First Look at the New Busch Stadium

Yesterday, someone on the bulletin board at work had some tickets to the open house at the new Busch Stadium for today.  I was lucky, nimble of finger, and was able to grab them.

This morning, Beck and I piled in the family truckster, and headed east to the city, found parking, and stood in an enormous crowd, all waiting to enter the stadium for the first time.  There were thousands of us — close to 30,000 so I heard later — almost all of us standing in the road like some human barricade, all waiting for the gates to open.  And open they did.

The ballpark is beautiful, and so less claustrophic than the old stadium.  There are plenty of escalators between levels — some of which weren’t up to the chore today, blocked off out of service — and tons of stairs between the bottom and top of the stadium.  One of the things that I loved about the old stadium was the ramps that encircled the perimeter.  From those ramps, you could walk all the way ’round the park, and go up or down to get to the your seating level.  While we did find some ramps as we were headed out, it was surprising not to see more “people moving” facilities instead of all those stairs.

We got to tour the party rooms and suites.  They are nice, large, and seating outside them is much, much nicer than in the old stadium.  Cushioned seats with wider girth made the seating nice outside the suites.  However…..  There didn’t appear to be any heating outside — which the old Busch had — and the pigeons had found homes in the rafter above the seating.  The seats in some places had been bombed by the rats-with-wings regiment perched on the rafters far above the seats.  So, with your expensive suite, you also get a chance for a little decoration!  🙂

We walked all the way to the top, and I went to the farthest seat above home plate, and it wasn’t bad.  The views are tremendous from everywhere in the park, with views of the Arch, the Courthouse, and so many other downtown staples.  And, the view of the game from any seat is really nice.  The stadium seating expands vertically rather than the old Busch’s lateral seating expansion, so the number of stairs to the seat isn’t as many, and puts you a little closer and more “on top” of the action on the field as you climb up.  Nice touches indeed.

The biggest impression I was left with of the park was that it was smaller than the old Busch.  It’s really not — the field is about the same, and the number of seats for the fans is about the same.  The difference is that this park was built for baseball, not a multi-purpose venue as the old stadium was.  It’s cozy, feels great, and looks wonderful.

Thursday, Beck and I have tickets to the afternoon game, so it’ll be interesting to see how a game looks from this new denizen of the downtown skyline.  I’m sure it’ll be a great time!