October 30, 2006
My friend Heith and his roommate Lewis had a halloween party Saturday night. I was pleasantly suprised that probably 90% of the people there had some sort of costume. Heith is one of the most happy-go-lucky guys I know - I've never seen him get angry at anything. The party was equally good natured and fun. Zombies, witches, gold diggers, and stormtroopers were all in attendance. Just another day in Venice. Happy Halloween!
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:25 PM
October 29, 2006
During the day on Friday, I wandered around some old buildings downtown and the met up with Louis. He joined me for a tour of the arch (though only mentioned when we were heading to the elevators that he wasn't exactly a fan of heights. Oops. I guess I hadn't been clear that I wanted to go up the arch, not just to it.) It was cold and windy, and you could feel it sway as you peered out these small windows to see the city and the Mississippi below. After that we drove across town to Ted Drewes Frozen Custard. I had asked a lot or people what was indigenous to St Louis foodwise - what could you get here that you wouldn't find most other places. Ted Drewes was one of the only answers people could come up with. Its a one of a kind frozen custard stand thats been around since the 30's (there is a second location during summer months). They are the originator of 'the concrete' - a shake mixed with toppings thats so thick it stays in the cup when you turn it over. Sound familiar? We split the Southern Delight and the Pumpkin Pie. Its worth it. Even on a freezing day, there were plenty of customers. After that, it was off to bundle up in more layers and head to the final game of the World Series... I'm back in LA now, and its nice to be back in the sun, but days like Friday are everything I love about travelling to new places.
Posted by Jon Berry at 4:21 PM
October 28, 2006
So it paid off. Thank goodness I changed the flight and didn't trade my Friday raincheck ticket for a Thursday one. When I was checking out of my hotel, there were several people in the lobby trying to change their plane reservations from Saturday to Sunday. At that point, I got nervous. As I drove to my new hotel, it was just plain pouring. I was just hoping it would work out. By 2pm, the rain had ended - the game was on.
That evening, it was bitterly cold, (though nothing compared to the Boston series), but my new hotel had a shuttle to the game. I ambled on in, for once not having to search for a ticket before the game. That in itself felt like a luxury. My seat was behind David Eckstein's parents and Molina's family. It was fun watching their reactions during the game - Mr Eckstein was particularly animated and proud. It wasn't as much of a nailbiter as Thursdays game, but it had enough back and forth to keep you on the edge, and make the victory particularly sweet. This town was so hungry for a Championship, and after the pine tar incident and the consistent prediction of the Tigers to win in 5 games, it was easy to join in their glee. I have to admit though, nothing yet has still matched the level of excitement and noise at the Angels World Series in 02 - no one ever sat down in those games. But here, the town was all about the game - no matter where you went. That side of the civic excitement was nowhere to be found in LA or OC outside of the Stadium during their series.
The celebration lasted in the stands as the confetti rained down. No ushers urging everyone to go home. It spilled out into the street. Aside from the hanging of a Tigers skin, there wasn't any negativity or violence that I saw. Just good natured glee from everyone everywhere. My wrist is sore from the constant high fives. The fountains in Kiener Plaza ran red. There was no finding the shuttle or even a taxi, so I just hoofed it back to the hotel, watching the parade of celebrating fans in the street, and then went to meet up with my friend Louis and his friends out at a local bar. It was well worth the trip.
Posted by Jon Berry at 7:14 PM
October 27, 2006
I can't be too upset about taking Thursday night off from the stadium - the back and forth was wearing me out. Though, it really was the best game of the series, so it was a hard one to have not been there for. I watched the game with one of my new friends Louis and his friends at a local bar in Soulard. Hardwoods and brick with dartboards and pool tables, it was a good local flaovor kinda spot to be in if not at the Stadium. I hadn't eaten, so afterward we went through a White Castle drive through. While sitting in the drive through line, this guy backs out of his parking space and into my rental car. It was slow and deliberate (and loud) - theres no way he or his passenger didnt know they hit me. As I stared at his license plate in my face, I was shocked as he just drive off. Louis started shouting the number repeatedly and went to find a pen from the car behind us. (Silver Honda Ridgeline with Missouri plate 670-TJ8, for the record). It was one of those stunned "I cant believe that just happened" moments. It looks like between my Visa card will cover all of the damages. The car rental place hardly batted an eye. Apparently this happens all the time. I did notice that when I went to look over my Visa policy, its coverage would NOT apply if I had accepted the car rental company's accident coverage. That might be something to check on yours if you rent cars very often. So in the end, it ended up being little more than a dent in the trip, as well as the car.
