Busch Stadium – St Louis Cardinals
A Decade at the New Busch Stadium
Busch Stadium enters its 10th year of service in 2016 and will host one of the NHL’s top events, the Winter Classic on January 2, 2017. A trip for any event to the home of the St. Louis Cardinals brings complete satisfaction, no matter who you root for at the game.
New for 2016, 11 new LED HD video boards including one huge one in center field, all part of an $8M remodel spend. WiFi throughout the ballpark (beginning by end of May 2016) is part of things and a whole new slew of good food to try. Also, do not forget to enjoy the constantly improving experience at nearby Ballpark Village.
In recent years, the club has added features in the surrounding blocks and have committed to a constantly evolving menu, elevating the home of the St. Louis Cardinals to being the gold standard among sports experiences.
Food & Beverage 5
The Cardinals have long been committed to making the baseball experience affordable. You can still bring your own food and drink into the ballpark, with a few exceptions. Only soft-sided coolers no greater than 16 x 16 x 8 are allowed. No alcohol, cans or glass and your plastic bottles MUST NOT BE OPEN when you enter.
Outside vendors offer lower pricing on items. Consider the vendor along Broadway, across from Gate 1 on the east side of the ballpark. T-Dawgs Puppys is the best. Get the G&W bratwurst, a local supplier with incredibly good bratwursts! Great prices.
New for 2016 are Dingers Donuts (at section 145 and offered at 14 and 50 count at $6 & $14) with toppings (chocolate, powdered sugar, caramel, blueberry, vanilla), Berry Brownie Kabobs at section 145 ($6), a Meatball Cone at section 152 ($14), breaded cone, marinara, mozzarella and meatballs.
Also new is a Grab ‘N’ Go concept provided for ease in check-out. It is located behind home plate and to the right of the third base entrance where Build-A-Bear used to be (now since relocated to Center field in Ford Plaza).
As for the items most commonly found at MLB baseball stadiums, a 16 oz. bottle of beer is $9.25, a jumbo hot dog basket which includes chips and a soda is $11.75, a 20 oz. bottled soda is $6, bottled water is $5.25, bag of peanuts is $4.75.
In a creative way to drive additional sales, most hot dogs and similar items are shown as part of a package which includes chips or fries, plus a drink. Hot dogs can be purchased separately. Just subtract $2.55 from each of these packages to get the hot dog-only price.
On the day you come to Busch Stadium, wear red and get caught up in Cardinal Nation, taking it in like a hometown fan. Home plate is in the southwest corner; the batter looks northeast. The right field line runs east; left field line runs north, important as you consider sun exposure during the game.
Field dimensions are almost symmetrical with 336 feet to left, 375 to left center, 400 to center, 375 to right center and 335 to right. There is some space in the infield foul territory, but the space narrows as the seating area meets the foul poles just 30 feet shy of the outfield wall.
Airflow is good. For afternoon games, the sun comes up the right field wall, just a bit south of the structure. Consider a ticket in the rear sections to stay out of the sun. The rear-most ten rows of each upper section are covered by overhead awning.You can get a ticket in the upper level near the foul poles for just $5 for many games.
For evening games, the sun falls behind the third base side. Avoid seats in the right field area at all games because you will get sun most of the game. Seats in center field are prime melanoma areas for all games.
The Cardinals implement tiered pricing, getting higher prices for top dates and opponents. There is never a reason to pay full-price for a ticket. Promotions include the AAA discount, half-off Monday through Wednesday games.
Also, you can buy online and avoid a fee by picking up tickets at a self-serve kiosks at the ballpark.
The best seats for an afternoon game are Infield Pavilion level, sections 344-348. For an evening game, consider sections 352-357. Sit behind home plate at this level with a magnificent view of the arch and shade from the sun at full price for just $30.
Ballpark Village provides seating across the street behind left center field. Consider the AT&T Rooftop, an all-inclusive food and drink area with assigned seats ($75-$250). The menu changes regularly to keep the offerings new and fresh. Admission to the Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum is included.
