Baseball Summer

2011 was the “Summer of Baseball” in the Markel household. Never in my life have I been to so many Major League Baseball games in one summer, not to mention all of Turkey’s games, and the one Gateway Grizzlies game we went to. To chronicle this “Baseball Summer,” here are pictures with views from all of the different seats we had!

The first game we went to was “Kids Opening Day” on Saturday, April 2, which occurred two days after actual Opening Day. The seats were just OK, but the tickets were cheap, and each of the children received a Matt Holliday baseball bat, and a voucher for a free ticket to a future game. Too bad the Cardinals lost.

Busch Stadium, Left Field Pavilion–Section 368, Row 6

Mother’s Day weekend, Saturday, May 7, was our second game of the year. Other than the Commissioner’s Box, these were my favorite seats we had. They were directly to the left of the press box, so naturally, the view was amazing, and even though we were up pretty high, it didn’t feel like it. (The only thing that would have made the game more enjoyable would have been the Cardinals actually beating the Brewers.) It was also free hat day for the adults–I ended up stealing Ryan’s hat because I liked it better than the women’s version!

Busch Stadium, Infield Terrace–Section 453, Row 1

The year’s third game was “Social Media Night” on Tuesday, May 17. This was our “Anniversary Eve” celebration, and one of two games that Ryan and I went to sans children, but we really went because I wanted to get the free “Tweet Me in St. Louis” t-shirts that were part of our tickets. The seats were pretty close to the field, but way out in left field…not a section I had been in before. It was kind of a┬ástrange place to watch a game from, because it felt like the seats were oriented the wrong direction, but the game itself was amazing–very exciting, and the Cardinals won right at the end!

Busch Stadium, Lower Left Field Box–Section 169, Row 16

Although it wasn’t a game, going on a Busch Stadium tour with Ryan the following afternoon also counts as part of “Baseball Summer.” We got to go in some exclusive areas of the ballpark, including the Cardinals dugout, the press box, and the Cardinals Club. We even saw some of the Astros players as they were on their way to the visitors’ clubhouse, (they were very polite), and some Cardinals warming up, jogging around the warning track.

The field, as seen from Mike Shannon’s point-of-view in the press box!

The most amazing seats of the season were in the Commissioner’s Box for our tenth wedding anniversary on Wednesday, May 18. An incredible experience, with a great view of the field, (and the Cards dugout). And the Redbirds were kind enough to win the game for us!

Busch Stadium, Commissioner’s Box–Row C

We went to our first Gateway Grizzlies game for “Honor Roll Night,” on Monday, June 13, to celebrate Moose’s achievements in school, (we were supposed to go back for a second game later in the season, but it was unbearably hot…maybe next year!). The ballpark is so small, I’m pretty sure there are no bad seats, and the ones we were in were certainly no exception. We had a great view of all of the action, from the game itself, to the between-inning antics on the field. The Grizzlies lost, but we didn’t really care since we’re not big Frontier League fans…it was just fun!

GCS Ballpark, Field Reserve Box Seats–Section 119, Row…6, maybe?

Here’s the view from the Upper Field at the park where Turkey played all of his games this summer, (and last year’s T-Ball games, as well). Technically, there were no seats, but this is what it looked like from where we stood and watched half of his games in June and July.

The other half of Turkey’s ball games were played on the Lower Field of the park. I like this field better, if only because it’s situated on more level terrain…the outfield of the Upper Field is completely inexplicable! Even though they don’t technically keep score, I’m happy to report that Turkey’s team had a winning season!

The Wednesday, June 22, Cardinals game was part of Marine Week in St. Louis. Going to this game was a complete spur-of-the-moment decision, and I’m so glad we went! We got to hear the Marine Band play, and saw them present the colors. There was also a Harrier jet flyover and a flag line on the field. We had good seats for this game, and really got to appreciate the shadows on the field as the evening went on! It’s a good thing there was so much to see at the ballpark, though, because it was another loss for the Redbirds!

