First and foremost, I've got to thank Terry Rodgers of the Cardinals as well as Josh Rawitch and Jon Chapper from the Dodgers for helping set up our visit here in St. Louis. Honestly this has been an incredible afternoon here in Busch Stadium, getting in before fans were allowed in the park and being able to take a loop around the park before everyone got here was unbelievable. And then, getting down on the field, and in the dugout, from coach Don Mattingly's pre-game press conference into the end of batting practice.
I'll post pictures later. For now I just want to put the stream of consciousness sitting here from the Cardinals' press box, before I forget any of the feelings or sentiments that I'm going to need to capture quickly.
The press box itself is non-descript, with a door accessible from the fourth level (the broadcast media has a box on the third level). We're seated all the way over on the left-hand side of the box, beyond all the local reporters, the Fox Sports Midwest team, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch team. Down here, there's Jon Chapper of the Dodgers, then Jim Peltz of the LA Times (who has great posture when he types, by the way), then Ken Gurnick of mlb.com. Gurnick has his laptop open, is scoring the game at the same time, and keeping up side conversations with me as well. I don't know how he can multi-task like that.
In fact, here's how nice Gurnick is: when the Cardinals staff member came by pre-game and asked if we wanted our window rolled down (opening us up to the open air, but diffusing the air conditioning), Gurnick left it to me and told the guy it was my choice. Wow. That was very kind of him, especially to a no-name two-bit blogger like myself. (I opted to roll the window down, btw.)
You know what else Gurnick is good at? He went back to the press box' food room and got a little bag of peanuts and a plastic cup used for the fountain drinks, and he is carefully opening up the peanuts and putting the shells in the plastic cup. I just tried to do the same and it's a disaster; there are peanut shells all over my lap and the hardwood floors beneath us. I feel like Conan the Barbarian here, completely uncivilized.
Behind us Patrick O'Neal is sitting down and working on his Mac. He exchanged some pleasantries with us here and down on the field. It's like the Los Angeles clan is forming a little alliance over here to protect ourselves from the Cardinal horde.
But to be fair, the Cardinals fans seem pretty cool. Their clapping for Loney's sweet defensive play at first, in the second inning, reflected how they're both smart fans and nice people. And there are some Dodger fans in the crowd, including one right below us, and it doesn't appear like he's being harassed (on the flip side, there is no one sitting around him, so maybe the lone Dodger fan is silently being ostracized).
The view from up here is perfect. We are right behind home plate and can see everything perfectly; you can judge the ball in flight, you can see the fielder moving over or back to see where the ball is going to go. Really, from up here it's kind of unfathomable how Charley Steiner can miss home run calls all the time. Like that Juan Rivera fly out that just happened, you could tell from the moment it left that it was catchable.
There are some flying bugs out here of fairly large proportions. I am a little scared.
The weirdest thing about being here is not being able to cheer. I clapped my hands for a good Dodger defensive play early on, almost instinctively. Whoops. SoSG AC had to tell me to keep quiet. But I'm sitting around Dodger fans (besides AC of course), so why can't we cheer, right? Man, this is difficult.
But then, there are other people up here in the press box who aren't exactly paying full attention...Scrabble, anyone?