The Idiot’s Guide To Winter Warm-Up

The TV won.

This is not the guide that includes instructions on how to find the best deal on those baseball tubes you strap to your back.  I’m not here to explain that you need to have baseballs signed with blue ink to maximize autograph longevity by minimizing fading.  You won’t find a detailed workflow for punching your television here.  This guide is about tips and tricks for making the most of Winter Warm-Up while putting in the least amount of effort.

  1. Plan ahead and decide well in advance of WWU that you’ll be forgoing the annual family vacation in favor of blowing a small fortune on autographs and jerseys with other people’s names on the back.
  2. Book a room at the Hyatt.  I’m of the opinion that the Hyatt is easily the best bang-for-your-buck hotel in downtown St. Louis.  Up until two days before the start of WWU, a regular king room without an Arch view was $119 a night for the duration of WWU.  The room is about 300 square feet, so you can probably sneak at least 15 people into there with sleeping bags.
  3. When you arrive at the Hyatt, go ahead and spend the $475 per night for valet parking.  The room is cheap, so you might as well cough up the cash for someone else to drive your car all the way into a parking garage for you.
  4. Drop your bags in your room and go grab something mediocre from the Starbucks located on the first floor of the hotel.  Hurry though, because it’s only open from 11am to 2pm each day.  Probably best to avoid the banana nut loaf there.  It’s probably survived at least two presidencies, so freshness may be an issue,, and nobody really wants to spend $5 on a banana flavored brick.  In the interest of full disclosure, the Starbucks is open from 6am to 7pm seven days a week.
  5. Getting into town on Friday night is key.  The Cardinals put many of the players up for the night in the Hyatt, so you may get to share an intimate elevator ride with your favorite player.  Or you may get stuck with some dude in a Dan Johnson jersey who just pounded down a 12-pack of Bud Lights with some old frat buddies.
  6. Don’t bother bringing a nice camera.  You definitely want your moment-of-a-lifetime to be captured by someone using an iPhone 4S while getting jostled by someone’s grandma who just adores that Ricky Horton from the television.
  7. If you are relying on a smartphone for everything – tweeting, posting pics of your cat, and watching dancing panda videos on YouTube – come prepared.  The areas around the main hall are littered with people who look like they are physically dependent on an electrical outlet for life.  Bring an external battery or a Mophie and avoid the trauma of sitting next to the kid guzzling Red Bull while guarding his frayed lightning cable like an intense lioness with her cubs.
  8. Don’t be afraid to push your way through the crowd.  The old guy with the walker may just be Jack Clark.
  9. When you are lined up to get shots of your kid with a player signing behind him or her, fire off your shots in burst mode until you run out of memory.  You don’t want to miss this, and picking the best out of a 250 photo burst later isn’t all that bad.
  10. If you join a Q&A with someone like Shildt or Mozeliak, don’t bother asking stupid questions about what the team plans to do in the future, what they think about free agents like Harper and Machado, or who is in the starting rotation.  Plenty of other people are already prepared to run to a mic and ask those stupid questions, and they’ll just get a 60 second soundbite that amounts to a really lengthy “no comment”.  If you really want to get something out of it, then prepare a really good, simple question that is guaranteed to make them uncomfortable but is also designed to practically force them to say something of substance.
  11. Given a choice between Fredbird and Team Fredbird, it’s Team Fredbird every time, because they don’t go around beaking people.


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