Monday, June 22, 2009

Busch Stadium (St. Louis) Tours

Although I am not a baseball aficionado, I have followed the news about the construction, opening, and operation of Busch Stadium in Saint Louis, mainly because of its geographic proximity to where I live, and the fact that I attended a few games in the old ballpark (now referred to as Busch Memorial Stadium, 1966-2005). My curiosity and interest increased after A-B was bought out by the overseas beverage company. I wanted to visit Busch Stadium while it was stilled called Busch Stadium, before any possible name changes to the name of the new company that purchased A-B. I recently had that opportunity by taking one of the regularly-scheduled "Stadium Tours" that are offered whenever a game is not in progress. (phone 314-345-9565 or for available dates, times, and cost) A nice feature of the tour is getting to learn more details about the architecture, etc., of the structure. Of course, you can find out the same stuff by reading the Wikipedia article on Busch Stadium, but it's more fun to hear them from your tour guide, while actually standing inside the stadium. Trivia like the fact that the old stadium I had visited is defined by the culinary term "cookie-cutter", because it was fully enclosed. The new stadium is a "retro-classic " park , that allows an unobstructed, panoramic view of downtown St. Louis, and the distinctive Gateway Arch (note lower, left photo). In fact, St. Louis landmarks are reflected in the architecture. Gate 3 is made to resemble historic Eads Bridge over the Mississippi River (upper left photo---taken from below street level at the light-rail station location). The arched openings at another section of the exterior, reflect the Gateway Arch form (upper right photo). The Arch is also the logo being used for the symbol of the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, scheduled for Busch Stadium this year. (middle photo) The retro look supplied by the red brick and black steel exterior, is further enhanced by the special-made clay tile logos placed in the brick, that illustrate the various ways the appearance of the "redbird" has changed over the years. (lower right photo).

The best part about taking one of the stadium tours, is that you get to visit areas of the ballpark that would not be permissible to a mere mortal with just a general admission game ticket. This would include the area where the announcers do the pre-game show (upper-left), the room containing the World Series Trophy (upper right), the room with the custom-made wall paper , based on old baseball cards (middle left and right), the Press Box (lower left), and even the dug-out! You also find out that there are designated shelter areas for attendees in the event of a weather disaster. A weather event in the form of a severe thunderstorm that blew around some loose items, injured about 30 spectators in 2006, which necessitated the refinement of the park's Disaster Preparedness Plan. In that debut season of 2006, every seat was sold out, and the Cardinals went on to win the World Series that year. Consequently, 2007 and 2008 also were record years for attendance. However, our tour guide said that this year, regular game tickets are easier to get, by purchasing directly from the ticket office, or the official STL Cardinal website. She indicated that it is now legal to "resell" a previously-purchased ticket, but advised us to only purchase such tickets at the official site for these sales, With the bar-code and scanning system that is used on tickets these days, irregularities can occur from unscrupulous sellers.
Another nice feature of taking one of the Stadium Tours, is that your admission entitles you to a 10% discount on all your purchases in the Saint Louis Cardinal store that is open daily outside the entrances. That discount might not mean much if all you are buying is a postcard (top photo), but if you are buying the custom-made piece of "batting helmet art" shown in lower, left photo, the savings could be big! You could deduct $490 from its $4,900 price tag, lowering the cost to only $4,410! Another advantage of taking a Stadium Tour on a day when there isn't a game, is that you won't have to fight for a seat on the Metrolink (which is conveniently located just steps from the stadium entrance). Seeing the glass-enclosed, pedestal-elevated, security-enhanced location of the prize trophy the Cardinals received for winning the 2006 World Series, reminded me of one of the memory verses for First Place 4 Health (, from 1 Corinthians 9:14. It says "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize." I hope you are running your life race in such a way as to get the prize, AND with "miles of smiles"! Tricia
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