The 2004 World Series moved from the Boston Red Sox’s Fenway Park to the St. Louis Cardinal’s Busch Stadium for the third game of the series on October 26, and the change is no small one. The contrast between the two stadiums is apparent from space, as shown in the above images acquired by the QuickBird satellite.
Fenway Park, top, is the oldest stadium in Major League Baseball, and is full of eccentricities. The irregularly shaped field peaks in a triangle in center field 420 feet (128 meters) from home plate. The playing field runs 310 feet (94.5 m) from home plate down the left field line and 302 feet (92 m) down the right field line. By contrast, Busch Stadium is spacious and symmetrical with 330 feet (100 m) down each foul line and 402 feet (123 m) to the center field wall.
Fenway Park is also well known for the “Green Monster,” the left field wall (on the east side of the stadium), which rises 37 feet (11.3 m) and is topped by a 23-foot (7 m) screen—a formidable foe to any home run slugger. In Busch Stadium, the left and right field walls are 10.5 feet (3.2 m) high.
Fenway Park opened on April 20, 1912, with the Red Sox beating the New York Highlanders (later renamed the Yankees) 7-6 in extra innings. The stadium’s opening was not front-page news—that distinction went to the Titanic, which sank just five days earlier. The new stadium brought the Red Sox luck, and the team won the 1912 World Series at Fenway Park. It is the smallest stadium in the Major League, seating just 33,871 fans in oak seats.
Capped with 96 arches, which look like small scallops in the above image, Busch Stadium is a 130-foot tall concrete circle. It measures about 800 feet (244 m) across from one outside wall to the next. The stadium was designed without posts or columns to give up to 50,345 fans an unobstructed view of the game. The arches along the top of the stadium are an echo of St. Louis’s monumental Gateway Arch, which sits a few blocks from the stadium and is visible in the large image.
Busch Stadium opened on May 12, 1966, in a 12-inning game in which the Cardinals triumphed over the Atlanta Braves, 4-3. The stadium turned out to be just as lucky for the Cardinals as Fenway Park was for the Red Sox—the team won the 1967 World Series the year after the park opened. The current Busch Stadium is scheduled to be replaced in 2006. The construction site for the new stadium is visible to the east of the current stadium. The new stadium will also bear the moniker “Busch Stadium.”
The move to the familiar territory of their home stadium could be a boost to the Cardinals, who lost the first two games of the seven-game series. Both the Red Sox and the Cardinals have played better at home than on the road this year.