plate during intoduction of current Cardinals players and Hall of Famers. Cardinals broadcaster and former outfielder and third baseman Mike Shannon carried the 1967 trophy, second baseman Tommy Herr carried the 1982 trophy. World Seried MVP and shortstop David Eckstein and Gold Glove outfielder Jim Edmonds carried the 2006 trophy while former skipper and pitching coach Dave Duncan carried the 2011 trophy.

While highlights from the 2011 World Series were shown during the pre-game ceremony, there was no video or mention of former St. Louis slugger Albert Pujols who left the team as a free agent over the winter. Even a sign for a protein bar behind home plate that used to show Pujols swinging his bat was changed to only mention the name of the product with no picture.

The Budweiser Clydesdales were not part of the pre-game festivities, likely because the field was so wet from a deluge of rain that pushed back the start of the game about two hours. But Cardinals legend Stan Musial did appear, receiving a loud ovation when he appeared during the motorcade on a golf cart that carried him around the warning track.

Cardinals Star of the Game: Jon Jay collected three hits and scored one run while driving in another.

Cardinals Play of the Game: The team allowed the mother of a Cardinals fan killed in Afghanistan to raise the 2011 World Series banner. It was a touching and somber moment.

Lowlight: Wainwright is apparently suffering through a dead arm phase in his recovery from Tommy John surgery. His velocity peaked at about 90 MPH and he was leaving balls up in the stike zone throughout the home opener.