A less expensive option is the Budweiser Rooftop Deck, no assigned seats with food additional. Tickets can be purchased one month prior to the game. Access the stadium with your ticket after checking in at the rooftop deck.
Make it a priority to purchase a program, Cardinals Magazine, with scorecard insert for just $5. BUT, only buy it from Joe Palermo (nearing retirement, he only works Friday, Saturday and Sunday games), just INSIDE the third base entrance where the Stan Musial statue greets fans. Joe has sold programs for the last 50 years. He is friendly, conversational and a walking Cardinals encyclopedia. View his daily trivia question, posted at his stand. He is a St. Louis baseball legend.
As you enter the main concourse, you will notice the entire main concourse is dark, closed off from viewing the field. It is one of the few disappointing elements of Busch. The venue lacks the inclusive sensation felt in nearly every other ballpark. The concourses in the upper levels do provide a view and are wide and breezy. Restrooms, food choices and merchandise are plentiful at all levels, but the specialty items mentioned earlier are largely only available in the main concourse.
The old manual scoreboards from the last Busch Stadium II game can be viewed on the interior of the south wall, muffling noise from Highway 40/64 just 10 feet away from the traffic. The stats are the same as what appeared in the last home game. Notice the Dow Jones Industrial Average in the lower right corner of the gallery photo. Has your 401K soared since then?
Access to the upper levels can be gained through ramps, stairs, elevators and escalators. Ramps take a while to ascend to the upper levels; the steps are not much of a pleasure either. Find an escalator; the quickest one seems to be along the third base side near the outfield. Elevators are tucked away near stairwells.
There are 13 retired numbers viewed in two distinct places; along the left field padded wall starting near the foul pole and on the lower edge of the huge center field scoreboard.
World Series pennants are in right center high atop the scoreboard, commemorating 11 titles, second most in the major leagues behind only the New York Yankees.
Kids and fans of all ages enjoy Fredbird, the Cardinals mascot. Introduced in 1979 by the late Cardinals Marketing Executive Marty Hendin, Fredbird has reached the level of popularity close to the Phillie Phanatic.
Being connected and plugged in, even while at the game, is improving with the addition of Wi-Fi throughout the stadium, a standard across MLB for the 2016 season.
Busch Stadium lies in downtown St Louis, about a half mile west of the Gateway Arch. Ballpark Village has transformed the stadium neighborhood. All in one spot, you have a variety of dining options, some finer than others, music and entertainment, the Team Hall of Fame, an outdoor picnic area, a broadcast position and the large atrium featuring a wide range of seating options and views of the many monitors and one gigantic television. They often show movies on the lawn during off-days and when the time is on the road. Consider enjoying this area when the Cardinals are out of town or the day before a homestand begins or once one ends.
South of the ballpark and within walking distance, Paddy-O’s and Broadway Oyster Bar are good choices.
There may not be any better combination of things to enjoy than at Busch Stadium, but a magical piece of that is what the fans represent to the process. In few other ballparks will you witness applause for visiting players who make a great play or reach a milestone. Fans in St. Louis do not need to be prompted by a scoreboard to know when to cheer. For instance, when Jeff Bagwell’s last career plate appearance in St. Louis was about to take place, Cardinals fans stood for several minutes before he saw the first pitch. Magical is the best way to describe the atmosphere as provided by Cardinal Nation.
If you choose to see your favorite team play the Cardinals, be comfortable in wearing your team’s colors. However, if you really want to immerse yourself in the experience, wear Cardinals gear or at least red.
Parking garages near the stadium are $20-$25. A little further south on Broadway, behind the right field edge you can find $12-$15 just a few blocks from the higher priced lots. You can get a spot for $10 and only have to walk just a quarter to a half mile. Metered street parking after 7:00 PM is free Mon-Sat (Sunday is FREE all day). Park for a maximum of two hours at a time during chargeable time, find a spot around 5:00 PM, load quarters, $2 for 2 hours, and your parking ends up being pretty cheap.
