Thursday, October 23, 2008

Cardinals show off their history in the new Busch Stadium

Busch Stadium was a short walk from my hotel in St. Louis, so you knew I'd take an opportunity to check it out.

I realize the old Busch was a multi-purpose "ashtray" of a park, but I still kind of liked it. It was the site of my first-ever Mets road game, and I have been there a number of other times, including a cool tour where we did Ozzie Smith flips -- with help -- on the turf.

But the Cards are a classy group, so I assumed the new stadium would be a treat. My only opportunity to explore was in the early morning and on the way out of town, so I didn't expect anything more than walking around the outside and checking out the team store.

Arch views are spectacular wherever you can get them!

The fence in front surrounds the field of dirt that once was the old stadium. There are plans for two phases of a "Ballpark Village," but nothing has started.

There are a lot of nice details that I didn't expect to see. This cornerstone added a little flair.

The sidewalks surrounding the stadium have personalized bricks, but also great moments in Cardinals history. The idea is nice, but the MasterCard ads cheapen the whole thing.

So I saw this "Carlton baffles Mets" stone, and figured t might be his 19-strikeout game. But I thought, "Wait a second, didn't the Mets win that game? He couldn't have baffled them that much!" Sure enough, the stone told the whole story, with Ron Swoboda's two home runs.

It was nice to see Met Fernando Tatis get some love -- at the expense of Met-for-a-day Chan Ho Park.

The Cardinals honor some of their immortals as well as Cool Poppa Bell with these neat statues. When I came by later there was a bridal party -- with red and white tuxes -- posing with the statues. Here's a close-up view of Ozzie Smith.

I found two of these plaques showing how the old and new stadium sites overlap. This one was for a white stripe on the sidewalk. But the other one, the spot where the 402 mark was listed on the outfield wall, was a little better.

These were all around the stadium, each with a Cardinals logo from another era. Unlike some teams we know and love, the Cards do a fine job with their history.

The Cardinals are hosting the 2009 All-Star Game, and the gift shop already was decked out with gear. I picked up the cap and pennant I grab every year, so I'm already done shopping until 2010!

This is as close to the concourse I could get. Looks like a nice place. The seats are all red, which makes sense.

The main entrance is sharp-looking. The steelwork looks just like the Eads Bridge, which is over by the Arch. The Stan Musial statue was a focal point at the old stadium, and it gets even more respect here.

Overall, Busch seems like a nice stadium, and I hope to get to see a game here next season.


Steve J. Rogers said...

Interesting tidbit about that rose garden behind the statue of The Man. There is a rose for each of Musial's career hit total, which incidentally was split right down the middle between home games and on the road!

Mets Guy in Michigan said...

That's cool, Steve. I had no idea about the flowers!