Posts Tagged ‘Rams’

Will we see moving vans hauling Rams equipment out of STL? Will we care?

Will we see moving vans hauling Rams equipment out of STL? Will we care?

Let me preface this entire piece by saying that my point of view may be slightly off, as I’m a St. Louis transplant residing four hours away, so I’m not in the middle of the pulse of the city on a regular basis.

Having said that…

The ongoing saga of the Los Angeles Rams of St. Louis is akin to watching a tennis match between two competitors who you aren’t really familiar with, and therefore lose interest the longer it goes on.

And both sides are to blame.

First, you have the guy with the second-worst hair in the National Football League (top honor goes to Oakland Raiders owner Mark Davis), Stan Kroenke. He’s the proverbial Darth Vader of St. Louis. The all-mighty and powerful man with a plan, the money to back it all up, and seemingly has zero (cares) to give.

His intentions are well-known: be the financial supplier for a state-of-the-art facility in Inglewood (Los Angeles) and move the Rams back out west. The Los Angeles market has become that hot new girlfriend that has his eye, while St. Louis at this point is the old ball-and-chain that he’s grown tired of being with, and can’t be bothered to return her phone calls.

Now, I’ll call this as I see it. Moving the Rams from St. Louis to Los Angeles, at least short-term, would be a major financial gain for a guy who is, after all, a businessman first and foremost. By going out into that market, the overall value of your franchise will immediately go up. Couple that with a brand new stadium and entertainment complex that would demand unquestionable attention from the masses – at least for the first year or so. After that, it’s up the Kroenke to put a product on the field that will actually encourage fans to buy tickets and come out to support. Fans who could easily be distracted by other, much cheaper options, such as the beach. I’ll give credit where it’s due to Rams fans, who in spite of this team’s future hanging in extreme limbo, and continuing to be a disappointment in terms of success, still showed reasonable attendance numbers through the 2014 season.

St. Louis stadium task force leaders Dave Peacock and Bob Blitz put together a pretty good presentation for a new, open-air stadium. Even after various tweaks and modifications made to the plan due to logistics, it still looks pretty impressive. Couple that with the agreement struck with the labor unions to approve around-the-clock shifts that would cut overall costs plus reduce the construction time, and things look promising for having a new home for a team set to stay in St. Louis, right?

Not so much.

The cold reality of the situation is that Stan Kroenke is a man with what, for lack of a better term, has F-YOU money. Sure, he’d be faced with the NFL by-laws of ownership voting to approve or deny a relocation of the Rams organization. However, we’re talking about a guy who could could easily sustain any fine thrown at him by the league for moving without permission, and losing no sleep over it. If he truly wants to go, he’s going to go, and who’s going to stop him?

And will we ultimately even care?

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With 2013 coming to a (very quick, to me) end, it’s time to sit back and reflect on what the last 365 days have brought me. Some good, some bad, some elation, some heartbreak. Lots of lessons learned, and lots of new friends and acquaintances made. Here are a handful of the year’s highlights…

I don’t go out to concerts nearly as much these days as I did during my single/non-family days, but I did get the opportunity to catch two shows this year that were both monumental to me. In April Amy and I took in a performance by the living legend of St. Louis, Chuck Berry, at the legendary Blueberry Hill. Even at age 86 (87 now), the man still handles his business, and sounds as good as ever. That was a bucket list item for me. The opener for that show was the Andy Timmons Band (Timmons, formerly of Danger Danger, has done a multitude of studio sessions with great musicians, and his solo work is stellar).

The other concert for me this year was, also at Blueberry Hill, the 25th anniversary tour of the “Vivid” album from Living Colour. I’ve been a fan for years, and that album in particular is one that I hold in high regard within the category of “No-skips”.  I can let it play from the opening second of track 1 to the closing seconds of track 11, and not feel the need to skip over anything inbetween. An added plus was the opening act, the Steve Ewing Band (side project of the lead singer from The Urge).

I further submerged myself in the mix of St. Louis radio this year, in due part to several gentlemen. After a station/format rebrand, I (re) familarized myself with the group of Brian McKenna, Jeff Burton (formerly of 105.7 The Point), and John Edwards as Midday Mayhem on 590 The Man. Meanwhile, over on the internet radio broadcast side of things, a 3-man operation consisting of Ron Godier, Wade Trent, and Joe Cochran on TalkSTL.com created general shenanigans on their (scheduled) daily broadcast of WTF. In late June, they took their show on the road, for two days of broadcasts in Topeka KS at the Equality House (directly across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church). After joining them for both days, I left with a greater understanding and appreciation for everything the Equality House & Planting Peace Peace do, along with having made a number of new friends and contacts. Wade is out of radio now, having had his work as a musician really take off in the past few months, and Godier & Cochran are now on nights on 920AM along with the incomparable Brad Mulholland as The Daily Wrap.

