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When historic baseball franchises are mentioned, the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs are frequently the subject matter. Championships, longevity and in at least one case, infamy, carry the discussion forward. But there is a franchise based on the banks of the Mississippi River which has created a magical atmosphere, one that has brought great success and a fan experience that is unparalleled in Major League Baseball.
Founded in 1892, the St. Louis Cardinals franchise was the westernmost club in pro ball until the Dodgers and Giants moved from Brooklyn and New York at the end of the 1957 season. This distinction provided a magnificent marketing opportunity for the team to attract generations of fans from far away over the first half of the century. To this day, the club conducts what is called the Cardinals Caravan, a campaign to sell partial season ticket packages to fans in a twelve-state region around Missouri.
The experience has been refined and perfected over the years. When the Busch family bought the team, they recommitted to a winning culture after many bad seasons in the 1970s. The 1980s featured WhiteyBall, winning teams, three pennants and one World Series Title in 1982. When the Busch family sold to a group led by Bill Dewitt, Jr. in the 1990s, the team was coming off poor seasons and the new owner put the club back on track. Since then, Cardinals fans have been treated to entertaining baseball with successful results and a rewarding in-person experience which is among the best in all of sports.
I remember hearing the late Cardinals’ marketing executive, Marty Hendin, say you cannot control the result on the field, but you can control making sure a person leaves the game feeling like they received good entertainment value for their money and time spent. Having appreciated world-class guest service at restaurants, hotel and theme parks throughout the world, the experience at Busch Stadium for a Cardinals game is similar to what a guest experiences at Disney World. You are greeted upon entry with remarks such as “Good morning” and “Enjoy the game!” Because you have a ticket for the game, you are an invited guest, one of 50,000 Cardinals fans, who, if even for just one game, make you feel like you are part of the family.
There are a few things to know about the new stadium relative to its predecessor. The new stadium, Busch Stadium III, is partially on the site of Busch Stadium II. When they built the new stadium, they completed one half of the stadium before the 2005 season was completed. If you drew a line from about where the Stan Musial statue sits on the West side of the stadium due east to right field and then took the length of that area and took the entire plane south to Highway 40/64, you might be able to envision the first phase. The stadium is within ten feet of the highway, but the noise is buffered thanks to the installation of the scoreboard in two pieces from Busch Stadium II, each with the statistics from when the final game ended. It was about four weeks after the season ended before demolition occurred.
One week after the season ended in mid-October with a loss in six games to the Houston Astros in the 2005 National League Championship Series, the old stadium was completely demolished to make way for the area that would be the right field and center field areas. This was completed in just more than five months. When you look out behind center field or even more visibly, behind left field, you are looking at where the stadium once stood. More accurately, you would be looking from the right field or center field of the old stadium toward home plate.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
One thing to know is that you can bring food and drink into Busch Stadium. The Cardinals have always wanted to make attending games affordable with more than just attractive ticket offers (more on this later). You can bring soft-sided coolers that measure no greater than 16 x 16 x 8. You cannot bring in any alcohol, cans or glass and your plastic bottles must be unopened when you enter. A good idea would be to bring water, especially for those hot and humid St. Louis Summer days and nights, bagged peanuts, Cracker Jacks and maybe candy if you wanted. This will save you quite a bit of money once you get inside.
As for the items commonly found at MLB baseball stadiums for comparison sake, a 16 oz. bottle of beer is $8, a kosher hot dog basket which includes chips is $9.75, a 20 oz. bottled soda is $5.25, bottled water is $5.25, bag of peanuts is $4.75.
Behind home plate in the main concourse, there is a popcorn station that offers a bottomless bucket for $14. You can mix and match flavors that include regular buttered, cheese and caramel. Get a single serving for just $5.
Busch Stadium offers an array of beverage options. Souvenir cup fountain soda is $6.25, a specialty beer pint is $7.25, a regular sized soda is $5.25, 12oz. draft beer cup is $9 and a bottle of O'Doul's is $4.75.
