Archive for January, 2013

Stan Musial is What Made St. Louis Sports

Posted in MLB, Sports, St. Louis Blues, St. Louis Cardinals, St. Louis Rams on January 20, 2013 by Travis Green

You hear it in every city. “We have the best baseball fans…” “We have the best football fans…” “We have the best hockey fans…” or my favorite “Home of the best sports fans…”

Well obviously one will never know who has the greatest baseball, hockey, basketball, or football fans. Nor will we know what town is home to the best sports fans, but one thing is for certain if you grow up in St. Louis it is hard to avoid the lunacy that is St. Louis sports.

St. Louis is a decent size city with a small town feel. If you go over on “The Hill” you will walk into shops where regulars are known by name, go to “the Landing” and there will be a beer sitting at a spot in a local establishment waiting for their regular 5 pm visit from a local. Walk into a gas station wearing a Blues, Cardinals, or Rams jersey and instantly a conversation will be struck about the latest news surrounding the team. This city loves its sports.

Opening Day in baseball should be considered a local holiday in St. Louis, because you can guarantee the city will be decked in red, Keiner Plaza will have the red dye in its fountains, and every radio station will be talking Cardinals.

Jump about month ahead to May, and the town will “Bleed Blue” if the Blues are in the playoffs. Let’s Go Blues will be chanted all over town, signs will be hung from buildings and businesses supporting the team. The buzz will be all about the city, with everyone asking “is this the year?”

And finally head north down Broadway, and listen to the screaming faithful every Sunday cheer on their Rams, and in times of struggle the paranoia of their beloved Blue and Gold leaving town in favor for a West Coast dream.

You can’t escape it. If you don’t like sports in a town like this at one point in your life you will be consumed. Rather it is the dominating performance of “Mr. Goalie”, Glenn Hall between the pipes, the beloved Cardiac Cardinals, Whitey Ball, The Greatest Show on Turf, the heroics of a hometown hero David Freese, or the genuine loving nature of one of their own Stan “The Man” Musial, you WILL be consumed.

Athlete’s come and go in this town like many other, but one thing seems to be consistent…they all want to stay and call St. Louis home. Many athletes such as: Keith Tkachuk, Jim Edmonds, Marshall Faulk, Ozzie Smith have all found St. Louis too good to move away after their playing career.

Why?

Because St. Louis embraces you, but the key is to embrace them back. St. Louis like many cities love athlete who will work hard,  fight for their team, and of course win championships. But St. Louis is a city that expects more, they want to see you in the community, treating life outside your sport like a normal human being.

Stan Musial created the path for athletes in St. Louis. Everyone you talk to that knew Stan will tell you, “He was kind, gentle, and genuinely cared for the people of St. Louis.” For that matter he cared for everyone he came in contact with, “you won’t meet a nicer person than Stan” is something that is stated all around town.

He was “The Man” for a reason, no one will replace what he meant to this city. But also no one can replace what this town meant to Stan, It was a match made in heaven.

Being too young to see Stan play I can only go off what I’ve heard and learned over my years about Stan, and that is Stan is St. Louis sports.

Growing up in this city, attending opening days with Stan in attendance, being involved in the many standing ovations Musial was showered with, there is one thing that is a fact after yesterday’s loss of an icon: St. Louis will never be the same.

I am blessed to grow up in a town where the love of sports is impressed upon you, and where idols such as Stan Musial were present, and help create in my mind: The World’s Best Sports Town.

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