Part 1. (US Cellular, Busch Stadium, and Great American BallPark).
Over the course of the last eleven days, I successfully made my way across the Midwest and parts of Canada to become one with baseball. I visited seven stadiums (including US Celluar Field, where my journey began) drove thousands of miles and didn’t leave any stadium without sampling their hotdogs.
I know most of you only care about playoff hockey and the NFL draft, but maybe you can take a few minutes to read my first analysis on the ball parks (second blog coming later).
As stated earlier, I began my soul searching in my home: US Cellular Field. It was an amazing start to the trip because it was a beautiful day for baseball. However, the White Sox failed to get it done versus the Angels and Adam Dunn had about seven strikeouts.
Two days and a five hour drive later we pulled up to God’s Stadium aka Busch Field. Everything about St. Louis intrigued me. The stadium was gorgeous and the atmosphere was outstanding. There virtually was a halo glowing around the field. Even walking up to the stadium had an eerie peace to it because you could feel the city’s love for their team.
Cardinals fans are some of the MOST committed fans in Major League Baseball. I received further proof of this when we had to seek shelter on the concourse because a tornado came through. I have never seen such crazy weather. Trees outside the ball park seemed to be nearly horizontal because the wind was blowing so hard. Wind was whistling, rain was absolutely pounding, tornado sirens blared, and the fans stayed and waited it out for over two hours until they told us that the game had been rescheduled for the next day.
I was completely impressed of the Cardinals’ fans dedication to seeing a baseball game rain or shine. You know those Cubs fans would be in the car on the way back to Winnetka as soon as a raindrop hit.
Busch Stadium gets my vote for over-all best beer vendors. As fans, we have certain things that add to our baseball game experience whether it be wearing our favorite hat or buying a traditional bag of peanuts. I enjoy a solid beerman experience when watching a game and the Cardinals had the Cadillac of beer vendors. Some made beer poems and others sang beer operas…. not joking. My personal favorite was the guy who stood at the bottom of section of seats, took a Bud Light out of his vendor bag, held it up in front of him like it was the Holy Grail and sang a perfectly pitched, opera style note for over 30 seconds. He held this note for so long that people just started clapping for him. It was unreal. Overall beer vending experience= A+.
Luckily we got to see the majority of the make up game the next day before we head to Cincinnati. Pujols hit a huge dinger of course…and we had perfect weather to make up from the night before.
Cincinnati completely surprised me as well. The stadium was gorgeous and right on the river. We walked in with 8 dollar tickets and moved our way down to the 3rd row on the 3rd baseline. It truly looked like the “Great American Ballpark”. It had a fun family feel to it and was very open. There was also a lot of cool stuff to the stadium like a boat house thing in centerfield that is a bar for fans to go and watch.
One problem…. Cincy hotdogs are absolutely disgusting. I don’t even know what was on my dog. Sauerkraut and some weird onions/peppers combo, not grilled like Sox Park.
One thing that added to our experience was that the Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Mike Leake was just arrested for shoplifting. We got to see the Winona Ryder of baseball perform. Luckily for him, he pitched a solid game.
Whether you are at your home stadium or in a foreign city, there will always be something about a hot dog in your hand with the sun beating on the back of your neck, in pure zen watching the greatest game in the world. This trip not only brought me back into my favorite sport but showed me why baseball is America’s past time.
Check back tomorrow for part 2 of the baseball experience.