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During the seventh-inning stretch, Scott Swartz asked his girlfriend to take photos of the children singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” on the Busch Stadium videoboard.

An odd request, Cara Ferguson thought. But she had been taking photos of her favorite Cardinals all evening with her Nikon in section 144, just a few rows behind the home dugout.

Then, moments later after the children were finished, Cara turned around and found her boyfriend of 2.5 years on one knee. He asked a simple question that left her dumbfounded: “Will you marry me?”

After the shock wore off, she replied “yes” and accepted the diamond ring—much to the delight of the fans in section 144, some of whom were aware of the upcoming proposal by Scott.

The couple resides in southeastern Iowa, and for the second consecutive season, they attended a Cards game in St. Louis on July 18. The first visit was fun, Scott thought, so why not make the second one a memorable one? Six months of planning paid off.

The cherry on top of this memorable evening: the Cardinals prevailed 3-2 over the Dodgers.

A family of four, enjoying a warm summer evening at Busch Stadium, watching batting practice before the Cardinals game against the Pirates. Nothing unusual about that.

Except this family – Steve Haferkamp, his wife Dayna, and sons Grant (11) and Jack (soon to be 9) – had just arrived at the stadium in time for the game, driving from the Louisville Slugger Museum in Kentucky. Oh, and they were in Detroit before that for a Tigers game. And did they mention that after taking in a pair of games in St. Louis, they were headed to Kansas City for two games? And after that, of course, the “Field of Dreams” in Iowa?

What would be unusual for the Haferkamps, actually, would be if they spent a summer evening somewhere besides a big-league stadium. With their arrival in St. Louis on July 8, Busch Stadium became the twenty-ninth ballpark the San Diego-based family has visited.

“It started in 2009,” Steve explained, “when our son was asked to be the ‘Play Ball’ kid at a Padres game.” (A Padres program that allows a youngster to announce “Play Ball” before the start of a home game). “And the next day, the kids said, “Let’s hit ’em all.” So we decided to make that our family vacations.”

Baseballs and markers (for autographs), and the occasional costume piece or prop (just for fun), have become staple supplies as the Haferkamps log one stadium after another into the books – literally. With each stadium they visit, they receive a stamp in their “Ballpark Pass-Port,” a leather-bound journal that chronicles their voyage through the majors.

Showing the savvy of a pair of veteran baseball road-trippers, Grant and Jack followed up on autographs from the Cardinals’ Jon Jay and Allen Craig by donning a pair of Pirates jerseys and black-and-yellow wigs, good enough to land an autograph and photo from Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle.

Somewhat divided in their opinions of the best ballpark in the majors – though a common highlight remains their good luck last July, when they watched the Reds’ Homer Bailey throw a no-hitter at Cincinnati’s Great American Ballpark – the family remains united as they approach the achievement of a lofty goal: seeing a game in every ballpark. It’s a journey that has required two trips to Miami – first at the Marlins’ Joe Robbie Stadium, then at the new Marlins Park after it opened in 2012.

They’ve learned some lessons along the way. “We encourage going two nights per stadium, because you get a better feel for the stadium that way,” Haferkamp said. More important, though: “Another thing we make sure the kids do is say ‘please’ and ‘thank-you’ to the players when they get autographs, because the players don’t have to stop.”

Five years, 29 stadiums. Let’s see: counting the two Miami stadiums, that makes 31 big-league ballparks, and so only two left unseen.

One of the two, Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, is up next on the Haferkamps’ current itinerary. And the last remaining stop in the family’s journey in the Baseball Passport? Couldn’t be more perfect. After two games at Busch, a visit to Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City, and that side-trip to the Field of Dreams, the last stamp in the Haferkamp family’s Baseball Pass-Port will come even further north, when they visit ballpark number 31 – Target Field in Minneapolis, for the 2014 All-Star Game.

Shelby Miller full extension to deny the suicide squeeze attempt.

Shelby Miller full extension to deny the suicide squeeze attempt.

Vote Yadi to keep your basepaths free of theft! #YadiYadiYadi #VoteSTL Cast your All-Star ballot at

Vote Yadi to keep your basepaths free of theft! #YadiYadiYadi #VoteSTL Cast your All-Star ballot at

An Evening with Bob Gibson

Cardinals broadcaster Dan McLaughlin invites fans to experience an exclusive “Evening with Bob Gibson” at Busch Stadium. Tickets to both dates of the special event are almost sold out. Learn more and secure your seats at

The “silliest play” Tim McCarver ever saw… in GIF form. (From 6/20/14)

The “silliest play” Tim McCarver ever saw… in GIF form. (From 6/20/14)

It’s the boy band of your baseball dreams: Carlos Martinez, Daniel Descalso, Tony Cruz, Jon Jay and Yadier Molina. But don’t worry, no one’s quitting their day job. Instead, the guys were just making a cameo in a new music video for Tony Lenta- an artist represented by Molina Records.

Today the Cardinals celebrated 3 of baseball’s finest from the St. Louis area - and these players never even wore the Birds on the Bat. Audrey Kissel, Erma Bergmann and Barbara Hoffman played in the All American Girls Professional Baseball League which inspired the 1992 film “A League of Their Own.” Kiss, Bergie and Barb played a combined 9 seasons in the women’s professional baseball league which existed from 1943 to 1954. Erma even threw a no-hitter back on May 22, 1947.

Audrey and Barbara, along with the Bergmann family, surprised Erma for her 90th birthday by bringing her to Busch to throw out the ceremonial pitch. These women truly are still in a league of their own.

Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia doing … something.

Adam Wainwright and Jaime Garcia doing … something.

It all started like a pretty normal 7th Inning Stretch last night. The kids from St. Paul Lutheran School in Jackson, MO stepped into the outfield to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” when student Kylie Peters noticed something out of the corner of her eye. Suddenly, Kylie’s Dad, Staff Sergeant Matthew Peters of the Missouri National Guard emerged from the right-field wagon gate. The rest is hugs and history. Wishing a very Happy Father’s Day weekend to the newly-reunited Peters Family!