How to have an awesome time at the ballgame?
July 29, 2009 2:04 PM   Subscribe

Take me out to the ballgame, MeFites!

My boss gave me tickets to this Friday's Cards game, so I’m grabbing my buddy and heading downtown. But it’s been ages since I’ve been to a game (>8 years) and I’ve never been to the new Busch Stadium. What do I need to know?

Background: I’m a casual baseball fan, as in I keep track of the league and our standings, and when I owned a television I would have the game on in the background often and I’d do my happy dance when we scored. But since my tv died last year I haven’t watched a game. (Feel free to catch me up on the players/this season’s big events.)

I’m primarily looking for info on baseball game behavior. This thread was hilarious, but not quite what I need. This is St. Louis, after all, and we’re more likely to give an opposing player a [totally undeserved] standing ovation than to insult his girlfriend. (That whole “Best Fans in Baseball” thing kind of went to our heads.) But if you know of any cheers or crowd responses I should be prepared for, or any fan faux pas I should avoid, please share!

I’m also looking for general baseball enjoyment information: the forecast is sunny but you never know in the Midwest, so should I bring a poncho anyway? What about food? I love junk food but my stomach doesn’t: recommendations on what to indulge in and what to pass up; or what to bring and what to buy?

Also, I have a parking pass, but what should I know about getting around the Ballpark area? Anything I should see before/after the game? Place we should grab a celebratory beer (since, of course, the Cards will win)? Oh, and Ted Drewes was a post-game tradition when I was a little girl. Is that still the case?

Lastly, any fans of any team are invited to share their game experiences. What did you do that made it more enjoyable?

A million thanks!
posted by philotes to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A lot of stadiums don't let you bring in water-- bring empty bottles and fill them once you get inside.
posted by NoraReed at 2:16 PM on July 29, 2009

First of all, arrive and go to your seats before the game starts. Nothing makes me madder than people who show up late and get in my way while the game is being played because they haven't gotten to their seats yet. If you are late, wait until a change in innings.

Also, if you get up for food, etc., wait until play stops to go back to your seat.

I always enjoy going to the park early to see batting practice, if it's allowed in St. Louis. It's a good chance to meet players and get autographs. Watch out for foul balls, though. I once saw a Met fan get beaned in the head. Fortunately, she did not drop her beer.

In Pittsburgh, you could bring in water bottles as long as they were still sealed. I'm sure that varies though. Have a great time!
posted by elder18 at 2:32 PM on July 29, 2009

Best answer: Everything hot dogs, crackerjack, beer) will be more expensive than you thought. Don't bother with the poncho if you're under a roof, you should be able to check that on the stadium websites if you know your specific seat numbers.

I like to bring a light backpack for camera, phone, wallet, program if I buy one, maybe a glove if my seats are optimal for foul balls or HRs. Maybe a small towel if you're in uncovered seats and rain is forecast (for wiping your seat).

Not sure about food, my Phillies let you bring in coolers with any kind of food or drink except alcohol and nothing in metal or glass containers, but I'm not sure whether any other stadiums do that.

If you really want to follow the game, a small AM radio, maybe a scorecard if that's fun for you.

My favorite thing to do is get there early to watch BP, make sure you have a program so you know who all the players are, you can yell at them, get them to toss you balls, etc. Maybe bring a ball & sharpie, there's often a chance for autographs during BP.

If you want team gear (shirts, caps) it's always cheaper to NOT get it at the ballpark, get it somewhere else ahead of time.

Have fun! Baseball games are a blast.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:45 PM on July 29, 2009

i'm just off to a Toronto FC game and practicing the following.... drink as much beer pre-game as you can, limiting damage on your beer costs in the stadium. I see you are driving, so may apply to your guest mainly.
posted by Frasermoo at 2:49 PM on July 29, 2009

Busch Stadium will let you bring in water and food as long as it is sealed - we've never had any trouble getting such things into the park. It's pretty typical stadium food fare.

