Here are five things I believe as we enter the back half of summer:
1. Imagine a single spring Sunday in St. Louis in, say, 2022. We have the Cardinals playing at Busch. We have the Blues at Enterprise Center. We have the XFL team at the Dome. We have the new MLS team at its state-of-the-art stadium. Four teams, four different venues, four games that each could start at noon and end at 10 p.m. Yeah, this is a lousy sports city, Stan Kroenke.
2. I think hockey has forever changed in our town. I’m not saying the Blues have surpassed the Cardinals. I am saying they’ve reached a level where everything’s different. Going forward, the training camp sessions at the Centene Community Ice Center, which is a spectacular facility, will be sold out. Every sportscaster in the area will be there to cover it. A guy like Ryan O’Reilly or Jordan Binnington could achieve rock star or at least Cardinal-level status. Ticket prices will rise along with television ratings. The Blues have moved into a new neighborhood.
3. John Mozeliak has been a very good sports executive. The man used a fella named Brett Wallace to get Matt Holliday, and then he wisely locked up Holliday on one of the few high-money long-term deals that have actually worked in baseball. Remember the Colby Rasmus trade that really played a big role in the 2011 World Series championship? Some of Mozeliak’s other moves lately haven’t worked as well. I do believe you show much more patience with a man who’s “done it” before. It’s just tough to see players like Tommy Pham, Luke Voit and Lance Lynn thriving with other teams. Down the stretch, Mozeliak’s recent acquisitions – Paul Goldschmidt, Andrew Miller and Dexter Fowler – really have to perform at a high level.
4. It’s interesting that last season when things weren’t going well for the Redbirds, the blame was directed at the manager. This year, when the Cardinals have been just average, fans have blamed the front office. Mike Matheny is going to manage again. When you have his résumé, with his baseball reputation, you get second chances. He’s the first manager in Major League Baseball history to lead a team to the postseason in each of his first four seasons, and he’s only the fourth Cardinals manager to win 1,000 games. (The other three were pretty good.) I just hope when Matheny does get that next job, likely with the Royals, he understands the media aren’t the enemy. Whitey Herzog was the master at using the media to help both himself and the club.
5. A lot of things are impressing me nowadays: the Fast Eddie’s really juicy Big Elwood on a Stick, the Kemoll’s Chop House happy hour (one of the best deals in town, with half-price appetizers), a John Sandford novel, an always-fun night at the races at Fairmount Park (try the bloody mary), the series Bosch on Amazon Prime, the series The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu, Travis Ford’s recruiting class at SLU, Barry Odom’s passion for the game at Mizzou, the anticipation for the Bommarito 500 at World Wide Technology Raceway, a Bill Simmons podcast, a Rick Warren sermon – and a night out with the lovely Monique. [LN dingbat]
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.