Back at Busch

Yesterday, for the first time in I’m not even sure how long (at least five years!), the whole family went to a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium! We took a walk around Ballpark Village when we arrived downtown:

It’s changed a lot in the last few years!

We stopped to say “hi” to Stan, of course:

And then got in line almost an hour before the gates opened:

The reason we got in line so early was to make sure we were there in time for the giveaway…Molina and Wainwright Mystery Championship Replica Rings. This is my favorite type of giveaway, and they’re really nice!

Our seats were excellent…we were in the last row, so we had a nice breeze, and we were in the shade for pretty much the entire game! Plus, we could see the Arch, which is always nice.

When we were walking around, we found this cool life-size bobblehead of Ladybug’s favorite player who isn’t named Albert Pujols:

And Bunny, Chickadee, and I went in search of Fredbird:

Ballpark food is the best!

It was the perfect day. We got to see everyone’s favorite battery (Wainwright and Molina) start their 316th game together, putting them in a tie for second place on the all-time battery list! And we got to see Tommy Edman get his first walk-off, which was a total thrill! We couldn’t have asked for a better ending!

It was so good to be back at my favorite place!

The only thing that could have made today better is if we had gotten to see Pujols bat, but we did see him in the dugout, so we’ll call that good enough, and the perfect day at Busch!

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!