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It's Red October in St. Louis, and the Cubs are coming to town

This National League Central Division series will be historic: The Cards and Cubs are facing one another for the first time ever in the postseason, and the best-of-five series opens Friday at Busch Stadium.

As rivalries go, this one is tops. But our money’s on Cardinals fans because when it comes to the proper waving of rally towels they’ve had lots of experience.

This marks the third consecutive year that St. Louis has won the Central Division championship — and the team's fifth straight postseason appearance. The Cards won the most recent of their 11 World Series championships in 2011.

The Cubs haven’t been to the postseason since 2008 and haven’t won a World Series in 108 years. Oops. Make that 107 years. (Sorry, we were getting ahead of ourselves.)

Here’s some game information from the Cardinals:

Friday, NLDS Game One: 

* Game starts at 5:45 p.m.; gates open at 3:15 p.m.

* Pregame ceremony starts at 5:10 p.m., and the Budweiser Clydesdales will be there. (Top that, Chicago.)

* 40,000 fans get a Cardinals rally towel, and former Cards outfielder Reggie Sanders will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

* The National Anthem will be performed by 4-Digit Chord, an a cappella vocal group comprised of active duty, retired military and civilian volunteers who work at local Department of Defense agencies.

* Soldiers from Fort Leonard Wood will present the colors.

* The Cardinals will hold a pregame pep rally from 1:45 to 4:15 p.m. at the Ballpark Village parking lot.

Saturday, NLDS Game Two:

* Game starts at 4:37 p.m.; gates open at 2 p.m.

* The pre-game ceremony starts at 4 p.m., and the Budweiser Clydesdales will be back.

* 2015 Cardinals Hall of Fame inductee Ted Simmons will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

* The National Anthem will be performed by retired Navy Petty Officer 1st Class Generald Wilson.

* 40,000 fans get a rally towel.

* The Cardinals will hold a pep rally from 12:30 to 3 p.m. at the Ballpark Village parking lot.

About Security

There will be the usual game-day bag inspections. Don’t bring a bag larger than 16 inches by 16 inches by 8 inches.

Remember to remove cell phones, keys, cameras and metal objects from your pockets before walking through the metal detectors.

Small signs and banners are allowed.

If you’re watching on TV

Cable channel TBS is televising the division series games; Fox Sports Midwest will produce post-game shows.

Radio coverage

Games will be broadcast on KMOX (1120 AM) and ESPN Radio (101.1 FM).

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Mary Delach Leonard is a veteran journalist who joined the St. Louis Beacon staff in April 2008 after a 17-year career at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, where she was a reporter and an editor in the features section. Her work has been cited for awards by the Missouri Associated Press Managing Editors, the Missouri Press Association and the Illinois Press Association. In 2010, the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis honored her with a Spirit of Justice Award in recognition of her work on the housing crisis. Leonard began her newspaper career at the Belleville News-Democrat after earning a degree in mass communications from Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she now serves as an adjunct faculty member. She is partial to pomeranians and Cardinals.