A Trip To Baseball Heaven
ABOUT ONCE A YEAR my wife, the lovely and totally major league, Dawn, and I take a trip to go see the beloved SF Giants play a few games.
This year we are in St. Louis to catch a three game series with the Cardinals. Last year we were in Cincinnati, which was very nice, but it is hard to beat St. Louis when it comes to putting on a baseball game.
We are staying right across the street from Busch Stadium ver. 3.0. It holds about 40k people and is a great ballpark from the visitor’s POV.
The people of St. Louis were weaned on baseball. They understand it, appreciate it, and treat fans of the opposing team (that’s us) with courtesy and good spirits.
By “good spirits” I don’t mean the product line of the Busch Empire. The name of Budweiser is omnipresent in this town. I’m sure there are liquor laws around here, but I’d wager that, while you’ll see “No Smoking” signs, you won’t see anything Anti-Bud. You could probably serve it up in Day Care Centers around here without a whimper of complaint.
Last night’s game was played under the threat of rain, but the mythical meteorological powers of the nearby Arch did the trick and kept us dry. I think they may have to crank it up a notch or two to shoo the clouds away tonight.
From our hotel room we can see into the park, sort of. We have a better view of “Ballpark Village,” a fan-friendly complex devoted to beer, music, beer, frozen yogurt, beer, and baseball. It is very popular and is attached to the stadium like a lamprey onto a trout (the fish, not the baseball player.) Since neither of us are beer drinkers Ballpark Village doesn’t hold much allure for us, except for the overpriced frozen yogurt. This morning I discovered that, if the need for frozen yogurt hits again, I can get my fix right here in the lobby, snug up against the Starbucks.
Yet another reason to like St. Louis.
But we are here for Baseball, the game created by the Gods of Sport for the entertainment of we mere mortals.
We call it a Game, but it is really a Sport. Let me explain the difference.
A Game is any competitive activity in which you can participate while still holding your beer. A Sport cannot be undertaken while still holding onto your, in this town, Bud.
So, Darts is a Game. Baseball is a Sport. Horseshoes is a Game. Basketball is a Sport. Are we clear on this point? Then let’s move on.
By coming to St Louis to see the Cardinals play the Giants we are, indeed, visiting “Baseball Heaven” as it was called by Mark McGwire a few summers ago. To see two storied franchises, playing at the top of their game right now, in a ballpark designed with both the players and the fans in mind, is just about as good as it gets. The only way to improve on that would be for the Giants to be victorious in all three games. (But we know that won’t happen – the Cardinals squeaked out a 2 – 1 win last night.)
So, it is on to tonight, another contest of Baseball – the real Sport that is called a Game!