You can choose from a variety of snacks where popcorn is $4, Cracker Jacks $3.75, bag of potato chips for $2, nachos are $6.50, a pretzel with cheese is $6.25, Switzer's cherry licorice for $3.50, Cardinals ice cream bar for $2 and a vanilla ice cream dipped in chocolate for $3.75.
Funnel cakes are $5.25, kettle corn (also known as lightly sweetened popcorn) is $5, and cotton candy is $6.
Other entrée items include chicken tenders basket for $13.50 or the jumbo dog basket for $10.75. A bratwurst basket is $10.75 and a hamburger basket is $10.50. Add another patty or cheese and burger baskets are a few extra dollars. All baskets include chips. Add an order of regular French fries for $5.
There is a station behind the third base dugout side in the main concourse where you can build your own hot dog for $11. There are some pre-determined combos you can order from such as the St. Louis hot dog which includes red hot riplets (spicy potato chips), provelone cheese and barbeque sauce. Another is the signature hot dog covered with baked beans, corn chips, and mustard. Still, you can choose among fourteen different items to add to your hot dog. Great stuff!
Also in the hot dog category, consider the pretzel dog for $5.75 which you can find in the main concourse along the third base side of the stadium. You can also get a hand-rolled pretzel for $4.75 and choose from traditional, cinnamon or sugar topping.
Consider BBQ as an option as there are excellent options to select. The brisket basket is $13.75 and the pulled pork basket is $13. All basket combos include chips. A turkey leg is $9. Add a side of cole slaw or baked beans for $3.
Three slider baskets are available and you can choose from braised beef, chipotle chicken or barbeque pulled pork. For $14, you can mix and match up to two sliders and add fries with this basket. Cheese, garlic and seasoned fries are available and if you want a dedicated order outside of ordering the basket, you can get any of those three types of fries for $6.
A tasty option with a little more pizzaz is the St. Louis bacon-wrapped hot dog for just $9. You can find these in the main concourse behind the first base dugout.
For those with a healthy conscience, consider either the veggie burger or veggie chicken basket, both at $12.25. Chef salads are $6.50 and fruit cups are $8.
Sadly, two popular tastes unique to St. Louis, toasted ravioli and gooey butter cake, cannot be found at the stadium. You can and should get them while in town. See the neighborhood section for some excellent suggestions.
As you might expect for a team that has been around 120 years, there are generations of fans who have watched and contributed to Cardinals baseball. My grandmother spoke about Jim Bottomley and the Dean Brothers coming over to the house when they lived down the street from Sportsman's Park.
You will find groups of veteran fans who congregate to compare current players with the players from the 1940s, debate how Whitey Herzog would have managed the current club, boast of how many consecutive games they have attended and who they saw play in 1945.
First things first! If you attend a Cardinals game and do not have an allegiance to the visiting team WEAR RED! You will be impressed with the sea of red while you participate with a near full house on most nights. In fact, even if you do have an allegiance to the visiting team, transform yourself into a Cardinals fan for the game, slip into some red and cheer with the home crowd. After all, it's just a game and an experience you will miss if you don't.
As you consider where you should sit, here are a few things to know. Unlike Busch Stadium II, the current stadium has a home plate that is in the southwest corner of the playing area. The batter looks to the northeast to view the pitch coming from the mound. The right field line follows from home plate due east. The left field line follows from home plate due north. This is important as you consider sun exposure for day games and having the sun in your eyes or not for games regardless of the start time. I hate watching a game where it is uncomfortable for those reasons.
Field dimensions are 336 down the left field line, 375 in left center, 400 in straightaway center, 375 in right center and 335 down the right field line. Although there is some area in the infield foul territory, the space narrows as the seating area travels from first and third base to the foul poles getting as close as three feet when it hits the outfield wall.
For afternoon games that start about noon until 3:00 pm, the sun comes up behind the right field wall, but just a bit south of the structure. What this means is if you want to stay out of the sun and most of the heat during the St. Louis summer, consider a ticket in the rear rows of the levels along the first base side. Avoid the third base side for these start times unless you're planning on working on your tan.
