The State of St. Louis sports

Got love for St. Louis sports? Let's talk Pro, College, High School, or otherwise.
I know this post will be taken as negative…..Well, it is!

I think we are entering a very tough stretch for sports here in our fair city. Right now, we have an NFL team that is trying to leave the City. In the meantime, they are on pace to win 6 games, if they are lucky. Can you imagine the Dome attendance for those last 3 “home games”! With all of this going on, we have to deal with the everyday BS associated with relocation rumors, new stadium funding and the highs and lows that come with that. Assuming we lose the Rams, there will be no future for the NFL in STL. That alone is a reason to be negative.

Now, moving on the Cardinals and their future.

The Cardinals now have to contend with REAL division foes. While the Pirates have been good for a while, the rise of the Cubs is officially underway. If they go out and add a few pieces, we may be looking at the curse ending and the Cardinals looking up at the Cubs in the standings, for years to come. That is a scary proposition, but a very real possibility. For God’s sake, they got the Cy Young winner, rookie of the year, manager of the year and eliminated their hated rival, the Cardinals, from the playoffs. It wasn’t supposed to happen this soon!

Also, the Cardinals go into 2016, with a question mark 1-5 in the pitching rotation. That could change with free agency, but we’ll have to see. The Cards have an aging core and have lost some major pieces in the scouting dept. and front office. I’m not saying their future is bleak, but winning the division, is going to be much more difficult.

Now, on to the Blues. The Blues have a good team, but I still think they have a lot of question marks. Goaltending is the biggest. Can Jake Allen take the Blues to the Cup. I don’t have a clue. I think the Blues have the talent to win a Cup, but I’ve been disappointed my entire life. I will continue to expect playoff disappoint, in the hopes of being shocked someday, when I see a guy holding the Cup over his head, with a Bluenote on his sweater. In other words, nothing much has changed over the last 30 years.

Now, on to the college teams. Mizzou is a mess. Mizzou’s reputation has been tarnished in recent weeks. This perceived unrest on campus, could really hurt football recruiting. Gary Pinkel just resigned, IMO, due to pressure from boosters and donors. Can Mack Rhoades save the program by making a homerun hire, for sure, but he is going to be competing with USC, LSU, Georgia and Miami, to name a few. Not to mention, Mizzou is going to finish 5-7 and miss going to a bowl. That can’t help recruiting. Let’s hope Rhoades gets a top-notch coach or the next decade or so, could be rough for MU Football.

Basketball has been abysmal the last few years. The Haith hiring may have taken Mizzou backwards a decade, if Kim Anderson can’t turn the ship around. I know he is only in his second year, but he has a long way to go. Will Rhoades stick with Kim and give him enough time or move on, forcing another coach to pick up the pieces and rebuild. That could take years. It is depressing how far Mizzou Basketball has fallen. At least Mike Anderson’s teams were ranked and sometimes highly ranked. I’m not optimistic Kim Anderson gets MU back to respectability. It amazes me MU can’t reach elite status, being the only really big state school in Missouri, with all of the great facilities and 2 large metro areas to draw from.

There’s a lot to be concerned about in Columbia right now.

On to SLU. Jim Crews is now a few years into his tenure and the Billikens Basketball program to me, has regressed. I would not expect the Bills to be much of a factor this year. They need a big-name like Majerus, to get players to come to SLU. Crews does not fit that big-name description. I’m not sure what the status is with the new Jesuit/Catholic conference, but SLU needs to get out of the A-10. Until then, expect more of the same.

While there have been peaks and valleys in STL sports, this one feel s like the worst valley in my lifetime. The Rams potentially leaving tops to the list. While the Blues and Cards give us some hope, our college teams are a mess. I hope in a few years, we can look back and view this as a speedbump. If the Rams stay and MU gets back on track, I will feel a bit better. Right now, I can’t help but feel negative about our sports scene.


I long for the days of this.....

