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Gwen And A Classy Cardinal Crew

SAINT LOUIS, MISSOURI.

I don’t even know where to start because this was the best game experience we have had to date.

First of all can I just say that I am NOT a cards fan…especially after 2011. If you don’t know I don’t want to talk about it, just google 2011 World Series. Basically, my heart was broken and just being at Busch Stadium brought back the memories.

….

Okay, well now that I think of it most of you won’t google it and I feel like you need to know about it to understand where I am coming from and give you a quick baseball history lesson.

In 1961, MLB awarded Washington D.C. an expansion team after the Washington Senators moved and became the Minnesota Twins. The new team took the same name, Senators, but were a completely different ball club.

And….they sucked.

In 1971 they moved to Arlington, Texas and debuted in the ’72 season.

…and they sucked.

I was born in 1990, and the Texas Rangers…

well, they sucked.

Once I was old enough at least get the idea of what was going on…they finally made their first post season appearance, in 1996. Thank you Johnny Oates. They did so in ’98 and ’99 as well but continued to suck in post season losing back to back post season sweeps to the damn Yankees (excuse the language but it’s fitting).

Then for the next TEN years guess what??

….We pretty much sucked.

(Obviously, not completely we had some GREAT talent…just could never string anything together long enough. Overall, no post season appearances for ten straight years, just sucks).

So basically, growing a Rangers fan was rough, but I fell in love what can I say?

Finally, in 2010 our Rangers break through and make it to the World Series!!! And oh boy, was I excited!! THIS WAS IT! Well not really, we lost to the Giants.

Then in 2011 we do it again! Make it to the World Series to face the Cardinals…and okay boys, “This time we got it!” You can imagine now how badly I wanted this…I’ve waited to see “WORLD SERIES CHAMPIONS” with the Texas Rangers logo, since I could walk! I mean this isn’t just a dream…it’s the same 7 year old little girl’s dream, and not to mention I was still recovering from losing the year prior! Going into game 6 we lead the series 3-2. The game was intense!! Almost gave me a heart attack. Going back and forth and we were ONE STRIKE AWAY from a championship…not once, but TWICE! And then….the terrible, horrible, heart breaking thing happened. David Freese comes to bat…works the count to 3-2..and just rips it…hits a bomb…a walk off solo shot and sends the series to a game 7. Did I mention we were one strike away two times?!?!? I can still picture it in my mind, flying in the air headed straight back to center field, in to the batters’ eye grassy field. We lost game 7 too, and I cried.

The thing about baseball is, you can get so close to success that you can taste it. You can see it, feel it, seems like you can touch it. It’s right there. The suspense is so high, your heart is pounding, every thing you’ve ever dreamed of is just lingering in the air waiting to be taken ahold of. In the blink of an eye, the scenario can change. In an instant, your dreams can be robbed, like a thief in the night, so quickly you don’t even know what hit you until moments after. Then as poetic justice would have it you watch the other team celebrate and enjoy the success that you worked so hard for, that floated in your mind and in your heart…and danced in your grasp. Now it’s gone. As fans who have played before, we sympathize with our teams because we’ve been there. We know the roller coaster of emotions the game takes you through and was want so bad to be a part of the high, that we willingly sign up our loyal faith and become vulnerable, knowing it very well could end in heartbreak.

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😦 😦 😦 😦 😦

Okay, so now that you get it. I was not excited to be reminded of that terrible series….especially when I saw the World Series Trophy on display in the UMB Champions Club while on our tour of Busch Stadium. I wanted to break the glass and throw it on the ground to shatter in hundreds of pieces.

The tour was the biggest tour I have been on, there were about 40 people. All of the other tours I have been on have had at most 5 people. Thus, the tour was not as personal as the others but, I’m still glad we went. The Cardinals definitely pay homage to Stan “The Man” Musial, one of the greatest hitters in the history of the game. He was a 24-time all star and played 22 seasons with the Cards. If you stand on the Musial Bridge you can see the plaza outside of the park with his statue. We also got to go to the Redbird Club. Holding 3,000 people, it is the largest club level in the majors. If you have tickets in the Redbird club your food and drinks are not included. Also, wallpapered along the walls is the vintage Cardinal baseball card collection of one of the owners of the team. The only player card you will see who did not play for the Cardinals is Satchel Paige. He played for the Browns, another major league team that played in STL.

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You can see the STL arch in mowed into the outfield grass. This started in 2009 when Busch Stadium was awarded the All-Star Game.

