Sunday October 23, 2011
Jonathan Hacohen (Lead Baseball Columnist – MLB reports): We are very fortunate today to have author Doug Booth of “The Fastest 30 Ballgames”, join us today with a Guest MLB Blog. Doug, an expert on major league baseball parks, shares his knowledge on The Ballpark In Arlington (Texas) and Busch Stadium (St. Louis)- the sites of the 2011 World Series. We appreciate Doug taking the time out of his schedule to articulate his knowledge and experiences of these amazing ballparks. Enjoy.
It’s Antlers & Claws vs. The Squirrel in the World Series
(AL)TEXAS RANGERS VS. ST. LOUIS CARDINALS (NL)
The 2011 World Series features the second ever meeting of a series between the two clubs, with only a 2004 series in Texas has been played in the whole history of interleague. The Fall Classic may display some of the unique characteristics each city, park and all of the fans to display to the rest of the world. From the new tradition of the faithful Rangers fans joining in with players to do the antlers/claws celebration when powering up-or the entire Cardinal team taking the good luck pet squirrel-(both the real live one and the stuffed squirrel that was tossed into the Cardinal bullpen-and participated in the champagne celebration of the NL Champs,) this series will be entertaining.
First you have the Texas Rangers, formerly the Washington Senators, who moved to the state of Texas in 1972 only to wait for almost forty years for their first World Series appearance and have since gone back to the second time-to the Cardinals 3rd trip since 2004-and them trying to add to their 11 World Series titles already. Ballpark fans will tell what to look for if you listen.
In Texas, and of course everything is always bigger in Texas, there will be sunny warm weather, plenty of cowboy hats and Stetsons, whereas the Cardinals fans will be decked out in their best red team shirts and jerseys. The Ballpark in Arlington will play the ‘Natural’ movie theme song every time their player takes the ball yard, while St. Louis will cheer their players for a homer with the warmest of exuberance while the weather may surface near freezing temperatures. The Rangers fans, with their loud and boisterous ways-will cheer for the Cardinals to fail at defense, meanwhile the Cardinals fans will always cheer a great baseball play even if it costs their team a chance to score and win the game.
There is plenty of tiered parking at ‘The Ballpark In Arlington.’ It is a price structure that is the fairest in the majors. The more you are willing to walk, the less you have to pay to watch an event there. Then you have the NL version of the ‘Yankees’, so much like downtown New York, in St. Louis you will be lucky to find a spot-and worst yet-you may miss your turn-offs from the highway. Busch Stadium displays one of the best iconic visuals in the Arch for the back drop of the park, in contrast-The Ballpark in Arlington has the biggest space in the outfield bleachers with the corporate offices staring down at the field. That means that the like of Nolan Ryan will always be watching even if the Cards are just practicing. If that doesn’t intimidate you at all you can always see the 1.2 billion dollar Cowboys Stadium across the street.
The fans will sing ‘Deep in the heart of Texas’ after the seventh inning stretch in Arlington. The Busch fans will probably blast ‘thank god I am a country boy, or cotton-eyed Joe’ on the loudspeaker.
After the games at Busch Stadium, the downtown district and especially Mike Shannon’s steakhouse, they will celebrate their team playing in the playoffs. In Texas, the streets that lead to the highways will be jammed causing some of the people to carry-on the partying in the parking lots or wait for other form of ground transportation by celebrating with other fans.
This series represents the 29th and 30th ballparks I ever saw. I had seen all other 28 ballparks in less than a month in 2008-and was delighted at the style and professionalism each ballpark displayed. The staff at Busch Stadium had my dad and me on the field being interviewed by Fox Sports-Midwest. It was an incredible gesture on their part. As for attending The Ballpark In Arlington right after, I was blown away by the size and structure of this behemoth park. I watched a game where the temperature soared into the 100’s, but don’t be afraid of attending the game-you can always cool off in centerfield by having an ice cream or smoothie in the little kids indoor concession stand that has air conditioning! Just always know what the score is because the concourses are so big you can’t see the game or scoreboard from them
So sit back and watch the baseballs fly out of both parks with what may be the best ever NL offence, and the best AL offence since the 1927 Yankees. I warn you, be prepared for all possibilities, I witnessed a 15 inning game at Busch in 2009 where they actually ran out of pop and the game ended at 1:15 Am in the morning, oh yeah and I witnessed a torrential down pour at the Ballpark In Arlington to add to my ballpark viewing resume.
The moral of the story is eat lots of food of water, be caught up in the parks different traditions-and finally stay until the final pitch is made. If the game happens to be in St. Louis and the Rangers win the World Series-watch how the ‘classiest fans in baseball’ will show the nation yet again of how nice they are. I am sure they would rather win still though.
*** Thank you to Doug Booth for joining us today on MLB reports. To learn more about “The Fastest 30 Ballgames” and Doug Booth, you can follow Doug on Twitter (@ChuckBooth3024) and click here for Doug’s website, fastestthirtyballgames.com***
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