Wednesday, June 05, 2013

St. Louis, baseball and public transportation

St. Louis has a lot to offer. I’ve experienced some of those attractions in the past, and I’ll have to experience others in the future. On a recent trip to the “gateway to the west,” there was only one purpose – baseball.

I’ve been fortunate over the past few years to get to major league games in Baltimore, Cleveland and Cincinnati, but it had been a few years since seeing the Cardinals.

St. Louis is a baseball town, they’ve got a relatively new ballpark, and it’s only a four-hour drive from Indianapolis.

Well, it was slightly more than four hours. If you’re driving that direction this summer, prepare to come to a stop in a long construction zone just east of Terre Haute. (There’s also some construction between Terre Haute and Effingham).

St. Louis has a great downtown – but again, that’s another trip.

This time, in the interest of saving some money, I opted to stay in Collinsville, Illinois. In addition to paying less for a hotel, it gave me the opportunity to try out the St. Louis Metro.

Many Indianapolis residents would love to see a light rail system in our city, but who knows if politics and the cost to build will ever allow that to happen.

Somehow, St. Louis did make that happen. And remarkably (to me at least), the system includes a line that extends into Illinois.

We took advantage of the free parking at the Fairview Heights station, and my sons and I took the metro to the Stadium station for a total of $8.80 roundtrip.

It was a comfortable 25-minute ride that took us across the Mississippi River without the need to fight traffic or search for game night parking.

The metro station is across the street from the third base gate into the stadium. The “new” Busch Stadium opened in 2006 and is an absolute gem. Filled with 44,000 Cardinals fans on a weeknight in early June, you can’t ask for a better atmosphere to watch a baseball game.

There doesn’t appear to be a bad seat in the house. Our seats were in section 160 just past the third base bag.

Fans in St. Louis are incredibly knowledgeable, passionate – and friendly! We were wearing the opposing team’s gear, but heard nothing but warm greetings all night long.

There are a myriad of concession choices at the ballpark – Asian, beef brisket being two options that I recall. Call me boring, but we opted for hot dogs and fries. Very good grilled hot dogs!

The night was perfect and memorable for me and my sons.

If you want a fun baseball experience, take a trip to St. Louis.