Busch Stadium

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Busch Stadium
Busch Stadium
Facility statistics
Location 420 South Eighth Street
St. Louis 63102
Broke ground January 17, 2004
Opened April 4, 2006 (MiLB exhibition)

April 10, 2006 (MLB)

Closed
Demolished
Owner St. Louis Cardinals
Surface Grass
Construction cost $346 million [1]
Architect HOK Sport
Former Names
Tenants St. Louis Cardinals (MLB) (2006-)
Seating Capacity 43,975 seats/46,861 with standing room [2]
Dimensions Left Field — 336 feet
Left Center Field — 385 feet
Center Field — 400 feet
Right Center Field — 385 feet
Right Field — 335 feet [3]

Busch Stadium (also referred to informally as New Busch Stadium or Busch Stadium III) is the new home for the St. Louis Cardinals of the National League. It replaces Busch Memorial Stadium and occupies a portion of that stadium's former footprint. The stadium opened on April 4, 2006 with an exhibition between the minor league Memphis Redbirds (AAA-Pacific Coast League) and Springfield Cardinals (AA-Texas League), both minor league affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals, which Springfield won 5-3. The official major league opening game occurred on April 10, 2006, as the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 6-4. A commercial area, dubbed Ballpark Village, is being developed adjacent to the stadium over the remainder of the former stadium's footprint. The stadium is the third stadium in the city of St. Louis to carry the name Busch Stadium. Sportsman's Park was renamed Busch Stadium in 1953, after team owner August Busch. After the first Busch was closed down in 1966, both the Major League Baseball Cardinals, and the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals got a new multi-purpose stadium, named Busch Memorial Stadium.

History

Funding

Since 1995, St. Louis Cardinals team ownership had lobbied for a new ballpark in downtown St. Louis, though the team was unable to acquire funding for the project for several years. In June 2001, the State of Missouri signed a contract with the team, proposing a ballpark in downtown St. Louis, but a subsequent funding bill was struck down in May 2002, leaving the saga open.[4][5] Team owners sought a location near Madison, Illinois, adjacent to Gateway International Raceway, until the city of St. Louis drafted a financing plan for the team to construct the new stadium in downtown St. Louis. [6] The Stadium was financed through private bonds, bank loans, a long-term loan from St. Louis County, and money from the team owners. The development, including the Ballpark Village will cost approximately $646 million with the stadium alone costing $346 million. [7]

In its debut season, every game sold out with an attendance of 3,407,104, the second-largest in team history.[8]

Construction

New Busch Stadium was designed by HOK Sport and built by Hunt Construction with an estimated cost of $365 million. The stadium was built in phases:

  • First, the construction of the south side of the new stadium.
  • Second, the wrecking ball demolition of the old stadium, which began the week of November 7, 2005 and lasted until December 8, 2005.
  • Third, building the north side of the new stadium (i.e. the left field area).

The field level (16,880 seats), terrace level (9,150), and bleachers (3,661) were completed in time for opening day, with total capacity on that day of 37,962, not including up to 2,751 standing room tickets. Construction on the seating area was completed in late May increasing the capacity for the May 29, 2006 game vs the Houston Astros with finishing touches performed throughout the year. Including all 2,886 standing-room-only tickets for the general public and the suites and party rooms, the stadium's total capacity is 46,861. Natural grass turf was installed in March 2006.

Features and Design

Whereas the old stadium was fully enclosed and in the style of a "cookie cutter," the new stadium is much more open-air, allowing an unobstructed view of its surroundings. It offers a panoramic view of the downtown St. Louis skyline, as well as the city's distinctive Gateway Arch. The Arch and several other significant St. Louis landmarks are reflected in the park's architecture.

The gate three entrance on the west side of the stadium is most iconic, with a large "bridge" arching over the entrance, resembling the Eads Bridge. Above this entrance are flags representing the Cardinals' ten World Series championships. In front of the entrance is a bronze statue Stan "The Man" Musial. Additional statues of historic Cardinals players, which previously surrounded Busch Memmorial Stadium, are now displayed on the northwest corner (gate 4) of the new stadium. Around the exterior of the stadium, embedded into the sidewalks are fan-purchased bricks surrounding marble plaques commemorating the Top 100 Cardinal Moments. The exterior contains historical plaques of Cardinals logos, the STL insignia and a Busch Stadium logo behind home plate. Hand-carved originals were cast into colored concrete for a total of 94 castings that adorn the brick facade. Replicas of these unique plaques are licensed by MLB and available for purchase.

The interior incorporates many familiar elements from the previous Busch Stadium into the new, intimate "retro-era" design. The tradtional green fences and cardinal red seats are a theme continued from the previous ballpark. The centerfield batter's eye is a grassy knoll, flanked symetrically by bleacher seats and the bullpens, all familiar elements. Main features that couldn't be used from the previous stadium include the large manual scoreboard, retired numbers display, and the neon flying redbird homerun display, all installed during the previuos stadium's renovation. However, a new electronic scoreboard is now in right center-field, with retired numbers displayed below and also in a mural on the left-field wall. The old scoreboard is still displayed as a monument to the old stadium in the main concourse and acts as a buffer to the nearby highway 40. Also, the neon flying redbird display is faithfully recreated on the new LED ribbon boards during Cardinals homeruns.

