Cardinal Fever Sweeps Region 8

October 24, 2006 - Posted at 6:19 p.m. CDT

JONESBORO, AR -- As the St. Louis Cardinals ready for the first pitch of game three of the World Series in less than an hour, fans all over Region 8 will be cheering the team on Tuesday night. The Cards have won nine World Series titles, but haven't celebrated the championship since 1983.

"Business is fabulous!  Anytime we have the Cardinals going to a World Series, business picks up 50-100%.  As a matter of fact, I think 90% of the sales today have been Cardinal's sales, it's been people on their way to the ballgame, on their way to St. Louis," said Linda Robinson, owner of The Arkansas Sports Fan.

The name of the store is Arkansas Sports Fan...but right now, it's more like Cardinal Fever. Brad Lovett and his dad Glenn stopped by to make a quick purchase before heading up to the game.

"I couldn't believe it, it was an awesome feeling, and I was very excited! I just can't wait to get up there," said Brad Lovett as he paid for a hooded sweatshirt.

From hats to shirts to even Christmas wreaths and can find just about anything with a Cardinal's logo on it.  The store sells custom stain glass lamps, fireplace guards, bedding and linens, tents, kitchen cutting boards, trivets and even salt and pepper shakers with the familiar redbird on it.

"We can almost do your house from one end to the other in St. Louis Cardinals merchandise," said Robinson. With a championship within reach, Region 8 fans have a reason to come alive this fall.

"We didn't expect it, but we have been very excited that they have been able to go as far as they have," said Cardinal fan Angie Smith, "We will be in front of the TV every game rooting them on!"

"It was just kind of a Cinderella story and now the pressure is off, so when they won it was just a shock.  So this is just wonderful to be able to watch it now," said fan Ann Mertin, "It's just been a fun season to watch the Cardinals.  They have been up and down, going into the playoffs, it was just no expectations.  It would just be incredible for the city and just for that to go down in history as the first year of the new stadium."

Jonesboro fan Barry Holt has been cheering for the Cards for years, "They just need to keep what they have got going, and just keep digging."

"This year is the year we need to finally, finally do it and add to that great tradition," said Scott Hunter, who plans to watch all the games on TV, "With Carpenter pitching and the way we've been hitting, I think we'll do just fine."

"We've got our best pitcher going at home, he's got a wonderful record in St. Louis this year, he's our ace and we're either going to sink or swim with Chris Carpenter," said the World Series bound Glenn Lovett.

And of course, every fan has a favorite Cardinals player...

"Jim Edmonds," said Robinson.

"Everybody roots for Pujols, but I like Molina," said Holt.

Hunter said, "Pujols defiantly is my favorite.  He's probably everybody's favorite Cardinals player!"

"We like Edmonds, Rowland and we like Carpenter," said Smith.

"Pujols, I gotta say Pujols," said Brad Lovett.

Of course, if you are looking for a last minute Halloween costume, you can always consider going as Kenny Rogers.  All you'll need is a Detroit jersey, a "Gambler" cd and a little pine tar or "dirt."

You can celebrate early by pre-ordering your world series t-shirts at the Arkansas Sports Fan.  If the Cards take the Tigers by game five on Thursday, the shirts could be in Jonesboro by as early as Monday.