Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Losing my innocence in St. Louis

by Jeremy Bird

I finally made it. It only took 23 games.

My flight was late coming in from Portland, Oregon. By the time I landed, Jason Marquis had already given up 5 runs to the Nationals. By the time I got to the park, the game was pretty much over. Washington, of all teams, was in the process of blowing out the Cardinals.

But, I had come to see more than this game. I had come to see the new Busch. I had come to see my childhood, my innocence gone.

Change is a peculiar thing. At first site, I was overwhelmed with two competing emotions.

On the one hand, this new stadium was heinous. It sat there spitting in the face of the old, pure Busch. It sat there with no memories of Stan, of Dizzy, or Ozzie. It sat there looking all young and energetic with no respect for history. I hated it for taking away the place that had given us so many memories. It sat there with its outrageous $8.25 beer (the brewery is less than 6 blocks away!) mocking the baseball of my youth.

On the other hand, it was a beautiful site. The panoramic view of the Arch gave it youth and vitality. The retro brick façade gave it an air of respect. The wide open design made it feel like I was truly outside, no longer trapped in some 1970s-style cement donut. The 40,000 plus fans packed into the new stadium made me realize that baseball might not change in St. Louis despite its home.

I let those competing emotions sit with me while I watched the game. I tried not to let the fact that I had standing room only seats on a rainy night in an 8-3 loss to one of the worst teams in baseball impact which emotion I chose to embrace.

I walked around, enjoying my standing room only “seats.” I spent some time in right, center and left. At the 7th inning stretch, I finally made it behind the plate. I watched King Albert hit his 13th homer of April from the third base line in the 8th.

After the game, I stood behind the plate, looking out at the Arch, the mighty Mississippi and the St. Louis skyline. I took in the smell of hot dogs and peanuts and beer. I listened to the crowd grumble about the inconsistent pitching of Marquis and the unbelievable hitting of Pujols.

And I knew that the future was going to be alright, even if I had lost a little of my youth.

"Bird's Eye View" appears alternate Tuesdays


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Where is the political BS now?!
Talk about the taxpayer being ripped off; the poor guy on the street can't afford a seat, the beer or anything else without mortgaging his house - if he has one. It isn't just Wal-Mart management creating tax and other money troubles for John Q. Ordinary Citizen. Let's look at the government as a whole. The City and the County sold the sole of their constituents to build a stadium for a team ownership that acted like terrorists; holding the fans and the community hostage to the notion they would move to greener pastures if they didn't get money from the local governments as well as the state to help build their stadium.

I believe terrorists are worse than Wal-Mart management.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006  

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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine