(Busch Stadium) The St. Louis Cardinals have a brighter outlook on this season–literally, thanks to the new state-of-the-art lighting system installed during this past off-season at Busch Stadium.
“It looks amazing,” Vice President of Stadium Operations Matt Gifford said. “We had promised the best outdoor lighting system in all of baseball or professional sports and I think we delivered. The partnership with PLANLED has been amazing and I think when you look at the product on the field, I hope that the players enjoy it.”
The new system does not need time to warm up or going straight to full power, can be turned on and off, and should provide a 60 percent reduction in the energy required to operate the field lights. It also should be more efficient and easier to maintain.
“The studying we’ve done, all the reports and all the science behind it, they are leaps and bounds so much better than what we had last year and I think the broadcast will see it,” Gifford said.
Monday evening provided the first opportunity to see the lights at full strength, though they had been on for the latter part of Saturday’s afternoon game.
Not as noticeable in the late afternoon and early evening sky, the difference in light was striking once the sun fully set.
“It actually sets up where if Fox is able to do it, you could shoot a 4K game with this kind of lighting system,” Gifford said. “We’re ahead of the trend for sure in allowing them to use their toys to give a better product to the guests at home.”
There is an illusion with the new system as no matter where you are seated or watching from, it appears that only half or less of each panel is lit.
“They are all on,” assured Gifford, who also was initially fooled by the effect. “I think it will help the glare for the players as they’re out in the outfield because when they look at it, you can’t see all of them..The LED light is so specific, we have an aiming chart that is amazingly technical, but each light goes to a certain spot and we can control each light individually.”
Players in both the Los Angeles and St. Louis clubhouses agreed.
“You walked out and were like ‘whoa’ it definitely was brighter,” Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong said. “Really bright, I love them.”
The old lighting system, which had been in place since the stadium opened in 2006, provided more of a yellowish light. This new LED system is graded at 90 percent of the quality of natural light.
“I’ve always been a fan of those lights,” Wong continued. “Especially when somebody hits a homer and whatnot and they trickle and do all the things they can do. I think it’s great. As far as seeing the ball, I think it’s definitely brighter and easier to see.”
photo credit: Brian Stull/STLBaseballWeekly.com