When a team is building on a 120-year plus legacy, it might be a tough task to keep the atmosphere fresh and vibrant. The current ballpark, christened in 2006, is fantastic, but no longer new anymore. It is a wonderful venue and coupled with an annually competitive team each season, fans continue to flock to see the Cardinals.
But in the spirit of keeping things fresh and providing additional revenue streams for the club, the long-planned Ballpark Village opened for the 2014 season around Busch Stadium, just beyond the left field perimeter. It is a remarkable addition to an already popular locale. With multiple venues and public areas to gather, this area is just as popular on days when the Cardinals are playing away from home as they are when they host an opponent.
Added to the many wonderful things Busch Stadium has to offer, in 2014, you can be sure to enjoy a more enhanced visit with Ballpark Village.
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".
The food has always been quite good and it has only improved in 2014.
While Busch Stadium includes a vast and diverse offering of food and drink like none I have seen, you can still choose a cheap option and bring your own into the ballpark.
A few rules if you choose to bring your own food and drink. Only soft-sided coolers no greater than 16 x 16 x 8 are allowed. No alcohol, cans or glass and your plastic bottles must be unopened when you enter. This will save you quite a bit of money once you get inside.
And if you choose not to bring food in, you will be happy to know that 2013 prices are still in effect for the 2014 season, as the team determined it should not make any price increases.
As for the items most commonly found at MLB baseball stadiums for comparison sake, a 16 oz. bottle of beer is $8.25, a jumbo hot dog basket which includes chips and a soda is $9, a 20 oz. bottled soda is $5.50, 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.
For drinks, a souvenir cup fountain soda is $6.50, a specialty beer pint is $7.50, a regular sized soda is $5.50, 12 oz. draft beer cup is $9 and a bottle of O'Doul's is $4.75. Schlafly is the largest locally-owned brewery now and has plenty of offerings.
Other entrée items include chicken tenders basket for $13.75 or the jumbo dog basket for $11. A jumbo bratwurst basket is $13.75 and a hamburger basket is $10.75. Add another patty or cheese and burger baskets are a few extra dollars. All baskets include chips. Add an order of regular, cheese, garlic or seasoned French fries for $6.25.
There is a station behind the third base dugout side in the main concourse where you can build your own hot for $11. Great stuff!
Also in the hot dog category, consider the pretzel dog for $6 which you can find in the main concourse along the third base side of the stadium. Bavarian pretzel sticks with cheese for $7.
For BBQ, the brisket basket is $14 and the pulled pork basket is $13.25 and includes chips. Three slider baskets, braised beef, chipotle chicken or barbeque pulled pork are $14 and include fries.
In their second year, Kohn's Kosher Deli will remind you of Katz's Deli in New York. Located at section 147, choices include generous servings of pastrami and corned beef sandwiches on rye bread, both $12.75 each, a kosher jumbo frank for $7.50, and potato or meat knishes for $3.50. Note that Kohn's Deli changes names to Coney Island Deli on Friday and Saturday games, with the intent to respect the Jewish traditions of the Sabbath.
There are two new selections for 2014.
Outside section 135, flatbread pizzas are a tasty alternative. Choose from BBQ pulled pork, carnitas chicken or spinach artichoke, each $11. While new and tasty, you don't get much for the price.
Outside section 144 in what used to be the Food Network cart, the better option involves the Island Grill Specialties of Mahi Mahi tacos, crab cake sliders or a spicy shrimp hoagie (it is not too spicy, trust me) for $13. Each is loaded and includes chips.
No matter where you come from, dress in red and be a Cardinals fan. Leave your allegiance at the gate and cheer for the home team this day.
Choosing where to sit is the first step to enjoyment. Home plate is in the southwest corner of the field and the batter looks northeast. From home plate, the right field line runs east while the left field line runs north. This is important as you consider sun exposure during the game.
Field dimensions are 336 feet to left, 375 to left-center, 400 to center, 375 to right-center and 335 to right. There is some space in the infield foul territory, but the space narrows as the seating area meets the foul poles just thirty feet shy of the outfield wall.
Airflow through the stadium is good on most days. For afternoon games starting Noon until 3:00 PM, the sun comes up the right field wall, but just a bit south of the structure. If you want to stay out of the sun, consider a ticket in the rear rows along the first base side and avoid the third base side.
In most sections, the rear-most ten rows of each section are covered by a section or overhead 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, your best bet along this side. Avoid seats in the right field area at all games because you will get sun and heat for most if not all of the game. Seats in center field for all games are nice, but you are begging for melanoma if you sit there, no matter what the start time.
