Illini Night Contest - 2017

May 02, 2017

OK, Cubs and Whitesoxers - please tune me out. It's time for the yearly contest where I partner with the Cardinals to give away tickets to Illini Night at Busch. Now with 100% more Lovie!

Last year the contest was "why I want to take Mom to Illini Night". This year, let's go with dad. Don't worry - mom can come too: the contest winner will receive four tickets. But this one is about dad.

My first Cardinals game was with my dad. Jim Kaat was pitching. It was.. 1980 I think? I don't remember much besides the hot dog (mom never made us hot dogs) and Jim Kaat. I'm fairly certain that Jim Kaat was 44 years old at the time. OK now I have to look this up.

I was partially correct. Jim Kaat did pitch until he was 44 years old (!!), but in 1980 he was "only" 41. And while I have that page open, Jim Kaat began his major league career in 1959. Let's see if I can wrap my head around this. Jim Kaat was the pitcher at my first ballgame with my dad and he is now 78 years old which means my birth certificate might be wrong and it's possible I'm turning 56 later this year.

OK now I need to find the specific game. I'm 90% certain it was against the Pirates because I remember Bill Madlock and Dave Parker being involved (they had just won the World Series). So looking over the schedule... June 23rd, 1980 the Cardinals beat the Pirates 6-1 with Jim Kaat getting the win. That had to be it. It was a Monday (that was my dad's day off at work - he worked Tuesday through Saturday), so that would make total sense. That's it.

So now that I've taken that little trip down memory lane, you do the same. Email me your best "I want to take my dad to Illini Night at Busch" story. It doesn't have to be about a specific game you attended - I just want to hear some good Illini dad stories. Stories that let me know why you'd like to win some tickets and take dad to the Cards/Giants game.

The date of the game is Friday, May 19th. Before the game, Lovie will do a meet-and-greet in Riverview Corner inside the stadium. Oh, and every attendee gets an Illini/Cardinals hat, so you're winning four tickets and four hats. Cards-Giants, shake Lovie's hand, four hats - heck, even some of you Cubs fans are now thinking about it.

So email me your dad stories at and I'll announce the winner on Friday morning. That gives you two weeks to get dad ready to meet Lovie. And if you don't win (or if you just want to attend that game, get the hat, and meet Lovie), tickets for that package (including the hat) are available here.

And just think - maybe the starting pitcher will be 41 years old and then you can someday have this moment where you realize how old you've become and start plucking out all the gray beard hairs one by one. Isn't life fun?

Send those stories. Go Illini. Go Lovie. Go Cards beat the Jeffrey Leonards.


Boneyard Surfer on May 02 @ 07:48 PM CDT

Your one post of the year that gives me the dry heaves. At least tell me that those caps (abominations that they are) are made by the Bryzzo Sporting Goods Co.

Bear8287 on May 02 @ 07:52 PM CDT

I don't know. An Illinois hat with the logo for a city in Missouri on the front. Just seems wrong.


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