Busch Stadium: Great Atmosphere, Great BBQ, Great Fans (Depending on Who You Ask)
The new Busch Stadium is a beautiful park with great concessions that all baseball fans can enjoy
It was a Sunday game between rivals Chicago Cubs and the hometown St. Louis Cardinals. It also happened to be Mother’s Day. Maybe those two facts explain why the atmosphere in the neighborhood was electric for a 1:15 game on a Sunday afternoon in May.
However, I’m under the impression that Busch Stadium is a consistently excellent environment. Between the tradition and success of the Cardinals’ organization, the passionate and loyal fanbase, and the surrounding Ballpark Village, I think first time visitors will walk into a great atmosphere no matter when they visit.
Aura/Mystique/Feel: The environment is outstanding if I haven’t already mentioned this. The Cards have already played many postseason games in this building and have enjoyed many moments of success. Some older fans might miss the old Busch Stadium and might carry fond memories of the original park, but I have been to both. The new Busch Stadium is an upgrade. Full credit.
Food/Concessions: Busch Stadium offers all the standard ballpark choices: hot dogs, burgers, brats, nachos, peanuts (and Cracker Jack), ice cream, and, if you can believe it, Budweiser. They also have a cantina that offers Mexican cuisine, a donut stand (!), craft beer taps, and a couple markets with a variety of cold refreshments and snacks in the main concourse. I opted for the lone barbecue stand that I found which is out in the rightfield concourse and I ate a brisket sandwich. It was outstanding. Full Credit. The water tasted weird though…
Imagery: Objectively beautiful. Full credit.
Neutral Fan Test: If you are a baseball fan, a visit here is a no-brainer. It’s certainly in the top-half of MLB parks and is a great place to catch a game. However, if you are not interested in baseball and live in L.A., would I be able to sell you on a visit to St. Louis to watch a Cardinals game at Busch Stadium? I think you’d ultimately find ways to enjoy your experience, but it’s far from an automatic sell and likely isn’t a Bucket List travel destination (unless you’re a Redbirds fan who lives in Timbuktu). Half credit.
Ancillary: Ballpark Village is a nice plus with restaurants, shopping, and a museum. The staff was warm and welcoming. I often find Cardinals fans insufferable, but that mostly applies to the ones on Twitter (and every team has plenty of trolls). Ninety-five percent of the Cardinals fans that I encountered in Busch Stadium were pleasant and I was wearing Cubs’ gear! Parking wasn’t bad either. Full credit.
Busch Stadium is a true Midwestern beauty with a lively neighborhood, a beautiful skyline, and some darn good BBQ. I definitely recommend a visit.
I give it 4.5/5 Chicago Dogs (now if you’ll excuse me, I’ve hit my annual quota on nice things said about the St. Louis Cardinals).