#BattleOfTheBirds dodges severe weather - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

#BattleOfTheBirds dodges severe weather

(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
(Photo Source: WMC Action News 5) (Photo Source: WMC Action News 5)
MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - The Memphis Redbirds opens its season with a battle against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Despite the threat of rain, Redbirds and Cardinals fans filled Downtown Memphis and AutoZone Park for the annual exhibition game.

Everyone had their eyes on the sky at AutoZone Park, hoping history doesn't repeat itself. Last year's game was canceled after a storm hit Downtown Memphis.

Friday night's hype had just as much to do with the Cardinals visit, as it did for fans to get their first look inside the newly renovated stadium.

The special exhibition game started Friday at 6:05 p.m.

Pre-game events began at 5:40 p.m., and the gates opened at 3:30 p.m.

Young fan Aaron Goostree had one thing on his mind-- getting autographs from as many Cardinals as possible.

"We're here to watch them play and get autographs," said Aaron Goostree.

Outside AutoZone Park Friday afternoon fans lined up for their first look at the newly renovated park and a chance to meet their favorite Cardinals and Redbirds players.

"We're just gonna go to the dug out and wait for them to see if we can get an autograph."

Crews were busy prepping for the first look and putting together last minute touches, cleaning sets, raking the field, and prepping food.

"We want it to look nice for the fans," said one crew member.

It's the first game here since the $6.5 million renovation. The City of Memphis paid $4.5 million of the costs; the St. Louis Cardinals picked up the rest.

"I've heard just a little bit about them. I'm looking forward to going in and checking them out," said fan Matt Hill. "I usually make it to a few games a year, so I'm excited to see what all is being done here."

Hill and many others are hopeful rain won't cancel the Battle of Birds or shorten their look inside.

As the gates opened, clouds rolled in, and the tarp went down. It only delayed warm-ups.

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