The smell of beer and hot dogs immediately hit me as I walked into Busch Stadium Tuesday night. Let me tell you, it is a wonderful smell.
There is something special about being at the ballpark. It is a great feeling, even therapeutic.
I didn't have the chance to go last year. It has been my first year I haven't been to a ballgame for as long as I can remember.
There is no experience like it. You are around other fans, really just complete strangers, but you are all chanting, cheering, and clapping for your favorite team. Whether it is the 80-year-old man, or the 8-year-old kid, we are all yelling for our team. You are part of a 35,000 person family.
I look forward to the beer vendor that walks the stairway, just so I can hear “Bud Light! Getcha Bud Light here!”
Even as a kid, I had some weird fascination with listening to the different vendors pitches. I love stepping on peanut shells, hearing the crunch underneath my feet.
Then you have the game itself. Even sitting at the top of the stadium gives an intimate feeling. Unlike on television, you can choose who to watch and get a different perspective of the game.
The game slows down. There are no camera cuts or highlights, just whatever you feel like focusing on.
Without the commentary of a broadcast boost, you begin to become less critical and more appreciative of the art of baseball. Without a direct shot of home plate for every pitch, nitpicking balls and strikes is less of an issue. The pureness of baseball seeps through at the stadium; even routine fly balls are majestic to watch.
At the stadium, you feel part of the team. The cheering you generate is just as important as the batter’s swing. Well, at least it feels that way. It feels as though you can somehow will your team to a victory.
The emotions of game become completely different as well. The highs are higher and the lows are lower. In Tuesday’s game, the temperature was around 55 degrees. With the Cardinals down 4-0 through the first four innings, it felt much colder.
Then, adrenaline suddenly rushes through your body as you see your team fight its way back into the game. You rise out of your seat to see if that pulled ball will stay fair, cheer and yell on a full count, and high-five friends and other fans as your team ties up the game.
The stadium feels a bit warmer.
And, if you are lucky, there will be two outs in the ninth with your team in the lead. With the entire stadium electric as the final out comes to the plate, nothing is better than having your closer shut down the opposition.
You can go home happy, and a little healthier from visiting the ballpark.
Now, I understand with the economy down means less cash in your pocket, so here are a few tips to save when seeing America’s pastime in the greatest baseball city.
Google KTRS 550 Cardinals tickets, and click the first link. The St. Louis radio station has a great program where you can purchase a pair of tickets for only $11. You do have to get there at nine in the morning, but it will be well worth it.
Bring in your own water and soda to the park. Just make sure it is in a clear plastic bottle. Trust me, when it gets into those late innings and you’re parched, shelling out $5.00 for a soda or $8 for a beer leaves a hole in your gut. Not to mention your wallet.
Take the Metro into the stadium. While I have not done this personally, I have had others assure me this is the only way to go. Parking is hard to come by under $10 around Busch Stadium, and can be another way to save a few bucks.
So do yourself a favor; take yourself out to the ballgame.