Posted: Tuesday September 12, 2006 10:24AM; Updated: Tuesday September 12, 2006 12:08PM
St. Louis Cardinals
St. Louis, Mo. :: Opened: 2006 :: Capacity: 46,700
Average Ticket Price: $29.78
Average Cost of Concessions and Souvenirs: $90.50
How expensive is stadium parking? FREE: 8% $5-$10: 26% $10-$15: 48% $15-$20: 16% More than $20: 1%
Is public transportation a viable option? Never: 7% Worth it if you have a lot of time and patience: 29% A good option to avoid rush hour: 22% Pretty easy if you know the system well: 31% The only way to go: 10%
How would you rate traffic getting to and from the game? To the game: A slow-moving parking lot: 4% Slow, but usually steady: 23% Moves well outside of rush hour: 36% Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 29% A smooth ride at all times: 7%
From the game: A slow-moving parking lot: 8% Slow, but usually steady: 41% Moves well outside of rush hour: 19% Aside from the occasional bottleneck, it's good: 26% A smooth ride at all times: 4%
How would you rate the number of restrooms for men and women? Bring a map: 2% It depends on your section: 11% Never more than a short walk away: 21% A satisfactory amount: 22% Plenty: 71%
How long is the wait to use a bathroom? Always available: 44% 1-5 minutes: 49% 5-10 minutes: 4% More than 10 minutes: 1%
How would you rate the variety of food/beer concession options? Limp hot dogs, bland peanuts, even blander beer: 2% Nothing fancy, but the staple foods are tasty: 5% A little variety of food and drinks available at specific locations: 22% A nice variety but locations are spread out: 35% You name it, they have it around almost every corner: 33%
How much will a meal at the ballpark cost you? $5-$10: 9% $10-$20: 69% $20-$30: 16% $30-$40: 3% More than $40: 1%
How would you rate the entertainment options aside from the game? Nonexistent: 3% So many games/promotions and scoreboard highlights that the game is lost in the background: 4% Typical mascot antics/scoreboard quizzes and fun music: 33% Some unique promotions/antics, but it sometimes distracts from the game: 10% A nice balance that draws your attention when the game is stopped but doesn't distract from the action on the field: 48%
In its first season, the new brick-laden Busch Stadium combines some of the best and the worst of the retro generation of ballparks: "The view of the Gateway Arch and downtown St. Louis is a wonderful backdrop," but "the owners seem to have gone on the cheap in cutting many of the interesting architectural features from the original plans." "The real organ music is a nice touch," but "the incredible number of ads all over the ballpark is annoying." Despite its youth, the park does a nice job of paying homage to the Cardinals' history, with walkway bricks engraved with great moments in team history and manual scoreboards from the former Busch Stadium relocated to the stadium's concourses. That's not to mention the statue of Stan Musial greeting fans as they enter the park. Inside, concession stands "offer everything from pretzels to lobster rangoon" and some of the coldest beer in the majors. But many find the selection of brews "paltry" and the price of everything "too expensive."
With the neighborhood just beginning to develop a nightlife scene, the best bet may be to "walk a few blocks north to Laclede's Landing for a lot of bars and restaurants." Some, though, think "the diversity of restaurants and clubs on Washington Ave." are more rewarding. Fans regularly mingle at former Cardinal Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky's Baseball Saloon and Mike Shannon's steakhouse near the park, although the latter "is a bit pricey." Should you have the time, hop on the commuter rail MetroLink and head to Forest Park for the city zoo, the art museum, the science center and "a couple of small lakes for fishing and pedestrian/biking paths." Oh, and "if you've never been to the Gateway Arch, it's worth a visit," as is Ted Drewes frozen custard.
2006 record: 75-67 (all statistics through Sept. 10) Players worth the price of admission: Albert Pujols (.321 Avg., 45 HRs, 118 RBIs), Scott Rolen (.304 Avg., 81 RBIs, 85 runs), Chris Carpenter (13-6, 2.97 ERA, 158 Ks)
The Redbirds joined the retro generation this year with the new Busch Stadium, which on its face alone is an improvement over the concrete bowl that was its predecessor. Indeed, the new joint has all the architectural flourishes, historic tributes and gourmet-eating options the previous Busch did not. It also has a modern price tag for most items, which may be business as usual on the coasts but seems a little less than gracious to a fan base as loyal as any in sports. While there is little question that the new Busch, like every other new stadium, will play more comfortably and conveniently than the Cards' prior home, only time will tell if it generates a similar type of history -- or just more advertising.