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Tuesday, November 8, 2005

Busch Stadium, 1966 - 2005

The much-publicized demolition stunt at Busch Stadium yesterday was as uninspiring and uninteresting as the new stadium itself. At 3:00 p.m., the first swing of the wrecking ball occurred. Yet it was swung from inside of the stadium, on which demolition really started ten days prior, and could not be seen from sidewalk level anywhere nearby. The only visible damage seen was the demolished mezzanine ramp, which had come down prior to yesterday (although few fans seemed to notice.) A small cheer started to rise up from the crowd long after the first swing, at about the moment when most people realized that wrecking had commenced. But it died as quickly as people started walking back to work.

In the old days, wreckers like Spirtas would have done something dramatic. The Cardinals cancelled an implosion when they fell ahead of schedule on completion of the new stadium, a decision that will save money and avoid spectacle. Nowadays, even the passing of a landmark like Busch Stadium is treated like a neutral even by city leaders. The suggestion the Cardinals propaganda makes is that the demolition is a non-event that will be over before we realize it is going on. They promise the noise and dust won't be too extreme, the season will start on-time at the new stadium and nothing will be out of the ordinary. The new stadium itself is almost a non-building, with its trite, neutral appearance.

Demolition, however, is very much out of the ordinary. The psychological impact of seeing a landmark destroyed is big, and once there is a huge pile of rubble where Busch Stadium once stood the spin will be hard to justify. There will be a disruption.

The Stadium will be gone, and a scar will be left in its place. At the rate it will take the Cardinals to redevelop the old site, the city and its residents will be faced with that scar for a long time to come.

1 comment:

Joe said...

I remember vividly the dramatic spectacles of the implosion of both the St. Louis Arena and the Beaumont Medical Building.

Both have been replaced by structures far less inspiring.

At least the new Busch Stadium is somewhat attractive, I guess. It's attempt to resemble the Eads Bridge isn't bad. Except, of course, they're closing off Spruce Street permanently to provide that effect.