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Rams schmams. In 25 years the NFL is toast anyway and we'll have evolved beyond college football. Cards will survive but I think there will be a few lean years while they try to find a new core. Blues will continue to be fun.
The only think I miss about 2000 is the Rams being good. Aren't the Blues and Cardinals better now than they were then?
onecity wrote:
Rams schmams. In 25 years the NFL is toast anyway and we'll have evolved beyond college football.


If this continues the League will be toast.
http://deadspin.com/why-the-hell-was-a-clearly-concussed-case-keenum-left-i-1744203668
^^The Blues made it to the conference finals in 2001. That was the last time they made it that far. A few years after that, Laurie sold the team, they dumped Pronger and other vets and the lockout ensued. The Cards were at the beginning of a historic 15 year run. It started about then, even though it took till 2006 to get there, the 2004 & 2005 Cards were probably better than the 2006 team. At that time, the franchises were on the cusp of great things, even though the Cardinals were the only team to sustain it.
The Cardinals and Blues are SOOOOO fine.

The Cardinals have an aging core? True. And they have a bunch of young studs ready to be the next core. That's what great franchises do. The Cardinals are a great franchise.

They remain in EXCELLENT shape to be very good for a very long time. Their competition has improved to the point that an off-year would not be kind in the standings, but as long as they perform reasonably to the expectations of their roster, they'll be fine. The TV deal and some expiring contracts ensures that they'll be able to continue to spend in the upper third of the league and we know they'll continue to do it in a wise manner.

I'm not even a little bit concerned about our baseball franchise.

The Blues are what the Blues have been for most of their time in St. Louis. So I'm not really worried about them either, other than the fact that I'm constantly worried about them. They're going to remain very good for a very long time.

You can question whether Jake Allen is a big game goalie, I suppose, but beyond that, I don't see that there is anything to question about the Blues goaltending. Allen is well on his way to becoming elite. He is the best goaltender the Blues have had since at least Curtis Joseph. (They've had plenty of big names at the end of their careers or young guys with potential, but nobody who's really been clear cut elite while wearing a Blues uniform. Roman Turek may be the exception, but that ended abruptly for multiple reasons.)

Can they win the Cup? Who the hell knows any more. I sure hope so. The roster is capable. Will this be the year they step up and get the breaks? Check back in April and hopefully May and June.

The Rams are a sad story. But I'm close to over it. I'm done with that. But the Blues and the Cardinals? Lots and lots to look forward to.


But if we're counting colleges as local sports teams, we should add to the misery with Illinois. They have an interim football coach (who they might have to settle for thanks to so many teams looking for coaches) thanks to a scandal with their former head coach. They have a basketball program that may be on it's way to it's lowest point in 2 decades. They don't have an AD partly due to the aforementioned scandal and partly due to the fact that he was just awful. And they don't have a school chancellor to help find an AD. Oskee-wow-wow!
DogtownBnR,

relax; it's not like we're Philadelphia.
Why are you so hard on the future of the Cardinals? Sure our core is older but we've called up a bunch of young talent and now it's time to have some fun in free agency. The Cardinals are set financially for the next 30 years.
I think the Blues also have a bright future. They have a shown they can draft well and they have some good young talent, including one of the future megastars of the league.

The Rams aren't leaving town. The team is awful but also the youngest team in the league. They need a regime change and QB and then the only place they can go is up.
roger wyoming II wrote:
DogtownBnR,

relax; it's not like we're Philadelphia.


Really? It's tough being a sports fan in St. Louis? We're not even in the top 10.

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/06/04/upshot/The-Most-Cursed-Sports-Cities-in-America.html?_r=0

I feel sorry for Oakland. Within a few years the Raiders could be San Antonio, the Warriors in San Francisco and the A's in San Jose.
^ I guess we'll have to cross Kansas City off that most cursed list.

Back to Philly, it's amazing how awful their professional sports scene is right now.

