Thursday, April 14, 2011

Ending the regular season in Saint Louis

For what would most certainly be the last game of the regular season for me, I traveled to nearby St. Louis for a Blues game against their division rival Nashville.  This was after an aborted attempt a week earlier to go to Minnesota.

Before I begin discussing the game, I just want to mention that St. Louis is awful to get around in.  There is little in the way of public transportation, the downtown has very sparse shopping, and getting a cab is near-impossible.  Also, the city apparently shuts down at 9, and there are no fast food places in downtown, so if you have time you desperately need to kill after the game, you're stuck finding a bar.  It was dreadful, there was nothing outside of Union Station.

That said, the Scottrade Center was pretty nice.

One of the benefits of being the only major tenant is that you get to basically choose the motif around the building.  Hence the blue and yellow around the top of the arena.  Also the souvenir cups were all-Blues (and bottomless too, which is a plus).  This also continues an interesting trend of new stadiums I have so far been to.  The United Center and this arena are the oldest I have seen a game at, and they're from 1994.  Not a bad trend, mind you, but an interesting one.

Now, this game was a bit of an anomaly as far as regular season games go, because it was the last game of the season, also known as "Fan Appreciation Night".  This was also the first season the Blues had sold out all home games, though, because tickets were going for as little as $8 on StubHub the week before, I'm not 100% sure of that.  However, to contradict what I said earlier, all the 300 level seats were filled, and that's "where the real fans sit" as my dad likes to say.  I do have to thank him for coming to this game and cramming in a Megabus both ways, because otherwise we wouldn't have this picture:

Ok, don't thank the man just yet.  But after my adventure in DC I realized going to hockey games alone isn't nearly as fun as with someone you know.

But that's a long enough tangent.  The game was a great one, very hard fought.  This brings me to another of my reasons I love hockey.  For some reason, and I will probably never know why, hockey teams that are out of it (as the Blues were well before this game) still play with the heart and intensity of any other team.  Now, in many other professional sports you never see this.  In baseball for a team that's well out of it September becomes a time to see minor leagers play.  In basketball teams often "rest" star players, ostentatiously to get a better chance in the lottery.  Admittedly it does not happen as often in football, however with such a short schedule (in total number of games) not that many teams are fully out of it until there are but a couple games left.  Yet in hockey teams who haven't had a chance in the playoffs for months still fight for every second.  For a couple examples this year, both against Dallas, who was in it until the very last game, in their third to last game, a home game against Colorado, the Avs pulled their goalie with 2 minutes left, while down by 2 goals.  Many teams would pack it in down by 2, and the Avs haven't been in contention for the playoffs in months!  And in the aforementioned last game of the year, the Wild totally outplayed the Stars, despite being mathematically eliminated a week ago.

This game was similar, even though Nashville had already clinched a playoff berth, a win would definitely help them in seeding.  However the Blues just plain did not want to lose the game, and gave the Predators everything they had, including an amazing play for the first goal.
Unfortunately all I could take a picture of was the aftermath, but look it up.

Now, this isn't to say that Nashville didn't come to play, they were definitely trying to get those 2 points, but the Blues just wanted it.  This final score ended up being 2-0, with an insurance goal coming in the final minute (not an empty netter, however).  Afterwards, they did a lot of celebrations for the fans, because, as I mentioned previously, it was "Fan Appreciation Night".  

In all, the game was fantastic, waiting around for 3 hours looking for something that was open afterwards was not.  Also, surprisingly, (except for those of you that read my Twitter (@sonicsean89) or facebook)  this ended up being the game that broke my home team curse, as home teams had previously been 0-3, now they are a blissful 1-3.

So, now that that's concluded, let's look at the Big Board:

Now, the sharp eyed of you (or those of you who clicked for the big picture) will notice that, in addition to putting a blue pin in St. Louis, I have added green string seemingly at random.  This, however, is very much not random.  These are proposed multi-city trips I would take, depending on how the schedule turns out (which should be sometime in June for 2011-12).  Because bus fare between, say, San Jose and LA is cheaper than flights to and from Chicago, I figured that, if I could get a good time off, I should group these cities together.  Admittedly, some of these trips will be easier than others, like many of the 2-city ones (Columbus-Pittsburgh, Nashville-Atlanta, Tampa-Miami, etc) and could, if executed properly, be done in a weekend.

Also, this post marks a special point in the timeline.  This post is coming 6 months (and 2 days) into my 30 months.  So far I have finished 4 cities, and, barring playoff tickets, will likely not get another chance to cut into the 30 until October.  So, obviously, I'm pretty far behind.  But, there are a lot of places I can cover in little time.  For instance, Philadelphia-Boston includes 5 arenas and could take a week if the schedules like me.  That said, there's still plenty to do, but hopefully, just hopefully, the next 26 arenas will be as excellent as the first 4.

1 comment:

  1. Woo hoo, the curse is lifted! A "blissful" 1-3, Sean??? LOL

    I'm your witness, St. Louis is a hole and I can't imagine why anyone would want to live there. I was so glad to be back home in a REAL city like Chicago, but I had a great time at the game. Thanks again for inviting me.