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:49 PM
October 26, 2006
Wednesday I spent most the day in the hotel hunting and surfing for tix online as I watched it pour outside. After the lack of scalpers on Tues, I figured I'd make my main search online on Wed. There were tons available, but I wasn't thrilled with where, and most were pairs. By 6:30, it was time to give up, so I went and jumped on the train and headed to the stadium. I got out and ran into scalpers who wanted too much for too far out - the problem with scalpers here is once you turn em down for one thing, they get mad and wont deal with you the rest of the night. And when there are only a few, that can be a problem. I walked around the block and ran into the guy I bought from the night before - there was a whole group sayin to each other "hes cool, hes not a cop". Noone had any of what I was lookin for, but they knew what I wanted. At about that time a guy walked up with a single behind home plate at face value. huh? okay! Done! I sailed into the crowd to shuffle through the gates, with that momentary touch of panic at the gate when they scan your ticket. Ding. I was in. The game was on rain delay so I found some grub (fried cannoli - surely that has to be regional cause I'd never seen it before!) Everyone was standing around inside eating, drinking, talking (its the only baseball game where I've heard "...stem cells..." while walking past). Imagine a sold out stadium with almost everyone in the hallways and not in their seats. I stood most the time in the archway leading to my seats, listening as everyone had a different story about when they heard the game might start, including the ushers. Eventually, none of em were true, and they called the game.
I was actually a little glad, because it meant I'd have a ticket for the game on Thursday already. Until... they announced that Game 5 would be on Thursday, and Game 4 would be on Friday. Argh. I debated, but ended paying the airfare change and finding a hotel to stay another day. Lets just hope for a dry Friday. I'm taking today off from the Stadium to see some of the town.
Posted by Jon Berry at 4:45 PM
October 25, 2006
So I spent a good bit of the day yesterday surfing for tickets online - brokers, craigslist, etc. There were some decent options, but not great ones (especially for a single ticket) - if I'm gonna bother to come here for a game, I'm gonna try to get a good seat. Since there were tons of tickets online, I figured I'd go ahead and take my chances with the scalpers on the street. I stopped and grabbed some food at a local favorite, Culpepper's - famous for their hot wings - and they were deservingly so. I jumped on the train down to the Stadium and got up to the street to walk around looking for scalpers. There were hardly any. And half of the few that were there thought I was a cop anyway. (Shut up, they dont have to know that I am - different city, so it doesnt count.) It was looking bleak, and I was freezing. At the last minute I ended up finding an awesome seat for a good price. I scored. Woohoo! I got to my food and beer and got to my seat as the first pitch was happening. Carpenter, the pitcher, was really amazing that night. I love seeing a pitcher take a game a full eight innings.
Busch Stadium is a nice park, but nothing special. Oddly enough, it feels like most of the other newer "retro" ballparks that were designed to replace the old stadiums because the stadiums had no individuality. It doesnt feel much different than Texas or Pittsburgh or Seattle. I'm suprised how many fans and people around town I have overheard saying they miss the old stadium. At least the new stadium can now have some good memories.
Posted by Jon Berry at 9:58 PM
October 24, 2006
October 23, 2006
So I decided to jump on a plane again and now I'm in St Louis. I'm here in hopes of going to a World Series game (or two...or three). I'm actually really excited to be here. This is the kind of city that I love to come to for things like this. Its small enough that its easy to get around, and people are friendly and interested in visitors. And also small enough that things like this really matter. You cant go five minutes without seeing a sign that says "Go Cards" or hearing someone mention something about the games or tickets (or pine tar!). And its a city that I otherwise would never really probably have a reason to visit. Baseball games and rodeos take me to a lot of cities like that - and I'm really glad for it. Now hopefully I can find some tickets to the game...
Posted by Jon Berry at 11:35 PM