Busch Stadium (also referred to informally as "New Busch Stadium" or "Busch Stadium III") is the home of the St. Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball. It replaced Busch Memorial Stadium and occupies a portion of that stadium's former footprint. Busch Stadium was chosen by MLB to host the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game. The ballpark opened on April 4, 2006 with an exhibition between the minor league Memphis Redbirds and Springfield Cardinals, both affiliates of the St. Louis Cardinals, which Springfield won 5-3. The first official major league game occurred on April 10, 2006 as the Cardinals defeated the Milwaukee Brewers 6–4 behind an Albert Pujols home run and winning pitcher Mark Mulder.
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 St. Louis to carry the name Busch Stadium. Sportsman's Park was renamed Busch Stadium in 1953, after team owner Gussie Busch. The first Busch closed in 1966, and both the baseball Cardinals, and the NFL's St. Louis Cardinals moved to a new multi-purpose stadium, named Busch Memorial Stadium. Contents
In 1995, St. Louis Cardinals team ownership began to lobby for a new ballpark in downtown St. Louis, but the team was unable to acquire funding for the project for several years. In June 2001, the Missouri state government 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. 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. 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 $665 million with the stadium alone costing $365 million.
Construction and opening
New Busch Stadium was designed by Populus (then known as HOK Sport) and built by Hunt Construction with an estimated cost of $344.8 million, which proved too low by $20.2 mil. to its final cost of $365 mil. HOK's senior project designer for Busch Stadium was Jim Chibnall, who was also the lead designer of Jacobs Field in Cleveland, Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Sydney Olympic Stadium and other notable stadiums throughout the world. 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. In its debut season every game was sold out, giving a total attendance of 3,407,104 for the season, the second-largest in team history, but since surpassed in both 2007 and 2008, therefore the 2006 attendance now ranks fourth in team history.
Inaugural 2006 season On October 7 and 8, 2006, New Busch Stadium hosted its first playoff games. On October 7, in Game 3 of the 2006 National League Division Series, the San Diego Padres defeated the Cardinals 3–1. However, the Redbirds defeated the Padres in Game 4, on October 8, 2006, to win the series three games to one. On October 14, during the first 2006 National League Championship Series game played at New Busch, the Cardinals defeated the New York Mets 5–0 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, 26, and 27, the Cardinals hosted the first World Series games at New Busch Stadium against the Detroit Tigers. The Cards won all three games, and secured their tenth world championship, four games to one. After the game, many fans climbed the famous statue of Stan Musial to celebrate. There was also a fireworks display in left field. The games of October 26 and 27th were rescheduled from a postponement October 25. By virtue of the Cardinals winning the World Series in 2006, New Busch Stadium joined a very short list of ballparks whose occupants won the Series in the ballpark's inaugural year. The last previous one had been the original Yankee Stadium, in 1923. The Cardinals are also the first team to win a World Series at home in the inaugural season of a stadium since the 1912 Boston Red Sox (Fenway Park). In 2009, the New York Yankees again won a World Series title in their first season at a Yankee Stadium.
All-Star Game The stadium hosted the 2009 Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 15, 2009. The American League defeated the National League in that game, 4-3. Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Carl Crawford won MVP after making a spectacular catch to rob Colorado Rockies outfielder Brad Hawpe of a home run.
On June 7, 2008, the stadium hosted its first-ever concert, with Dave Matthews Band playing to a crowd of approximately 35,000. The Black Crowes served as the opening act, they opened with "She Talks to Angels."
"Fredbird" store The ballpark features a make-your-own-mascot store for the Cardinals' mascot, "Fredbird".
Design Where as the old stadium was a fully enclosed "cookie-cutter" facility similar to Riverfront, Veterans, Three Rivers and Atlanta-Fulton County stadiums, the new stadium is similar to the many other HOK designed "retro-classic" fields. Like all those, it offers a panoramic view of the downtown skyline. The Gate 3 entrance on the west side of the stadium is most iconic, with a large "bridge" resembling the Eads Bridge arching over the entrance. Outside this entrance also stands a bronze statue of Cardinals legend Stan "The Man" Musial. Other Cardinals statues that previously surrounded Busch Memorial Stadium are now displayed at the corner of Clark and Eighth streets, outside the Cardinals' team store. The exterior contains historical plaques of Cardinals logos, the STL insignia and a Busch Stadium logo behind home plate. After St. Louis Post-Dispatch sportswriter Rick Hummel was honored with the J. G. Taylor Spink Award and induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 2007, the Cardinals renamed the stadium's press box the "Bob Broeg-Rick Hummel Press Box", honoring the two local writers enshrined in Cooperstown. The planned Ballpark Village residential and entertainment complex was to be built on the site of the former Busch Memorial Stadium across the street from the new ballpark. Plans have not materialized and the Cardinals in March 2009 decided to temporarily use the land for parking and a softball field. During a weather incident during a July 2006 game vs the Atlanta Braves, portable concession stands were knocked over, the infield rain tarp was damaged, and plastic sheets used to protect the press box were dislodged. As a result of the storm at least thirty spectators were injured, of whom five were taken to the hospital. As a result of the storm, the stadium now has designated shelter areas for such disasters which are located throughout the ballpark. Fans at the stadium have access to a large amount of food and drink options, ranging from standard ballpark fare like bratwurst, nachos and peanuts to St Louis-area favorites such as pork steak sandwiches and toasted ravioli. Budweiser holds the beer contract for the stadium as one would expect, but most recently the smaller Saint Louis Brewery has been making inroads, selling Schlafly beer in bottles at a growing number of concession stands. Tickets for five all-inclusive areas are sold on a single game basis, with amenities running the gamut from the ritzy Champions Club (offering a multiple-course buffet, plasma televisions, a chance to get on television or radio as a broadcast booth is located inside the club, and a full bar) to the more family-oriented Scoreboard Patio (with table seating for four in center field and a more traditional selection of food). Cardinal management also allows outside food and drink (including soft-sided drink coolers); as a result, it is not uncommon to see vendors selling discounted bags of peanuts and bottles of soda and water, or even scalpers including a box of Cracker Jack with tickets.