ST. LOUIS -- As Opening Day approached, Lance Berkman admitted that he might have a little "let's get on with it" feeling during the Cardinals' famous pregame ceremonies. Once the day arrived, though, Berkman had to admit that a Busch Stadium opener was a pretty cool experience to be a part of.
Not that Berkman ever doubted that, per se. He just was so antsy to get playing that it might be tough to sit through the events. There was no such problem for the veteran, though.
"It was fun," he said. "It was exciting. [There was] a lot of energy in the ballpark, early on especially. [It was] like a playoff atmosphere, which is always fun to play in. Just a great environment to play baseball."
The energy did dwindle a little at the end as the Cardinals fell to a disappointing 5-3 loss, but that didn't make the day much less memorable. From the Clydesdales to the motorcade to the introduction of the Hall of Famers, an opener at Busch Stadium is a one-of-a-kind event.
"Everything about it was neat," Berkman said. "It's a unique in baseball, probably, Opening Day experience. I wouldn't imagine that anywhere else goes to the lengths that the fans here do to recognize their team. It gives you a great feeling embarking on a season."
Berkman even rapped out a couple of base hits, helping put Spring Training further in the rearview mirror. He didn't have a lot of success at the plate during Grapefruit League play, so getting the regular season going on the right foot -- individually at least -- was welcome.
"Swinging the bat, I felt pretty good," he said. "Obviously you want to win, but there's a long way to go."
The Cardinals will hold an optional workout on Friday and then get back to it against San Diego on Saturday. While the club will be sitting on an 0-1 record, Berkman carries a .500 batting average -- a sight better than his .182 mark in the Grapefruit League.
"You obviously want to do well at all times, but particularly it's nice to get a couple hits in the first game," he said. "But we've got 161 left. It's one game. That's one reason I don't like the beginning of the season, because everybody makes such a big deal out of the first part of the season."
Matthew Leach is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Obviously, You're Not a Golfer and follow him on Twitter at @MatthewHLeach. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.