Cards Owners Frustrated, Temp BPV Plans Ensue

Birdhouse Droppings: A fictional account of revised plans for St. Louis' long-awaited Ballpark Village.

Note: The following story is a FICTIONAL account. You may have heard of The Onion. Now take a look at what we find when we take the newspaper out from under The Birdhouse and see what's been piling up.


Upset with local legislators and their inability to close the deal, the Cardinals ownership has decided to ditch their Ballpark Village plans. After hitting a roadblock in Jefferson City this past week, William DeWitt Jr. and company took their latest proposals off the table.


St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay stated, "This is a huge disappointment for the City of St. Louis.  We were so close to getting approval, breaking ground, and igniting an economic boom downtown."


Gene LeShay, a spokesperson for the Redbird front office, rebutted, "We were closer to setting a record low temperature in St. Louis last week than we were at finalizing a deal in Jeff City. It's over for now."


Clearly the two sides are at their wits end with state lawmakers.


The Cardinals, though, have not ruled out long-term plans for a Ballpark Village, but DeWitt said in a huff, "We just can't waste that space anymore.  We'll go back to the drawing board and start accepting proposals on a smaller, more affordable scale. But in the meantime, we have a temporary plan to use the space."


The Cardinals are going to use approximately $3.2 million of their own cash for their temporary plan. Chump change compared to the estimated $387 million in the latest proposal to hit the fan.


Just what will that temporary plan entail?


LeShay says, "A little league ball field designed as a replica Busch Stadium and private park will be built in the space currently designated for the Ballpark Village. It's a simple plan, but it will provide fans with a place enjoy time with family and friends."


The Birdhouse was one of the few media outlets provided an advanced copy of the plan.


The little league replica Busch Stadium will have home plate situated in the very southeast corner (Clark & Broadway) of the space pointing outward in the opposite direction of the real Busch Stadium. The dimensions of the field of play will be 220 feet down the lines and 245 to center field. Bleachers will be installed along the baselines holding a capacity 600 fans giving that intimate little league feel. A lawn area will also be situated in the outfield beyond the fences where fans will be able to picnic and catch those memorable home run balls. Lighting will also be installed to allow for night baseball.


The park will be called "Fernando Tatis Field" in honor of the St. Louis Cardinal who set a record no one will likely ever break: hitting two grand slams in the same inning against the same pitcher.


About naming the field after the unlikely Cardinal, LeShay said, "We just felt that Fernando and his magical feat represent everything good about our little field of dreams."


To commemorate the field and the Tatis' record, a statue of Tatis will be placed on the exterior sidewalk to the park complete with a video screen showing highlights from those two fateful at-bats. LeShay went on to say, "It's the least we could do considering the game wasn't even televised in the St. Louis area that memorable night."


The Cardinals also plan to install a pond in the space to the west of the property (near Eighth St.), where a large hole full of standing water has loomed for the past two years. The pond will be fully stocked to allow for plenty of fishing along its bank. Though too small to officially qualify as a lake, it will be named "Tony La Russa Lake." LeShay said, "Tony has just brought so much peace and comfort to everyone around him both in this organization and out; we just couldn't imagine naming a place this most tranquil place after anyone else associated with the Cardinals."


The area around the pond will connect to the lawn section in the outfield and will be filled in with grass, walking paths, benches, trees, and a plush garden.


Fencing will surround the entire facility, and admission will be just a few dollars a person. It will be open from sunrise to sunset, weather permitting, and at night upon special reservation. On evenings when the big boys are playing across the street, the park will also be open and its lights illuminated.  The replica ball field will be available to be rented for parties as well as reserved for little league baseball games and tournaments.


When asked for the city's opinion regarding the plans and if they will be approved, Mayor Slay said, "We're disappointed the Cardinals didn't want to keep pushing forward when we were so close to finalizing the deal, but we'll take what we can get."


"Plans for the park sound wonderful. This will be a fabulous way to use the space, generate some local commerce, and provide a family friendly activity area downtown while we continue to work towards a long-term solution."


The entire facility, which will be known as "The Shadow of Busch Stadium", is schedule to break ground this November and open its gates for business on Opening Day 2008.


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