My passion for mixed martial arts (MMA) grew by leaps and bounds this year, largely in part to the long-awaited and much-deserved UFC debut of Kansas City’s own “The” James Krause. He parlayed his success in the octagon this year into success with his business ventures, and bought into co-ownership of his gym, GrindHouse MMA, in Lee’s Summit (Jennah and I went out to visit the gym early last month; their setup is simplistic, yet phenomenal). I’ve also been able to familiarize myself with a number of other local/regional fighters, both professional and amateur.

The year brought a fair amount of success for various sports teams I follow.

– The St. Louis Blues returned to the playoffs for the 2012/2013 season, although they made a quiet and relatively uneventful exit. Prior to today’s game vs Minnesota, the Blues already have accumulated 26 wins on the 2013/2014 season – the first time in franchise history that they’d have more than 25 wins at the end of the calendar year.

– The Kansas City Chiefs rebounded from a forgettable 2012 season (both in terms of schedule/standings, and the stigma of a player murder/suicide) with a successful 2013, earning themselves a solid wild card slot, and travel to Indianapolis for playoffs this weekend.

– The New Orleans Saints will also return to the playoffs, clinching a wild card position this past weekend, and will visit Philadelphia to face the Eagles.

– The St. Louis Rams… well, they ALMOST finished with an 8-8 record.

– The St. Louis Cardinals returned to the World Series, and were two games away from being 12-time champions.

– The Kansas City Royals finished 5 games over .500 (their best season finish since 1989), and look to be in reasonably good shape going into the 2014 season.

– The Florida State Seminoles (my dad’s alma mater) returns to the national championship picture, undefeated, slated to go against Auburn next week.

The best of the best in my sports world, for 2013, was Sporting Kansas City. If you haven’t known me for a long time, this statement won’t ring as true to you as it will with those who have known me for years or grew up with me, but my passion for Sporting parallels that for the Cardinals (I can probably go three weeks without repeating a single Cardinals shirt or jersey – I’m quickly catching up with SKC gear). As the Kansas City Wizards, they came a long way from a team that nearly moved out of Kansas City a decade ago, to a team in 2010 who pulled off a huge upset victory in a friendly against EPL powerhouse Manchester United. 2011 marked the debut of the franchise rebrand, now known as Sporting Kansas City, along with their new stadium. They’ve made playoffs in all three seasons since then, culminating 2013 with winning their second MLS Cup.

2013 was not without its personal losses.  March brought the passing of my aunt Gail, who finally was overwhelmed in her battle with cancer. Although anticipated, especially with her final weeks being spent in home hospice, her death still hit me hard. I’m beyond appreciative of my daughter, for she was my rock during a very difficult time. She embraced and carried around the stuffed sheep my parents bought her to keep her occupied during the visitation, and she gave much-needed hugs and cuddles. She held my hand at the graveside service, only being momentarily distracted upon hearing a train passing by a little less than a mile away.

At the end of November, my parents faced the difficult (but correct) decision of putting one of their two cats down after he suffered multiple seizures, the later of which Phenobarbital was unable to control. Of the two (Simon and Garfunkel), Garf was the shy one, but would love you unconditionally once he got to know you. The first time I visited back home after their adoption, I didn’t see Garf for the better part of the first two days. Over time, and future visits, he warmed up to me and would remember me each time I came back home to visit, and was a total softy. I/we don’t have any scheduled trips back home to St. Louis anytime soon, but I face the fact that sometime between now and that next trip, I need to find a way to somehow explain to Jennah that her play buddy won’t be around anymore.

On a lighter, but still hard-hitting note, my car died earlier in the year. Coming home from work and daycare in early February, and the engine blew while on the highway. We were fortunate enough to be on a downhill portion of the highway at the time, and not only coasted down the offramp that was about a half-mile ahead, but lucked out with no traffic at the bottom of the ramp, allowing me to coast the car onto the street and into the parking lot of a gas station/truck stop uninterrupted, bringing the car to a stop in their lot. The process of getting the ol’ Punker back up and going again was long, stressful, and not cheap, but did get a smile out of knowing that the replacement engine that is in there now came to me from a shop along Route 66 in Illinois.

It would seem fitting that the end of the year would end up being the brightest to me, personally. Jennah is now 3 years old (3 and a half in February), and while she wasn’t quite at the age to really understand everything with Christmas last year, she was all about it this year. Helping out with decorations. Making sure the tree was on every day after daycare. Looking around for Christmas lights along the drives. No help needed from momma or daddy, she handled the unwrapping of presents all on her own this year. And I know that for as much as she enjoyed it this year (and subsequently made ME enjoy Christmas that much more), it’ll only get better next year.

I now await the conclusion of this year in its final few hours, and look forward to what 2014 brings. Here’s hoping that you (yes, you) will be a part of it.

Oh, and my New Year’s resolution? 1280 x 1024. Now you know.

