Earlier this week, the esteemed Frank Cusumano told you that it was impossible to make Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton love St. Louis. While that's a solid viewpoint, I am going to tell you exactly how one could persuade the California native to the Midwest. You can't force love onto anyone, but who says Stanton has to immediately fall in love with the city. The right kind of love should blossom over time.
USA Today's Bob Nightengale reported St. Louis is one of two teams to stand a chance of landing the slugger, so let's get serious.
How do you sell St. Louis to Stanton? Take it from this Uber driver, someone who was born, raised, and currently resides in the Lou.
Pick Up at the Airport
Forget the fancy car service that celebs and high priced ballplayers get. I'll pick Stanton up in my nice but modest 2017 Hyundai Elantra. It's dark red and means business, and will give the man a sense of the hard working pride of the city. He shouldn't have to use the confusing Uber/Lyft airport method to get into town. I'll do it right and bring Bob Gibson and Chris Carpenter with me.
The Hall of Fame Cardinal allure
Trust me, if there are two hardcore Cardinal elites to convince Stanton that this city is the place where the greats compete, it's Gibby and Carp. They both own rings, which is something Stanton was robbed of due to falling into the unfortunate pattern of Marlin franchise decline. Gibby will give him the death stare and Carpenter may shout at him, but we will go to Urban Chestnut Brewing Company to down a few pints of local beer so good, it can make a man do pretty much anything.
While the barbecue is wonderful, it's getting cold outside, so the body needs a full meal and that should include a big plate of pasta. I'll take Stanton to the Hill, show him Yogi Berra's house, and then drop into Charlie Gitto's. While Favazza's and Zia's are nice and all, taking him to to Gitto's is the way to go. Legendary home where Italian food is made right and class comes first. A man needs to eat, so this is important. Also, Stanton practically got out of the car on the way over and bench-pressed the car at a stop light at Shaw and Kingshighway, so he could use the calories.
This is where you fill the room with St. Louis legends, like Kurt Warner, Bobby Plager, and Tony La Russa. Show him the synergy in the city between the sports teams. Don't invite Mike Matheny until Stanton has digested a few extra glasses of fine red wine. Trust me on this.
Who cares if it's 32 degrees outside? I must show Stanton the entire scope of St. Louis and that includes some famous custard. I mean, it's really good. He will take a few bites in order to preserve his human granite type figure, but the sweet makes the proper dent. Take Hosmer to Cold Stone. Stanton gets the best.
This is where I come in. We will stop by La Cosecha Coffee Roasters in Maplewood for a cup of coffee that was roasted and ground that very same day. We will keep secret the fact that the co-owner is a Royals fan, because that's not important at the moment. What is important is informing Stanton what the goods of St. Louis have in store.
Show him the Arch, take him to city garden, and just walk around Market street. Show him where good Blues music is at Beale's on Broadway and a good sandwich is at Blues City Deli. Skip IKEA, but take him back the Improv Shop or Helium Comedy Club for a laugh. Whenever in the world, laughs are required. Tell him St. Louis is the foundation of blues, food, and comedy. A 162 game season can wear down the soul, so respite is required.
Back to Busch Stadium
This is the most important part. Set up an screening room outside on the field at Busch and put on a greatest moments clip. It won't be hard to find the moments. Perhaps, the final outs of the 2006 and 2011 World Series. The 2004 run and the 2013 theatrics. Show him Matt Adams' blast off Clayton Kershaw and how the crowd made St. Louis city tremble. Show him Gibby, Brock, and Musial going to work back in the day.
Tell Stanton that the Cards grossed 3.4 million fans in a season where they finished in third place. Tell him 40,000 souls routinely pack Busch Stadium, which is 30,000 more than Miami can muster on a game to game basis. Inform him that St. Louis is Cardinals baseball. It's our DNA and lifeline. It's as serious as oxygen, soft sheets, and hot coffee.
I'll be waiting outside in my Elantra, but I won't need to say anything. The message will have been sent, downloaded, and stored. Either Stanton gets it or he doesn't. There are no in-between thoughts here.
Take him to the airport and tell him you will see him soon. Don't warn him about the Dodgers ALMOST getting the World Series but falling short and how the Giants aren't right. Don't show him David Price and what he has dealt with in Boston. That's not required. The job has been done.
St. Louis has been sold to Giancarlo Stanton the right way. Whether he takes it or not depends on other factors out of your control and left up to fate. Baseball isn't a Nicholas Sparks novel. Thank god.
Please don't take this too seriously. In a sea of Stanton rumors, I wanted to introduce something light and fun. Something different.
Thanks for reading,
I'll see you at the coffee shop.