Have a great time - I miss St. Louis baseball!
posted by honeybee413 at 2:58 PM on July 29, 2009

Stadium guide from the official site of the St. Lois Cardinals. Should be a good game - enjoy!
posted by torquemaniac at 3:08 PM on July 29, 2009

Don't worry too much about waiting until play stops to go back to your seat. The thought is appreciated. But no matter how you time it you will be walking in front of somebody at some crucial moment. (At least, that's how it seems to be in Philly.)
posted by madcaptenor at 3:21 PM on July 29, 2009

Well, what you can do is wait until the teams are changing sides, or at least between pitches. You don't want to be the person standing in front of people when there's a big hit or something. Don't freak out about it, but try to use common sense and be polite.
posted by elder18 at 3:30 PM on July 29, 2009

Yes, please do wait until play stops - especially if your seats are not right on the aisle. There is nothing more irritating than having to stand up and sit down and look around somebody's butt while they're getting back to the seats in the middle of a play. You can probably get away with it once, but after that you'll just annoy everyone around you. There are enough play stoppages/inning breaks that this shouldn't be an issue.

Seconding pre-game drinking - I've never been to Busch but even crappy beer at Safeco is $7 per beer, so if beer is part of your plan do so before the game. Honestly, if your stomach doesn't like junk food, you're better off eating outside the park - maybe buy some peanuts or something, but otherwise eat elsewhere.

If you bring a backpack, keep it small and prepare to have it searched before you enter the park.

If you want team gear (shirts, caps) it's always cheaper to NOT get it at the ballpark, get it somewhere else ahead of time.

If by "team gear" you mean "everything", stupidsexyflanders, you're correct. If you haven't been to a game in 8 years you will be absolutely horrified at the prices they charge for food, drinks, and souvenirs. Get 'em elsewhere.

Bring a camera - modern ballparks make for great photos.

Have fun!
posted by pdb at 3:38 PM on July 29, 2009

Best answer: I was at last night's 10-0 blowout victory vs. the Dodgers at Busch. Some things to keep in mind:

1. Definitely check (and recheck in detail) the forecast before you go. Last night's game was rain-delayed about an hour, and although they said it'd quit raining around 9 p.m., we got hit with rain on and off until we left in the 7th. If rain is promised and your seats aren't under cover, bring a small gym towel to wipe 'em down; a crushable poncho or light windbreaker is also not a terrible idea, if you've got room in your pockets. (Given that these tickets are from your boss, though, you may well be under cover or even somewhere fancy like the Champions Club, in which case, I'd have an entirely different set of suggestions for you, esp. food-wise. Where are you sitting?)

2. Bring a camera if you're interested in taking photos in front of All-Star Game signage. A lot of it, including a mini ASG-themed Arch, gigantic banners on the outside of Busch, etc., is still up, which is kinda cool. Also, if you've got time before the game, check out Citygarden, our new sculpture park a few blocks north of the stadium between Chestnut and Market and Eighth and 10th. (Sturdy sculptures by world-renowned artists that kids are allowed to climb on/in—way cool.) We actually ended up snagging a parking spot right next to it on Market (the meters should be off after 6 p.m., though always double-check)—I'd suggest finding street parking in that area, just a few blocks away from the stadium, over MetroLinking it any day. If you take MetroLink, after the game you'll either end up in line at the Stadium station for an hour or have to hightail it up to 8th and Pine to find an empty car.

3. At last night's game it looked like nearly everyone in town had bought some sort of All-Star merch. The shops at Busch have plenty left, so if you didn't get downtown for FanFest or any of the other All-Star Week festivities and still want some, bring a credit card. (There are Bank of America ATMs throughout Busch, FYI.)

4. Wear red, of course. That hasn't changed.

5. As of last night, the Cards are No. 1 in the NL. Whenever team newcomer Matt Holliday's up to the plate, expect a roar from the crowd; Mark DeRosa's also been posting good numbers since he arrived in late June. Look to see some nice plays from Brendan Ryan at shortstop, too.

6. Cheer-wise, there's no signature cheer, really. Expect many repetitions of "Charge!" and an attempt at the wave. In terms of crowd response, though, you're right: While we may not be particularly organized, we know how to give a standing ovation like nobody's business. (A pretty hearty round of applause went up last night for a spectacular diving catch made by one Dodgers outfielder, for instance.)