In most sections, the rear-most ten rows in each section are covered by a section or in the case of the top level, an awning. For many games, you can get a ticket in the upper level near the foul pole in right field for just $5.
For evening games, the sun falls behind the third base side of the stadium and your best bet there is for a seat along this side. Avoid seats in the right field area at night because you will get sun and heat for half the game.
Seats in center field are nice, but you are going to feel like an egg on a sidewalk in 100 degree weather, which is similar to what you experience in the hot, humid St. Louis summer months. This includes games which start at any time.
In terms of best value in pricing, consider the Cardinal's practice of tiered pricing in designating higher prices to meet higher demand for the home team's most treasured rivals such as the Cubs, Yankees and Red Sox, the latter two strictly for interleague play. There really is never any reason to pay full-price for a ticket to a Cardinals game.
Check the website for promotions, but one common special includes AAA discounts of half-off select seats with your membership card for most games Monday through Saturday. Also, if you want to buy online, but avoid ticketing fees, consider the option of picking up your tickets at one of the self-serve kiosks spread throughout the perimeter of the ballpark.
If forced to put my finger on where to sit for an afternoon game, I would tell you sections in the Infield Pavilion level in sections between 344 through 348 offer a view from behind home plate and home dugout along with a magnificent view of the arch with shade from the sun. Tickets here are usually about $30 for the lower priced teams.
For an evening game, consider sections in the Infield Pavilion level in sections between 352 through 357.
As you walk into the stadium, one of the first things you might notice here is unlike all of the new stadiums of the last twenty years, almost all of the main concourse is closed off from viewing the game live while fans stroll to get food, visit a restroom or shop for merchandise. Although I have been unsuccessful in confirming this, it seems it might have been designed this way to minimize costs. Messages left for the architect, Kansas City-based Populous, to learn why have gone unanswered.
Because of this one element, the venue lacks the inclusive feel you experience in almost every other ballpark no matter where you are once inside the structure. Get into the seating area or in left center field where the concourse opens up and you are in the atmosphere. It's a shame because in having visited every other major league ballpark, there is such an exciting element to being able to walk the concourse around the entire field and never miss a play. It might be the most disappointing quality of Busch Stadium.
In essence the upper levels provide you access to the outside when you are walking the upper level concourse. The walkways are wide and breezy and exposed to open air and light unlike the main concourse.
Restrooms, food choices and merchandise are plentiful all levels, but if you want some of the specialty items mentioned above, get those on the main level before heading to your seat in the upper levels.
Access to the upper levels can be gained through ramps, steps, elevators and escalators. The ramps take a while to get to the upper levels and the steps are not too much of a pleasure either. Find an escalator, the quickest one seems to be along the third base side. Elevators are tucked away near the stairwells so while they are there, you have to look for them.
In terms of team pageantry, there are thirteen retired numbers or symbols in two places, along the left field padded wall starting near the foul pole and on the lower edge of the center field scoreboard.
Rogers Hornsby is referenced with an old-fashioned STL logo as players did not wear numbers on their jerseys during his era. The #85 Busch honors August Busch, Jr. the longtime owner who controlled the team. When the team retired his number in 1984, Mr. Busch was 85 years old, hence the reason for the #85 as his retired number. The microphone on the far right honors long-time broadcaster Jack Buck who died in 2002.
The World Series pennants in right center high atop the scoreboard commemorate the eleven titles the Cardinals have captured, second most in the major leagues.
The view to center field reveals the majestic Gateway Arch and the Millennium Hotel St. Louis at 200 South 4th Street which offers a spectacular view and elegant dining from its revolving restaurant on the top floor.
Kids and really fans of all ages enjoy Fredbird, the Cardinals mascot. Introduced in 1979 by the late Cardinals Marketing Executive Marty Hendin, Fredbird has reached the level of popularity close to the Phillie Phanatic. You will see him involved in between innings events and through his visits to the US Cellular Family Pavilion.
