Ladies and gentlemen, I have a fever, and what I need is for a St. Louis sports team to defeat a Boston sports team in the championship round again.
The idea has lingered in the back of the minds of people in this town for decades. Since Bob Gibson and the Cardinals defeated the Red Sox in the 1967 World Series, no St. Louis sports team has beaten a Boston team in the finals. More Imo's Pizza and fewer oysters, please.
As the elation of the St. Louis Blues return to the Stanley Cup Finals erupted on Tuesday night, a memory became all too clear again. Standing in their way were the Boston Bruins. If the Blues are to hoist their first Cup, going through Boston will be required.
Defeating a Boston team isn't easy. Just ask the Blues. Back when they first came into the league in the late 1960s, St. Louis made it to the Stanley Cup Finals in their first three seasons. The final one, during the 1969-70 season, the Bruins swept the Blues to win the Cup.
The Cardinals got the best of Boston in 1946 and 1967, but haven't beaten them since. In 2004, the St. Louis Cardinals were swept by the Boston Red Sox. In 2013, the Red Sox defeated the Cardinals in six games.
Oh, don't forget the Rams. While St. Louis may never have a football team anymore, they know very well how the Greatest Show on Turf started dying. A rookie named Tom Brady and a kicker named Adam Vinateri helped the New England Patriots dash the Rams' hopes of a repeat back in 2001.
The St. Louis Hawks beat Boston in 1958, but the Celtics went on to beat the Hawks in two of the next three NBA Finals, with St. Louis losing their team soon after.
The Blues can put an end to the sadness. After all, this year's team makes no sense whatsoever. They were picked to a top contender in September, fired their coach in November, sat in the cellar by late December, and proceeded to collect the best second-half record in the NHL before vanquishing the Winnipeg Jets, Dallas Stars, and San Jose Sharks 19 games.
Wouldn't it be perfectly ironic for the Blues to ease the pain of St. Louis by not only winning their first Cup, but sending a Boston team home empty-handed? You couldn't write this kind of ending if you tried. Revenge is indeed a dish best served cold.
Honestly, I can't tell you what's going to happen the next three weeks, but I can advise you to get set for another bumpy ride. By June 12, one team will stand tall and the other will be wondering what went wrong. The Bruins are extremely tough, winning seven playoff games in a row coming into this series. They play great defense, have a stellar power play, and a Stanley Cup battle-tested goaltender in Tuukka Rask.
Then again, nothing has come easy to these Blues. They are also battle-tested and relentless. When pushed against a wall, they respond with vigor. After going down 3-2 against Winnipeg, they stormed back. San Jose had a 2-1 lead and could only muster two goals in the next three games against St. Louis. Dallas didn't have the right stuff.
Right when I think this team has reached their limit, they find another gear. Right when I think they are driving down that familiar road of choke, they turn around and find another way. It's inspiring, emotional, and very invigorating. Sports are something else.
The city of Boston has held court over St. Louis for over 50 years, which is right around the number of years the Blues have been waiting to win it all. They have bested this town in championship series in six of the past seven matchups.
It's time to change that. Flip the script, Blues. Raise the cup, exorcise a demon, and send this town into a frenzy that will include no clam chowder, no Boston baked beans or viewings of Good Will Hunting or The Departed.