Cardinals Caravan returns to Evansville following two-year hiatus

Cardinals Caravan returns to Evansville following two-year hiatus
Published: Jan. 13, 2023 at 12:24 AM CST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2023 at 12:21 AM CST
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EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WFIE) - After a two-year hiatus, the Cardinals Caravan made its official return to Evansville at the CK Newsome Center on Sunday.

This wintertime tradition takes members of the St. Louis Cardinals organization to cities across the Midwest.

The Cardinals have one of the most loyal and strongest fan bases in all of Major League Baseball. With Evansville located between Cincinnati, Chicago and St. Louis, an outsider might expect to see a mixture of fans for many different teams, but the city has always seemed to be predominantly a “Cardinals town.”

“I grew up in St. Louis, so it felt very comfortable for me when I did live in Evansville many years ago because there were so many Cardinals fans,” said Cardinals’ KMOX studio host Matt Pauley, who was the emcee during Sunday’s event. “There are a lot of Cardinal fans, and they are passionate Cardinal fans. I’ll tell you what – there are a lot of people in Evansville who are in St. Louis on weekends, going to games at Busch Stadium.”

This is what makes the annual caravan stop in Evansville so special for the hundreds of fans that attend each year as they get to meet current and former players. The lineup of guests for this year’s event included Cardinals’ second baseman Nolan Gorman, starting pitcher Matthew Liberatore and relief pitcher James Naile, as well as St. Louis baseball legends like Jason Motte and Kerry Robinson.

“We love doing it,” said Naile. “You get to meet so many new people and see so many different parts of the country, and so it’s an awesome part of the job and we don’t take it for granted.”

“I think it’s invaluable,” said Liberatore “The fans come out all year long and support us, so it’s the least we can do, to come out here for the weekend and give back to them a little bit. It’s cool that we kinda get exclusive access to the fans and vice-versa for them.”

14 Sports spoke with fans who say they love getting the up-close access, which includes autographs and pictures.

“Our oldest down here, he’s all about the Cardinals,” said Kyle Sheffer, who attended Sunday’s event. “We watch every game, so we figured it’s a great opportunity to get him down here and let him meet some of these players up close and personal. It’s great for them to get out and connect with everybody and be seen in the community. Even in the Evansville area, where it’s a couple of hours away from St. Louis, where they’re still making the effort to get over here and engage with the fans. They know that everybody in this area cares about them and supports them.”