Stadium Series: St. Louis' Busch Stadium
Let's continue our stadium series with a look at the Cardinals' home park.
For the next 10 weeks, Eye on Baseball and Choice Hotels will be taking you around the major leagues, picking out the hits and highlights of some of the game's top stadiums. What to eat, what to drink and what to see both inside and outside the park will all be covered as part of the series. There's a lot to cover and uncover, so visit the comments section to let us know what we missed.
The Cardinals have called this version of Busch Stadium home since the beginning of the 2006 season and this is the third Busch Stadium, after the original Busch was renamed from Sportsman's Park in 1953. The New Busch has seen plenty of highs, including the 2006, '11 and '13 World Series. One of the greatest games in World Series history -- 2011 Game 6 -- took place in Busch and the stadium actually, physically, shook on David Freese's walk-off home run.
This Busch Stadium also hosted the 2009 All-Star Game.
So though it doesn't have lots of "old school" history, there's been plenty of modern history inside the new stadium.
Eats outside the park
Want some good ol' fashioned red meat? Mike Shannon's Steaks and Seafood is just a few blocks away and it's excellent, from the menu to the baseball paraphernalia throughout. Broadway Oyster Bar has great food, excellent atmosphere and live music every day. The wide selection goes from Fried Alligator to Crawfish Napoleon to Gumbo and Jambalaya. In the mood for some dessert? Gelateria Tavolini in the area to help.
And though it's not quite in the area, any trip to St. Louis should include a visit to Pappy's Smokehouse for BBQ lovers. They might well have the best ribs in the country, though a broad-brushed statement like that is always bound to find disagreement.
Drinks outside the park
It's brand new this season, but right across the street from the left field wall is Ballpark Village, which houses 10 different bars and is almost always hopping. The Budweiser Brewhouse includes a deck from which views of inside the park can be seen. Outside that, there's St. Louis Brewhouse in the nearby Hyatt Regency, which includes an owners box that has a flat-screen TV, Wii and a karioke machine (you'll need reservations for that, though). Also, check out the patio at The Over/Under Bar and Grill.
What to see outside the park
The entrance on the third-base side has a huge Stan Musial statue that is a perfect photo opportunity.
Though it's the biggest one and isolated a bit, the Musial statue is far from the only one. Further down the left field line, there are statues of Enos Slaughter, Dizzy Dean, Rogers Hornsby, Red Schoendienst, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson, Ozzie Smith, George Sisler, Jack Buck and Cool Papa Bell right outside the entrance to the official team store.
A nice walk from the home plate entrance around the left-field side to the center field entrance makes for good sight-seeing and would cover every statue photo op.
Ballpark Village has a Cardinals Hall of Fame and Museum, too, and is on the way.
Food inside the park
Obviously all the standard ballpark fare can be found throughout the stadium. Some gamechangers can be found, though. The Kohn's Kosher Knackwurst cart has an outstanding pastrami sandwich. Try pulled pork on your nachos from El Birdos Cantina or a turkey club sandwich from The Carvery, where they carve the bird right in front of your eyes. It also has some quite excellent smoked brisket. How about a stuffed smoked cheddar Bavarian burger? You can find one at Double Play Tap and Grill. Walk around. There's plenty of variety to be found.
What to see inside the park
Regardless of where you're sitting, at some point walk to a seating area behind home plate and just take in a look. Getting a view of the entire playing surface with the Gateway Arch overlooking center field is a gorgeous setting -- especially at night when the Arch is lit up. Also, if you get to the stadium early enough, it's worth a walk out to the center field grass to get a shot of where Freese's iconic home run landed.
Next week: Yankee Stadium