Panoramic view of Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Our staff was stoked to visit Busch Stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals vs. New York Yankees series on Memorial Day of 2014. It had been many years since the Yankees had made the trip to St. Louis, their 1st at the new ballpark, so we knew we had to take advantage of the rare opportunity. We’re fans of all MLB teams but we’ve seen the New York Yankees in 4 different Major League cities which is more than most New York Yankees fans could even say. Busch Stadium was a massive stadium and all of the new additions that make up a development called “Ballpark Village” adjacent to the stadium were top notch. Ballpark Village quickly made Busch Stadium one of the 5 best ballpark experiences in Major League Baseball and their fans deserve it!

 Photo of Midwest Live at Ballpark Village.

We were most impressed with Midwest Live. Think of the world’s best sports bar and what it might look like and you have Midwest Live. It has multiple levels of different bars and restaurants. The central area has spiral tables for Cardinals fans to dine at, there is also barstool seating as well. There is one massive projection screen TV on the main wall of Midwest Live with smaller TVs around the rest of the bar. The ceiling is glass which lets a lot of natural light into the place. Virtually every part of Ballpark Village is connected so the area flows very well. Cardinals Nation is another popular area at Busch Stadium that offers a number of private areas with balconies so that fans can watch the game across the street.

Photo of the AT&T Rooftop at Busch Stadium.

The AT&T Rooftop at Busch Stadium resembles a rooftop that you would find at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Rooftop tickets are hard to come by since the supply is so small but if you get the chance to sit up there, pull the trigger! The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame is also onsite at Ballpark Village and is the largest Hall of Fame of all 30 Major League teams. After the game, we went to Mike Shannon’s Steakhouse a block away from Busch Stadium, owned by former St. Louis Cardinal Mike Shannon. It’s an expensive restaurant but so worth it. The Cardinals memorabilia in that place resembles what you might see in Cooperstown, New York. Mike Shannon’s also has a massive patio on the outside called “Mike Shannon’s Outfield” with TVs, a DJ, waitresses, the whole 9. However, if you’re not good at making plans, just head down to Ballpark Village about 3 hours before first pitch to eat and drink. There are so many options right there and the fan atmosphere is incredible. You’ll see Cardinal red everywhere you look. Paddy O’s on 7th street is also a popular spot on game days.

Exterior photo of Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

I loved the Stan Musial statue outside of the main entrance although if you look close enough, you’ll notice how misshaped it is. I also loved that the MetroLink, St. Louis’ subway system, stops right outside of Busch Stadium. Fans from all over the city have easy access to the ballpark without having to worry about drinking, driving and parking. MetroLink rides are $5 roundtrip. The concourses are wide and extremely easy to travel without running into other fans. I would characterize the concourses as “dark”. Like Wrigley Field in Chicago, you can’t see the playing field from the concourses and this means a lot of fans aren’t standing around socializing and congregating all over the park. This is a negative in my book.

 

This ballpark is always packed; rain, shine, day game, holiday, crappy opponents, it doesn’t matter. Cardinals fans are the most loyal and knowledgeable fan base in Major League Baseball and I dare anyone to challenge that statement.

View of the field from the Bleachers at Busch Stadium.

We sat in the bleacher seats in the outfield; section 195. The first thing I noticed was how spread out the stadium is; it doesn’t feel as big as it really is. The upper level seemed much closer to the field than other ballparks offer. The view was excellent, even from about 15 rows back although we couldn’t see the warning track. The scoreboard was still in plain view. The only major downside was not being able to see the arch and the beautiful St. Louis skyline from our seats. Seats along the 3rd base side will offer fans the best view of the arch. Even though the bleachers are metal, they at least have backs to them unlike Wrigley Field and Yankee Stadium. There are no cup holders in the Busch Stadium bleachers. For $30 per ticket, I definitely feel like we got our money’s worth. Thumbs up to the St. Louis Cardinals fans for being very respectful to visiting fans. This fan base also rarely “boo” opposing players when they step up to bat.

Photo of the Infield at Busch Stadium, home of the St. Louis Cardinals.

Many St. Louis Cardinals fans also probably don’t like the fact that the organization uses a dynamic pricing model. This means that ticket prices are different every single day. Dynamic Pricing means that games vs. the Chicago Cubs, Kansas City Royals and New York Yankees will cost much more than tickets for games vs. teams like the Milwaukee Brewers and Miami Marlins. Parking was plentiful and averagely priced. Same principle applies at Busch Stadium; parking near the stadium is $20-$25. You walk further away and it’s $10-$15. Parking at meters is free post 7pm Monday through Saturday and free on Sundays. I don’t recall sampling any of the concessions during the game since we ate at Ballpark Village beforehand. However, I do recall the beers being much more expensive than they should be with Annheuser Busch owning the name rights to the ballpark and having its headquarters in St. Louis.

 Aerial photo of downtown St. Louis, Missouri.

The one part of the trip that surprised me was how dead downtown St. Louis was. There were some neat bars by the river on the east side of downtown near Lumiere Place Casino. However, there were no establishments by the Arch on the west side of downtown. The park adjacent to the Arch, however, is beautiful to walk. I was expecting more from downtown, though. Despite what others will tell you, downtown St. Louis is safe but just like in any other major city, pay attention and be smart.  Busch Stadium is a must see ballpark simply because the St. Louis Cardinals are one of the most storied sports organizations in sports and their history is well on display all throughout the stadium. We'll definitely be back after we conquer all 30 Major League Ballparks.

 

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