Oh, one last thing. WEAR RED! You will be glad you did!
Busch Stadium lies in downtown about a half mile east of the Gateway Arch. At one time, the downtown area was a bustling place, but typically, after work lets out, downtown clears out unless there is a Cardinals game. In being one of the most happening areas of the city, there are about a dozen options within walking distance of the stadium.
Restaurants near the stadium include J. Buck's at 1000 Clark Avenue, just two blocks west of the northwest corner of the stadium complex. The restaurant is named for the former Cardinals broadcaster who is often seen around the stadium when he is not somewhere broadcasting Fox Sports coverage of Major League Baseball.
Another good spot is Mike Shannon's restaurant, named after the former St. Louisan who played for the Cardinals in the 60s and is one of their current broadcasters. It is just beyond right field and a block north of the ballpark at 620 Market Street and has a diverse offering designed to attract the younger bar crowd outside with a finer dining atmosphere inside. Mike often visits the restaurant after the game to meet fans and enjoy a home team win.
Charlie Gitto's, located four short blocks north at 207 North 6th Street, just north of Pine Street caters to a casual Italian crowd. The owner has been friends with Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda for decades and has a plaque posted at the favorite table of the former Dodgers manager. The restaurant is packed full of signed photos of famous visitors, some during their visit to this popular eatery.
While in St. Louis, find time to visit The Hill neighborhood, a community steeped in rich Italian tradition just ten minutes southwest of the stadium. The neighborhood's north edge is along Highway 44. The east edge is along Kingshighway while the west edge is along Hampton. The south edge is along Southwest Avenue.
Joe Garagiola and Yogi Berra grew up there. In fact, many of Yogi's relatives still reside in here in small, yet quaint middle class homes. The area is home to some of the best Italian restaurants in the area, some just large enough for a dozen tables. St. Louis Bocce Club is also here.
For light fare and casual dining, pick Zia's at 5257 Wilson Avenue. You can get toasted ravioli there and tasty pizza with a thin, cracker crust, a St. Louis original. For a wide variety of pastas and "fishbowl" beers, try Rigazzi's at 4945 Daggett.
For a more elegant experience, try Lorenzo's at 1933 Edwards, right where Edwards and Daggett intersect. Try their fish specials and if you want something you do not see on the menu, ask them if they can make it for you. They typically can. Another elegant Hill restaurant is Giovanni's on the Hill at 5201 Shaw, right at Marconi.
Also, whatever you do, do not leave the area without having a cannoli for dessert.
For those without tickets to get inside Busch Stadium, consider 360, a glass walled venue beyond left field at the top of the Hilton Ballpark Hotel. Head up to this restaurant for drinks and dinner along with a great view of the game.
There may not be any better fans in baseball than Cardinals fans. No offense to fans of the Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs, but in what other ballpark will you often see applause for a visiting players for a great play or hitting a milestone.
Fans in St. Louis do not need to be prompted by a scoreboard to know, for instance, Jeff Bagwell's last career plate appearance in St. Louis was about to take place. They stood for several minutes before he saw the first pitch. Magical is the best way to describe the atmosphere as provided by Cardinal Nation.
If you are coming to see your favorite team play the Cardinals, be comfortable wearing your team's colors, strike up a conversation with a Cardinals fan, talk history, debate best players at each position and in the end, know you will enjoy healthy baseball conversations with them.
There are several options when accessing the ballpark and it all depends on price and convenience. Parking is ample throughout downtown, either in stadium parking garages, small as well as large surface lots or meter parking. Parking garages near the stadium are $20. There are two large, seven-level parking lots a block north of the stadium, one to the East, the other to the West.
Parking lots of various sizes can be found south and west of the stadium. The further you go away from the park, the less you pay, but you can get a pretty good spot for $10 and only have to walk just a quarter to a half mile. In fact, you might end up parking where you will end up after the game for drinks and food. Consider this when you plan your day at the game.
