It's a lot of travel, a lot of hotels and a lot of long, late nights. And, as you probably guessed, I would not trade it one iota. You don't have a lot of time to do much but go to the games, but I try to carve a couple hours at least one day in each place and I've been pretty fortunate in that regard.
I've taken a boat out into San Francisco Bay and escaped from Alcatraz with colleague Bob DiCesare after visiting the famed prison in 2002, walked Miami's South Beach in 2003 and to the end of St. Petersburg Pier in 2008, talked about ex-Bison and Angel Bartolo Colon during a chance lunch meeting with former Angels owner and honorary AL President Jackie Autry at the famous food counters of Boston's Faneuil Hall in 2007.
I got a tour of the humidor and climbed to the mile-high row of seats at Coors Field in 2007 (OK, so that was at the park, but it was still cool), watched the bleachers at Wrigley Field get quietly rebuilt as Chicago was crazy over the White Sox in 2005. There was also a haunting trip to the smoldering ruins of Ground Zero in 2001, just a month after the planes downed the Twin Towers.
Last year was a good one, as I strolled a quiet McCovey Cove in San Francisco and then found time in Texas for a Dallas Cowboys game and a media/sponsor party at a Texas ranch, complete with armadillo races.
Today's side trip -- the ride up the famous Gateway Arch on the banks of the mighty Mississippi.
Before you head inside though comes the requisite photos from directly underneath the thing (above left), which is 630-feet high at its apex. How in the world does it stay up?
You ride up to the observation deck in these tiny capsules (left), five people to a car and eight cars to a ride. There's no room for claustrophobia here. It's tight. When the door shuts, you can see out to the steel innards of the Arch and the emergency stairs (hope we don't need those!). It's a jerky, over-and-up ride for a bit and then the final part of the four-minute jaunt is straight up to the observation deck.
Once you get up there, it's really a set of portholes looking out on either side. It's not a large deck like you'd have atop a tall buliding like the CN Tower in Toronto for instance. It's only about three people wide! Again, claustrophobics need not apply. And it's not flat either. The floor is curved so you kind of hold on to the wall as you walk up and down.
They tell me you can see 30 miles on a clear day. I still got great views of downtown at least today even though it was cloudy. Busch Stadium (tarp on today at right), the famous old court house and the Edward Jones Dome, home of the Rams, on one side. The river on the other, with the casinos of Illinois and a large barge being pushed by a riverboat. Pretty cool.
When it's time to go, you head down a few stairs and line up again for the same tram back. At the base (it's all underground between the two legs) is a large Museum of Westward Expansion, movie theaters, gift shops and the like.
It's a must-do in St. Louis, akin to riding the Maid of the Mist if you're in Niagara Falls.
Add it to the list. And enough talking. It's time to play ball soon. Stay tuned for more on the pregame press conferences and our live blog from Game One, which begins at 8:05.