Their baseball team finished last in their division
Their soccer team finished 18th out of 20 MLS teams in points
Their basketball team hasn't won a game yet this season (0-15!)
Their hockey team is settling into the bottom tier
Their football team likely will finish last in their division

Yeah Philly!
I think ya'll are reading into what I wrote, as ripping the future of the Cards and Blues. I think my point was not to say the Cards are doomed,but to say their road to the playoffs looks like it is going to be WAY tougher, now that the Cubs are for real and are not going away. Add in the Pirates and the Central is the best division in baseball or at least one of the best. The Cards have had a big advantage, playing in the Central, minus a few years. They need to beef up their lineup and solidify the pitching for 2016. Now, going forward, I do have concerns, since many other teams have cherry-picked our scouting dept. and front office, as well as figured out our model. Can they replace those individuals with talented people to continue the franchise's amazing scouting? I do not know, but I am concerned. We may have a lot of talent, but our farm system has dropped in several franchise rankings. It used to be #1 continually. Same with the Blues. I don't see a lot of talent that is going to make a huge difference. Deals like the Miller deal and the rise of players to the NHL, have left the system a bit bare. While I agree, the Blues and Cards are much less of a concern, the Rams, Mizzou, SLU and Illinois, are enough to get sports fans depressed. I can't remember a time when my Tigers were so inept in both football and basketball, with so much uncertainty looming. Times are tough, especially on the local college scene. I'm not looking back at our past glory (Cards/Rams). I am looking at the immediate and longer term future. Are their worse cities than us, of course. Then again, we are used to being a great sports city, winning championships and having competitive teams. After all, is avoiding being Cleveland or other "cursed" cities the goal or expecting a quality and competitive product from our local teams, a reasonable expectation? I think we are a better sports town with higher expectations.
I was kind of wondering in what area does St. Louis rank unusually high because the per person denominator is so low, similar to crime rankings, but in a good way. I was guessing we might have high sports attendance per city resident. So I went to ESPN and got all the attendance numbers for the last full regular seasons for the top pro sports - NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, & MLS for each team, and added them up for each city. Then I divided by city population and also metro population. Even though St. Louis has no MLS, NFL, or NBA, we came out number 1 out of 50 when you divide total pro sports attendance by city population. I also tried dividing by metro population, and we still came out pretty high at number 5 out of 50. I posted the results in my wordpress blog. https://missouricurrent.wordpress.com/

Here are the rankings for Cities.
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And Metros:
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Not entirely sure where to put this but I suppose this is it.

Saw a piece on KTVI news the other day that Vince McMahon really wants to create a renewed XFL in 2020, which, while not sharing the wrestling connections of the original XFL from 2001, will differ significantly from NFL football in order to provide a 'controversy-free, entertaining' experience. Some of the changes will be highly discouraging political gestures (such as protesting the Anthem) and forbidding the participation of players with any prior criminal history so the emphasis will be purely on the entertainment value of the game itself. There will also supposedly be a higher emphasis on player safety.

KTVI stated that McMahon is apparently extremely interested in bringing one of the eight inaugural teams to the Dome in St. Louis, as he believes XFL can fill the void left here by the NFL and recapture many of the former fans. The report also noted some enthusiasm on the side of city leaders and even included a short interview with Lewis Reed, IIRC, who publicly stated his support for the venture. Finally, it was also said that bringing a team here would be entirely privately funded by the League.

Dunno if the entire venture will be successful or not, but McMahon seems to be putting a LOT behind it. In fact, he's even hired Oliver Luck as the XFL Commissioner, so there seems to be a serious attempt at something, at least.