In terms of best value, the Cardinals practice tiered pricing, getting higher prices for top dates and opponents. There really is never any reason to pay full-price for a ticket at a Cardinals regular season game as there are many promotions. One is the AAA discount, half-off Monday through Wednesday games.
Also, if you want to buy online, but avoid a fee; consider picking up tickets at a self-serve kiosk surrounding the ballpark.
Best seats for an afternoon game are Infield Pavilion level, sections 344-348. For an evening game, consider that same level, but sections 352-357. Here, you sit behind home plate with a magnificent view of the arch and shade from the sun. Full price tickets here are usually about $30.
Ballpark Village also provides an option, but note, all seats are across the street behind left field. Options include the AT&T Rooftop, all-inclusive food and drink with assigned seats ($75-$250 depending upon the date and opponent) to watch the game. The menu changes regularly to keep the offerings new and fresh. Admission to the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum is included with your ticket.
A less expensive option is the Budweiser Rooftop Deck where there are no assigned seats and food is not included in the price of admission. Tickets can be purchased one month prior to the game in question. You can gain access to the stadium with your ticket after checking in at the rooftop deck.
Consider a few things before entering the stadium. Make it a priority to purchase a program, Cardinals Magazine, with scorecard insert for just $5, but buy it from Joe Palermo. He is just INSIDE the third base entrance and has sold programs for the last 49 years.
He is friendly and conversational, but as it relates to baseball and Cardinal history, he is a walking encyclopedia. Make sure you view his daily trivia question, posted at the left side of his counter. On this day, his question was:
"Name the only person who has played for both the Cardinals and the Blues (NHL team just down the street). The answer is at the end of this review.
As you enter the main concourse, one of the first things you might notice is, unlike the new stadiums built in the last 20 years, almost the entire main concourse is dark, closed off from viewing the game. It remains one of the few disappointing elements of the ballpark.
Because of this element, the venue lacks the inclusive feel you experience in nearly every other ballpark. It's a shame because in having visited every other major league ballpark, this can be such an exciting element to walk the concourse and never miss a play. The concourses in the upper levels do provide a view and are wide and breezy.
Restrooms, food choices and merchandise are plentiful at all levels, but the specialty items mentioned earlier are largely only available in the main concourse.
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 which can be seen 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 this retired number. The microphone on the far right honors longtime broadcaster Jack Buck who died in 2002.
The World Series pennants in right center high atop the scoreboard commemorate the 11 titles the Cardinals have captured, second most in the major leagues.
Kids and 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 inning events and through his visits to the US Cellular Family Pavilion.
Busch Stadium lies downtown St Louis, about a half mile east of the Gateway Arch. Once a dormant area on non-game days, Ballpark Village has changed the neighborhood. It is the place to be on all days and nights.
All in one spot, you have a variety of dining options, some finer than others, music and entertainment, the Team Hall of Fame, an outdoor picnic area, a broadcast position and the large atrium featuring a wide range of seating options and views of the many monitors and one gigantic television.
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 do you see applause for visiting players who make a great play or reach a milestone.
Fans in St. Louis do not need to be prompted by a scoreboard to know. For instance, when Jeff Bagwell's last career plate appearance in St. Louis was about to take place, Cardinals fans 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 choose to see your favorite team play the Cardinals, be comfortable in 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 a healthy and safe baseball atmosphere.
There are several transportation options depending 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. You can get a pretty good spot for $10 and only have to walk just a quarter to a half mile.
If you want to drive to the game, but desire a cheaper option, there is one; a metered street spot. Here is what I recommend if you choose this option.
After 7:00 PM, meters are free Mon-Sat (Sunday is FREE). Because you can park for a maximum of two hours at a time during chargeable time, find a spot around 5:00 PM, load quarters, up until $2 for 2 hours, and your parking ends up being pretty cheap.
The best option, though is MetroLink, St. Louis' light rail system. Avoid traffic as the trains are neat, clean and safe. There is a station on the west side across from the famed Stan Musial statue called the "Stadium" stop.
Important to know, one train line 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 line 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 end station, it takes thirty minutes to get to the ballpark.
Especially when heading west after the game, make sure you get on the right train. Both trains heading west run on the same track until the Forest Park - Debaliviere stop. That is when they split, the RED going northwest to the airport and BLUE going southwest to Shrewsbury.
