This afternoon, a luxury sport-utility vehicle guarded by security officers will be travelling down Stadium Boulevard with a special passenger in the back.
The passenger is a 30-pound, sterling silver trophy with 30 gold-plated flags, one for each of the Major League baseball teams, rising above an arched baseball with 24-karat stitches. The base of the trophy holds the signature of the commissioner of Major League baseball.
Recognize it? It’s the World Series Championship trophy, and it’s going to be in Columbia today as part of a three-state tour across Missouri, Southern Illinois and Northeast Oklahoma stopping at 75 U.S. Cellular locations.
Chris Rathsack, Director of Sales in Central Missouri said U.S. Cellular is “very proud to be associated with the World Championship Cardinals.”
As the official wireless sponsor of the St. Louis Cardinals, U.S. Cellular will be featuring the trophy in its store at 213 N. Stadium Blvd. between 4 and 7 p.m. No St. Louis Cardinals players will be present with the trophy.
Can’t make it today? They’ll be back in Columbia on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at another U.S. Cellular store at 2703 E. Broadway in Suite 141.
Other stops in the area include Thursday in Fulton at 528 Court St. from 4 to 7 p.m. and Friday at the Jefferson City retail store at 1922 Missouri Blvd. in Suite F, also from 4 to 7 p.m.
“The tour is a big ‘Thank-you’ to fans across Cardinal Nation,” said Mark Lamping, president of the Cardinals. “The trophy belongs to the fans, and we’re pleased to be able to bring it to their communities.”
Rathsack said that the wireless service carrier with 5.7 million customers in 26 states wants to “provide everyone with that experience (seeing the trophy) up close and personal.”
Plus, “it’s really cool to be with a World Series trophy,” he added.
U.S. Cellular, the sixth-largest wireless service carrier in the country, signed a five-year, $5.2 million agreement with the Cardinals in February 2006 making them the official sponsor.
“We’re excited to enhance our partnership with the Cardinals to bring the 2006 Championship trophy to our customers and Cardinal fans,” said U.S. Cellular regional vice president Nick Wright. “This has been a magical year for the Cardinals and the trophy tour keeps that winning spirit alive in our communities.”
Everyone is encouraged to stop by and also take pictures of the trophy. If a photo is taken, a $10 donation is suggested on behalf of U.S. Cellular, with all proceeds benefiting Cardinals Care, Women’s Safe House and Beyond Housing.
Cardinals Care is a non-profit organization accepting donations from anyone, with a lot of its funding coming from Cardinals players and staff. The organization uses the donations to provide grants to any organization that serves or supports youth under the age of 20 throughout Missouri and Illinois. The organization has already donated $10 million to help youth.
The Women’s Safe House provides shelter and supportive services to battered women and their children. Beyond Housing provides affordable housing to low-income families and also helps family achieve and sustain homeownership.
Rathsack said that showings in the St. Louis area have brought out hundreds of people already. The championship was the first World Series title for the Cardinals since 1982.