Sunday, July 29, 2007

Day 35: Busch Stadium

All photos of Busch Stadium available on Flickr.

Today was a very exhausting day and a disappointing day for the Brewers, who were playing the Cardinals in a doubleheader. We had been looking forward to this day since the start of the trip, but as luck would have it, the Crew lost both games, and ended up losing 3 of 4 in the series. The bullpen has blown about 5 of the last 7 games and hopefully the Brewers can turn it around sometime soon. Anyways, we had to leave Erik's friend's house in Tulsa around 5:45 to make it into St. Louis for first pitch of Game 1 at 12:10. Our seats for the first game were up on the sky, in the 4th deck in left field, but the good part about it was that we were one of the few rows in the shade. The Brewers mounted a 6-0 lead early, largely behind a 2-run single by pitcher Manny Parra and a 3-hit day from Ryan Braun. However, the bullpen ended up surrendering 4 runs, including a blown save by Francisco Cordero, and lost 7-6 in the 9th.

The ballpark itself is nice, but certainly not one of my favorites. Its huge perk is the amazing view from the inner seating bowl of downtown, the city courthouse, and the Gateway Arch - probably the best park view since Pittsburgh. However, it is incredibly difficult to navigate. It has a strange entry sequence that enters you below the main concourse, and we got lost getting to our seats for both games due to poor circulation design and an odd section numbering system. It is definitely an improvement over old Busch Stadium though, which is now only a crater next door to New Busch. I couldn't really locate any local foods or things that make the stadium entirely unique besides the view. It was just a nice place to watch a ballgame, elegant in its simplicity. It was probably the most full park we'd been in since Boston too - the Cards have sold out all 145 games since the park opened last April.

Between games, we hit up a local tavern and killed about an hour drinking silos of Pabst and dealing with drunk Cards fans pointing out our out-of-town apparel. We also did our fundraiser and made close to $50. For Game #2, we had seats in the right field bleachers under one of the scoreboards. The game was considerably less exciting than the first, for two reasons. Firstly, the Brewers were never really in the game at all, and secondly, we were both exhausted from getting only a couple hours of sleep the night before. Chris Capuano got a quality start, giving up 3 over 6.1 and striking out 6, but the 'pen gave up another two runs and the Crew could only muster two hits off of starter Anthony Reyes, who obtained his first win of the season and is now an impressive 1-10. It was sad 18 innings of ball for our home team, but there's nothing better than a doubleheader, and it was cool to be a part of.

Johnny was nice enough to put us up in the Airport Hilton in town for the night, and we all passed out immediately upon our arrival. It was a comfy bed and a hot shower, both precious commodities these days. Tomorrow, hopefully after a good night's sleep, we're off to Kansas City.

park stats and rankings:
aesthetics - 6
views from park - 10 (downtown/Arch)
view to field - 8
surrounding area - 9 (downtown)
food variety - 4
nachos - 10 (excellent! salsa, cheese, sour cream, beef)
beer - 1 (only Busch products)
vendor price - 5
ticket price - 4
atmosphere - 8
walk to park - 7
parking price/proximity - 8 (4 blocks away for $5)
concourses - 3 (confusing)
team shop - 6

best food - nachos
most unique stadium feature - view
best jumbotron feature - Budweiser clydesdales video in 8th inning
best between-inning feature - Fredbird shoots hot dogs out of hot dog-shaped cannon

field dimensions - 330/400/330
starters - Brad Thompson (STL) v. Manny Parra (MIL); Anthony Reyes v. Chris Capuano
opponent - Milwaukee Brewers
time of game - 3:12; 2:30
attendance - 45090: 45830
score - 7-6 W; 5-2 W
Brewers score that day - 7-6 L; 2-5 L

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