When heading east, both trains also share the same track, but the BLUE train goes six stops into Illinois ending at Fairview Heights while the RED train goes another five stops ending at the Shiloh-Scott stop (the end of the line).
A tip after the game for westbound fans, walk three blocks north to the corner of 8th and Pine, walk down the steps to the platform and you should have no trouble getting on OR having to wait in line. The next stop west is the Stadium stop. You will be in a seat or at least on the train with no crowd boarding.
Cost is $2.50 one-way or $5 round trip. Reduced fares of $1.25 are offered to seniors 65+, customers with disabilities, customers who possess a valid Medicare ID, and children aged 5 through 12. 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.
In making a commitment to keep Cardinals baseball affordable, some 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 very 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. 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 as low as $15 and souvenir baseballs at $6.
Parking is normal with some cheap options, but you cannot beat the light rail price of $2.50 and no hassle with traffic and parking.
There are many reasons the Cardinals annually surpass the 3,000,000 mark in attendance and among them is affordability.
BALLPARK VILLAGE - I often tell people to spend time there early on game day or on a day when the Cardinals are not playing. There is so much to see and do and you just cannot enjoy it the way you should right before game time.
Consider visiting the atrium, a large dining and drinking area featuring a roof which opens and closes depending upon the weather and temperature; Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a St. Louis tradition brought to the ballpark for the first time, several restaurants each with their own entertainment, rooftop seating like that which is enjoyed at Chicago's Wrigley Field and the Team Hall of Fame and Museum. The food and drink options are endless.
Of note, the Team Hall of Fame and Museum, at 8,000 square feet the largest baseball Hall of Fame outside Cooperstown. It magnificently captures the early beginnings of the team before they were the Cardinals. It covers comprehensively all the little details in between eras including how the team was named, uniform changes through the years, World Series history, test your broadcasting skills, and a "Holding History" exhibit which I guarantee is like nothing you have ever witnessed. Whatever you do, do not miss the 4-minute movie which plays upon entrance. Have a seat, become a Cardinal fan, enjoy the film and wipe your tears when it is over. Price is $12 for adults, $10 for military and those 60+ and $8 for children 15 and under. This is the same price as the tour, but you can get a combo ticket for both at $18 ($16 and $14 per respective visitors detailed above).
RADIO BROADCASTS - 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.
BALLPARK TOURS - A tour of Busch Stadium is a must if you can fit it into your schedule. Lasting one hour and beginning at Gate 3, your trip includes a visit to the Redbird Club, press box/suite level, Cardinals' Club, Cardinals' dugout and other unique areas in the ballpark. On game day, you will probably come across some players arriving and taking some swings in the batting case.
Four tours are given each day during the regular season (9:30 AM, 11:00 AM, 12:30 PM and 2:00 PM) except during days of afternoon games and two (2) tours in the off-season (11:00 AM and 12:30 PM). Check the schedule for restricted dates and on holidays.
Tickets are $12 for adults, $10 for seniors (60+) and military with ID and $8 for Children (15 and under). Children 3 or under are free, limit 3 per family or group. Groups of 25 or more people have the opportunity to book their own tour. This must be scheduled at least 14 days in advance and require payment in full at time of booking.
BUILD-A-BEAR WORKSHOP LOCATION - The national chain of children's toy bear stores is represented at the ballpark, the only such in-stadium location in the country after Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia closed their version last season. The St. Louis-based retailer is a natural fit for the Cardinals and includes a number of exclusives only found inside the stadium on game day.
Fans have an opportunity to purchase a stuffed Fredbird (the Cardinals mascot) for $24, Clydesdale (iconic brewery symbol) for $24, Cooperstown Dugout Bear for $20 and Tie-Dye Monkey for $18. You can buy accessories such as bear catching gear for $15 and assorted equipment and visiting team jerseys as well.
MERCHANDISE AND GAME AUTHENTICS - The array of merchandise is incredible and there are many different ways to take home a piece of Busch Stadium and the game experience. The most popular items are the red foam finger for $10, the mini bat for $8, a low-price point red Cardinals cap for $10 and a souvenir ball for $8. But there are multiple varieties of just about everything with ascending price points.
Cardinals Authentics Official and Game Used Collectibles can be found just inside and to the right of Gate 6. Even if you are not into game used stuff, at least take a walk through the huge store. There is pretty neat stuff. You can get used batting helmets, game-used balls, and just about anything else you could want. Keep in mind though, this is a store with one-of-a-kind items and unique collectibles.
