Tickets to see the Cardinals play at Busch Stadium may be harder to come by this season. They are the World Series champions, after all. But a vacation to Florida in the month of March can get you up close and personal with the team.
Fans can get a firsthand look at the new Cardinals players and manager at Roger Dean Stadium in games March 5 to April 1.
And with the Cardinals coming off an improbable world championship, you can bet those are hot tickets. Mike Bauer, general manager at Roger Dean Stadium, says sales are up about 9 percent over this time last year. He says some of the best-sellers are expected to be the game vs. Boston on March 8 and the games against the Florida Marlins on March 16 and 18.
The Cardinals organization has a series of packages you can build from their website at cardinals.com/springtravel. Three of the four trips, all of which include tickets, feature a meet-and-greet with Cardinals players. You can pick which hotel you want to stay in (so you can save or splurge) and you can add everything from extra tickets to T-shirts to rental cars.
We also found these great package deals at Jupiter-area hotels, tours leaving from St. Louis and special deals at area restaurants.
Jupiter Beach Resort & Spa • This AAA four-diamond resort has direct access to 1,000 feet of secluded coastline. The resort is offering two packages. The first, the Diamond Spring Training package, starts at $539 a night and features a "Day at the Stadium" MVP experience that includes a behind-the-scenes tour of the clubhouse, on-the-field batting practice, an opportunity to throw the first pitch, overnight accommodations in a luxury ocean-view two-bath suite, breakfast each morning for four people, four field box tickets and a welcome gift. The resort's second package, the Play Ball Spring Training package, includes a 10 percent discount on the best available rates, a $10 credit at Roger Dean Stadium, breakfast for two each morning and a welcome gift. For more information, go to jupiterbeachresort.com/packages or call 1-800-228-8810. You can win a trip to this resort, including airfare and spring training tickets, by entering our contest at stltoday.com/travelswithamy.
The Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach • The hotel is offering a "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" package. Located 20 minutes from Roger Dean Stadium, the Ritz-Carlton, Palm Beach is a five-star, five-diamond beachside resort. The package includes four box seats to a Cardinals game, a behind-the-scenes tour of the clubhouse and of Roger Dean Stadium, ceremonial first pitch for one guest of the group, honorary Bat Kid with autograph and photo opportunities (inside the dugout) for children under age 14, and a chance to run the bases and play catch in the outfield following the game. The package is available Feb. 27-March 29, with rates starting at $799 based on a family of four. 1-561-533-6000 or ritzcarlton.com/palmbeach.
PGA National Resort & Spa • This Palm Beach Gardens resort, home of the PGA's Honda Classic and the famous Champion Course, has just announced its St. Louis Cardinal Champion package, starting March 4. It includes deluxe accommodations with private balcony or terrace, breakfast daily, one round of golf per person per day on the Champion course and tickets to Roger Dean Stadium. Rates start at $379 per person/double occupancy. 1-800-863-2819 or pgaresort.com
TOURS FROM ST. LOUIS
Sunrise Tours • Trip includes overnight stays in Georgia and Orlando on the way to Palm Beach Gardens, where you'll have a barbecue on the beach and then stay in the Marriott Palm Beach Gardens. You'll travel to other stadiums to see the Cardinals play as well as catch games at Roger Dean Stadium. Tours run March 6-13 and March 14-21. The price is $1,543 a person, based on double occupancy. travelsunrise.com or 314-771-8300
Altair • Altair Travel & Cruises has a travel package March 7-12 to see the Cardinals. The trip includes round-trip air on nonstop flights from St. Louis to Fort Lauderdale, five nights at the Hilton Singer Island Oceanfront Resort, three spring training tickets per person, one pregame buffet, $30 in stadium coins to use at concessions, a free day to spend at the beach, all transportation to and from the airport and games, and more. Price is $1,495 a person based on double occupancy. 314-968-9600.
Kevin's New Experience Tours of St. Louis • This eight-day bus tour leaving St. Louis on March 7 includes all transportation, hotel stays, tickets to spring training games, 12 meals and time for shopping and the beach. The cost is $1,698 a person based on double occupancy. 314-966-4466.
"Home Run Happy Hour" at III Forks Prime Steakhouse and Cantina Laredo Gourmet Mexican Food • Show your spring training tickets and receive a complimentary appetizer from the combined bar menu, and cocktail specials including five wines for $5, a $5 martini, and $5 Casa Rita margaritas. Daily from 4 to 7 p.m.
Cabo Flats, Palm Beach Gardens location • Bring in your spring training ticket stub to get 10 percent off drinks or an appetizer. caboflats.com
Our Eat at Joe's forum recently discussed good places to eat in the Jupiter area. Some favorites mentioned were Captain Charlie's Reef Grill in Juno Beach, the Food Shack and Guanabanas.