Final selection of cities will supposedly be announced in 2019 ahead of the inaugural season in 2020.
I would rather the Dome be used for large events (NCAA, extreme sports, conventions, etc) than a dedicated home for a XFL team.
I don't see any reason XFL and other events couldn't coexist at least as well as NFL and other events. The dome has never been dedicated exclusively to a sport. It's hosted exhibition sports, events, conventions . . . car shows, boat shows, even a model railroad show once. (The NMRA national convention ten years back or so.) I won't say as I'm excited about it. I expect it will be one more McMahon grade carnival. But I don't see a problem with it. Honestly, NFL's position is probably as vulnerable right now as it has ever been. No better time to introduce a new form of football. Might not be a bad business decision. Milk the anger for momentum on the startup. If, that is, he can actually build a better mousetrap. Without a top notch product nothing else will matter. He's great at theatre, and there's a lot of theatre in sports, but . . . it's just a little different. When done right. Something about rules and the outcome being somewhat difficult to predict. We shall see.

But McMahon skipping politics? Seriously? I'm pretty darn confident the politics won't skip him, whether he wants them or not. Nobody is escaping the politics unscathed these days. Especially not him. Good luck with that.
stlien wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:14 pm
I would rather the Dome be used for large events (NCAA, extreme sports, conventions, etc) than a dedicated home for a XFL team.
Yeah, those five home games are really going to interfere with the Auto Show, Boat Show, Home and Garden show and the um.......um.......you know.....um, al those other shows that book it solid 365/year.

Seriously, your post sounds more personal than logistical. I'd rather the Dome becomes consistently relevant to the region again.
symphonicpoet wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 9:51 pm
But McMahon skipping politics? Seriously? I'm pretty darn confident the politics won't skip him, whether he wants them or not. Nobody is escaping the politics unscathed these days. Especially not him. Good luck with that.
It's almost as though his wife has a role in the current Administration. Not too hard to connect the dots with the current hang-up on trying to trash the NFL right before the launch of the XFL 2.0. Still mad about the failure of USFL + percieved sleights from current NFLers + "friend" launching his own league
ricke002 wrote: It's almost as though his wife has a role in the current Administration. Not too hard to connect the dots with the current hang-up on trying to trash the NFL right before the launch of the XFL 2.0. Still mad about the failure of USFL + percieved sleights from current NFLers + "friend" launching his own league
To be honest, I'm remarkably skeptical that McMahon can create something that would either compete with the NFL in sportshowbiz terms or improve on it in terms of safety. I seem to recall WWE has had its own head trauma problems. (Though they haven't been out in front of the media in the same way.) And they've certainly been plagued with other health problems of various sorts. (Steroids and depression, mostly, I think. And standard theatrical safety whoopsies.) Not sure they've been any more proactive about that than NFL. But I'd like to see an alternative. The flag football guys posted in the video six months or a year ago looked frigging great. But McMahon isn't likely to do that.
The NFL is a juggernaut. It can't compete. But can it be profitable and function on its own? Probably. His proposed model is very different than the NFL--such as all teams owned by the league and not individual ownership groups, two hour game time, etc.

It's more philosophical to me. The game of football and the NFL are two different things but in our minds they are percieved as the same as the NFL is the unconscious 'Canon of Football.' But as we know, college football is different than NFL, different than high school, different than what goes on up in Canada and Australia. Add to that, the rules of the game vary as they are sanctioned by their league, conference, NCAA, NAIA. (There is no international governing body of American football, right?)

