Busch Stadium Tour II

So, um, seven months ago (!!!), Ryan and I took the children on a Busch Stadium tour. I briefly mentioned it here, but never got around to sharing pictures. Since I posted about the tour the first time we went, shared a fantastic dugout picture from last summer, and because so much time has passed, I won’t recap everything…I’ll just hit the highlights. I will say, we had the two best possible tour guides  I could have imagined (Fred and Jay)…they not only both had an incredible amount of baseball knowledge, but they had awesome personal stories as well!

I did get a better peak at the Cardinals Club this time, the exclusive restaurant at which green seat ticket holders get to eat:

You tend to notice new or different things (or just see them from a different perspective), each time you take the tour (or visit the ballpark at all, really):


I never tire of the view from the field!


It may be a bit colder now than the day we visited Busch Stadium, but tours are offered all year long, and it might be just the right thing to help you get ready for Spring Training, and feel a little Cardinals spirit, even in the bleak midwinter that is February!

Summer School 2014

This has been a very busy “term” of summer school! I originally planned to wrap up each week, like I do during the standard school year, but there were many weeks when we only had school two or three days. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, but it’s not very conducive to weekly reports!

We had a great book list for the basis of our lessons. This created a great scope of baseball and American history, for our purposes. We also studied geography, focusing on the locations of all of the MLB teams, as well as some other notable baseball locations. The coloring books I got for the children not only encouraged them to color carefully and in details in terms of uniforms, but also taught them a great deal about individual players. We studied math and the science of baseball, as well, and watched several baseball movies.


The highlight our summer school was field trips. We went on a Busch Stadium tour, and learned more history.


We also visited the new Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, and were immersed in hands-on history.

We went to a Cardinals game, you know, to get the full baseball experience (not that we’ve never done that before!).


We also went to a vintage baseball game, to see how the game has changed over the years.


And we toured the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory, where we learned not only history, but the practical how of how baseball bats are made.


And we visited the Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame. Even more history!


I truly believe that this was our finest year of summer school ever. It covered a topic everybody is interested in, and because it was history-focused, something about which I am especially passionate. I hope my children will always remember the lessons they learned this summer!

Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame

After we were done at the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory yesterday, we walked up and down part of Main Street to take a look at the Louisville Slugger Walk of Fame. It’s done really well, with a replica bronze bat done to specification for each player on the walk, as well as a bronze home plate detailing the highlights of their careers. Any baseball fan can find heroes from their childhood as they walk along Main Street, from many teams in MLB, as well as a few Negro League players, such as Cool Papa Bell and Josh Gibson, who were never given the chance to play in the majors.

The highlight for the whole family was, of course, seeing Stan the Man’s bat on the Walk of Fame.

We didn’t finish the whole walk…it would have been a mile and back, and a certain little toddler was getting tired. I wish we could have spent more time walking…it’s a great way to spend some time learning about baseball history and enjoying beautiful downtown Louisville!

Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory

Yesterday, we took a field trip to Louisville, KY, and toured the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory.


It’s a fantastic place. We went on the factory tour first thing, and while no photography is allowed on the factory floor, there is one window into the factory for public viewing. It was fascinating seeing how the bats are made, and how quickly!


The Bat Vault, the “Fort Knox of Louisville Slugger,” was especially popular with the children.

The museum was also fascinating. It’s quite interactive. There’s even a place where you can stand and see a 90 mph fastball coming at you, which is unsettling…you barely see, and it’s on the ground!

Of course I loved the tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League!

There’s a section dedicated to the Louisville awards, including the Silver Slugger and the Silver Bat.

There’s also a small theater that shows a short film narrated by none other than James Earl Jones. The exit from the theater leads you through a clubhouse-like hallway to a dugout.

Baseball is everywhere you look in the building!

Of course, we had to look for Stan Musial on the two Walls of Fame!

There’s even a batting cage, which was very popular with the big kids (including Daddy and Grandpa!), and a “Small Ball” area with a tee and plastic bats for the under-five crowd.


The outside of the museum boasts the World’s Biggest Bat, an exact-scale replica of Babe Ruth’s Louisville Slugger.


And a large brickwork ball to go with it!


There’s also a super-sized Kentucky limestone glove inside.


This was a great day trip for our family…we got to learn more about baseball, and there was plenty of activity to keep us busy after we spent a few hours in the car!

Happy Birthday Fredbird!

Today was Build-a-Bear day at Busch Stadium, so of course we were there. This year’s stuffed friend was a Clydesdale, which was very exciting, especially to our resident horse fanatic, Ladybug!


Today was also Fredbird’s birthday, which meant that some of his mascot friends from St. Louis and Major League Baseball were there to help him celebrate. This is a really fun thing they’ve been doing for the last few years!


I enjoyed the view from our seats, even if we weren’t on the right side of the stadium to see the Arch and Ballpark Village.


We got to see John Lackey pitch his first game as a Cardinal:


And get his first win as a Cardinal, too!


Any day we spend at Busch Stadium is a fun day, but it’s especially fun when that day is everyone’s favorite mascot’s birthday!

Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum

I’ve been trying for over two weeks now to find the words to describe just how cool the new Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum at Ballpark Village is. I obviously can’t show you everything, but here’s a glimpse at what you can expect to see when you visit.

The Hall of Fame wall is outside the museum, and can be seen even without paying the museum’s admission fee:


Once you get inside the museum, there’s so much to see! It’s arranged chronologically, from the very beginning of the Cardinals organization, up to today’s team.


