Summer always makes me think of St. Louis
Thanks to my grandpa and my dad, I've long been a fan of St. Louis Cardinals baseball -- and there is no experience quite like being in St. Louis on game day. The party starts early in the day and lasts long after the game concludes, win or lose. There are a bevy of bars and restaurants owned by or paying homage to Cardinals players and organizers that fans pack themselves into, decked out in red, white and sometimes blue.
One of the most accurately descriptive slogans I once heard went something like, "St. Louis is a drinking town with a baseball problem."
The two go hand-in-hand, which may seem obvious what with the name of the stadium (Busch Stadium) and the Anheuser-Busch Brewery as one of the town's must-see tourist stops.
Though it's been a few years since I've been able to make it to the Show-Me State for a game, I was able to make a trip into Turner Field shortly after moving down south and it was a fun, though rainy, experience.
Any baseball fan who also associates with non-baseball fans inevitably has to hear and refute the complaint that baseball is boring. Most of those people have never been to a live game. To be honest, there are times when I've turned off a televised game because it wasn't holding my interest. But there is rarely a time when I'm bored at a stadium.
Part of the appeal of live sporting events, even if you're not familiar with the team or the players, is the crowd. Some games are more exciting than others, but there is always something going on in the stadium that's fun and exciting.
Most parks have family areas where kids can run around and let off some steam and there are always the staples of a baseball game: the wave, seventh-inning stretch, various trivia or guessing games on the Jumbotron.
St. Louis has Fred Bird, the goofy Cardinal mascot, who sneaks up on people and gives out prizes throughout the game.
I'm reminded of all of this because I recently received a press release from a hotel in Atlanta who is offering a Grand Slam Package for last-minute summer trips.
The deal is for two club-level tickets to an Atlanta Braves game, $10 to spend on food or merchandise, access to the 755 Club and a one-night stay at the Melia Hotel, including valet parking and a breakfast buffet.
The price isn't bad -- $219 -- and while the two-ticket deal makes it not so family friendly, it would still be a nice getaway before school starts and before the baseball season wraps up, whether for a couple, parent and child, or just two friends.
You won't regret the memories.
Katie McCarthy, features writer, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706-571-8515. Visit her Intellectual Junk Food blog at ledger-enquirer.com/junkfood for more commentary.