Also, MetroLink is the light rail system to avoid traffic. Trains are neat, clean and safe. The station is on the west side, called “Stadium” stop. There are two lines, red and blue, who share the track from the Forest Park – DeBaliviere stop to just over the Mississippi river into Illinois. Cost is $2.50 one-way, $1.25 for students and seniors. Make sure to get on the correct train.
Return on Investment 5
In making a commitment to keep Cardinals baseball affordable, some ticket prices are as low as $5 on many nights. Programs are just $5 and are a good value with great articles and colorful photo essays. Each program includes a scorecard. Add a pencil for $1. Food is very fairly priced with opportunity for you to get more or better quality food for a little more. Consider, though, the Cardinals allow you to bring food to the game provided you follow their rules. I suggest bringing the necessities to the game and spend money inside on a tasty bratwurst or bagel dog.
Merchandise is fairly priced. Parking is normal with some cheap options, but you cannot beat the light rail price of $5 roundtrip.
There are many reasons the Cardinals annually surpass the 3,000,000 mark in attendance and among them is affordability.
BALLPARK VILLAGE – I often tell people to spend time there early on game day or on a day when the Cardinals are not playing. There is so much to see and do and you just cannot enjoy it the way you should right before game time. Consider visiting the atrium, a large dining and drinking area featuring a roof which opens and closes depending upon the weather and temperature; Ted Drewes Frozen Custard, a St. Louis tradition brought to the ballpark for the first time, several restaurants each with their own entertainment, rooftop seating like that which is enjoyed at Chicago’s Wrigley Field and the Team Hall of Fame and Museum. The food and drink options are endless.
Of note for baseball fans is the Team Hall of Fame and Museum. At 8,000 square feet, it is the largest baseball Hall of Fame outside Cooperstown. It magnificently captures the early beginnings of the team before they were the Cardinals. It comprehensively covers all the little details in between eras including how the team was named, uniform changes through the years, World Series history, test your broadcasting skills, and a “Holding History” exhibit which I guarantee is like nothing you have ever witnessed.
New for 2016, the always exciting Stan Musial exhibit has been downsized a touch to focus on the Cardinals’ minor league system, one of the best in the majors. In addition, whereas in 2015 there were 16,000 items on display, 2016 offers 22,000 artifacts to view.
Whatever you do, do not miss the four-minute movie which plays upon entrance. Have a seat, become a Cardinal fan, enjoy the film and wipe your tears when it is over. Price is $12 for adults, $10 for military and those 60+, and $8 for children 15 and under. This is the same price as the tour, but you can get a combo ticket for both at $18 ($16 and $14 per respective visitors).
RADIO BROADCASTS – Many fans listen to the live games they attend through KMOX 1120 AM, a fixture for Cardinals baseball for decades despite the five-year interruption late in the last decade. John Rooney and former Cardinals player and native St. Louisan, Mike Shannon, call an entertaining game.
BALLPARK TOURS – A tour of Busch Stadium is a must if you can fit it into your schedule. Lasting one hour and beginning at Gate 3, your trip includes a visit to the Redbird Club, press box/suite level, Cardinals’ Club, Cardinals’ dugout and other unique areas in the ballpark.
MERCHANDISE AND GAME AUTHENTICS – The array of merchandise is incredible and there are many different ways to take home a piece of Busch Stadium and the game experience. Also, the Cardinals Authentics store, behind right-center field offers official and game used collectibles. It is worth a look even if you don’t plan to buy.
FOR THE KIDS – For the little ones, there is the US Cellular Family Pavilion which offer lots of fun games for a small fee, such as t-ball and batting cages to test your swing, speed gun to see how fast you can throw, and a soft playground area under cover with places for parents to sit and watch the game while their children climb and crawl. Team mascot Fredbird makes frequent appearance in this area.
Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
1 South Broadway
St. Louis, MO 63102
Westin St Louis
811 Spruce St
St Louis, MO 63102
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Latest Crowd Reviews
St Louis is one of the top if not the best baseball city in America. Busch Stadium should be on every baseball fan list to watch a game.