An I-70 Weekend

by billfer on May 7, 2007 · 6 comments

in 2007 Season,Fan Experience

You may have noticed that posting was light this past weekend. An open thread, late minor league updates, and no post game reports. Well, I had a good reason. I was soaking up baseball in Missouri. My friends and I took in a couple of games on opposite ends of the state.

St. Louis

P1050062On Friday we hopped on a Southwest flight from Detroit to St. Louis. That night we were to watch the Cardinals take on the Astros at the new Busch Stadium. When we landed it was pouring, and though the rain was slowing down, the tarp was still on the field when we arrived.

We purposely showed up early so we had some time to look around. We had gone to the old Busch a couple years ago and it was nice to see some elements of the old park integrated into the concourse. The most prominent features were the out of town scoreboards. The concourses themselves were very wide and very brick. Walking around on the inside it reminded me quite a bit of Camden Yards.

P1050073Fortunately the weather broke and we took our seats in the loge level right behind the right field foul pole. The Astros took an early lead in the first and added a run in the 4th.

While we were sitting in the stands I was checking out the Tigers score with MLB mobile gameday on my Sprint Vision phone. It was all good news of course as the Tigers took a 6-0 lead. The WTF moment came while Sean Casey was stationed at first base and the next “Event” was a “pickoff attempt.”

Busch SunsetBut shortly after the sun broke through the clouds providing a pretty sweet sunset, the Cardinals broke through for 3 runs in the 5th inning fueled by an Albert Pujols 2 run double. The crowd was electric, which is something that didn’t change with the new park. It was really cool to see how every fan was that into the game, that every single by the home team received a huge cheer.

Jason Isringhausen went 1 2/3 to preserve the win, a 3-2 final.

Kansas City

Late the next morning the 3rd member of our group flew in and we rented a car to begin our trek West. We received a nice bonus at Hertz where they gave us a car with XM radio. That enabled us to listen to the Red Wings victory over the Sharks on our drive to Kansas City.

We got to our hotel a few hours before game time. Unlike our hotel in St. Louis which was a few blocks from the stadium, we were a few miles away from Kauffman. The baseball and football stadiums are part of a sports complex surrounded by parking lots a little East of downtown. What the stadium lacks in neighborhood bars, it makes up for with tailgating. It was a pretty cool atmosphere before the game.

We got to the stadium in time to take a walk around. While it lacked the wide concourses of the newer stadiums, it did have several other nice features. The most prominent of course are the water features which are much, much, much more impressive in person than on TV. The concourses are open so that you can still see the game while in line for concessions. This was especially important as those lines were lengthy due to a crowd of 26,000 combined with buck hot dog night.

As for the game itself, it didn’t look good early on. The Royals were routinely hitting balls hard into the stands while the Tigers were hitting balls hard into Royals gloves. I said to my buddy Russ that with the Tigers luck in the first few innings a no hitter seemed possible.

But, as the Tigers tend to do against the Royals, they clawed back. Some of those hard hit balls started to fall and to find gaps. While a game with 12 walks can get a little tedious, some of that was balanced by excellent defense. Mark Teahen put on a show with 3 outfield assists, but he may have been trumped by Curtis Granderson’s gun down of Emil Brown on an attempt at a double. (I believe that Curtis has thrown for the cycle in outfield assists by throwing out a runner at each base).

Of course when Bobby Seay came into the game, we (and I mean that in the collective sense of all the Tigers fans in attendance, and there were a lot of us) wondered where Joel Zumaya was. Somehow we managed to miss Kevin Rand sprinting to the bullpen and a writing Zumaya being walked back to the dugout. This despite the fact we were sitting along the 3rd base line. I don’t know if it was because I was busy filling in the scorecard, or getting another dollar dog, or gawking at the attractive young woman in front of us who was trying to get on the kiss cam with her attractive woman friend, but I was oblivious until I got to the hotel.

We ended up heading out to George Brett’s bar and closing the place down.

We caught part of Sunday’s game on the drive back to St. Louis and got our second gameday chuckle of the weekend when we saw that Neifi Perez homered as we were waiting to board our flight home.

It was a great trip with great friends. We used to do a baseball weekend every year, until we ran out of easily drivable parks. Now we’re on the every other year plan as the weekends get longer and more expensive as we have to start flying to parks. That said this one was relatively cheap and relaxing and we were able to knock out 2 stadiums at once and see our Tigers on the road.

I have a couple KC pics also, but I’ll get those up tomorrow.

 
 

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Sam May 8, 2007 at 12:29 am

Bilfer,

Sounds like a great weekend. I have been to KC, but never to the new Busch. Have to get there someday.

Thanks for doing such a great job with the site ;-)

-Sam

Ian C. May 8, 2007 at 12:08 pm

Man, I’m totally envious, Bill. I want to jump in the car right now.

I did the I-70 weekend myself a few years ago while I lived in Iowa. Kauffman Stadium’s definitely offers a different experience if you’re accustomed to surrounding bars and restaurants, as is the case in most cities now. But if you’re prepared for some tailgating, it makes for a pleasant afternoon or evening.

I hope I get a chance to see the new Busch Stadium soon.

Coach Jim May 8, 2007 at 1:10 pm

Is this the same IanC that blogs on LP.org?

jabbey May 8, 2007 at 2:24 pm

I live in KC. Our church sponsored a baseball clinic on Saturday, May 5. We had members of the Royals and Tigers show up to the clinic. Sean Casey, Chad Durbin, Mike Sweeney, Tony Pena Jr., Brian Bannister, and Dayton Moore (Royals GM). Very cool. I got to talk to both Sean Casey and Chad Durbin. Both guys were very nice, but Casey was a class act. You can really tell why people like him. I got a picture taken with him and was just floored by the experience. Been a Tigers fan all of my life and what a time it was to meet some players. Then Durbin goes out the next day and shuts the Royals down.

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