• Post category:Insight

This week we took our second trip to St. Louis this season to see the Cardinals play the Houston Astros. We got on the road early as we had booked a stadium tour at 2:00 p.m. Each trip is awesome in its own way, but this one may be the best yet.

We stopped in at the Westin Hotel across from the ballpark. It’s a beautiful hotel within steps of the ballpark. As we sat down in the nearly-empty grill off the lobby, we noticed a guy sitting in the corner by himself, clearly engrossed in whatever was on his iPad and in his earbuds. He made no eye contact and was eating a large bowl of pasta.

I turned to Jim and said, “That’s an Astros player, and from the look of him and the way he’s acting, I’m guessing he’s the starting pitcher.” Jim sort of nodded in that “Yes, dear, I’m sure you’re right” kinda way. Y’all know what I’m talking about.

So we head to the stadium for our tour. The first place they take us is the dugout. And right here is where I start to freak out. Imagine in a couple of hours my favorite players will be right where I’m standing now.

I cannot believe I’m standing here!
Another dugout view, with Joe (right, in the navy jacket), our excellent tour guide
This is the phone. Yes, THAT phone. The left one calls the press box to notify them of injuries, etc. The one on the right calls the bullpen. The receivers are not there because last year Tony LaRussa thought a fan messed up the phone, so now they lock them away.
arm-dugout
OK, this is totally dorky, but I had to put my arm here, because it’s where Manager Mike Matheny stands during the game and rests his arm. So now he has my germs.
These steps go to the clubhouse. I was briefly tempted to run down them, but decided against ruining the tour for everyone and getting escorted out of the stadium.
These are the green seats. They cost $14,000/year for one seat. And you have to make a 10-year commitment. I'm pretty sure this is is the closest I'll ever get to the green seats.
These are the green seats. They cost $14,000/year for one seat. And you have to make a 10-year commitment. I’m pretty sure this is is the closest I’ll ever get to the green seats.
We also got to see the broadcast booth – this is the view from where the announcers sit.
So, as we’re standing right outside the visiting team clubhouse door, there’s a guy sitting there in Astro greys wearing headphones. Yup, the same guy we saw at the Westin. I looked at him and said “Good luck.” He said, “Thanks.” Jim gave me a dirty look for wishing the competition good luck.
So, the guy we saw at the Westin and in the hallway outside the visiting clubhouse turned out to be this guy - Lucas Harrell, starting (and losing) pitcher for the Astros. I think Jim was kind of amazed that I was right. But he'd never admit it.
So, the guy we saw at the Westin and in the hallway outside the visiting clubhouse turned out to be this guy – Lucas Harrell, starting (and losing) pitcher for the Astros. I think Jim was kind of amazed that I was right. But he’d never admit it.
It wasn’t on the tour, but we did get to watch the pregame show live, which was fun. I kept the paper that had their copy & notes on it.

As always, we did enjoy the game, though the Astros didn’t make it much of a contest. The Cardinals won easily, 5 – 0 and it was great to see former Memphis Redbird Lance Lynn throw five-and-two-thirds innings with two hits and two walks.

Matt Holliday yelling at the umpire about a called strike
Matt Holliday yelling at the umpire about a called strike
A little encouragement for the middle reliever
Catcher Yadier Molina crosses the plate after hitting a home run
There’s nothing like watching the game in person. You get to see things that the TV cameras don’t always show you. Like the third base coach giving signs to the batter.
Cardinals win!

The gameday atmosphere in St. Louis is a little like a big SEC football game or the Final Four – there’s a sea of red everywhere, probably more fans than not wearing Cardinal logo gear and everyone is excited and friendly. The hotel and restaurant personnel are happy to share their stories of World Series craziness and everyone cares about the Cardinals. It’s fun to be part of the excitement and I imagine that’s a lot like how it would feel to be a football fan.

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