Mozeliak: New challenges ahead as Cards travel during pandemic

Tom Ackerman
July 27, 2020 - 10:58 am

ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Section 265, row 5, seat 12. Why did John Mozeliak, the Cardinals president of baseball operations, choose that seat to watch his team's home opener on Friday at Busch Stadium?

"The exact place I sat for about 125 days, every day," Mozeliak told me on KMOX this week.

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Indeed, going back to March, when this pandemic started and the baseball season was put on hold, Mozeliak ate lunch - and soaked up a little sun - in Section 265 on a daily basis. So he decided to sit there on July 24, the Cardinals' first regular season game against the Pirates.

"It was definitely surreal," Mozeliak said, "in the sense that, look, we finally got back here and we're playing. And there was a part of me that was emotionally happy, drained and relieved."

The Cardinals won two out of three in the series, but the biggest victory was getting back to playing games that counted. Alas, these games were at home, where a routine had been adopted by players, coaches and staff.

Now, a road trip begins: Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Detroit. From July 27 to August 4, the Cardinals will be away from their bubble. A new set of rules awaits and risks of contracting the virus, as reportedly 13 members of the Marlins did (leading to the postponement of two MLB games), some as recently as Monday.

Mozeliak, speaking on KMOX's "Sports on a Sunday Morning" before the Marlins news broke, had this to say about traveling his club through the dangers of COVID-19:

"The past month, we've shown that we can keep this group together in a safe environment. And whatever routines that everbody was experiencing, whether it was come to the ballpark, work out, and then go home... we were following it. Now, you add some new variables in that. You're getting on buses, getting on airplanes, getting into hotel rooms. There's certainly going to be some challenges along the way, but those are tests, right? If we can pass them, good for us. I'm anxious to get on the road. I'm anxious to see what it's like. And like I've said all along, every day we learn something new. So it's just a learning experience as we go. Hopefully, the next time I'm talking to you next week, I'll be able to share with you how that's really unfolded."

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