If you want to drive to the game, but desire a cheaper option, there is one; a metered parking spot near the ballpark. Although you will need to be conscious of the one-way streets that surround the stadium, it is worth it. Here is what I recommend if you choose this option:
After 7:00 PM, the meters are free Monday through Friday. They are FREE on Saturday and Sunday. On weekdays, because you can park for a maximum of two hours at a time during chargeable meter time, find a spot around 5:00 PM, load coins (quarters preferred) in the amount of $2.00 (at a rate of $0.25 per fifteen minutes) and your parking ends up being pretty cheap.
Truthfully, though, I prefer using MetroLink, the St. Louis area's light rail system just to not have to deal with the traffic hassle and what would be about $7.00 in gas. The trains are neat, clean and safe. There is a station right at the stadium on the West side across from the famed Stan Musial statue. Fittingly enough, it is known as the "Stadium" stop.
A few things you should know. The train lines run from the Western suburbs toward downtown most of the way, but it does stretch across the Mississippi River to Illinois where there are eleven stops.
One train begins in the Northwest part of St. Louis County at the Airport station (where there are actually two stops, one for each terminal) and heads east to the Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base station. This is considered the RED line.
The other train begins in the Southwest part of St. Louis County at the Shrewsbury station and heads East to the Fairview Heights, Illinois station, five stops short of the Shiloh-Scott Air Force Base station. This is considered the BLUE line.
From either of the furthest West stations on either the RED or BLUE line, it takes about thirty minutes to get to the ballpark. The southernmost trip has a little more scenery than the northernmost trip.
There is one important tip you should know for after the game even though there is a stop right at the stadium. If you leave at about the same time as most of the crowd AND you are heading west on either the blue or red line, walk about three blocks North to the corner of 8th and Pine. There you will walk down the steps to the platform and should have no trouble getting on the train OR having to wait in line.
The next stop West (which is actually south because the tracks snake around to run North/South through downtown) is the Stadium stop. You will be in a seat or at least on the train with no hassle getting on while you see everybody else waiting in a long line at the Stadium stop struggling to get on quickly, find a seat, etc.
Cost is $2.25 one-way or $5.50 round trip. Reduced fares of $1.10 are offered to seniors 65+, customers with disabilities, customers who possess a valid Medicare ID, and children aged 5 through 12. The system operates on a pseudo-honor system. Buy your ticket at the automated kiosk, validate the ticket when you get ready to use it, travel within two hours of validation and board the train. Security randomly checks tickets and issues citations on the spot so be careful if you try to shirk the small fee.
In making a commitment to keep Cardinals baseball affordable, ticket prices are as low as $5 on many nights. Programs are just $5 and are a good value with great articles and colorful photo essays. Each program includes a scorecard. Add a pencil for $1.
Food is fairly priced with opportunity for you to get more or better quality food for a little more. Consider, though, the Cardinals allow you to bring food to the game provided you follow their rules. It is common and a good idea to bring your own bottled water or bottled soda (unopened when you enter the game), peanuts and cracker jacks. For instance, it might cost you as little as $1 for bottled water you bring as opposed to $5.25 on the inside. I suggest bringing the necessities to the game and spend money inside on a tasty bratwurst or bagel dog.
Merchandise is fairly priced as well. T-shirts are offered for as low as $15 and souvenir baseballs are $6.
Parking is normal with some cheap options, but you cannot beat the light rail price of $2.25 and no hassle with traffic and parking.
Many fans listen to the live games they attend through KMOX 1120 AM, a fixture for Cardinals baseball for decades despite the five-year interruption late in the last decade. John Rooney and former Cardinals catcher Mike Shannon call an entertaining game.
Unlike many stadiums, there is not a team Hall of Fame at Busch Stadium III. At Busch Stadium II, there was an expansive museum devoted largely to baseball, but including all St. Louis sports for decades. Fans did not need a game ticket to enter and could visit just about every day of the week. It was one of the finest in baseball.
