In a year of phenomenal hockey, soccer and baseball news, here are seven things I believe:
1. I really can’t believe how incredible the Centene Community Ice Center is. For $83 million, it had better be nice – and it’s the Taj Mahal of ice facilities. Patrick Quinn did a magnificent job. I also think that Todd George, who ran Hollywood Casino, shouldn’t be forgotten. He was the one who stepped up and suggested building the place on his grounds. It will change hockey forever in St. Louis. It makes you proud to be a St. Louisan.
2. I believe Craig Berube has officially joined the Mount Rushmore of coaches in St. Louis. The group of four is a special one: Whitey Herzog, Tony La Russa, Dick Vermeil and the Chief. They’re all different types of men, but they all have two things in common – they’re fiercely competitive and really likable. I know some of you may not think La Russa was likable, but I can tell you he was a really good man to deal with on a day-to-day basis.
3. I think Ryan O’Reilly has a chance to go down as one of the most revered hockey figures in our town’s history. He has this long contract, so he’ll be here for a while. He’s coming off one of the most compelling seasons in Blues history. He won the Frank J. Selke Trophy, he won the Conn Smythe Trophy, and he won the Stanley Cup. Throw in the fact that he’s great to fans, media and management, and … well … you have a guy who could be statueworthy. However, first, Chris Pronger deserves his. Why are the Blues waiting? They certainly could afford it. Season tickets are sold out.
4. I’m not sure the Cardinals have ever had a time where they’ve had two young studs in the rotation as youthful and good as Jack Flaherty and Dakota Hudson. The duo of Matt Morris and Alan Benes had this kind of promise. However, injuries prevented Benes from achieving his greatness. There aren’t many pieces of baseball property in the world more valuable than Flaherty, and Hudson’s a just a tick behind. So young, so gifted – and they’ll be Cardinals for a long time.
5. I had a friend who’s a big Cardinals fan tell me he’d rather have his son score a goal in his third grade game than see the Cardinals win a big game down the stretch. That might seem preposterous to some, but I knew exactly what he’s feeling. The Bible warns us about having false idols, and youth sports can be a false idol. However, seeing a child work at something, dream about something and then succeed at something is the greatest high a parent can have. Nothing else is close.
6. There are some out there who think it would be just a good idea to drop the case against the Rams and the NFL and just move on. I get it – especially if you lose, and then you really look foolish. I wish I were more mature about it – because I’d love to see Stan Kroenke sweating on the stand with Kevin Demoff and eventually writing a check for $200 million. Kroenke won’t miss that money. But it would be nice to see him lose again in St. Louis – he had enough practice at losing here before. Go get ’em, St. Louis!
7. Things I can’t live without: Mizzen+Main shirts (the best shirts of all time), a great podcast from Clay Travis or Bill Simmons, a television in front of my treadmill to distract me from pain and boredom, a calzone from Kemoll’s Chop House and the Twitter account of The Gospel Daily.
Frank Cusumano is a 17-time Emmy Award-winner on KSDK-TV; he also hosts The Pressbox on The All New 590 the Fan from 10 a.m. to noon each weekday and contributes to The Dave Glover Show on FM NewsTalk 97.1. Follow him on Twitter @frank_cusumano.
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