Ballpark Village: A Successful Failure


Soaked and cold, I waited outside the new Ballpark Village in a massive line last night.

“No more people!” A person yelled. “They’ve reached capacity.”

Well, that sucked, I thought as I walked back to the Metro and waited 20 minutes for my train. The rain continued to pour and, lacking windshield wipers, my glasses were useless.

But I couldn’t be happier.

After years of waiting, false hopes, abandoned lakes and a rentable softball field, Ballpark Village finally filled that parking lot outside of Busch Stadium.

Pessimism and proposed plan ideas shriveled in the rain as the Village jumped to Third Eye Blind. The affair was anything but semi-charmed.

Thousands of people lived up opening night. The support for downtown, particularly from young people, was intoxicating.

What some people had called a total failure had finally surfaced as a success. Sure, Ballpark Village was too late. And, yes, St. Louis looked bad during the All-Star game as Busch Stadium II’s death was still clearly visible.

Last night, though, it seemed Old Busch was buried and a red fern, a glowing, $650-million building, had grown over its grave.

Even as this new energy invigorated downtown, the city stayed true to its roots. In what might have been the most St. Louis thing ever, I boarded and departed Metrolink at the Clayton station with the same people last night.

I guess some things never change.