The team moved across the street, northwest of the stadium for a while and shared the triangular shaped two-story building with the Bowling Hall of Fame before it relocated to Houston. Currently, there isn't much to see at the stadium to include trophies, photos or team films.
The site where the former ballpark was located has plans to be developed and will include a team Hall of Fame along with team themed restaurants. For now it is half parking lot, half softball field and very unbecoming of a franchise which always displays good taste and class in its presentation.
For the 2012 season, and presumably any season after the Cardinals win the World Series, you can visit the US Cellular area behind the center field seating area and have your picture taken with the World Series trophy. Although it was free of charge at the beginning of the 2012 season, there is now a charge for the photo. After you pose with the trophy in front of the branded World Series backdrop, you will be given a ticket to view the image online. $17.99 is the starting price for an image.
Across the walkway from this area, you can have your photo taken in front of a backdrop of the field, the players or other clever baseball scene. Get 6 x 8 size print and four wallets for $25. Add a key chain for $5.
Behind the seating area along the main concourse of the third base side you will find a Build-A-Bear store, uniquely designed with baseball in mind. To satisfy the young fan on the move, pre-made stuffed animals are available, but if you have time, make your own in minutes. Add shin guards, chest protector and a mask and you have a Yadier Molina bear.
Coming of the World Series victory, you can purchase a World Series Bear, complete with special embroidery on the bear's foot commemorating the Fall Classic title victory for $20. Fredbird, the Cardinals longtime mascot and the Clydesdale, popular due to the team's long association with Anheuser Busch and the famous horses are also available for $24.
Or you can choose the Rally Squirrel for $18. What is a "Rally Squirrel" you ask? He was made popular when during Game Five of the Divisional Series between the Phillies and Cardinals, a squirrel ran across home plate as Phillies pitcher Roy Oswalt was delivering a pitch to Skip Schumaker. The squirrel then jumped into the stands. Umpire Ángel Hernández called the pitch a ball; Oswalt and Philadelphia manager Charlie Manuel argued, unsuccessfully, that Oswalt had been distracted by the squirrel and that "no pitch" should be called. The play stood and the Rally Squirrel remains a popular symbol in Cardinals history.
For young kids, there is the US Cellular Family Pavilion which offer lots of fun games such as t-ball and batting cages to test your swing, speed gun to see how fast you can throw and a soft playground area under cover with places for parents to sit and watch the game while their children climb and crawl.
The St. Louis Cardinals rival the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs as the most popular teams over the last century of baseball.
And for the greater part of their history, the Cardinals called "Busch Stadium" home. However, there have actually been three Busch Stadiums, with the current one opening in 2006.
Incidentally, the Cardinals joined the Yankees as the only team to win the World Series during the first year in a new stadium.
The ballpark is chock full of historic quirks and facets. The centerfield gate (Gate 5) is actually centerfield of the second Busch Stadium. Painted lines mark the locations of the old foul lines and outfield wall. The new stadium was basically fully completed in 2005, but the team had to wait for the end of the season to complete it since the ballparks overlapped.
Gate 3 is a tremendous sight for any true baseball fan. Though Albert Pujols is the talk of the town these days in St. Louis, Stan Musial remains the most revered Cardinal of all time. A brass statue of "Stan the Man" sits outside the stadium under Musial Bridge - modeled after the historic Eads Bridge that was the first bridge to cross the Mississippi River in St. Louis.
Though the Anheuser Busch, Co. no longer owns the Cardinals, the company provided enough money to keep the naming rights to the stadium. It's hard to imagine the Cardinals playing anywhere but some version of a Busch Stadium.
As the public address announcer says before every home game, "Welcome to Baseball Heaven." Busch Stadium is truly a baseball heaven for the scores of fans that visit each year.
Like most Major League stadiums that have been constructed in this decade, the newest incarnation of St. Louis's Busch Stadium is designed to invoke nostalgia for baseball's rich past. To me, this is a cynical attempt by team owners and league officials to make fans forget about steroids, multi-million dollar contract negotiations, and other distractions that plague appreciation for the modern game. Of course, the players that fans pay to watch in these monuments to the sports' glory days are often less than honorable. It should also be noted that this new crop of old fashioned stadiums cost a lot more to build than the old parks did, and are generally funded by questionable corporate partnerships and corrupt tax scams.