Cheers.

I grew up as a resident of the St. Louis area until I was 21, and have lived in Kansas City ever since. As an avid sports fan, the thought crossed my mind the other day – how many of the teams from my two cities are absolute stinkers overall? Below are my thoughts on two of the three St. Louis professional sports teams, both of Kansas City’s major sports teams (excluding the MLS’ Sporting Kansas City, which is the only thing sports-wise KC has going for it), and threw in the Chicago Cubs just for kicks and grins.

MLB – THE CHICAGO CUBS:
The lovable losers. Credit to their fanbase, though. To paraphrase professional wrestler CM Punk (who is a lifelong Cubs fan), “I’ve been to The Cell. I’ve been to Comisky Park. They’re always half-empty. Wrigley Field is always filled to capacity, 39 thousand strong.” The battle cry of the Cubs fan: HOPE. Granted, the team is now on a 104-year streak without a World Series championship, but at least they’ve made postseason on a handful of occasions since then (including being oh-so-close to another World Series appearance, thwarted by that Bartman guy). Unfortunately for the franchise, they’ve been on the sub-500 side of their division for a number of seasons lately. Can they rebuild the team around newly-renewed Starlin Castro and bring playoffs back to the northside of Chicago? Only time – perhaps lots of time – will tell.

MLB – THE KANSAS CITY ROYALS:
Perennial losers since 1985. As was mentioned earlier with the “Curse of the Goat” with the Cubs, some have joked about the “Don Denkinger Curse” for the Royals. A blown call paved the way for KC to make a two-win comeback and claim baseball’s grand championship. Since then, the team has not only failed to repeat their championship status, but have failed to even qualify for the playoffs. With a habit of taking any player who shows quality & potential and trading them away, it’s become a tradition of the “Glass Era”. My thoughts – until change takes place at the very top, and someone without the last name of Glass is owning the team, a postseason appearance, much less a second World Series title for the Royals, is nothing more than a pipe dream.

NFL – THE KANSAS CITY CHIEFS:
Battling the Kansas City Royals annually for the title of “City’s worst team”, the Chiefs both win and lose. The odds of accomplishing a +/= .500 record is decent. They entered the playoffs two seasons ago. However, they haven’t won a playoff game since the 1993 season and their Super Bowl title took place before at least half of Chiefs Kingdom was ever born. Recent years have been a revolving door of head coaches and coordinators, and some coaches who have doubled as coordinators. Their quarterback scenario is pitiful. Offense and defense both take their share of dumb penalties. One thing that the Chiefs have going for them, much like what was noted earlier in the Chicago Cubs, is that Arrowhead Stadium is still a pretty packed place for home games. Unfortunately for them, near-sellout crowds don’t dictate wins and losses. Will they make postseason and beyond under new coach Romeo Crennell? Don’t hold your breath on it for this season.

NFL – THE ST. LOUIS RAMS:
Remember that team that won it all in the 1999 season with the “Greatest Show On Turf”, and then followed that up with another Super Bowl appearance two years later under the cloud of “Spygate”? Yeah, those days are long gone, and so is the success that came with them. Through the last decade, a pattern of bad (and in the case of Spags, HORRIBLE) coaching has held up, along with players who theoretically looked decent but never lived up to their potential, and bad draft pick after bad draft pick. The result is a fanbase with a “devil-may-care” attitude. The Rams are a distant 3rd place in the ranks of St. Louis sports franchises. Add to that the constant issue of dome renovation/replacement and the possibility of the team leaving St. Louis. It’s as if the franchise is too distracted with those issues to actually concentrate on building a decent team and winning games. Anything over 5 wins for the Rams in this 2012 season should be considered a success.

NHL – THE ST. LOUIS BLUES:
It’s hard to grasp the fact that a team with so much potential has yet to grasp that brass ring and make it their own. The Blues are the only remaining franchise from the “Expansion Six” to have never won a Stanley Cup, despite making it to the championship round in their first three seasons of existence. The organization also boasted a streak of 25 consecutive seasons of post-season play – a record that that falls short only to two other hockey organizations – no team in any of the other major sports has matched this. Alas, the story of the Blues for so many years has been financial struggles, even recently. The team finally squared away details on its sale earlier this year to new ownership, and appeared to be running full-steam ahead into the 2011/2012 season playoffs. They rolled San Jose in 5 games, and then were swept out of the second round by Los Angeles, who went on to win their franchise’s first Stanley Cup. Will the Blues ever take it all the way? Out of all the sports teams listed in this blog, I believe they have the most potential and are the most likely to be the first/next team to win it all.

My pick on which teams will win their respective championships while I’m alive: In order…

1) St. Louis Blues
2) Kansas City Chiefs
3) St. Louis Rams
4) Chicago Cubs
5) Kansas City Royals

Feel free to leave your thoughts, comments, disagreements, greivances, etc.