8/2/09 at Busch Stadium

Did somebody say two games in two days?
DSCF3301.JPGWell, just fifteen short hours after we’d departed from Busch we were back outside the gates… sadly though, so were all these people:
DSCF3312.JPGYeah.  One of the largest pregame crowds I’d ever seen.  As it turns out, the kids were all getting a Build-A-Bear toy and it was Ice Cream Sunday (they were really just cherry ice pops).  Luckily, there was still BP being taken when I got into the stadium along with Michelle after waiting in that line.  It took about five minutes but I got in and made it to the stands:
DSCF3314.JPGThe Cardinals only hit for a few minutes after I’d gotten inside and then the Astros came out…

… but they weren’t hitting.  Instead, some kids were taking BP.  What?!?  I was bummed.  I thought my steak of snagging at least one ball at every game this season was coming to an end.  A couple of Astros pitchers did come out and throw.  First it was Jeff Fulchino and after he finished and I didn’t get his baseball Wesley Wright came out and started throwing.  He’d dissed me the day before by ignoring my polite requests during BP but today he must’ve had a change of heart because he lobbed me a ball when he’d finished his throws.  Woo!

Right after that I got Doug Brocail to sign a ticket for me.  A teenager asked him to sign his tennis shoe and Brocail declined.  Then Jose Valverde came out and started signing.  He DID sign the kid’s shoe (with quite a bit of dramatic flair) and then he signed my ticket, then a littler kid said, “That’s Jose Valverde, the best closer in the National League, to which Valverde replied, “Ha!  Not this year.”  At that point in time he had an amazing eleven saves.  I love it when players don’t take themselves too seriously.  Major points for Valverde.

After that, with the lack of BP, I figured I’d better just leave the field area and take another stroll with Michelle.  As it turns out, my plan to get out of the sun was spot on.  There were literally zero players on the entire field for the next thirty minutes.

We headed out to the right field bleachers and sat in the shade with some drinks:
busch right field bleachers cropped small.jpgYeah, Mr. Popped Collar!  I realized at that point that I hadn’t tried any of Busch Stadium’s food up to that point in our travels so I hit up a barbecue place and got Michelle and I some pulled pork sandwiches.  We ate them up in our seats (again in Section 442)… decent.  Nothing amazing.  And they were pretty pricey.  later on I’d beat the heat with an old standby: Dippin’ Dots–Cookies & Cream.  Mmm… good.

DSCF3339.JPGAh, yes… the game.  The Cardinals were getting mowed down by rookie
Astro pitcher, Bud Norris (who’d thrown me a ball the day before).  As
a matter of fact, Norris’ no-hit bid was broken up by an Adam
Wainwright single in the sixth.  Yep, the pitcher got a hit.  Ryan
Ludwick got a hit.  Yadier Molina got a hit.  That was it.  The Astros
scored a run in the fourth and one in the seventh.  With the lack of
action in the game I was able to goof around with Michelle a little and
see all the nooks and crannies of Busch (the few we’d missed on my
birthday
):

DSCF3337.JPGHey!  The All-Star game!  You’d never know it had been there just two weeks earlier…

We wandered over to right field and I took this picture from the deepest part of the concourse:
deep right field cropped small.jpgSee that kid leaning over the railing?  He was looking down into the bullpen and he was still there when I headed up to the highest part of the right field seats and took this:
busch left field cropped small.jpgBoy, it sure is fun to explore a new park!

I had no idea when I’d come back to Busch so I tried to get it from every angle.  As the game started to come to a close I knew I wanted to get down behind one of the dugouts… then I decided, why not both?  So, I spent the seventh, eighth, and ninth running back and forth from dugout to dugout as the half-innings ended.  I didn’t get a ball tossed to me at either side but I did pick up a couple of nifty season ticket stubs in the process.

Michelle decided to roam the concourse until the game ended and took in the last moments of my time in a fantastic stadium.

At one point during my travels I stopped to take a few photos from right behind home plate, including this one of Blake Hawksworth pitching to Jeff Keppinger in the ninth.

I also managed to take the photo below which is one of my favorites of the whole Midwest trip.  Check it out:
behind home plate at busch stadium cropped small.jpgA couple more pics:
DSCF3359.JPGDSCF3367.JPGAnd the game ended without much notable action.  Norris got the win and Valverde got the save… he’s up to twelve!  Astros 2, Cardinals 0.  I’d hoped for an end of game ball from the Astros but they didn’t throw a single thing up, out, or over as they came off the field.  Bummer.

One ball at this game, three the day before, over 300 photos taken, lots of ticket stubs, two autographs, a Cardinals magazine (and souvenir cup) and some Cardinals baseball cards.  An awesome weekend of baseball and a great way to celebrate my 26th birthday with my wife and friends.
skyline cropped small.jpgIf you’re in St. Louis, or will be nearby, check out this stadium.  It’s really one of the nicest I’ve been to and the atmosphere is phenomenal.  Lots to do, lots to see, friendly fans, and the Cardinals are a great team to watch.  We’ll see ’em in the postseason, I’ll bet.

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