When the All-Star Game was last in St. Louis, the second Busch Stadium had just opened. This was when Casey Stengel gave his legendary comment that, “it holds the heat well”, when asked about the then-new stadium (the game was played in 105-degree heat).
In the 43 years since then, St. Louis has solidified itself as the baseball capital of America, and buzz about the game has been going around town for many weeks. Those with tickets to the All-Star Game or Home Run Derby instantly are like the cool kid in a middle school classroom, as everyone is jealous and talking to them about it.
Many of those without tickets will spend Monday or Tuesday night, or both, downtown just to be a part of the atmosphere. Since the weekend began, it seems to have dominated conversations around the Gateway City.
Celebrities that call St. Louis home have come back, as well as others who want to be a part of the action. Bob Knight and Billy Bob Thornton are noted Cardinal fans who have been in town, as well as St. Louisans Nelly and Jenna Fischer.
Tiger Woods and Anna Kournikova have reportedly been spotted in the downtown area as well (Kournikova plays for the St. Louis Aces club tennis team). President Obama will be in town to throw out the ceremonial first pitch to Albert Pujols.
The stadium itself has been transformed, some for the good, some for the bad. The All-Star Game logo is painted down each foul line, and the Arch and the Old Courthouse have been cut into the outfield grass. The only downside is that ads have covered up the part of the outfield wall that honors the Cardinals’ retired numbers.
Albert Pujols and Ozzie Smith have been the main representatives for the All-Star Game, promoting it in every way possible. Whether it be the FanFest at the downtown Convention Center or just the party in the streets surrounding Busch that will inevitably ensue once festivities begin, the 2009 All-Star Game is shaping up to be one of the most memorable in recent memory.