Busch Stadium, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis, MO
The St. Louis Cardinals of the National League have reached the playoffs for the past five consecutive years. These crested, flushed fowls have done so because of a stalwart radiance of Cardinals at the core of the lineup: Adam Wainwright, Yadier Molina, and Matt Holliday. Add to the mix the addition of star center fielder (and World Series champion) Dexter Fowler who just agreed to a humble five-year $82.5 million deal with the Cards this past December, and well – St. Louis is frenzied.
St. Louis is a baseball town. Aside from the New York Yankees’ staggering 27 wins, the Cardinals have won more World Series championships (11) than any other professional baseball team in the history of the game. For pine tar’s sake, the franchise has been around since the Chester A. Arthur administration!
Since hoppy beverage giant Anheuser-Busch purchased the team in the mid-20th century, the Cardinal’s stadium has gone through iterations of “Busch.” Their current venue, Busch Stadium III, houses roughly 46,000 spectators. While the retro-style ballpark was built only a decade ago, it has already hoisted a World Series championship banner, as well as hosted an All-Star Game (2009) and a barrage of home runs.
How would Cardinals legend Stan Musial fare in the new Busch Stadium? Would his 475 career home runs stand up against today’s National League pitching class? Probably. Plus, the left corner, right corner, and dead center of Sportsman’s Park are 20 to 25 feet farther from the batter’s box. Given that Musial played professional baseball for 22 seasons exclusively for the St. Louis Cardinals, we may safely assume he has faced just about every pitch that ever was. “Stan the Man” was fortunate enough to knock the cover off the ball in Sportsman’s Park from 1941 to 1952 (save for ’44-’45) and Busch Stadium I until 1963.
Today’s Busch Stadium is a gem and departure from the cookie-cutter stadiums of old. Its retro composition lends Cardinal fans a glimpse of Americana baseball played without the hulking restraints of an enclosed, towering bowl of a stadium. It’s also a healthy home run ballpark, with over 180 long balls launched during the 2016 season. We saw the deepest of the deep struck by first baseman Brandon Moss, cracking a 452-foot homer to deep right.
Thankfully (for all the St. Louis faithful parked in the outfield with an Anheuser-Busch product in one hand and another wrapped in a Rawlings), the glow of the city’s famous Arch won’t draw attention away from the action. Batters face directly northeast at the St. Louis Arch, like a colossal otherworldly bull’s eye to aim at.
With a relatively uniform fence arc, sluggers at Busch Stadium are looking at a home run distance to dead centerfield of roughly 400 feet, with the left center and right center at about 385 feet each. True left and right field fences rest at about 330 feet from the batter. At Busch Stadium, the mass of long ball blasts end up in left-to-left-center, and right-to-right-center.
The left and right field bullpens see a bulk of home runs hit their way. In left field, seating section 172 will yield the likeliest odds of getting beaned with a round-tripper. Section LP3, or the “Left Field Porch aka The Bowtie Bar” just above 172, receives a healthy serving of home runs as well.
In right, cozy up in sections 127 and 128 near the wall with your glove in the air. Brandon Moss’ towering 452-foot bomber last year flew right over section 127, in fact.
While Busch Stadium leans toward being a pitcher’s park, over the past decade, it has become a welcome challenge for sluggers in the NL to reel-off and swing big. If you’re planning on heading out to the old ballgame at Busch in your dusty McGwire jersey, maybe it’s time to check out Fanatics to upgrade your home run catching equipment.