If you’ve never taken a ballpark tour, I highly recommend it. I’ve always wanted to take one, but had never gotten around to it. All that changed last weekend in Memphis, however. The thrill of seeing the ballpark right downtown in the heart of everything overtook me and I just had to see inside the park as soon as possible. And the best way to weasel your way inside hours before the game starts, is by taking a tour.
We met our tour guide, John Kopchak (the Redbirds’ Manager of Security & Services), at the entrance to the stadium. He immediately began filling us in on all of the unique features of the AutoZone Park. We got to see the announcer’s booth, media offices, sky boxes, inside batting cages, the umpires’ office, the tunnel to the field, and even where the players’ wives and kids hang out inside the stadium. It was a baseball fanatic’s dream come true.
Having woken up at 3:30 am to catch my flight from Baltimore to Memphis, I wasn’t particularly inquisitive that afternoon. Thus, I’d neglected to ask our tour guide about his baseball career. He’d mentioned in passing he’d worked for the Redbirds for 15 years, but I hadn’t even thought to ask him more. Turns out he was a member of the 1967 World Series-winning St. Louis Cardinals! He even let me try on his World Series ring!
Overall, the stadium tour was an awesome experience. But that was just the start of my fabulous Southern Baseball Adventure. There’s so much more to tell you about …