Wednesday, June 25, 2014

#62: Busch Stadium

What else there is to say? The home of the St. Louis Cardinals! Actually, there is plenty to say...but where to start? Well, it is named after the team's former owner(s) - the Busch family, who of course, are the people behind Anheuser-Busch. The family and company owned the team from 1953 to 1995. The same year they bought them, Sportsmans Park was re-named Busch Stadium. The Cardinals moved to their new home downtown in 1966, with the round, so-called 'cookie cutter' stadium called Busch Memorial Stadium. It was called that until 1981, and that stadium was last used during the 2005 season. It was eventually demolished after they completed the playoffs.

The current Busch Stadium, often referred to as 'the newer stadium' or 'Busch Stadium III', opened in 2006. Since then, the Cardinals have hosted one All-Star game (2009) and three World Series. Busch Stadium was the first ballpark in over 100 years to have its team win the World Series at its inaugural year ('06). The Cardinals went on to win the World Championship in 2011. As I write this in mid-September 2014, the Cardinals are currently trying to make their way into the playoffs. Who knows, maybe it will host another championship and World series?

The new Busch Stadium currently seats close to 44,000. This does not include rooms and luxury suites. Since its opening, the stadium has had a great share of sell-out crowds and standing room-only games. Ironically, the highest attendance at Busch Stadium for any event was a football game starring British teams! On May 28, 2013, over 48,000 people watched the Chelsea Football Club play against the Manchester City Football Club.

There is so much I can say about the Cardinals. In short, they are one of the most successful major league baseball franchises of all-time, as the National League team with the most World Series wins (11). Only the New York Yankees have more - actually waaayyyy more than any other franchise, with 28. The Cardinals have had a long history with memorable players, including those who did more than play ball. From Stan the Man to Enos Slaughter, from Bob Gibson to Lou Brock, from Ozzie Smith to Albert Pujols. Yes, I said Albert Pujols. To me, he deserves credit for helping to reboot the team in the mid-2000s. Several players went on to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Memorable names associated with the Cardinals that were not players include broadcaster Jack Buck (who was inducted into the Broadcasters Hall of Fame), and several managers and general managers who led and made tough decisions for the team.

Here are some random facts about the Cardinals, as well as Busch Stadium, found on its page.

The side which displays the Cardinals' championship and World Series wins years. Its better viewed off I-64/Hwy 40

A view of Busch Stadium from the Gateway Arch
Busch Stadium also has hosted concerts, as well as the previous stadium. Since the new stadium's opening, the Dave Matthews Band and the Eagles have performed there. In July of 2011, I attended U2's famous 360 tour. One of the best concerts I've ever attended, by the way!
Me in front of 'the claw', which was part of U2 360's stage setup
The cake, as designed by Katherine Nelson. I bet she had a thrill doing this one, but at the same time, a dilemma, as what to put on it. I think she made the right choice: 

Back of the cake
An episode of KETC Channel 9's 'Living St. Louis' devoted to Busch Stadium

NOTE: For various reasons, the cake is not outside Busch Stadium at the moment. It is unknown if this is temporary or permanent.  (September 2014)

Busch Stadium on FB
Wikipedia link
St. Louis Cardinals Official website

700 Clark Avenue, ST. LOUIS, MO, 63102
Cake artist: Katherine Nelson

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