St. Louis is easily the best baseball city in America overall (I still love you Wrigleyville) and I was ready to see as many games in Busch Stadium as possible. One of my coworkers turned me on to the SeatGeek app and I’ll never use StubHub! again. For reals people, I went to the entire Mets series with the Cardinals for $4! Sure I won the first pair of tickets over at Ballpark Village, but the other two games I got $2 tickets and sat in the lower bowl both games. The Mets might not be the team they were a year ago and yes, the Cards are struggling for the first time in awhile, but this was still a solid matchup- defending NL champs vs historically best NL club.
Before the first game, I met coworkers at Ballpark Village across from the stadium. It’s an awesome place to pregame or watch the game should you not want to go into the park. There was an emcee going around asking fans trivia questions and rewarding correct responses with game tickets. Our tour’s curator grabbed him and told him to quiz me. I had to name five current Cardinals players and I did… finally, my baseball knowledge is winning me stuff. My coworker Chase (D-backs fan) and I would be enjoying the game for free tonight!
Chase has only been to Chase Field (ha!) and was amazed by Busch Stadium. We were both blown away by how many fans were at a Tuesday night game- the stands were almost full! My roommate Jess decided to give baseball another shot and joined us, but alas she was not as impressed. She was super annoyed with the foul pole which was obstructing her view and we decided to move around the park. Maybe a different vantage point would make her appreciate some of the game. The Cardinals were down and as fans started to clear out, Jess and I scored some great seats along the third baseline for the final three innings. I tried my best to explain the game to her and point out all the little intricacies I could- shifts, the importance of staying ahead in the count, baserunning 101- Jess didn’t see the magic. Eventually, I gave up on winning her fandom and went back to watching the game for my own joy. There wasn’t much as the Mets took the first game 7-4. This wasn’t cool, but Curtis Granderson did come in to pinch-hit late in the game, making it an ok experience. He is still one of my favorites, so I let the fact he wears the wrong pinstripes slide a bit.
The second game of the series, someone dialed up the humidity! It was sticky and gross, but again the ballpark was full. This time I joined my coworkers Ted (Phillies) and Crystal (Red Sox) and sat in the club level for the first few innings. We had a great view of the field and the Cardinals were taking the Mets to task. It was a much appreciated 180 from the night before. The stadium atmosphere was vibrant and despite the heat and offensive blowout, the crowd was staying put. With all the bodies around us, we were burning up and decided to go downstairs for a little open air.
We walked around the outfield a little which didn’t cool us off too much, but it was better than being packed in the stands. Sitting again didn’t appeal to us, so we found a place to stand along the third baseline. Busch has designated standing room along the lower level of the park and it’s a great option if you don’t mind people walking in front of you occasionally. Ted, Crystal, and I stayed for the whole game (Cards won 8-1) and debated going out after. Ted is a bit overprotective and thought St. Louis is too dangerous a city for us to go out in. I appreciated his concern and he has statistics to back him up, but living in fear isn’t for me. Not going out in St. Louis is the real crime, it’s a fantastic city with plenty of fun little neighborhoods like Soulard and the Delmar Loop (eat at Salt + Smoke BBQ) to explore. The downtown area around the stadium has a great bar and restaurant options as well, just be smart and don’t wander into any alleys or be disrespectful. I went out a few times and was never bothered or felt unsafe.
For the final game of the Mets/Cardinals series, I went down to the park early to watch the Mets take batting practice. I wanted to see Curtis Granderson and, well I just straight up enjoy BP. Following batting practice, the Cardinals brought out Mykalai Kontilai, CEO of Collectors Cafe, who has in his possession, Jackie Robinson’s original contracts with the Montreal Royals (minor league) and Brooklyn Dodgers. The baseball nerd in me, wait that’s all of me, was floored! My friend Allie and her boyfriend Jon met up with me during the tail end of Kontilai’s on the field presentation and I dragged Allie into the concourse to get in line to see Robinson’s contracts up close.
Allie and I took pictures with Robinson’s contracts and got to spend a decent amount of time reading them and speaking with Kontilai. What a bonus to the baseball game we were already attending! We met up with Jon in our seats in right field in the top of the second. Adam Wainwright was pitching for the Cardinals and I joked that he better not groove any pitches- 2014 ASG… never forget! Well whatever he was doing, he was getting lit up. The Mets were up 7-0 in the fifth, but their bullpen let the Cardinals back in the game. Everyone knows you can’t count the Cards out and I truly believed I was at one of their famous comeback games. The bottom of the ninth was thrilling with two home runs, but they came up short losing 6-10. It was a big effort a little too late, but at least they made it exciting for those of us who stayed. Despite a packed park early, most fans left this doozy early.
Three games in Busch and I was almost ready to hop on the Cardinals bandwagon. The park itself isn’t one of my absolute favorites (it’s nice, but not unique), but the fanbase is loyal and knowledgeable not only about their team but baseball in general. It’s also a very affordable ballpark with low ticket prices, plus you can bring in your own food which is a great option for families. I can’t say enough nice things about this organization and city, one of the best baseball experiences in America hands down!