Country singer/songwriter and St. Louis Cardinals devotee Liz Moriondo has come a long way from Mount Vernon, Mo., a small farming community about 30 miles west of Springfield. First to Nashville to kickstart her music career and now all over the place as a featured performer on the NASCAR circuit. She gives concerts on race weekends and even sings the pre-race National Anthem on occasion. That’s in addition to all the other appearances and performances that fill up her calendar, including an awesome Kitchen Concert Series that has made her a YouTube star.
Regardless of her busy schedule, Moriondo always finds time to follow her beloved Cardinals. When she talks Redbirds, it’s clear that she’s one of the faithful. See for yourself …
Redbird Rants: How did you become a Cardinal fan?
Liz Moriondo: I don’t think there’s a particular moment when I became a fan. My family has always loved the Cardinals. It’s funny, but I’m split when it comes to football and baseball. I’m a big Kansas City Chiefs fan. I love the Royals, too, because they’re also a Missouri team. But the Cardinals are my baby. I grew up watching them on TV and eventually went to games when I got older. They’re really America’s team. The Cardinals are loved by good, down-to-earth people who live all over the country. I see them everywhere when I’m on the road. I’m proud to be part of that.
RR: I assume you and your family attended games decked out in red?
LM: Absolutely. We completely decked out. You have to be wearing Cardinals gear at the games. We all did it. My mom, dad, me and my two younger brothers always wore red.
RR: Who is your all-time favorite player?
LM: It’s hard to not say Stan Musial. What a lot of people may not know about him is he was offered a scholarship to play college basketball at Pittsburgh and turned it down. I played college basketball, too. [on scholarship at Division II Drury University]. He also picked up playing the harmonica while he played baseball. As a musician, I love that I have a couple of things in common with him.
RR: How about current Cardinals?
LM: I would pick Yadier Molina. Yadi is such a great player and has always been loyal to the
Liz Moriondo (right) feels right at home at Busch Stadium.
Cardinals. He’s so consistent. He’s good every single year, even though catcher is such a hard position to play.
RR: What is your favorite Cardinals moment of all time thus far?
LM: David Freese’s walk-off home run in game 6 of the 2011 World Series. I remember exactly where I was when it happened. I have a friend from Southwest Missouri who lives in Brentwood, Tenn., and was having a party for all the Missouri people in the area. We were all wearing our Cardinals gear having great time, hugging and jumping up and down when [Freese] hit the home run. It was so cool to be in another state with a whole group of people who love the Cardinals. I got to meet David Freese later that year, too.
LM: At the Warner Bros. Records [Country Music Awards] after party. Because [Freese] was named World Series MVP, he got to give an award. There were tons of famous people at the party, but I was totally playing it cool. Then someone asked if I’d seen David Freese. I turned into a little girl. He’s the one celebrity I totally fangirled. He was really nice about it, though.
RR: Have you ever sung the national anthem at a ballgame?
LM: I have a couple of times at Springfield Cardinals games. The first time I was 15. Then I sang it there a couple years ago. It’s been fun. My dream, of course, is to sing it in St. Louis at a Cardinals game. I’m working toward it.
RR: Do you get nervous before singing the anthem?
LM: The only thing I get nervous about is messing up the words because it’s so taboo. It seems like a lot of people have done it, though, and you think, ‘If they can mess it up, so can I.’ I’ve sung the anthem so many times, I have to not overthink it. Singing it is kind of like hitting. If you go up to the plate thinking too hard about your at-bat, you’ll strike out. You have to just let it flow.
RR: What’s the biggest venue where you’ve sung the anthem?
LM: Right now, I’m traveling with NASCAR circuit, and that has been super fun. It’s been a big step for me, getting to get out there and play in front of tons of NASCAR fans. Along the way, I got to fulfill one of my national anthem dreams by singing it at a NASCAR race. It was in New Hampshire. I got to stand right there on the finish line on the track.”
RR: Did you get all the words right?
LM: (Laughs) I did. So tell the Cardinals if they need a national anthem singer who won’t mess up the words, I’m available.