The new stadium has nearly the same field dimensions as the old stadium, although with less foul territory, offering no major advantage or disadvantage to either the hitter or pitcher, or lefthanders versus righthanders. Many players have commented early that the park plays very fair to everybody.

To the stadium's direct north, construction will soon start for Ballpark Village, which will include both commercial and residential space, an aquarium, and the new St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame.

Recent Additions

In 2008, the St. Louis Cardinals introduced the Champions Club inside Busch Stadium. The Club used to be a number of corporate suites along the third baseline. It seats 382 fans in the remodeled suite section. The Champions Club also hosts a pilot program called the SkyBOX. St. Louis-based Vivid Sky introduced the SkyBOX into the Champions Club in April 2008. The SkyBOX gives Champions Club patrons the ability to view instant replays and statistical information via a wireless device.

2006 Weather Incident

On July 19, 2006, a thunderstorm associated with a passing derecho whipped up very high winds throughout St. Louis. At the new Busch Stadium, the storm knocked over portable concession stands, damaging the infield rain tarp as it was deployed, and dislodged several of the plastic sheets that were designed to protect the open-air press box. One of those sheets, at least 10 feet by 5 feet in dimension, fell into the stands. At least thirty spectators were injured, of which five were taken to the hospital (one of those had a seizure apparently unrelated to the storm). The game, which saw the Cardinals defeat the Atlanta Braves 8-3, was delayed by 2 hours and 21 minutes, while the crews cleaned up.[9]

Playoff History

On October 7, 2006 and October 8, 2006, the new Busch Stadium hosted its first playoff games. On October 7, 2006, in Game 3 of the 2006 National League Division Series, the San Diego Padres defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 3-1. However, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the Padres in Game 4, on October 8, 2006, to win that 2006 National League Division Series 3 games to 1.

On October 14, 2006, during the first National League Championship Series game in the short history of the new Busch Stadium, the St. Louis Cardinals defeated the New York Mets to take a 2-1 lead in that series. The Cardinals went on to win the 2006 National League Championship in 7 games.

On October 24, October 26, and October 27, 2006, the Cardinals hosted the first World Series games at the new Busch Stadium against the Detroit Tigers. The Cards won all 3 games, and secured their 10th world championship, 4 games to 1. After the game, many fans climbed the famous statue of Stan Musial to celebrate.

By virtue of the Cardinals winning the World Series in 2006, the new Busch Stadium joined a very short list of ballparks whose occupants won the Series in the ballpark's inaugural year. The last one was Yankee Stadium, in 1923.

Ballpark Firsts

Statistic Person(s) Date
First Ceremonial First Pitch Dual first pitch
Albert Pujols to Willie McGee
Chris Carpenter to Bob Gibson
April 10, 2006
First formal performance of The Star-Spangled Banner Roxana High School concert choir April 12, 2006
First Hit Carlos Lee (Milwaukee Brewers), single to center April 10, 2006
First Cardinals Hit David Eckstein, bunt single April 10, 2006
First Double Bill Hall (Milwaukee Brewers) April 10, 2006
First Cardinals Double Scott Rolen April 10, 2006
First Triple David Eckstein April 13, 2006
First Home Run Bill Hall (Milwaukee Brewers) April 10, 2006
First Cardinals Home Run Albert Pujols April 10, 2006
First Grand Slam Aramis Ramirez (Chicago Cubs) June 3, 2006
First Cardinals Grand Slam Gary Bennett August 27, 2006
First Multi-Home Run Game Albert Pujols April 16, 2006
First Walk-Off Home Run Albert Pujols April 16, 2006
First Winning Pitcher Mark Mulder April 10, 2006
First Save Jason Isringhausen April 10, 2006
First Shutout Cincinnati Reds 1-0 April 14, 2006
First Cardinals Shutout 1-0 over New York Mets May 17, 2006
First Extra-Inning Game Milwaukee Brewers 4, St. Louis Cardinals 3, 11 innings April 13, 2006
First Interleague Game Cleveland Indians 10, St. Louis Cardinals 3 June 26, 2006
First Cardinals
Interleague Win
5-4 over Cleveland Indians June 28, 2006
First Postseason Game vs. San Diego Padres October 7, 2006
First World Series Game vs Detroit Tigers October 24, 2006
First No-Hitter --- ---

The first Major League at bat in Busch Stadium culminated in Milwaukee Brewers outfielder Brady Clark lining out to St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Aaron Miles.

The Cardinals registered the first series sweep in the young stadium's history on April 24-26, 2006 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Photo Gallery

External Links

Map

Aerial view of the stadium, next to lovely Ballpark Village. <googlemap lat="38.622487" lon="-90.192862" zoom="16" width="700" controls="large">38.622487, -90.192862</googlemap>