A Haven for the Diehard Sox Fan
  Home > Features > Road Trip! > St. Louis 2005

Road Trip to St. Louis

June 6-8, 2005

Busch Stadium

After the Red Sox won the World Series, I knew I had to go to Busch Stadium to see the site where it all happened. When the 2005 schedule came out, the Red Sox had an interleague series there, and when I found out that the Cardinals would be moving to a new stadium the following year, I knew I had to go now. On the morning of the first day I went up the Gateway Arch to take the obligatory pictures. The right field/first base side of the new ballpark can be seen just to the left of the existing stadium in the picture above.

I entered as soon as the gates opened and went down behind the visitor's dugout to watch batting practice. (Big Papi was his usual self, swatting them high into the upper deck to the applause of Red Sox Nation.) After batting practice I went to my seat, which was in the upper deck behind home plate, but only about four rows down from the back wall. It was a good enough spot to be an observer of the game, but I much prefer Fenway, where even the seat I had a few weeks ago way up near the back row of the bleachers is close enough to make me a participant in the game. Busch is actually a nice enough stadium, given that it used to be one of the "cookie cutters" of the 1960's. It's had real grass for years, and they've done enough to personalize it and take out the sterile, generic quality I had felt at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati and Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. There was a "62" sign just over the outfield fence in the left field corner, where Mark McGwire's record-breaking 62nd home run of 1998 had landed. There was a "DK" sign on the right field fence, in memory of Cardinals pitcher Darryl Kile, who had died suddenly during the 2002 season. And they had all the new gimmicky things, like a picnic table area in the outfield and a .406-Club-like luxury box area behind glass in centerfield, that I disdain but builders of "modern" stadiums seem to like. All that was really left from the cookie cutter era was the bowl shape, and the fact that the upper deck seats are a long way back. (But when I saw drawings of the new stadium, the first row of each deck up starts behind the back row of the deck below it. That way there are no poles to block anyone's view, but it means that the seats in the upper deck must be as far away from the field as the ones here.)

Busch Stadium Bill Mueller, Sr., father of the Red Sox third baseman and St. Louis native, threw out the first pitch, caught by the younger Mueller. After that, though, there wasn't much else to cheer about. Mark Bellhorn was leading off in place of Johnny Damon, who had injured himself yet again diving to make a great catch a few days earlier. He had hurt his shoulder, and although the injury would end up nagging him for the rest of the season, he had been back in the lineup the next day, and was just now getting the day off. Bellhorn reached base twice, but both times Edgar Renteria grounded into a double play. Renteria was drawing a mixed reaction from the St. Louis crowd, split between those who cheered him for his four years with the Cardinals and those who booed him for taking more money to sign with Boston. The Sox scored first, when Manny Ramirez doubled to open the second and Jason Varitek singled him home. (Tek was catching Tim Wakefield tonight because Doug Mirabelli was on the D.L.) But it was all downhill after that.

The Cardinals scored twice on four straight singles in the bottom of the second, and Matt Morris's squeeze bunt knocked in their third run. Morris, who had been out-dueled by Curt Schilling in Game 2 of the World Series, ended up pitching a complete game, and only allowed one hit after the second inning. St. Louis got another run in the fourth, one in the sixth, and two more in the eighth on David Eckstein's triple. He was the former Red Sox prospect who had gained fame with the Angels in their World Series run in 2002, and had now signed with the Cardinals to replace Renteria. He wound up 3-for-5 with 3 RBI, and the Cardinals won, 7-1. The attendance was over 50,000, the largest crowd at a night game since 1997. And while many of us were Red Sox fans, it was actually mostly Cardinals fans. Unike road trips I've taken to Toronto, Baltimore, and Atlanta, we didn't have the run of the place and never actually were able to get a "Let's go, Red Sox" chant going. That's not necessarily a bad thing, though; it makes me respect them because they actually care about their team.

For more pictures, please go on to...

Page 1           Page 2           Page 3

HomeDepartmentsFeaturesArchivesMore InfoInteractSearch Road TripsRedSoxDiehard.comRandom page
E-mail the webmasterPost to Message Board
This page and all photos copyright © 2005-2006 by Kristen D. Cornette.