I especially liked the section dedicated to Stan the Man, and was impressed to see his Medal of Freedom displayed there:


And, being me, I also loved the vintage displays. There were several for the St. Louis Browns:



And one for St. Louis’ Negro League team, the Stars:


There was even a tribute to the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League! It was one of many displays housed in drawers that are the perfect height for children to open…I love that there’s something they are encouraged to do without getting in trouble!


There are models of all of the Cardinals ballparks:

I love how different parts of the museum are decorated to look like the different stadiums the Cardinals have played in. The blue lights made the old Busch Stadium model look really cool!


And of course the new Busch Stadium section is as beautiful as the actual ballpark!


We all loved getting to hold the bats of some of the Cardinals greats. The white-gloved gentleman manning that display was very friendly and knowledgeable.

There’s a display dedicated to each World Series victory. We all loved seeing David Freese’s torn jersey from 2011:


Speaking of World Series, there are trophies of all kinds:

The display of Cardinals promotional giveaways and collectibles was also cool:

There are so many other things to see…uniforms, equipment, pennants, memorabilia…pretty much anything you can think of!

You can even see souvenirs of some of the other events that have been held at the Cardinals ballparks!

There are so many more things to see, but I hope this gives you an idea of what an awesome place the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum is. Hopefully, you get a chance to visit someday!

Vintage Base Ball

This afternoon, we drove down to Waterloo to see a vintage base ball game (that space between base and ball seems to be an important distinction in the vintage game). The Belleville Stags were playing the St. Louis Perfectos. We got there just in time to see the players line up on the field:


Things looked familiar, yet different. For example, the bats and balls generally looked like they do now, but both were a little bigger than today’s models:



The terminology is different, too. For example, there were arbiters, instead of umpires:


And the mayor of Waterloo “hurled” the first pitch:


The rules can also make it seem like a different game. No sliding, spitting, or cussing, or the arbiter would throw you off the field. There’s no such thing as a foul strike, no players wore gloves, and the batter was out if the ball was caught off of one bounce (which makes sense, as they don’t wear gloves…you wouldn’t expect them to catch fly balls barehanded, although some players did occasionally!). But looking at the game on the field, you do still know it’s baseball!

As far as I could tell, this bell was rung every time somebody scored:


I loved the uniforms:


Especially the high socks!


And the tally keeper for the Stags was wearing a long dress and carried a parasol…I think I’d like that job!


I also loved the…well, today I guess we’d call it trash talking…that went on between the players. It was all very good-natured, and quite clever. There was a lot of laughter at that ballgame! I also appreciated that one of the players walked around and explained the game and answered questions…that helped clear up some of our confusion!


The Stags won the first game of the doubleheader 6-5. It was too hot for us to stay for the second game, but honestly, we didn’t even care who won…it was just fun to watch the players perform!


And, for those of you who couldn’t be there with us today, a little something special to help you get into the vintage spirit:

We will definitely be going to another Stags game when we get the chance…it was a blast!

“For the glory of the game! Huzzah!”

2014 Summer School–Week One

We got started on summer school this week. Only three days about baseball, plus a nature walk/science-y/blackberry picking day. That’s the fun of summer school, though…we decide the schedule!

We started our baseball school with a lot of geography and math. We mapped all 30 MLB cities, plus nine other important baseball locations that I chose: the Baseball Hall of Fame in Coopertown, NY; the Little League Museum in Williamsport, PA; the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City, MO; the site of the College World Series in Omaha, NE; the Field of Dreams in Dyersville, IA; the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory in Louisville, KY; the Cardinals triple-a affiliate, the Memphis Redbirds in Memphis, TN; the Cardinals double-a affiliate, the Springfield Cardinals in Springfield, MO; and Roger Dean Stadium, the home of the Cardinals spring training complex in Jupiter, FL.


After we placed all 39 locations on the map, I had Turkey and Bunny each plan a road trip across the country, with stops at each attraction. Turkey had to begin his trip in Boston, and it ended up being over 14,000 miles long. Bunny’s trip began in Seattle, and was just over 13,000 miles. Ryan and I also came up with a hypothetical road trip, but we started our in St. Louis, and even with having to double back, ours was the shortest trip, at just over 11,000 miles! There was a lot of adding in this project, as well as looking up rough directions on Google Maps. It was a lot of fun!

We learned about a few baseball players this week, including Cy Young, John McGraw, and Ty Cobb. We also learned about the two oldest ballparks in baseball: Fenway Park and Wrigley Field. The children really enjoyed Casey at the Bat: A Ballad of the Republic Sung in the Year 1888. Turkey and Bunny worked on a little extra math in our Baseball Math book. We also learned about the origins of Take Me out to the Ballgame, which I think might have been Chickadee’s favorite part of the week!

More baseball next week, plus some early American history as we approach the Fourth of July!

What We’re Reading–Baseball

Our summer school this year is focusing on the history of baseball, particularly as it pertains to American history. We’ll be looking at things like WWII and the Civil Rights Movement, and the impact they had on our national pastime. I have to admit, the reading list is slightly biased towards the Cardinals, but what can I say…they are “America’s Team!” We’ll also be taking a few field trips…a Busch Stadium tour, a Cardinals game, and a visit to the new Cardinals hall of fame (I warned you that it’s going to be Cardinals biased!). This is one of the most exciting summer school units I’ve planned so far…I can’t wait to get started!

We’ll also be using a few non-book resources for our studies:

And a few movies, just for fun:

  • A League of Their Own
  • Field of Dreams
  • The Natural
  • The Sandlot
  • Bad News Bears