Busch Stadium, Infield Terrace–Section 447, Row 6

We also had the chance to get seats on Thursday, July 28, in the Redbird Club at Busch Stadium. This was another really fun experience, (and the baby’s first ballgame, albeit in utero!), although the day we were there was so hot, it was hard to enjoy the game. (That, and Lance Berkman was injured and didn’t play.) I don’t think that any of us really even cared that the Cards dropped the game to the Astros because we were so worn out from the heat! I’d love to go back someday when the weather is a little more cooperative, so I can really enjoy it.

Busch Stadium, Infield Redbird Club–Section 244, Row 1

Another first was seeing a game from a party suite at the stadium on Tuesday, August 9, with Ryan’s co-workers. I spent most of the game inside the suite, although there was also outdoor seating. Either way, the view was great, even if the Cards did lose.

Busch Stadium, Party Suite–Section 308

The last game we went to this year was on Sunday, August 14. It was a nice way to bookend our “Baseball Summer”–there was another giveaway for the children, this time “Stan the Man” Build-A-Bears, which have proven to be very popular around here still. We had, unfortunately, what I considered to be the worst seats of the season–we were literally in the last row of seats on the uppermost deck in the outfield. It was still a fun time, though, and the Cards managed to win that one.

Busch Stadium, Right Field Terrace–Section 432, Row 11

So, that was our “Baseball Summer.” We only saw three Cardinal wins, compared to five losses, but we still had a great time! We attended games on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, but no Monday or Friday games for some reason, (baseball always involves statistics, right?). We sat everywhere from practically the front row, (the Commissioner’s Box), to literally the last row. We had tickets to exclusive areas of the Stadium, as well as tickets for the cheap seats. We sat behind home plate, along the first base line, and in the outfield.

I doubt we’ll get to go to so many games in one summer again–things just really worked out perfectly this year. It was great to share baseball with the children this way, and create some great family memories. I’m thankful that baseball here in St. Louis is still fairly affordable for families, (many of the tickets we got were only $5 each, and you can bring food and beverages into the ballpark), so that we could see so many games from so many different areas of the ballpark this year!

Busch Stadium Party Suite

Ryan hosted the most recent Automattic Happiness Team gathering here in St. Louis, and one of their scheduled activities was a trip to Busch Stadium to see a Cardinals game, from the vantage point of a party suite. There was enough space for the children and me to tag along, and it was a really cool, once-in-a-lifetime experience!

Each of the suites is named after a former Cardinal star. We were in the Bob Gibson room, which was right next door to the Ozzie Smith room. Turkey was a little disappointed we couldn’t be in Ozzie’s room, because Ozzie is his favorite Cardinal, but I think he decided the Gibson room was pretty OK, too!

When we got there, our bartender was already waiting for us. We had unlimited access to Coke, Diet Coke, Sprite, Lemonade, water, and beer, although the beer wasn’t served the whole time we were there. She was very friendly, did an amazing job of remembering everybody’s names, (which I found to be very impressive), and was just fun to be around during the game.

The decorations in the room were very cool. In addition to the many photos of Bob Gibson and information about his playing career, there were also tables that looked liked baseballs, and chairs with the Cardinals logo carved on the backs. Looking across the row of party suites in the stadium, the walls of the rooms alternated red and white paint jobs, which looked very cool from the outside.

Then there was the food. We had an unlimited buffet that started a half-hour before the game, and lasted for two hours. The items included a nacho bar, (yum!), hot dogs and brats, (complete with sauerkraut–also yum!), brisket, and pasta, plus cookies and brownies for dessert. Another employee was responsible for setting up the food, and checking back periodically to make sure we had enough of everything–she also did an awesome job!

The view was also pretty good. There were 24 outdoor padded seats, (the suite area can hold up to 32, including those outside), and the rest of the seats were inside. In addition to the seats at the baseball tables, there was also a row of seats directly in front of the windows, and those seats had just as good of a view as those that were outside. The only thing that was hard to see from where we were at was the scoreboard–the overhang, (which would have been fantastic in the event of rain), obscured a good part of it. We did have an amazing ariel view of the bullpen, though–I’m not sure I’ve ever really seen the bullpen like that before!

The view from inside the suite.