The Brayfield Springfield Cardinals Report

Our Springfield Reporter, John Brayfield gives us his take on his first impressions of the NEW Busch Stadium.

Okay, the first 32,000 fans poured through the gates of the new Busch Stadium on Tuesday to watch the Double-A Springfield Cardinals take on the Triple-A Memphis Redbirds in the first game ever held in Busch lll. Springfield beat Memphis 5-3 and the huge crowd of Springfield fans went home with smiles on their faces and lighter wallets helped out by the $7 beers offered by vendors throughout the stadium.

But, and what most people are asking today, is "what is the new stadium like?" In a word--it is new. Even the trash cans shine. The restrooms sparkle. The seats are super clean. The walkways and stairs are stain-free. It is new. And, it is truly beautiful.

Like most fans, I will miss the old stadium. The stadium where I saw Bob Gibson pitch to Mickey Mantle in an Old Timer's Reunion game of the 1964 Cardinals and New York Yankees. That was probably my most prominent memory in baseball rivaled only by the time I witnessed an Oakland A's fan in the outfield pouring a beer over the wall onto Pete Rose's head in a World Series game back in the early 70's. But, reality is, Busch-2 is gone (as Busch-1 went before it) and Busch-3 is here. Busch-1 and Busch-2 are gone and are not coming back. So, let me be the first to say "I love Busch-3." It's where the Cardinals play, and that is good enough for me.

I can't comment on what the field is like from a batter's, pitcher's or fielders prospective but I can tell you that from the prospective of a fan, the most amazing attribute of the new stadium is the view of the city. From the confines of the new Busch, the city looks marvelous. It is truly breathtaking to look out and see the Arch standing watch over centerfield and imagining Albert Pujols aiming for the windows in the very top of the mighty stainless steel rainbow.

The city shines, as my grandmother used to say, like a diamond in a goat's butt--except--there is no goat's butt. Only the diamond, shining like the crown jewel of a city ready to become a national phenomenon. A city ready to shock and awe the rest of the country with it's new found beauty and charm. And, Busch-3 could well be the catalyst that propels St. Louis into the category of "one of the most beautiful cities on earth." Because, seen from the stands and press boxes of Busch Stadium, St. Louis appears almost divine. Only the streets of gold are missing.

Only a pit remains where the old stadium stood and soon not even that will be left. But the new stadium gleams and offers fans not only a chance to see the Cardinals play but a view that rivals the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. Go see the city from Busch and see it as you can from nowhere else. And while your at it, take a moment to thank those responsible for the new stadium. They were right all the time.

Springfield fans have been truly blessed to be able to witness the inaugural games of two beautiful stadiums in less than a year. Does life get any better than this? Only when the Cardinals win the series!

The Springfield Cardinals open their season Thursday night at 7:10 p.m. at Hammons Field against Arkansas and tickets remain for all games with the Travelers who remain in Springfield through Sunday. Go Cards!

You can write John Brayfield at

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