Question is can McMahon create a version of football that feels more like football in its 'conceptual, ideal' form and not 'football' as the NFL packages and serves up? Can he disprupt the NFL, make fans 'question the canon.' Will that resonate with fans? Players? It will be interesting to watch play out. And yes, pun intended.
Oh, the NFL is absolutely a juggernaut, but things change. Tastes. Perceptions. For much of the first half of the twentieth century I understand that the big three exhibition sports in the United States were baseball, boxing, and horse racing. The list looks a bit different these days. And fifty years from now who knows what it will be? Maybe computer games, jetpack racing, and miniatures wargaming. Well . . . except for that last one. ;-)
symphonicpoet wrote:
Sun Jun 10, 2018 11:29 am
ricke002 wrote: It's almost as though his wife has a role in the current Administration. Not too hard to connect the dots with the current hang-up on trying to trash the NFL right before the launch of the XFL 2.0. Still mad about the failure of USFL + percieved sleights from current NFLers + "friend" launching his own league
To be honest, I'm remarkably skeptical that McMahon can create something that would either compete with the NFL in sportshowbiz terms or improve on it in terms of safety. I seem to recall WWE has had its own head trauma problems. (Though they haven't been out in front of the media in the same way.) And they've certainly been plagued with other health problems of various sorts. (Steroids and depression, mostly, I think. And standard theatrical safety whoopsies.) Not sure they've been any more proactive about that than NFL. But I'd like to see an alternative. The flag football guys posted in the video six months or a year ago looked frigging great. But McMahon isn't likely to do that.
I'm not suggesting it's a good idea. Just seems like it follows a certain someone's MO.
shadrach wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 10:46 pm
stlien wrote:
Sat Jun 09, 2018 3:14 pm
I would rather the Dome be used for large events (NCAA, extreme sports, conventions, etc) than a dedicated home for a XFL team.
Yeah, those five home games are really going to interfere with the Auto Show, Boat Show, Home and Garden show and the um.......um.......you know.....um, al those other shows that book it solid 365/year.

Seriously, your post sounds more personal than logistical. I'd rather the Dome becomes consistently relevant to the region again.
When we had the Rams, the dome's availability was blocked out for half the year because of the NFL schedule. Everything revolved around the NFL schedule which made it impossible to secure some large events/conventions. Conventions are better for STL economy more so than NFL and, I imagine, the XFL. Granted, I don't know anything about the XFL schedule etc, but if getting a XFL team means the dome's availability will be blocked out for 6 months, then I think STL should pass.
There are only 3 events scheduled for 5 nights in the dome currently. Drum Corps International on July 15, Taylor Swift Sep 18, and Gateway Dirt Nationals Nov 29 - Dec 1. Drums sell seats on one side low for 1/8th of the dome. Taylor sells seats for 2/3 of the dome. Dirt Nationals sell tickets for lowest 1/4 of the dome, per TicketMaster. I think we can find 5 dates for XFLs 10 game season.


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NFL never blocked out six months. There were, what, fifteen home games? And maybe a day blocked out on each side to reset. At most maybe they blocked out a month and a half. But if you had a home game every two weeks it limited the number of large blocks of time available.

And
gary kreie wrote: There are only 3 events scheduled for 5 nights in the dome currently. Drum Corps International on July 15, Taylor Swift Sep 18, and Gateway Dirt Nationals Nov 29 - Dec 1. Drums sell seats on one side low for 1/8th of the dome. Taylor sells seats for 2/3 of the dome. Dirt Nationals sell tickets for lowest 1/4 of the dome, per TicketMaster. I think we can find 5 dates for XFLs 10 game season.


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I'd guess most of the convention business isn't sold through Ticketmaster. Event Brite shows the annual wedding show on July 29 and the Youth Specialties National Youth Workers convention November 15-18th. Explore St. Louis adds the USA Fencing 2018 national championships to that list from June 28 to July 7. Some of that will be elsewhere in the convention center, but probably not all of it.

Big events do seem to be a little off right now. There just aren't as many rock groups touring that can fill a stadium right now as there were ten or twenty years ago. And there's more competition for convention business. But I'd be remarkably surprised if that's all the more there is in the dome this season. The organizational stuff, which is most of the convention business, isn't public and doesn't sell tickets through the usual rock concert outlets. (Since you generally need to be an organization member to even qualify to buy a ticket.) I'll grant it's probably a little slow right now . . . but not that slow.

(And from the cities standpoint the rent for a sixty-thousand person football game might be about the same as from a ten thousand person dirtbike race. Venues usually rent to promoters by the day and by labor hours, not by the seat.)
^ Add the Bands of America St. Louis Super Regional October 26th-27th to that list. Similar, if not greater attendance than DCI in July.

I want to say that the news report also mentioned that the neo-XFL would play in the NFL's off-season, so a few games in spring or summer if we're looking at how much disruption it might cause to other potential events.