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Fun Fact: It took 2.5 million bricks to build Busch Stadium

Fun Story: We went to eat at a restaurant a couple blocks from the field and in front on an amazing public plaza area. The place was pretty empty, except a couple tables away sat a group of people who were on the tour with us earlier that day. They were going around the table cheersing to different things…to baseball, to the Cardinals, to this, to that. Then, I hear one lady say, “Oh I have one!” Everyone raises their beer. “Cheers to the Ranger fans we met on the tour, God Bless their souls.” I literally laughed out loud. I’m not sure if that lady ever noticed that we were sitting only a couple tables away.

The plaza was called Kiener Plaza. It was a great little area with a fountain that apparently doubles as a public swimming pool for the local children. I don’t think it was intended for that reason, but regardless it was full of them.

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This is me getting all photography on you

I noticed a bar called “The Outfield” on 7th and Walnut outside of the park if you’re looking to pre game. If you walk around the park you can learn more Cardinals history than you can remember just by reading all of the brick memorials. Cool things I noticed during the game included Bank of America ATMs which would have came in handy, considering we walked around down town for an epically long time trying to find one until, I finally decided to walk through the drive through ATM. There were also places where you could get a bottoms up beer. This is where they fill your beer from the bottom up. If you have a good craft beer you can definitely tell a difference, but with stuff like Bud Light…it still tastes like crap. So I decided not to pay for it.

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Yep, thats a drive up ATM…

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I obviously want to cheer for the home team at every park I go to…unless the Rangers are in town. But, this time it’s really hard for me considering the history lesson I gave earlier. Well, I don’t necessarily like the Dbacks either so it was up in the air until about 15 minutes before game time. Until, these two Cardinal “Bros” decided to sit in front of us. Imagine 30 year olds trying to keep the fratastic dream alive with their matching shorts, I don’t care attitudes, and throwing trash on the field. Not only was I already annoyed but, then one of them decides to completely disrespect the National Anthem. He decides to dial a number and talk on his phone, keep his hat on, and continue sitting facing away from the flag throughout the entire song.

YEP! That got us off the fence…Dbacks fans we were.

Thank goodness they didn’t stay longer than an inning.

From then on, we were blessed to sit next to some absolutely incredible people. Gwen Baird and her friends completely changed our outlook on the entire Cards experience. Even though she was there at that infamous game 6 I spoke of, she was delightful. She had some epic STL Cardinal shoes! I could tell she had a great heart when she told me that the bag of goodies she had, including a teddy bear and a small replica bat, was for random little kids that she met at the park! Adorable. Then she proved my great hearted assumption by handing my $60 cash from her and her friends as a “contribution to our trip.” That was the most generous thing I have ever experienced. I just could not believe that someone would do that! Well I guess from then on we were Cards fans….but JUST for the night! She is the epitome of a great baseball fan, she gets it. I promise to get great pictures of Lance Berkman for you, Gwen! Everyone else around us in our bleacher seats were just as nice. This was what I was excited about when I set out to experience baseball with fans from every city. Another fan, Tony Hartman, randomly gave us a Busch Stadium lanyard! This is perfect because I lose the key to car all the time, Patrick usually is responsible for it.

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During the game I really liked that they had an entire scoreboard to keep us update on game around the country. They had updates for the Texas game up the whole time, I was happy. Except we freaking lost to the BoSox. It also rotated through the stat leaders for both the AL and the NL. I definitely had to snap a picture when Darvish was up there! They had the first Asian stir fry booth at a ballpark that I have seen. I’d say the most unique thing I saw was a Build A Bear Workshop. If I were a mini Cards fans, I’d go crazy if I could make my own bear at the ballpark! We also got to see a wedding proposal!!! So cute, I’ve always loved the whole “Will you marry me?” at a ballpark idea!

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We had an absolute blast the whole night. I love baseball, you will only see stuff like I just described at a baseball game. The Cards put on a show too! Offensively 5 homers and defensively striking out 14, defeating the snakes 12-8.

Another awesome part out our St. Louis trip was Paul Goodloe. He was our very first CouchSurfing host and he was absolutely fantastic! He welcomed us into his home and allowed us to stay at his house both nights we were in town. He was great company and I’m so glad I got the opportunity to met he and his lovely girlfriend, Kelcye. THANK Y’ALL!

Like I said, St. Louis was our best experience to date. I still don’t like the Cards, but I love their fans.

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