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Saturday Rockpile: Live in St Louis, It's Andrew's Vacation!

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So far, this vacation has been somewhat interesting, relatively peaceful, and surprisingly on the level. I have a pile of pictures, but haven't had a chance to sync them onto my phone. Some of you may have seen them from Thursday's Rockpile/game thread, but there are several more of Busch that certainly don't do the park and the atmosphere justice.

I want to say that the playoff atmosphere was the first thing I noticed while in St. Louis, but that just wouldn't be accurate. The first thing I noticed is how nice the fine people of St. Louis are. I walked up to the park wearing my Rockies jersey, Rockies cap, 2007 NL Champs tshirt, carrying my 2007 Playoffs hoodie (and if you bought one of the nice ones, the ones made with the polyester/spandex blend, it's probably still in once piece for you as well: That's some high quality workmanship!), and juggling my sign from getting blown away in the St. Louis breeze.

For those of you who missed the sign, it's the picture that's promoted up top.

Anyhow, countless people asked me to read the sign. I obliged, and then they gave me a confused look, then they noticed my Rockies gear and started laughing. Among those people who noticed the combination of Rockies gear and disgruntled sign were Benjamin Hochman of The Denver Post and 'Duk from Yahoo!'s Big League Stew (who I incidentally ran into the next day at Pappy's Smokehouse). 

Immediately following the laughter and pictures and what have you, people would then ask "So are you from St. Louis?" to which I'd respond "No, I'm from Denver. Made the drive last night, this is my first time in St. Louis" and they'd immediately say "Oh, well, welcome!"

Welcome.

I suppose I set myself up like Switzerland, in that I was neither a Cardinals fan nor a Brewers fan, but more a fan of the great game of baseball. (I also made several crude remarks asking how they enjoyed having Matt Holliday after the Rockies already.... ahem... "had" him.)

The next thing I noticed was the playoff atmosphere. Of course I noticed the playoff atmosphere. Cameras everywhere, interviewing the most rabid of Cardinals fans, interviewing the few brash Brewers fans, and interviewing the guy who was dressed like a gigantic squirrel (and apparently wasn't allowed in the park for Game 4). People were cheering, people were high fiving, people were drunk on high quality Anheuser Busch beer. The stadium itself was decked out in Playoff attire and images of Cardinal Greats of the previous 100 years were scattered everywhere the eye could see. The jumbotron was showing clips of victories past, images of iconic catches and historical players, and any other amount of decor to remind you that the Cardinals are the 2nd most decorated team in MLB Playoff History.

It's an atmosphere I miss. 2007 was a party, up and down Blake St. Vendors hawking scattered merchandise branded with the purple and silver Rockies CR logo and the World Series logo (I won't lie, I bought a ticket-holding lanyard with a pin that said "World Series - I Was There"), and folks streaming in and out of the small village of sports bars that comprise the non-Coors-Field members of the LoDo neighborhood. An atmosphere so electric it stands your hair on end. Tension and excitement so thick you could cut it with a clichéd knife. 

2009 tried its best to match 2007, but it was A. too cold and B. too.... manufactured. I've written about the difference before, so I won't rehash my disappointment with the particular marketing for the Rockies postseason.

But there's no doubt that playoff baseball is impossible to beat. The scarcity of a seat on the October bus as well as the relative youth of the Rockies franchise give it the same excitement of a child on Halloween. Other franchises have been there, done that, bought the tshirt, and look at Rockies' fans in a kind condescension that can only be passed from a franchise as old as the sport to one of the 4 youngest teams in MLB.

Bring it back, Rockies. Bring it back.