Monday, June 8, 2009

Accessibility Review: Busch Stadium

At Busch Stadium we easily found a handicap spot in the parking lot parking across the street from the centerfield entrance to Busch Stadium. Arriving early was definitely good for this game because while we did get a parking spot no trouble there definitely were already a good amount of crowds lining up to get in and it was still half an hour until the gates would open.

Getting around Busch Stadium is not too hard, as there is an elevator or two, but they seem quite far apart and you do a lot of walking sometimes the wrong direction you want to go to be able to use them. This works fine for us, but it does not much help those that need it because they cannot walk far. They do have some escalators, too, but they are not obvious to find and obviously not useful for the wheelchair. Lastly, there is ramps, but I recommend avoiding them if you are going from top to bottom or bottom to top, as it is a long way up and down and we wasted a lot of time on that and it Dad and I only made it back to our seats before the game started because we found the escalators to go up.

The handicap section is all wheelchair spots, so you get folding chairs for the rest of those in the group. There was no staff person in our section until almost game time, but it was easy to find the chair piles in each section to get them ourselves. The chairs were actually decent folding chairs even.

The line of sight from our seats in section 341 was pretty good, as we could see the whole field and the scoreboard. The only issue was that the bar got in the way if you did not get right up to it or at least that was the only way I could see the pitcher because I am short.

Overall it was a good accessible experience, however, I imagine it would have been a pain if Mik had come with Dad and I to explore the first level since it was so crowded with people. The store itself was pretty annoying since not only did people crowd it, but pretty much every path was barely big enough for the wheelchair to fit through.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Smashed Pennies: Busch Stadium

Busch Stadium has a self-serve penny smashing machine like you see most places, but they also have an attended one near the kids entertainment area (I think it is called Ford something at this park). At the attended spot we finally found the 2009 Baseball Penny Books. I had been keeping both Mik and my pennies in a 2008 one I got last season. Now we each have a 2009 one to keep all the ones from the All the Ballparks trip.

The attended machine has limited edition designs in that they tend to have new designs every year. They sell the set of 2 for $2, but the Penny Man (the guy that attends the machine) was nice enough to give us the sets for free with the purchase our the penny books, which were in themselves a good deal at only $5 each. One design says 2009 Season and has the Cardinals logo. The other is in honor of Busch Stadium being the host for the 2009 All Star Game and has the Arch logo for this year’s All Star Game.

This morning I organized the pennies from the trip so far into each of our 2009 penny books. Below is them in the book so far. Mik's has one less because he did not find a design he liked at the Mall of America and I learned too late that we could have gotten Twins pennies there if we had gone to the right place.

Car Stickers Update: St. Louis Cardinals

Yeah, the car only had the American League side ahead for a day. I am definitely a National League fan, so it is nice to keep that side tied or ahead, but it was behind one sticker before the White Sox game when Dad put the sticker on before we even went to the ballpark until after the Cardinals game when he put the Cardinals one on. The Cardinals one is a one of the more interesting ones because it has the bird holding a bat.

Day 19: Chicago Cubs Monopoly

Today we drove straight back to Chicago instead of going to the Field of Dreams on the way. We are not going to totally skip it, but rather stop at it on the way to Denver from Chicago later this week. That will actually work out way better. Plus that gave us the whole afternoon free to relax at the apartment. Mik and I get to do that tomorrow besides maybe going to a movie while Dad goes and gets the new tires he ordered put on the car.

Mom decided to fly home tomorrow morning, so we hung out as a family again tonight. We thought about going to the movie, but Mik really wanted to watch the Lakers game. So, instead we watched the Lakers game while playing Chicago Cubs Monopoly, which Mik got when he was in Chicago for Easter. It seemed appropriate to stay in the whole baseball theme.

Early in the game I got Mik to trade me an orange for a red because I wanted to get Mark Prior and Zambrano for a Monopoly. I later got Zambrano and already had got Prior myself. That was my only properties for most of the game, but everyone kept landing on the reds. Mik got out first despite owning most of the board mostly because he was more into the Lakers game. Dad was without properties as he had given all his away to pay for landing on me. He actually stayed in a while because he got all the money in the free parking area. He finally got out and it was down to Mom and me, who both owned very few things, but she had the purple Monopoly. She did not last too much longer, though because I had the Mezzanine Suites on the red and she landed on them twice.

Then we watched the last inning of the Dbacks game with the pitch by pitch with MLB online Game Day. What a long game going to 18 innings, but at least the Dbacks pulled it out and kept themselves from going to the bottom of their division. Mik says that he would not mind staying the whole game even if it was that many extra innings for the Dbacks. Any other teams playing, though, he does not want to be at their extra innings game.

Kj’s Baseball Collection: Home of Your St. Louis Cardinals

At Busch Stadium the only ballpark I found was a Home of Your St. Louis Cardinals ball. It is much like the Chase Field one and I have also seen a similar one at one other ballpark, but I forget which as that ballpark also had a more interesting design. I thought it was a fun unique design when I got the Chase Field one, but now that I have seen it done in the same style at three ballparks it seems boring. It was, however, still the best Cardinals one, as I did not even spot an All Star one until later in the kiosks, but I decided to take Mik’s logic and not get one since we are not going to the All Star Game.

The Home of Your St. Louis Cardinals ball says that on one side. The whole ball has the street layout of the downtown St. Louis area surrounding the ballpark with a giant Cardinals logo to mark the ballpark. Another side says St. Louis, Missouri, which I guess is for those that forgot what city they came to see the Cardinals play at home. It is not like they are called the Missouri Cardinals and the non-baseball fan might not know what city in Missouri the team plays. The other side has a large Cardinals bird with bat logo.

Mik’s Mini Bat Collection: Cardinals Bird Logo

Mik choose the dark blue mini bat with the Cardinals logo with the two Cardinal Birds perched on a bat. I offered for him to also get the All Star Game 2009 one, but he said he did not want it because we are not actually going to the All Star Game.

Mik Food Scrapbook: Busch Stadium

The food selection at Busch Stadium is pretty bland, especially for it being one of the newer parks. You can get the typical ballpark stuff and little else. There are a decent amount of options, but it is frustrating to search them out, as many of the stands have pretty much identical menus despite having different names. The other frustrating thing is the more interesting options (BBQ, specialty fires, Mexican) are on the level you enter on and the 4th level that we stat on had all that normal stands and a Hardees and that was it. The only thing sort of unique we found for this ballpark were specialty fires, which they had available with garlic, cheese, or St. Louis seasoning.

I got a pizza, but it was pretty overcooked and bad tasting from also sitting around awhile despite the deception of it being hot when you get it at the stand. I also got St. Louis Seasoned fries. These are sort of spicy, but a flavorful spicy. The seasoning is like that used often for peel and eat shrimp. I do not like spicy/hot foods much, but the flavorful stuff like this is good. Mik is totally not into spicy, so he passed on taste testing this. He also passed on the pretzel, but he did not miss anything with that, as half of it was cold when Mom brought it back and the concession stand was right behind our seats, so it is not like she brought it from the other side of the park and it also was not cold out.

The only thing Mik tried was a Hot Dog. Dad got it from the concession stand. Mik says it ranks among the lower quality of hot dogs he has had on the trip so far. Mom brought one back from a hot dog cart and that one looked way better and Mom said it was good. Mik’s looked dried out much like the pizza quality while Mom’s looked fresh and juicy. Mik did not try Mom’s though because he only likes hot dogs with ketchup and she put mustard and other stuff on it. He did agree that it probably would have been an enjoyable option if he was not already full, as he actually did finish his hot dog, so it was not one of the worst like the Twins one he only ate half of.