With the first week of games out of the way at Busch Stadium, it’s a good chance to look at talk about the changes of taking a game in at Baseball Heaven. The most talked about change, the addition of metal detectors, is just the tip of the iceberg this season. Fans will be many other changes.
The metal detectors were an MLB mandate for all teams in 2015. The team originally used hand-held metal detectors for quite some time now, but has switched to larger, walk-through detectors. The addition of these detectors has pushed Gate 5 closer to the street on Clark and slowed down the entry process. There were major issues on opening day, but the following 5 games after that had minimal delays. The increase in security has led to a 20% increase in event staff at gates, which has helped minimalize the delays. The team will continue to check bags as visitor enter the stadium.
The team has also addressed security within the premise for 2015. The Cardinals purchased and bought extensive training for 2 bomb-sniffing dogs, spending nearly $100,000. The Labradors were trained in vapor-wake, or the ability to sniff out bomb ingredients like those used in the Boston Marathon bombings. The team donated one dog to the St. Louis City Police Department and the other to the St. Louis County Police Department. The dogs are at the stadium for each game, along with patrolling the city and county when games are not being played.
For those looking to leave the game for a cigarette break, the re-entry gate has moved to Gate 4. This will be the only area where fans can leave and re-enter the ballpark to smoke.
Another change will be gate times; previously, the stadium would open two hours before game time. In 2015, fans will be able to enter an hour and a half before game time on Monday through Thursday; Friday through Sunday will remain two hours early. Holidays will also have the two hour gate time.
The stadium itself has seen some upgrades itself. The UMB Champions Club added 87 additional seats over 1000 square feet; the all-inclusive club is a popular area to sit and the team wanted to expand the opportunity for fans to experience it. The Club, along with all of the other all-inclusive areas of the stadium, will start food start serving food once the stadium opens.
The team added another retail store in centefield which features New Era, 47 Brand, and American Needle products, along with an embroidery machine for fans to create custom hats.
Other upgrades include additional and upgraded concession stands, new televisions, more directional signage, improved LED light fixtures and Trivision scoreboard, and new backstop netting. The team also has renumbered the bleachers; the previous numbered 500 sections are now in the 100s (101, 103, 105, 107, 109, 111, 189, 191, 193, 195, and 197).
While the changes might seem minimal, they are good to know before heading to a game.