Still, for any fan willing to ignore all of this, it must be said that Busch is a perfectly pleasant place to spend an evening and see a game. With the red brick facade of the stadium, the red seats inside, and the red jerseys worn by the extremely loyal and enthusiastic spectators, every game here is played in a sea of cardinal red. It is the center of one of the greatest baseball cities in America, it is rare to hear a conversation in St. Louis that doesn't revolve around the latest exploits of the beloved storied franchise, and Busch makes for a comfortable venue to watch the Cardinals in action.
Plus, St. Louis usually has a good scrappy team of contenders which can be a lot of fun to watch. Busch Stadium gives sports fans the chance to see one of the greatest players in the long history of the game, Albert Pujols, perform in his natural environment.
This ballpark bills itself as "Baseball Heaven", which is an obvious bit of marketing hyperbole. Admittedly, it doesn't have the charm or the history of Wrigley or Fenway. However, when it comes to a good place to watch a close ballgame, fans could certainly do a lot worse than watching the Cardinals play at Busch Stadium.
Awesome food, including giant smoked turkey legs, the most knowledgeable fans in baseball, and the chance to see the best player in baseball are all major contributors to making this one of the best experiences in the Majors. The sense of history is completely enmeshed with the modern luxuries of the new park.
I had been the old Busch Stadium before, and was excited to see this new version. Cubs vs. Cardinals, can't do much better then that. Plus, I was very surprised to find tickets for under face value on both eBay and StubHub. It was hotter then hell, and if you are like me and don't want to be square in the sun on a 100 degree day, I recommend section 344, which is in the maybe 5 percent of the stadium that isn't in constant sunlight. The stadium never got to more then 2/3 full, which I thought was weird for such an intense rivalry, but I will give the fans a pass because of the extreme weather. My favorite thing was the access to other sections...at Wrigley, they have become horrible and will not let you into other sections if you don't have a ticket, even in pregame. At Busch, if there were open seats, you could have at 'em. We got in just as the doors opened and watched batting pratice from the bleachers...I even caught a ball from Geovany Soto.By far, the worst thing about Busch was the food. At $8.75 a beer, especially for crap like Bud, I didn't even have a desire for one. (incidentally, I think of the now 27 MLB parks I have been to, this was the third most expensive beer.) I had a great brisket sandwich for $9 right away, but by the fourth inning, the concession stands near us were all out of everything but the normal hot dogs and burgers...they were out of the brisket, pulled pork, and turkey legs. Plus, the lines were not very long, and took forever to get through. I missed over an inning!!!! The fans were great, though many had left by the Cards comeback attempt in the ninth inning. Parking was a breeze...if you don't mind getting there early, you can park less then two minutes away for $10...a bargain by Cubs fan standards. The outside statue garden is great...much like Comerica in Detroit. I proudly wore my Andre Dawson jersey, and didn't hear anything from anyone, which differed from the intense mocking I had heard about. Aesthetically, the view over centerfield is awesome...the arch and the small St. Louis skyline are great, and in the evening I bet look incredible, like a poor man's Pittsburgh with the Roberto Clemente bridge in full view. It is a little Cookie Cutterish from the inside, like most new stadiums, but nice enough. It took us just under four hours to get there from the Chicago suburbs, so I heartily recommend a road trip for all Cubs fans...we left at 7AM, were there by 11, and could have left to come home at 5, which would have put us home at 9. Good times!!!
620 Market St
St Louis, MO 63101
315 Chestnut St
St Louis, MO 63102
1933 Edwards St
St Louis, MO 63110
5201 Shaw Ave
St Louis, MO 63110
12th & Lynch Streets
St. Louis, MO 63118
1 South Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63102
811 Spruce St
St Louis, MO 63102