Definitely let us know where you're sitting, and I may be able to give you more specific advice!
posted by limeonaire at 5:11 PM on July 29, 2009

7. Oh, right—also expect to hear "YADI! YADI!" chanted at some point when catcher Yadier Molina (the youngest of the three "Flying Molina Brothers") is up to bat. Look for his lightning throws to Pujols at first, too; he's a league leader in pickoffs. (And such a cutie!)
posted by limeonaire at 5:26 PM on July 29, 2009

First of all, arrive and go to your seats before the game starts. Nothing makes me madder than people who show up late and get in my way while the game is being played because they haven't gotten to their seats yet. If you are late, wait until a change in innings.

Are you for real?
Um, this isn't "Cats"- nor is this Federer v Nadal. It's a baseball game. We always arrive late. An average game lasts three-plus hours and we have lives. And we're not waiting a half hour for a half-inning to end to sit down.

posted by Zambrano at 5:28 PM on July 29, 2009

Best answer: You can bring SEALED bottles into the stadium - plastic bottles, no cans. No alcohol (does any aclohol come in plastic bottles?). I usually bring some quart water bottles and some Propel packets.
If you're coming in 44 or 55, take the Memorial Drive exit, but stay in the right lane past the first street. Turn left on Pine, head up to 7th. There's a lot there that's four or five bucks. Walk to the stadium on 7th, at market and 7th there's a guy selling pretzels and peanuts. Buy from him; he gets the pretzels from Gus's.

If your tix are up on the top deck (even on the first base side - my tix are on the right field foulpole), you can go in the north side of the stadium (the more westerly of the north entrances - pretty much just to the left of the corner with the statues). Once you're inside, to your right will be a set of escalators that will take you to the top. This is also your salvation at the end of the game.

On second read I see you have a parking pass, but Pine is still a good way to get downtown.

Skip the nachos, in the past three years they've done...something...that makes egress all burn-y. Everyone goes to SHannon's after the game. Whether you want to be surrounded by EVERYONE is up to you. Drewes is still *my* tradition, whether or not anyone else does it. (With the 40 closing, you'll want to go up to Tucker, head south to Lafayette, and get on 44 from there, and get off at Hampton. take hampton south and veer left on to Watson, and veer to Chippewa to Drewes.)

The ultimate souvenir this year is the All Star Bear. Not really all that more expensive than a regular Build a Bear in the mall.

Weather, well...we've had good luck this year. IF you're high up, the wind comes through pretty well; I'm a polar bear but was cold two weeks ago.
posted by notsnot at 6:45 PM on July 29, 2009

And we're not waiting a half hour for a half-inning to end to sit down.

No one's asking you to stand all night. If you can't wait for a half-inning, at least wait until the break between batters. It's just simple courtesy. (I go to a lot of games.)
posted by swerve at 8:58 PM on July 29, 2009

Response by poster: Oh, you guys are so awesome!!! Our seats are in section 144 (busch stadium seating diagram) which falls somewhere between home and 1st and is directly behind a dugout. From the picture I'm guessing that they're not covered, so I'll go ahead and bring a towel & poncho, just in case.

Sounds like I'll be packing bottled water & soda, and avoiding the nachos (thank you, notsnot).

And as a performer I'm highly sensitive to audience-etiquette, so thanks for those tips. Luckily our seats are on the aisle so i should be able to get in and out between plays fairly easily.

I'm probably going to make my friend drive, as pre/post-event traffic makes me anxious, but it'd be rather unfair for me to predrink with him necessarily sober, so perhaps I'll forgo beer for the evening.

And thank you for the direction's to TD's - provided my buddy's up for it I will be putting them to good use.

Thanks again for all the info so far, and if you have any more tips or any seat-specific suggestions I would love to hear em!
posted by philotes at 9:12 PM on July 29, 2009

Take a glove - you're in primo foul-ball territory.
posted by notsnot at 7:53 AM on July 30, 2009

Oh wow, yeah—those are great seats for foul balls! We sat right around there—maybe even in the same section—on Tuesday. If I'd had a glove with me that night I may actually have managed to snag a ball; one hit the edge of the section above and then lined down two rows in front of me. They tend to pop up into that section or nearby at least 2 to 3 times a game.
posted by limeonaire at 10:22 AM on July 30, 2009

Oh, and yes, if our foul-territory description didn't hint at it: It's definitely not under cover.
posted by limeonaire at 10:26 AM on July 30, 2009

If you can snag it at this late hour, borrow a camera with a long lens from a friend. You can *fill* the frame with a player's face in that section.
posted by notsnot at 8:00 PM on July 30, 2009

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