World Series Game 3 – A Few Thoughts from the “Cheap” Seats

panoramic

Click to “embiggen”

Just a few tossed-together thoughts from one of the most exciting events I’ve ever been privileged to witness:

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World Series tix

We bought our tickets to Game 3  well before the Cardinals clinched a World Series berth. (If they choked against the Dodgers and didn’t make it, we would have gotten a full refund.)

Jefferson City isn’t too far from St. Louis, but it’s far enough that you can’t just up and decide to go to the game some weeknight. I promised Megan in the spring that we’d make it to at least one game that season, secretly knowing I already purchased tickets to the Angels/Cardinals game in Anaheim during our honeymoon. Little did I know we’d make it to another game, this time the World Series!

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photo 1Game Day Pro Tip: For years, Megan has been parking at Union Station and taking the MetroLink to the the stadium. It costs $12 to park and $2.25 each person each way, for a total of $21. That’s a steal, plus you avoid all the traffic right around the stadium. Sure, you have to fight the crowd to actually get on the train, but that’s just part of the fun.

on train

This looks like a line that would take eight years to thin out, but we got on the train in less than 10 minutes.

After the game. This looks like a line that would take eight years to thin out, but we got on the train in less than 10 minutes.

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wacha

I don’t think I can overstate how much I enjoy this picture. Unlike many in St. Louis, I don’t necessarily think Albert Pujols is the worst person the world for heading to Anaheim for a little extra cash. However, I do think it’s hilarious that this dude used two colors of tape to transform Pujols’s #5 jersey into amazing rookie pitcher Michael Wacha’s #52. (the W is half of the U in Pujols, the right side of the A is Pujols’s J, etc). Well done, sir. Well done.

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megan ticketI bought our tickets through a reputable online dealer, but right up until the moment we go in, I had a tiny bit of fear in the back of my mind telling me we’d been swindled and our tickets were no good. Luckily, we made it in. Also, Megan’s patch is from the 2011 World Series. We need to get her a new jersey so we can get her a new patch! I normally wear a really, really cool Stan Musial jersey given to me by father-in-law, but I’m thinking I might need a new jersey too. Maybe Wacha? (If you listen closely to one of the videos below, you can hear the guy next to me compliment my jersey.)

jerseys

wachafozzy

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duskThis is about an hour before first pitch, and it shows one of my favorite things about the evening. Do you see that section that is totally empty, the one just behind the foul pole? It’s hinged at the back and actually tilts up a few feet to allows a little extra clearance for the pre-game highlight, the Budweiser Clydesdales. I don’t drink, but man do I enjoy these giant horses! They don’t trot them out for every game, just big events such as Opening Day or the post season. See what I did there? Trot? As Megan pointed out, the Clydesdales lead a wave of cheers around the stands as they go by. (I’m sorry I shot a vertical video.)

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Speaking of the organist, the tune he’s playing in the above clip is “Here Come the King,” a jingle from a Budweiser commercial from the 1970s. Again, I don’t drink but it’s just such a fun song to hear played on an old organ. Other tunes played by Dwayne Hilton included selections from Grease, the Beatles’ Ob-La-Di-Ob-La-Da and a few of U2’s greatest hits.

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Each person got a Rally Towel as they came into the stadium. This picture is of Megan’s. Ask me in person what happened to mine. Hint: If I were to tweet about it, I would use #toilettowel.

rally towel

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peanuts and cracker jacks

All-American, “old ball game” concessions are pricey! $8.75 and that was a steal compared to our hot dog and nachos. You’re allowed to bring your own food and drink, but I wanted these as souvenirs, not to satisfy the muchines. I did bring our own water bottles, but forgot them in the car. How much is concession stand bottled water these days? $5.25 per.

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Guess who I found in the Standing Room section below? The best man at my wedding!

brian and luis***

Our tickets were expensive. Once-in-a-lifetime, triple digits expensive. And they were still on the low end since we were in the far far upper decks. I saw seats that cost upwards of $8,000, and standing room tix were going for $350 or more. Let’s just take a guess and conservatively say the average cost was $600. The paid attendance Saturday was 47,000 and change, so that means the admission take alone was $28.2 million at a minimum. And since it was below 40 at the end and quite breezy up in our seats, I can guarantee you they made a fortune selling hot chocolate at TWELVE DOLLARS A CUP:

Can you tell she's freezing?

But when you’re freezing (and when I forget and leave the gloves and knit hats in the car), you’ll gladly pay $12.

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If you click here, you can see a panoramic photo taken during the game from centerfield looking toward home. If you zoom in (and then zoom some more, then some more) to the upperdeck lights along first base, you can see someone holding a big white sign saying “The Cards are all in.” If you go down eight or nine rows, you’ll see Megan in her long white sleeves. The seat next to her is empty, because I went up to go to the bathroom. #toilettowel

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entrance

I’m a recent baseball fan, but I’ve been to a couple big league ballparks: the old Astrodome in Houston, Chase Field in Phoenix, Fenway Park in Boston, the Ballpark in Arlington, Angels Stadium in Anaheim and Kaufmann Stadium in KC. I’ve been outside a few more, including the Great American Ballpark in Cincy, Wrigley Field in Chicago and Houston’s Minute Maid Park. Busch Stadium is simply the best.

busch stadium

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download

I played little league, but I could never count myself a baseball fan. It just seemed too boring and too slow. I attended a Cardinals game in 2005 at the “old” Busch Stadium and fell asleep in the fifth inning. The Cardinals won the World Series in 2006, but I couldn’t have cared less. But when I met Megan, she was a life-long, die-hard fan and that made me want to understand and appreciate the game a little better. To that end, I read a book called Watching Baseball Smarter. It’s a very funny, easy-to-read book that I can’t recommend highly enough. There’s an elegance  and certain charm here that I never noticed growing up. And when the game ended as no World Series game has ever ended before, I was one of the few in our section who instantly saw what happened and knew what it meant and why (see the video below). The downside of this new appreciation is that I now have very passionate opinions about the designated hitter rule and replay in baseball, but those are discussions for another day.

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brian and megan

Would it be worth the expense if we lost the game or the series? The answer, fortunately, is a resounding yes. It was so much fun to be there and soak it all in, live and die with every pitch and high five random strangers after a big play.

Of course, the ending didn’t hurt. Tied at 4-4 with two outs in ninth inning and with men on third and second, Jon Jay hit a grounder to the Red Sox second baseman who made an incredible grab. He threw out Molina who was running to home, then the catcher tried throw out an injured Allen Craig out who was running (slowly, with a limp) to third. His throw was wide, causing the third baseman to dive for the grab. He missed and caused Craig to trip over the third baseman on his way to home plate. He scrambled to get up and tried to make it to home, but the left fielder was able to get the ball back to the catcher who thought he tagged Craig out to end the inning. However, since the third baseman impeded the runner’s progress, the ump called obstruction and automatically award Craig a base, which means the Cardinals won 5-4.

I’m proud to say I was actually aware of the rule (though I mistakenly called it “interference,” with is the offensive equivalent to obstruction), and you can hear my hoarse and cracking voice politely and demurely pointing it out over and over again in the video below until the umps finally agree with me. I’ve watched it over and over again and I crack myself up every time. Sure, you can’t really see the play, but I love that you can hear the initial excitement of the bat hitting the ball, the disappointment that the field stopped the ball, the disappointment that he threw Molina out at home, then the excitement that the throw to third had been missed and that Craig would be given the free base.

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One response to “World Series Game 3 – A Few Thoughts from the “Cheap” Seats

  1. Loved this, Brian – thanks so much for taking the time to share…feel like I was there in person…

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