Janet Daniels has been to every Opening Day since 1958, having called it her “holy day of obligation.” The first for the 85-year-old was alongside her late husband Dan, where the Cardinals played against the Chicago Cubs.
“It was a passion for my husband and that's how it all started because he's the one that loved baseball," she said, adding she’s kept up the tradition alongside her son Stephen after his passing. “It just becomes a thrill each year, it's just something I really look forward to.”
In addition to 66 consecutive Opening Days at Busch Stadium, Daniels said she’s been to 25 of the 30 Major League ballparks but hopes to finish visiting the rest soon.
Ronnie Davis, 31, of Glen Burnie, Maryland, has been a lifelong fan but had never made the trek to Busch Stadium. “When I was growing up, we didn’t have a baseball team in D.C.,” he said. “When I was in elementary school is when [Mark] McGuire was just crushing home runs, and I just got super into the Cardinals and just stuck with it ever since.”
Little did Davis know, his wife and family were planning to surprise him with a getaway to celebrate Opening Day in St. Louis alongside his best friend, Dylan Rambler, 26, of Washington, D.C.
“Being here being around the other fans is just, it's breathtaking,” Davis said. “I would go to PNC Park often to see the Cardinals, and I always thought that that ballpark was amazing, but this atmosphere here just like blows that out of the water.”
Crystal Bailey, 63, of north St. Louis, said Opening Day marks a new chapter of the year that's filled with baseball and warmer weather. "It just brings everybody together, and you just get to see a sea of red," the longtime former usher at Busch Stadium said while standing alongside her sister, Drena Ross. "That means summer is coming."
Ross, who is also experiencing her first Opening Day at Busch Stadium, said she was astounded at the friendliness of everyone at the stadium. "It's so upbeat," she said. I mean, you see everybody from every walk of life. You see them in their Cardinals gear, [and] the red is my favorite color. I love it."
Buffie Phillips, 49, of south St. Louis, shared similar sentiments on the atmosphere.
“I mean, you can feel the electricity in the city that everybody is here to support our home team,” she said, adding that she decided several months ago to take the day off from her job as a mortician in order to celebrate Opening Day. "The day is great. This is something that we live for."
See photos from this year's Opening Day below:
Wayne Pratt contributed to this report.
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated Buffie Phillips’ age. She is 49.