La Russa and "The Monster" of Busch II

Not everyone's memories of the old Busch are all that fond. Just ask Tony La Russa.

Ok, it's a slow time of the year for news and all. Still, not everyone will appreciate this story, but I just have to share it.

In Boston, they have their "Monster" - a huge Green Monstah it is. The famous 37-foot-high left field wall is covered by a manual scoreboard and tasteful white-painted advertising, topped with three rows of some of the best and most sought-after seats in baseball.

Well, the old Busch had its "Monster", too. Only, this creature was not nearly as well known as the one in Beantown. In fact, truth be known, no one has actually ever seen it.

But, its existence can be verified by many, myself included, and now you here today. Even Tony La Russa himself is most familiar with "The Monster" of Busch but isn't sad one bit to know that it has been slayed.

I probably deserve what follows. After all, just a few days ago, I waxed nostalgic about Busch II even before it is completely gone. Bringing me back to reality today was none other than La Russa, whose former office was located deep in the bowels of Busch, and I do mean bowels.

In a story in USA Today, La Russa spoke with anticipation about the opportunity to open his first-ever brand new ballpark while reminding us that the old stadium had more than its share of problems.

Said La Russa, "I think our ownership did such a great job of modernizing old Busch that some fans were not 100% convinced we needed a new park. But believe me, when you were down underneath and you saw some of the stuff that was going on down there, it was definitely needed."

"You turned on the faucet in the clubhouse and a bunch of yellow stuff would come out. It was tough to brush your teeth. ... The writers were always laughing — there was a certain pipe that ran next to my office that when people flushed, it would make this unbelievable sound and you could hear the contents."

You might be asking yourself if La Russa isn't embellishing the truth a bit to help make his point in support of ownership.

Well, I am here to tell you that Tony is on the level. Even better, I can prove it, by bringing you that famous sound direct from La Russa's old office, honest and unaltered.

As always, we spare no expense bringing the most important Cardinals news and information to our readers right here. So, after only a little further ado, Scout.com presents the first-ever public airing of what we all affectionately called "The Monster".

How did I secure such a valuable and important recording, you ask? Well, before each game, La Russa holds court with the press. Invariably the discussion would be interrupted once or twice each day by "The Monster".

Keeping everything pigeonholed away like I do, I checked my audio recordings from last season and sure enough, "The Monster" made its appearance within the first five minutes of the very first clip I checked.

This particular instance occurred during one of the most innocuous and boring pre-game discussions all season long. Prior to the September 27 game against the Astros, the Cardinals were 11-1/2 games ahead at that point and were simply trying to stay healthy for the playoffs.

We were in the midst of wondering about whether the 2006 squad would get an opportunity to take the field in Busch III prior to the home opener, when "The Monster" showed up, unexpected and amusing as always – sort of like the fat kid in the back of the room with a bad case of gas that makes the whole classroom giggle.

In addition to the highly audible appearance of "The Monster", what makes this particular clip even more entertaining is one of my peers suggesting then, in Busch's final few regular season games, that its sound should forever be immortalized.

La Russa accurately characterized this as a "mild" occurrence, then agreed with the idea, saying in jest, "I think that is the kind of nostalgia we need."

So, that's what I've done here – preserving "The Monster" of Busch II for posterity's sake. Here you go and enjoy!

(Sorry, only subscribers can listen to audio clips.)

Think of "The Monster" when you visit the new Busch and let me know if he makes a reappearance. For all we know, he may have just moved down the street. Come April, we will surely be listening for him…

Brian Walton can be reached via email at brwalton@earthlink.net.

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