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maurice
08-03-2006, 02:39 PM
We decided to head back to the St. Louis area for the first time in a couple of years to see a game at the new park and to check out some sites we missed on our previous trip. It's a strange part of the country, IMO. Everything we experienced was either pretty nice or pretty crappy. Here's a completely subjective summary:
- Good: Union Station (http://www.stlouisunionstation.com/)
- Bad: New Busch Stadium (http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/stl/ballpark/index.jsp)
- Good: St. Charles (http://www.historicstcharles.com/visitors.aspx) historic district
- Bad: Alton, IL (it's really gone downhill)
- Good: Grafton, IL & its state park
- Bad: drivers who can't change lanes without hitting the brakes hard
- Good: number and distribution of expressways
- Bad: 25 MPH cloverleaf expressway exits
- Good: the MLK bridge & the bridges on I-270
- Bad: traffic from 3 major Interstates bottlenecked into a single, downtown bridge
- Good: Forest Park (http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/) and its free museums
- Bad: St. Louis Zoo (worst I've seen)
- Good: Hodak's (http://www.hollyeats.com/Hodaks.htm) fried chicken & baked beans
- Bad: Hodak's mashed potatoes (according to Lt. Deuce, "You can taste the water.")
- Good: Fitz's (http://www.fitzsrootbeer.com/) Rootbeer & the Loop / University City area
- Bad: Block after block of vacant, boarded-up buildings in some areas
- Good: St. Louis University (http://www.slu.edu/) & the adjacent business district on Grand
- Bad: I like red brick, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing
- Good: Plenty of attractive government buildings & churches, though some of the limestone needs maintenance
- Bad: Very boring commercial architecture, especially downtown

The new ballpark is okay at ground level and a comfortable place to sit and watch a game, but has several annoying features:
- the concourse is wide but completely closed, so you can't see the field
- portions of the upper-level concourse travel under large vents that expel large quantities of hot air
- some of the steel elements are attractive, but the rest of the structure is concrete, cinder block, and very fake brick
- Build-a-Bear at a baseball game?!? *****
- The so-called "premium" beer is Budweiser select
- If they sell anything other than Budweiser, it's few and far between
- The stadium is wedged into a corner of downtown, right next to three major Interstates and a number of very ugly, old parking garages
- The upper levels are ghettoized . . . not from the 1st level but rather from other upper-level sections
- For example, the so-called "2nd-level" concourse wraps around, but you're not allowed to walk around without some kind of "club" ticket
- I say "so-called 2nd-level, because it's actually the 4th level, above 2 levels of skyboxes and set way back off of the field
- Despite having excellent (and expensive) seats, we were trapped in a ghetto containing only highly generic food stands
- To get to these seats, you need to walk up 6-and-a-half ramps with no escalator, making a trip to a more interesting food stand prohibitive

If I ever make it back (unlikely), I'll be certain to stay on the 1st level. The bleachers are much nicer than the hellish ones at the old park.

DumpJerry
08-03-2006, 02:52 PM
- Build-a-Bear at a baseball game?!? *****
- The so-called "premium" beer is Budweiser select
- If they sell anything other than Budweiser, it's few and far between
- For example, the so-called "2nd-level" concourse wraps around, but you're not allowed to walk around without some kind of "club" ticket
-Great American Ballpark in Cincy has a Build-a-Bear store behind Home Plate. It's great if you have kids at the game. If you don't have kids with you, it's real easy to ignore.
-You're in St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Were you expecting Miller Genuine Draft?
-Have you been able to access the Club Level at Comiskey (300 Level) without a Club Level ticket?

White Sox Randy
08-03-2006, 02:53 PM
Nice critique.

Union Station is really fun. My family really enjoyed it. Great place.

The effing Cardinals (my distantly second favorite team ) just won't spend money on players ever since they got the new stadium deal. It's the strangest thing. They fill the place and their fans are great yet they won't pay for a good player. Jocketty's acting like his running the Pittsburgh franchise.

DSpivack
08-03-2006, 03:07 PM
-Great American Ballpark in Cincy has a Build-a-Bear store behind Home Plate. It's great if you have kids at the game. If you don't have kids with you, it's real easy to ignore.
-You're in St. Louis at Busch Stadium. Were you expecting Miller Genuine Draft?
-Have you been able to access the Club Level at Comiskey (300 Level) without a Club Level ticket?

So does Atlanta, and I think San Francisco.

maurice
08-03-2006, 03:41 PM
-Great American Ballpark in Cincy has a Build-a-Bear store behind Home Plate.

I wasn't impressed by the GAB either. I reviewed it in 2004:
The [GAB] is a less impressive version of PNC. The design is similar, but it lacks the finishing touches apparent at PNC. The scoreboard is huge, but mostly obscured by the UD for everybody in the LF lower bowl. They did, however, have the presence of mind to include a pavillion reminicent of a steamboat near the ugly black building in CF. Like PNC, there is a nice variety of beer sold by roaming vendors....

