Now the whole country is poised to watch a World Series that not only matches Red Sox bats against Cardinal arms but also beans vs. bratwurst, chowder vs. beer, and Old Ironsides vs. The Arch.
Boston, Beyond Fenway Park
Although Philadelphia might argue, Boston has good reason to call itself “the cradle of liberty.” The Freedom Trail, a well-marked pedestrian pathway, passes sites so old that visitors almost expect to hear John Adams condemning taxation without representation.
One of those sites, Faneuil Hall, has attracted 20 million curious visitors – about 10 times more than the annual attendance at Fenway Park, the century-old ballpark where the Sox start the World Series Wednesday.
A compact community packed with college students and cobblestone streets crafted in colonial times, Boston is often called “the Hub” because of its transit systems. The only Lower 48 capital on a coastline, its subway system – the “T” to locals – is the oldest in the country. Boston Common is also the oldest public park.
Landmarks range from the South End Historic District, the nation’s oldest contiguous Victorian neighborhood, to the Hancock Tower and Prudential Center, the tallest buildings in New England. Visitors love Newbury Street, Copley Square and the John F. Kennedy Museum, across the Charles River in Cambridge.
St. Louis, Beyond Busch Stadium
St. Louis is a river town too, with the Mississippi separating Missouri from Illinois and the Missouri River marking the north side of St. Louis County.
Acquired from France in the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, St. Louis became a magnet for trappers and explorers – especially after the arrival of the first steamboats 15 years later. Commerce boomed and manufacturing followed, with Anheuser-Busch, Ralston Purina, and McDonnell Douglas finding the mid-America river location perfect for distribution of their products.
Although the St. Louis Symphony is the second-oldest orchestra in the country, St. Louis links its musical heritage to jazz, ragtime and blues. Scott Joplin is to St. Louis what Arthur Fiedler is to Boston.
History lives at Union Station, where a hotel has supplanted the train station, and the old federal courthouse, scene of the 1850 Dred Scott decision.
Modern St. Louis marches to a different drummer, with Clydesdales, the courthouse known for the Dred Scott decision, and the riverfront arch that dominates the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial. Finished in 1965, the famed arch is 630 feet tall – affording photogenic views to passengers who dare take the automated ride to the top.
Batters at Busch Stadium, the 6-year-old downtown ballpark that will host Cardinals World Series games, have a clear view of The Arch. They will also be surrounded by frenzied fans cloaked in red. Boston’s ancient ballpark holds fewer fans, but the decibel level in both should be off the charts.
The teams met previously in 1946, 1967 and 2004, with Boston winning 10 of 18 games played but St. Louis winning 2 of the best-of-7 matches. Tell us which of these 2 cities wins our city showdown.
– By Dan Schlossberg
Former AP newsman Dan Schlossberg of Fair Lawn, NJ, is travel editor of Sirius XM’s Maggie Linton Show and New Jersey Lifestyle Magazine. He is also the author of 36 baseball books.