The huge team store is located just inside Gate 3 (you know, where my buddy Joe Palermo sells programs) and to the left. The store is unique not just from the standpoint that everything Cardinals to purchase is inside, but it represents just about the only publicly open place to view authentic vintage Cardinals memorabilia.
FOR THE KIDS - For the little ones, there is the US Cellular Family Pavilion which offer lots of fun games for a small fee 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. Team mascot Fredbird makes frequent appearance in this area.
ANSWER TO INSIDE GATE 3 PROGRAM VENDOR JOE PALERMO'S TRIVIA QUESTION FROM EARLIER:
Ernie Hayes, organist who played at games for both the Cardinals and the Blues hockey team.
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!!!
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.
When a team with over 120 years of tradition builds a new ballpark, fans take notice with concern and hope. The concern applies to how the franchise will connect the past with the present along with planning for the future and the hope is that it will be done in such a way to appeal to fans across multiple generations from all corners of baseball fandom, in this case Cardinal Nation.
In 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals began play in their fifth stadium and the transition blended the past with the present with an eye toward the future. The club kicked off the new ballpark in style, winning the World Series against the Detroit Tigers that year. While the franchise has continued their competitive play since then, ownership understands the importance of keeping the entertainment experience fresh and rewarding.
The club continues to make minor tweaks along the way with one major tweak set over the next few years. The minor tweaks are detailed in this updated review. The major tweak is the groundbreaking of Ballpark Village, a retail, entertainment and dining enterprise just beyond the right field and center field areas of the ballpark perimeter which will make the area more of a destination than it already is on game day.
Some owners believe the only way to keep fans happy is by winning and that is in fact true. But Cardinals fans tend to demand more than just success on the field which speaks to why the team has enjoyed widespread support and over 3,000,000 annual fans through the gate each season but one over the last fifteen years.
Fans of the Redbirds appreciate and support these winning teams, but they demand an all-around experience when attending games. It is not enough to cheer a winning team; you have to live it from earlier in the day until well after the game has ended. Supporting the Cardinals is a lifestyle, on par with what fans of the Green Bay Packers, Boston Red Sox and Montreal Canadiens enjoy and demand.
Therefore, the game experience must be well-planned with efforts fulfilling the wishes of customers. The club has done a magnificent job of hitting all the important parts and then some, and the steep tradition built over time serves as the foundation for sustained enjoyment. This updated review of the stadium experience at Busch Stadium touches on the rich legacy, proud past, and the ways in which you can enjoy your next visit to one of major league baseball’s finest venues and have it be a lasting impression.
I have never been let down by Busch Stadium and its patrons. Where else can you go and have a creditable chat with almost any fan in the stadium about any topic in baseball? The fans are as respectful of visiting fans as any in the game and probably know baseball better than any other as well.
Everything about this ballpark screams Cardinals and I think that's cool. Much like Comerica Park in Detroit, the St. Louis Cardinals have put their logo everywhere!! Walking around the outside of the park and seeing all of the historical logos in the brick was really cool as was all of the sidewalk pieces commemorating great moments in the team's history. The giant Stan Musial statue is fantastic and so are all of the smaller statues of other famous Cardinals. Unlike the Yankees, the Cardinals added some nice touches to honor their championship years without being annoying about it. Seeing the arch in the background was really cool and the stadium views are nice.
Wonderful view of the downtown and Gateway Arch is the highlight of this stadium. Easy to move around, staff friendly and allow you to sit in other seats for pictures, great transit connection from the airport, excellent fans (one of whom gave me a free ticket). Main problem is expensive food, but you can bring your own, which I recommend.
Went to the game where Michael Wacha came within an out of throwing a no hitter in just his ninth career start. So that was fantastic.
Everything at the stadium is way overpriced. Easily some of the most expensive food I have ever seen at a baseball game. And the gift shop prices were pretty high up there as well.
Compared to the old Busch Stadium, the views are much nicer, and looks like the neighborhood will soon have rooftops like Wrigley. A great looking park, but a very expensive day at the ballpark.
No team can compete with the devotion of the Cardinals fans, and the game day atmosphere here is top notch. But there is nothing here to make Busch Stadium stand out from the pack. It's a nice enough place to catch a game, but wow, were the concessions expensive. And this is coming from a person who goes to Fenway Park regularly. Ballpark Village gets a lot of publicity recently, but it is nothing that isn't happening at a dozen other ballparks right now.
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