A wise man once said, "take all the good stuff that comes your way, especially if it's already on the road."
St. Louis is having a good week. Why? Let's get into a few things in my latest sports-themed buffet. Grab a tasty ale and tip it back, because we have a lot to discuss.
MLS to STL, done?
Just about. A project that is being completely funded by private parties, with no money coming from taxpayers, at least in the early going. The HUDZ committee voted all in favor, and now the MLS soccer team will move to the next sector of approval. Jim Kavanaugh of Worldwide Technologies and Jack Taylor of Enterprise Holdings are behind the funding. Kavanaugh recruited Cardinals' play-by-play announcer Dan McClaughlin to speak at Wednesday's night's hearing, and the South City native gave an impassioned speech. Certain words struck me. Words like, "St. Louis needs this. This is a win." The city does need this. A soccer team would bring revenue, worldwide attention and glamour, and put the city on a map in a way that hasn't been possible in years. Forget baseball or hockey for a minute and think about a soccer team in this city. I am not a big fan of the sport, but I sure would become one very fast if a team came here.
As our own Frank Cusumano said Thursday night, quoting Herb Brooks, "if we blow this opportunity, we will take this to our **** graves." Don't mess this up. Vote in favor of it. MLS to St. Louis costs you nothing and could give your city everything.
The XFL Returns....and hits STL!
While the city profits more from a soccer team than an entertainment-based football team, there's nothing wrong with football returning to St. Louis. There hasn't been football in this town in just under three years. The Rams left town, dropped a match on their way out, and have become a powerhouse in the NFL. Vince McMahon and the XFL named St. Louis one of the cities that would receive a team, preferably at the vacant Ed Dome that is gathering dust when Guns N' Roses and Taylor Swift aren't in town. This is 100 percent fun. Don't think about it too much. Don't compare it to the NFL. Just embrace it. If it lasts a few years, great. If not, no harm. The XFL is meant to provide entertainment, not pump up your fantasy football league. Think of it as going rogue on the NFL. Stan can't take all the fun away.
Patience with Mo and the Stove
Hot Stove season has commenced in Major League Baseball, and St. Louis Cardinals fans are like an angry wannabe cook watching the Food Network with a very dry and sleepy John Mozeliak instructing them how to make a killer bowl of chicken noodle soup. The segment is taking forever, and restlessness turns to rage and that transforms into.... the channel getting changed, the remote being tossed across the room, and a pizza being ordered. Just stay calm...for now.
The Cardinals have pushed themselves into a corner by boasting a high payroll and filling the seats yet finishing outside of the playoff picture for three years. In this town, three years may as well read as 30. It's too long. The last time they participated in October, Jaime Garcia's stomach ruined everything. In order to get back to the party, the Cardinals need to change their spending philosophy. You can't place a dollar limit on Bryce Harper. If the price rises, you rise with it. I trust that Mozeliak and Bill DeWitt Jr. (and I guess Michael Girsch too) know this playbook well by now. Do the right thing, gents.
An Answer for The Blues?
Nope. The Blues made the Detroit Red Wings look good on Wednesday night, continuing their slide down the tunnel of stink. They sit with the Los Angeles Kings for worst in the NHL, and I can't see a big turnaround in this teams near future. The defense is terrible, the scoring has decreased, and the goaltending isn't show-stopping great. Craig Berube can be as tough as nails, but what is he doing to sell that Mike Yeo didn't unless Doug Armstrong changes the tune. As I wrote for St. Louis Game Time on Wednesday, the traces of this demise sit with the General Manager. Bad contracts, underachievement from the roster, and a lack of direction has turned this clubhouse into a rudderless mess. There's no easy way out. Toss Jake Allen or Alex Steen's bad contract onto someone if you'd like. Delete Jay Bouwmeester from existence. Play the Kings more. December could turn back the clock back to 2006-07. It's ugly, but it may get worse. Check for a pulse first.
Wilder and Fury provide fireworks in the ring?
Deontay Wilder and Tyson Fury have worked this promotional tour perfectly, taunting each other and having their little verbal battles and shoving matches on the stage. What happens when they get on the big stage, the square ring? This Saturday night, these two heavyweights fight for the WBC belt and should provide some fireworks, but it all depends on the probability of Wilder getting inside and breaking down Fury's tenacious defense.
Both fighters are undefeated but have different styles. Wilder is a knockout artist, winning 39 of his 40 bouts before the final bell. Fury works over a fighter, shutting down lanes of traffic to his face, and frustrating the opponent. Look at his 2015 match with Wladimir Klitschko. He tied the Russian destroyer in knots and won the fight. However, Wilder is younger, faster, and more powerful with his hands. I expect him to get inside, chop down the tree, and win the fight by decision. Call it 41-0, Deontay Wilder.
The Quick Take Zone:
*If the Cardinals DO NOT acquire a bat this winter, a big one, count them out of the playoffs in 2019.
*I'll continue to stand in Pat Maroon's corner. I don't care what his +/- rating is. The goals will come. They have to. They must! They are coming! Alright, I need a drink.
*I agree with KSDK's Corey Miller that Nolan Gorman shouldn't be moved. The dude wasted little time last summer mashing baseballs. He'll be at third base in three years or less.
*South African boxer Chris Van Heerden signing with Top Rank is outstanding news. He's a good dude who is talented and deserves a real shot. As in, give the guy some fights! Look for him to make 2019 his own.
*MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred just needs to leave the game alone. Don't come up with any changes. Well, you could fire Angel Hernandez. Other than that, stop throwing wood on the fire upstairs.
*I have no idea who will the Super Bowl and I don't care. If I can't watch Tom Brady potentially take down the Rams again but cheer instead of cry this time, I don't care at all.
*How is Lebron James doing?
*I hope the next time an NHL referee sticks his head into a scrap that is still going, he catches a fist to his nose. Let the two men fight, man! Step aside, Butch.
*Sam Bradford doesn't have to take another snap behind center again. Save your brain, man. You are rich and did next to nothing.
*As the years pass by, I will fear the Chicago Cubs less. I do think they are trending down. Getting older, will trade off assets, and won't win 100 games again for a while. Just a thought. Watch out for the Milwaukee Brewers. Christian Yelich is no one MVP season wonder either.
That's it. All I have. Get your Christmas lights and tree up and start playing the Sinatra tunes. We will talk more next week.