-Were you expecting Miller Genuine Draft?

No, I was expecting a teensy bit of variety, including at least one beer that doesn't suck. Even Cincy managed to pull that off. Heck, most of the minor-league parks I've been to have a better beer selection.

-Have you been able to access the Club Level at Comiskey (300 Level) without a Club Level ticket?

The 300-level at the Cell is a separate level analogous to a skybox level. It does not obstruct the concourse on any other level. There is no club level at the new Busch. It's simply a portion of the so-called 2nd level (which actually is the 4th level).

Using your analogy to the Cell, it's more like being restricted to only one corner of the UD without so much as an escalator (though the UD at the Cell is one level higher). You would not be restricted to the 500-level, but rather you would be restricted to sections 506-512 of the 500-level. You couldn't even walk through the enclosed concourse behind sections 514-550 without a special ticket and, therefore, couldn't easily access non-club sections 552-558 either. The only way of accessing any other portion of the park (such as a non-generic food stand) would be to walk all the way down the ramps and then back up the ramps (with no escalator) to get back to your seat. That's exceptionally poor design.

jenn2080
08-03-2006, 03:56 PM
We decided to head back to the St. Louis area for the first time in a couple of years to see a game at the new park and to check out some sites we missed on our previous trip. It's a strange part of the country, IMO. Everything we experienced was either pretty nice or pretty crappy. Here's a completely subjective summary:
- Good: Union Station (http://www.stlouisunionstation.com/)
- Bad: New Busch Stadium (http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/stl/ballpark/index.jsp)
- Good: St. Charles (http://www.historicstcharles.com/visitors.aspx) historic district
- Bad: Alton, IL (it's really gone downhill)
- Good: Grafton, IL & its state park
- Bad: drivers who can't change lanes without hitting the brakes hard
- Good: number and distribution of expressways
- Bad: 25 MPH cloverleaf expressway exits
- Good: the MLK bridge & the bridges on I-270
- Bad: traffic from 3 major Interstates bottlenecked into a single, downtown bridge
- Good: Forest Park (http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/forestpark/) and its free museums
- Bad: St. Louis Zoo (worst I've seen)
- Good: Hodak's (http://www.hollyeats.com/Hodaks.htm) fried chicken & baked beans
- Bad: Hodak's mashed potatoes (according to Lt. Deuce, "You can taste the water.")
- Good: Fitz's (http://www.fitzsrootbeer.com/) Rootbeer & the Loop / University City area
- Bad: Block after block of vacant, boarded-up buildings in some areas
- Good: St. Louis University (http://www.slu.edu/) & the adjacent business district on Grand
- Bad: I like red brick, but too much of a good thing is a bad thing
- Good: Plenty of attractive government buildings & churches, though some of the limestone needs maintenance
- Bad: Very boring commercial architecture, especially downtown

The new ballpark is okay at ground level and a comfortable place to sit and watch a game, but has several annoying features:
- the concourse is wide but completely closed, so you can't see the field
- portions of the upper-level concourse travel under large vents that expel large quantities of hot air
- some of the steel elements are attractive, but the rest of the structure is concrete, cinder block, and very fake brick
- Build-a-Bear at a baseball game?!? *****
- The so-called "premium" beer is Budweiser select
- If they sell anything other than Budweiser, it's few and far between
- The stadium is wedged into a corner of downtown, right next to three major Interstates and a number of very ugly, old parking garages
- The upper levels are ghettoized . . . not from the 1st level but rather from other upper-level sections
- For example, the so-called "2nd-level" concourse wraps around, but you're not allowed to walk around without some kind of "club" ticket
- I say "so-called 2nd-level, because it's actually the 4th level, above 2 levels of skyboxes and set way back off of the field
- Despite having excellent (and expensive) seats, we were trapped in a ghetto containing only highly generic food stands
- To get to these seats, you need to walk up 6-and-a-half ramps with no escalator, making a trip to a more interesting food stand prohibitive

If I ever make it back (unlikely), I'll be certain to stay on the 1st level. The bleachers are much nicer than the hellish ones at the old park.


You are the first person who thought the new park was so so. Everyone else said it was great. Also the build a bear is great for the kids. Jacobs Field and GABP have them. I actually have one with a Sox uniform

Fenway
08-03-2006, 04:04 PM
One of the Red Sox announcers was raised in St Louis and he says it is becoming obvious the new park was built on the cheap.

That fanbase deserves the best but now if you live 10 miles from downtown you have trouble getting the games on radio.

maurice
08-03-2006, 04:46 PM
You are the first person who thought the new park was so so.

The park received a luke-warm reception in St. Louis. Many Cards fans were disappointed. The general consensus from the locals I talked to is that it's not appreciably better than the crappy old park it replaced. I also heard the comment Fenway related a few times.

