A Peek Inside the Redbird Club

I’ve blogged about the Redbird Club before, so I won’t rehash the full details of the experience, but here’s a look at what you can expect to see inside:

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!

In the Redbird Club

On Thursday, we had tickets to the Cardinals/Astros game. But not just any tickets. We had tickets to the Redbird Club.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Redbird Club, here’s how it works. When you purchase your ticket, (the seats are really good–on the second deck, and the seats are cushioned), you also gain access to an indoor area of the Stadium. In the Club you can purchase all sorts of food–typical ballpark fare such as hot dogs, brats, and nachos, as well as fancier options, such as stir-fry, hand-carved sandwiches, and gourmet cupcakes–there’s even a bar in there! You have to love any club that requires a directory!

My favorite part was the nacho bar–it was so much fun getting to choose what I wanted on my nachos, (I had the pulled pork).

This is also the part of the ballpark with the wallpaper designed after one of the Cardinals owner’s personal baseball card collection.

It was nice to have the option of going inside for a while, and watching the game on one of the many big-screen TVs while cooling off. They even had couches to sit on, just like at home. It’s not the same as sitting outside and watching, but on a day where the temperature at the start of the game was 97 degrees, it was quite a welcome relief!

On the way up to the Redbird Club, Turkey finally got to see on of the arches left from the All-Star game in St. Louis in 2009. He was very excited to finally see one in person!

It was a really fun way to see the game, even if it was one of the hottest days of the year, and the Cardinals didn’t win.

My Cardinals Bucket List

I got this idea over at Diamond Diaries…a list of Cardinals-related activities I hope to do before I die (even though I really hate the term “bucket list!”).

  1. Go back to the Commissioner’s box…with the children. We had such a good time sitting in those seats on our anniversary that we’d really like to share the experience as a family. Plus, it would be really fun for the children to go to a game where they could get as much food as they wanted, (within reason, of course), and not worry about how much it costs. And the seats are six across, which works out well for us!
  2. Attend Social Media Night. OK, this one is kind of cheating to list, because I already did it this year. Up until last month, though, it was still something I wanted to do “someday.” Since it’s still fresh in my mind, I’ll include it anyway–I really wanted that “Tweet me in St. Louis” t-shirt!
  3. Go to Opening Day. This is another hopeful family event. Ryan has been to Opening Day once, and he told us all just how cool it was, so of course, we all want to go. Busch Stadium is awesome any day, but I can’t even imagine the atmosphere on Opening Day. I especially want to see the Clydesdales in action!
  4. Visit all of the minor league ballparks. I’d like to take road trips to Memphis, Springfield, Palm Beach, and the Quad Cities to see the “baby birds” in action.
  5. Get tickets to the Redbird Club. Again, cheating a little, because we have Redbird Club tickets for later this summer. But I didn’t even realize until last week that that’s where our seats are located, and I haven’t even technically been there yet, so it’s still on the list.
  6. Attend Spring Training. I think it would be so much fun to escape the lovely St. Louis winter weather and go to spring training one year.
  7. Get something autographed. If it was a Lance Berkman autograph, that would be fantastic. But really, I’m not choosy…I’d just like a Cardinal autograph. Maybe even Red Schoendienst, since he’s one of the coolest Cardinals ever, and he’s still on the field for batting practice on a regular basis.
  8. Go to a playoff game. Just to say I’d been, even if it was the wild card round.
  9. Be a season-ticket holder. This is a way in the future dream. But someday, when the children are out of the house, I’d love for Ryan and I to have season tickets. I don’t even care where in the stadium–I’d just love to have the option of going to all of the home games.
  10. Meet Fredbird. The children and I technically did meet Fredbird a few years ago at a Qdoba grand opening. But it was really more the children than me. And I didn’t even get “beaked,” so it doesn’t really count.

Busch Stadium Tour

Between lunch and the actual baseball game on our anniversary, we went on a tour of Busch Stadium. We had a really good tour guide, who shared lots of interesting side stories in addition to the stadium talk, and who also had a great sense of humor. It was a nice group, too–not too many of us, and most of the people, like us, had tickets to that night’s game.

It was really strange seeing all of the seats empty, and the scoreboards turned off!

We got to tour the Cardinals dugout. It was much bigger than I was expecting!

We also got to check out the view from the “best seat in the stadium”–the press box. The view truly is astounding–and we even got a glimpse of a few players beginning their warm ups down on the field.

The press box is Mike Shannon’s space, so it’s fitting that there’s a tribute to him. We also learned that the press box at Busch Stadium is so large because Mike has a large family, and they are often up there with him during games–pretty cool!

A view outside the most exclusive area of Busch Stadium, (aside from the players’ clubhouse)–The Cardinals Club. Yes, that’s a statue of “Gussie” Busch out front. Did you know that on his 85th birthday, while he was still the owner of the team, the Cards retired the number 85 in his honor? There’s a full-size, fancy sit-down restaurant in the Club. The folks that hold the tickets for the green seats behind home plate have full access to this club, and they never have to pay for any of the food there (or any that they order from their seats in the stadium, for that matter). On the other hand, one seat costs $14,000 per year, and you have to buy at least two seats together, with a 10 year lease, so I guess the least they can do is throw in the food!

Another exclusive area of the ball park–the Redbird Club. The wallpaper in this fancy concessions area is really cool. One of the Cards owners, Bill DeWitt, has an extensive personal baseball card collection. He used his Cardinals cards to have this wallpaper made. The only exception is Satchel Paige, who was actually a St. Louis Brown. This also led into an interesting discussion about the 1944 World Series, (The Streetcar Series), which was a match-up between the Cardinals and the Browns. It’s the only World Series to ever be played on 6 consecutive days, and a rare example of both teams having called the ballpark, (the old Sportsman’s Park), home field.

A view from the Musial Bridge, looking out on the statue of The Man himself.

Speaking of the statue, here’s a better view of Stan the Man. “Here stands baseball’s perfect warrior. Here stands baseball’s perfect knight.” (Ford Frick)

This is one of the Cardinals’ old logos–Slugger Bird. This is my favorite of the old logos, both because it’s really cute, and because the name is awesome!

There’s no end to the cool plaques you can find scattered around Busch Stadium. This is my favorite, showing the proximity of the old and new parks. There really is a white stripe on the ground below!

I thought this was some cool wall art, too.

Immediately following the tour, we walked by this tribute to Jack Buck outside the stadium. “Go crazy, folks!”

It was a great tour. There is so much history to be learned when you go on one of these things–local and world history, and of course, baseball history. We’re definitely going to go back with the children, someday–it’s a can’t miss St. Louis experience!