Redbirds reveal 2009 schedule
Cards open, close at home, with All-Star Game in the middle
The Cardinals will begin 2009 at home and they will end at home. In between, it could be a bit tricky.
For the second year in a row, St. Louis will play at home both on Opening Day and on the last day of the regular season. Major League Baseball announced the '09 schedules for all 30 teams on Wednesday.
The Cards' opener is set for Monday, April 6, at home against the Pirates, and that game kicks off a seven-game season-opening homestand. After four games with Pittsburgh, the Cardinals host Houston for three games. Unlike in many seasons, there is not an off-day built into the season's first week. It's the third straight year that the Redbirds open at home.
The regular season runs through Sunday, Oct. 4, concluding with three games at home against the Brewers. It's only a three-game homestand, however, with a nine-game road trip preceding the final series. It's the fourth time in five years that the Cardinals finish the year at home.
The highlight of the 2009 Busch Stadium schedule, of course, is not a regular-season game at all. It's the All-Star Game, set for Tuesday, July 14. The downside of hosting the Mid-Summer Classic, however, is a lengthy July road trip. The Cardinals play nine straight road games going into the break, with a three-city trip to Cincinnati, Milwaukee and Chicago. St. Louis gets the extra day off after the All-Star break, however, resuming play on Friday, July 17 at home against Arizona.
Overall, the Cardinals have a mere 10 July home games, and from June 9 through July 26, they play 28 road games against 13 at home.
Before and after that stretch, though, the schedule is much friendlier. The Cardinals play 34 of their first 60 games in St. Louis, and 34 of their final 61 at home. If they can survive the grueling midseason string, they might be in fine shape.
The pre-All-Star break trip and late September sojourn are the only two trips of more than two cities and seven days all year long. That's a welcome change from 2008, when they had four trips of three cities and nine games, as well as a two-city, eight-game trip.
The Cardinals and Cubs renew their rivalry starting on April 16 at Wrigley Field, and play 16 times in 2009. In addition to the four games from April 16-19, the Cards visit Wrigley again from July 10-12. Chicago comes to Busch Stadium for nine games -- April 24-26, May 19-21 and Sept. 18-20.
Interleague Play in 2009 once again features the National League Central playing the American League Central. The Royals, Tigers and Twins all come to Busch Stadium, while the Cardinals play at Cleveland and Kansas City. It will be the fourth straight season that the Cardinals and Tigers have met up, but Detroit's first regular-season trip to St. Louis since 2001.
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.