St. Louis Cardinals: Memphis Redbirds Announce Exciting Ballpark Changes
The AAA-team for the St. Louis Cardinals is the Memphis Redbirds. The Redbirds play in AutoZone Park in Memphis, TN which is sometimes known as “Little Busch.” New announcements will make the 2017 even more exciting and even more like big Busch.
The Memphis Redbirds, the AAA-affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, announced this month two exciting changes to the ballpark for the 2017 season that will make AutoZone Park even more like the ballpark in St. Louis. One of these changes was a long time in the coming and the other change was a welcomed return.
The first change coming to AutoZone Park in 2017 is the creation of a permanent team store. The St. Louis Cardinals are blessed to host a permanent team store in Busch Stadium with access for the public via doors that open outside of the gates. This means that the Cardinals store can have visitors on dark days– those days without a home game.
The Memphis Redbirds have, in the past, had a team store and it was open to the public on dark days. This storefront closed a few seasons ago and in its stead the team store floated from place to place. Last season, the store was minimized and placed inside the gates. This meant that the store was only open on game days. All fans were saddened by this news.
With the energy surrounding the new Memphis Logos (see my earlier post on this here), the new principal owner of the team decided the time had come to install a permanent storefront. Moreover, Mr. Freund felt that this storefront was made even better if it had public access from outside the gates and thus it will.
Visitors to AutoZone Park will now have access to the team store- so similar to the St. Louis Cardinals team store- via the public access doors on the south side of the stadium AND via the store opening inside the gates of ball park. This change will be a welcomed sign for Redbirds fans as we now will have a place to go to buy our merchandise!
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The second change is a return of long-lost guest. This guest is the famous Rendezvous BBQ. If you have never visited Memphis, this BBQ makes any journey worth the time. I am a HUGE fan of Rendezvous BBQ Nachos at Redbirds games and last season this stalwart was very much absent from the ballpark.
The Rendezvous restaurant is a neighbor to AutoZone Park just a few steps away. As fans approach AutoZone on game days, they can smell the delicious aromas of the delicious smoked BBQ. In years past, these hungry fans could indulge themselves while watching their favorite minor league team play. Last season this was not the case.
This will now become the case once more: fans (myself included in this mix) will once again enjoy Rendezvous BBQ within the comfy confines of AutoZone Park!! This inclusion is so important for the Memphis Redbirds as they become more and more involved in the Memphis community. See the two quotes below from principal owner and Memphis GM as evidence of this commitment.
"“For Memphians, the saying ‘as American as baseball and apple pie’ can also be ‘as Memphis as baseball and barbecue…Barbecue has been a hot topic at the ballpark over the past couple of years, and we have a little ‘sauce on our face,’ so to speak, from the last few seasons without Rendezvous.” (Redbirds President and General Manager Craig Unger)"
"“When we made the decision to rebrand the Redbirds this offseason as authentically Memphis, we did so with a mission of connecting to the soul of the city known for its iconic music history and famous barbecue, and I can think of no better way to accomplish this than to welcome Rendezvous Barbecue back inside AutoZone Park.” (Redbirds Principal Owner Peter Freund)"
I know I am very much excited about the renovated logos, the promise of the team store, and even more so for the return of Rendezvous BBQ. These three things make my excitement for the return of Memphis Redbirds baseball even greater! To this end, the minor league season will kick off on March 30 when the St. Louis Cardinals visit AutoZone Park for the final exhibition of spring.
Next: Spring Training Check-In
What do you think? Have you made the pilgrimage to Memphis yet? Have you enjoyed Rendezvous BBQ? If not, I encourage you to make a plan to make the trip. You will not be disappointed!