By Tom Hendricks
Published June 24, 2021 in The Burg
Our son Tommy and I went to our first MLB game since COVID hit. We’ve been to many games at Busch Stadium and I was fortunate enough to be in attendance for a few World Series games. I was also in attendance at the last home game at “old” Busch. A portion of the current stadium was already built, and after the final out, a video was shown of past players and games. While the old stadium was not a classic like Wrigley, it tugged a little as I’d been there many times with my dad.
Today’s Busch Stadium is awesome. Walkways are wide, bathrooms are plentiful, and there are more concession stands in which to spend your money. There are actually some upscale food and beverage spots, though concessions are not cheap and some are not staffed yet. This game was limited attendance due to COVID but when full, the venue has a great atmosphere and the roar of the crowd is second to none. We had fun and I even got him to wear a Cardinals shirt, something he hadn’t done since Little League.
Cubs’ fans are plentiful in the family. Tommy, my father-in-law Roger, brother-in-law Dave, and son-in-law Luke are all diehards) and the Cubs/Cards series are always a hit. One just can’t beat the rivalry, the whole place awash in red, white and blue. Sure Yankees/Red Sox is a classic showdown, and Fenway is a jewel, but it just doesn’t compare. I’ve read Steve Cheesman’s columns and know his love for the White Sox is off the charts. I’m a big fan of his “Burg” golf columns and he’s got firsthand professional sports experience in his family. In the spirit of good natured joking, Steve, my humble opinion is Guaranteed Rate Field (White Sox) can’t compare to Busch. The Sox’ black and white team colors cuts down on the regalia that makes Busch seem to be perpetually in 4 th of July mode. Both stadiums are in urban settings. Game days are generally pretty safe but if you travel to either, it is well advised to stay with a group and not dawdle too long after the game.
Parking surrounds Busch and typically runs $20-25 per car close by—like the lot by Paddy-O’s on the south side of the stadium—and you’ll save a couple bucks as you get further away. There are some unique places, including a few in the Soulard area probably best left to just adults—and the new “Ball Park Village” on the north side of the stadium is an incredible venue. It houses a great Cardinals museum and after the game, multiple venues in the building play live music. Broadway Oyster Bar is a dive bar a few blocks to the south with decent food and world class BBQ is not far away at Bogart’s or Pappy’s. Most of the restaurants in the area cater to game-day fans in shorts, jeans and jerseys so there’s no shortage of places to find refreshments.
For the Cubs fans in our family and friends: we Cardinal fans won’t wait a century for our next championship. Busch Stadium crowds are typically very friendly, know their baseball, and any ribbing when the North-siders are in town is all in good fun. Scalpers ensure you can always get a ticket and after the game starts, usually can get in pretty cheap if you aren’t picky about where you sit. Some sections offer “all-inclusive service” and the stadium does it up right. I hosted a large group in center field’s “Homer’s Landing” a few years ago and for about $100 a piece you can eat all the nachos and hot dogs you’d like and wash it down with as much Coke or Bud as you care to enjoy.
Downtown St. Louis has the new aquarium, a 200’ observation wheel (think Ferris Wheel), the revamped Arch and underground museum, a new MLS stadium under construction and a fantastic FREE zoo.
Schedule a brewery tour and make St. Louis a stop this summer as restrictions are all but lifted now.