Internet reviews are mixed. This site (http://www.thesportsroadtrip.com/mlbfavorites.html) ranks it 21st out of the 30 MLB parks. Ballpark Digest (http://www.ballparkdigest.com/visits/busch_stadium.htm) and ballparkreviews.com (http://www.ballparkreviews.com/stlouis/newbusch.htm) also gave it negative reviews.

DumpJerry
08-03-2006, 05:33 PM
The 300-level at the Cell is a separate level analogous to a skybox level. It does not obstruct the concourse on any other level. There is no club level at the new Busch. It's simply a portion of the so-called 2nd level (which actually is the 4th level).

Using your analogy to the Cell, it's more like being restricted to only one corner of the UD without so much as an escalator (though the UD at the Cell is one level higher). You would not be restricted to the 500-level, but rather you would be restricted to sections 506-512 of the 500-level. You couldn't even walk through the enclosed concourse behind sections 514-550 without a special ticket and, therefore, couldn't easily access non-club sections 552-558 either. The only way of accessing any other portion of the park (such as a non-generic food stand) would be to walk all the way down the ramps and then back up the ramps (with no escalator) to get back to your seat. That's exceptionally poor design.
:hawk
Mercy! My legs got tired just from visualizing it!

Sounds like the architect was not a sports fan. Or he sits in premium seating and forgot what it's like to be "one of us."

Malgar 12
08-03-2006, 08:51 PM
So does Atlanta, and I think San Francisco.

Isn't that supposed to be Spiwack? As in Dave Spiwack famed pitcher for the California Angels.

CLR01
08-03-2006, 09:34 PM
Mark me down as another person who was disappointed with the new Busch stadium. I have not been to a game there yet but I did attend the open house they had the week before it opened. The outside of the stadium looks very nice and on the inside the view is nice and the seats have cushions but overall very plain. We had complete access to the park so I got to ride the escalator up to the club level but on the way down I was wondering if additional escalators were going to be built or if people were going to have to walk up and down. I also remember thinking that the ramps railings were rather low and just waiting for some drunk assclown to fall over.

I thought the Club was on level 3? I seem to remember the concourse for level 4 being open air and extending all the way around without interuption.


I love Fitz's
I have only been to US once and that was to grab dinner at Landry's but it seems nice.

maurice
08-03-2006, 09:51 PM
The "200 level" actually is 3 different levels. That is, sections in the 200-range appear on the second level (sky boxes), the third level (more sky boxes), and the fourth level (divided between club seating and regular seats). There is yet another fifth level of seating above this.

The third and fourth levels are accessed from the same concourse. Though all of these sections have 200-level numbers, the team calls this the "level 3 - lodge concourse." They probably allowed open-house visitors to use the "club" escalators and to walk around this entire level, but it is not permitted on game days without a special ticket.

For further confusion, see the ridiculously disproportional level maps (http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/NASApp/mlb/stl/ballpark/ballpark_levels.jsp) on the Cards' website.

DSpivack
08-04-2006, 12:39 AM
Isn't that supposed to be Spiwack? As in Dave Spiwack famed pitcher for the California Angels.

Never heard of him, but I am young. It's a relatively common Ukrainian (and several other Eastern European nationalities) name. I believe it means singer in several languages.

WagMan
08-05-2006, 01:28 AM
Well, just got back today from visiting St. Louis this week. Spent Thursday night at the ballpark trying to catch up with Aaron Rowand (didn't work). My overall opinion of the park was that it's just new, not fancy. I made it to old Busch last year just to see it before it got torn down. So, it is an upgrade, but nowhere near one of the better parks in baseball. We sat up in section 340. When I first looked at the seating chart before we got there, I thought we'd be over along the 3rd base side in the 2nd level. Turns out, we were all the way in right field, in about the 4th level and there was still a level above us. The fans around us were season ticket holders and none of them seemed too happy about the park as I listened to general converstion. The only thing they got right is the view of the Arch past the outfield. (something the Sox should have done with a view of downtown ala old Comiskey).

Overall, had a great trip out to the St. Louis area. If you go with kids, stop out at Grant's Farm. It's a bit out of town, but worth the trip. And, I'm not a Budweiser fan and all they do is plug it. But, still, good trip. What's at Union Station? We were about to walk down there from the Arch but gave up b/c of the heat...

TDog
08-05-2006, 01:43 AM
One of the Red Sox announcers was raised in St Louis and he says it is becoming obvious the new park was built on the cheap.

That fanbase deserves the best but now if you live 10 miles from downtown you have trouble getting the games on radio.

Apparently a lot of people around here believe you should be paying for satellite radio, so maybe bad reception is the fans' fault.

Rdubb4
08-05-2006, 03:10 AM
Forgive me if I am misguided, but you are criticizing the location of the new Busch? Have you ever been to the old busch? Honestly now, complaining about the location is flat out ignorant, its not like they picked an entirely new site to build on across town.