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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2016

Cardinal fans dress the part

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Manager-in-training Russ Mooneyhan, left, and assistant manager Shawn Colgan assist 9-year-old Ian Jones of Portageville with a Cardinals shirt.
SIKESTON -- As thousands of spectators fill Busch Stadium in St. Louis Wednesday for the first game of the National League Championship Series, a majority of them will be clad in Cardinal red from head to toe.

Just ask Brian Dowdy of Sikeston.

Dowdy attended the opening game of the National League Division Championship Series last week in St. Louis. It was there he purchased a 2004 Division Championship hat and T-shirt from one of the vendors at the stadium and learned that if you're going to attend a playoff game, you have to dress the part. "Anything red goes," Dowdy said. "I have seen red cowboy hats to red jeans to red leather suits. The fans in St. Louis are crazy about their Cardinals and if it is red, more than likely someone is wearing it."

Right now anything that has division championship -- from hats and shirts to sweatshirts and pennants -- is very popular, Dowdy said.

Often times local fans like Dowdy will purchase from vendors at the stadium or from the St. Louis Cardinals official Team Store at Busch Stadium, but they can also find merchandise closer to home.

Even local retailers are feeling the impact of the St. Louis Cardinals' success.

April Bell, area supervisor for the VF Factory Outlet at the Sikeston Factory Outlet Stores, has noticed more requests for Cardinals items recently.

"Cardinals has really been selling," Bell said. "They have been selling off the racks -- literally."

Customers are requesting a lot of T-shirts and jerseys of Cardinals' power hitters Albert Pujols and Larry Walker, noted Shawn Colgan, assistant manager at Hibbett Sports Store in Sikeston.

"The last two weeks we have sold a lot of merchandise. Even Sunday, after they lost the game Saturday, we still had a lot of people coming in and buying a lot of the Cardinals items," Colgan said.

While the men's clothing department at Wal-Mart in Sikeston has plenty of fan gear, department manager Bonnie Adams noted there are a few items that have sold-out.

"All of my hats are gone," Adams said. "We've sold out of shorts and sleep pants."

But Adams pointed out there are plenty of T-shirts, lightweight long-sleeved shirts, sweatshirts and windbreaker jackets.

Lydia Marshall, ladies clothing department manager at Wal-Mart, admitted her department doesn't have as big of a "Cardinals" selection as the men, but there is Cardinals clothing strictly for women. She thinks a lot of the women also buy shirts from the men's department.

"I think if a lot of my stuff didn't come in pink, but in the traditional Cardinals colors like the red and gray, then maybe it would sell more," theorized Marshall, adding unlike the men's department, the ladies department didn't receive any apparel for the Cardinals winning the Central Division in the National League.

The retail director for the St. Louis Cardinals Team Store was unavailable for comment Monday. However, clothing for boys, girls, toddlers and infants as well as other team merchandise is also available at many stores and even online.

But local retailers insist they have plenty of fan gear left for the duration of the season, and many are getting new items in weekly.

Colgan said Cardinals fans from another state have even visited Hibbett Sports.

"We had an elderly couple from Arkansas, and they brought their grandson to Sikeston just to buy a specific St. Louis Cardinals pullover," Colgan recalled. "It just opens a market for everyone."