The State of St. Louis sports

Got love for St. Louis sports? Let's talk Pro, College, High School, or otherwise.
I know this post will be taken as negative…..Well, it is!

I think we are entering a very tough stretch for sports here in our fair city. Right now, we have an NFL team that is trying to leave the City. In the meantime, they are on pace to win 6 games, if they are lucky. Can you imagine the Dome attendance for those last 3 “home games”! With all of this going on, we have to deal with the everyday BS associated with relocation rumors, new stadium funding and the highs and lows that come with that. Assuming we lose the Rams, there will be no future for the NFL in STL. That alone is a reason to be negative.

Now, moving on the Cardinals and their future.

The Cardinals now have to contend with REAL division foes. While the Pirates have been good for a while, the rise of the Cubs is officially underway. If they go out and add a few pieces, we may be looking at the curse ending and the Cardinals looking up at the Cubs in the standings, for years to come. That is a scary proposition, but a very real possibility. For God’s sake, they got the Cy Young winner, rookie of the year, manager of the year and eliminated their hated rival, the Cardinals, from the playoffs. It wasn’t supposed to happen this soon!

Also, the Cardinals go into 2016, with a question mark 1-5 in the pitching rotation. That could change with free agency, but we’ll have to see. The Cards have an aging core and have lost some major pieces in the scouting dept. and front office. I’m not saying their future is bleak, but winning the division, is going to be much more difficult.

Now, on to the Blues. The Blues have a good team, but I still think they have a lot of question marks. Goaltending is the biggest. Can Jake Allen take the Blues to the Cup. I don’t have a clue. I think the Blues have the talent to win a Cup, but I’ve been disappointed my entire life. I will continue to expect playoff disappoint, in the hopes of being shocked someday, when I see a guy holding the Cup over his head, with a Bluenote on his sweater. In other words, nothing much has changed over the last 30 years.

Now, on to the college teams. Mizzou is a mess. Mizzou’s reputation has been tarnished in recent weeks. This perceived unrest on campus, could really hurt football recruiting. Gary Pinkel just resigned, IMO, due to pressure from boosters and donors. Can Mack Rhoades save the program by making a homerun hire, for sure, but he is going to be competing with USC, LSU, Georgia and Miami, to name a few. Not to mention, Mizzou is going to finish 5-7 and miss going to a bowl. That can’t help recruiting. Let’s hope Rhoades gets a top-notch coach or the next decade or so, could be rough for MU Football.

Basketball has been abysmal the last few years. The Haith hiring may have taken Mizzou backwards a decade, if Kim Anderson can’t turn the ship around. I know he is only in his second year, but he has a long way to go. Will Rhoades stick with Kim and give him enough time or move on, forcing another coach to pick up the pieces and rebuild. That could take years. It is depressing how far Mizzou Basketball has fallen. At least Mike Anderson’s teams were ranked and sometimes highly ranked. I’m not optimistic Kim Anderson gets MU back to respectability. It amazes me MU can’t reach elite status, being the only really big state school in Missouri, with all of the great facilities and 2 large metro areas to draw from.

There’s a lot to be concerned about in Columbia right now.

On to SLU. Jim Crews is now a few years into his tenure and the Billikens Basketball program to me, has regressed. I would not expect the Bills to be much of a factor this year. They need a big-name like Majerus, to get players to come to SLU. Crews does not fit that big-name description. I’m not sure what the status is with the new Jesuit/Catholic conference, but SLU needs to get out of the A-10. Until then, expect more of the same.

While there have been peaks and valleys in STL sports, this one feel s like the worst valley in my lifetime. The Rams potentially leaving tops to the list. While the Blues and Cards give us some hope, our college teams are a mess. I hope in a few years, we can look back and view this as a speedbump. If the Rams stay and MU gets back on track, I will feel a bit better. Right now, I can’t help but feel negative about our sports scene.

I long for the days of this.....

Rams schmams. In 25 years the NFL is toast anyway and we'll have evolved beyond college football. Cards will survive but I think there will be a few lean years while they try to find a new core. Blues will continue to be fun.
The only think I miss about 2000 is the Rams being good. Aren't the Blues and Cardinals better now than they were then?
onecity wrote:
Rams schmams. In 25 years the NFL is toast anyway and we'll have evolved beyond college football.

If this continues the League will be toast.
^^The Blues made it to the conference finals in 2001. That was the last time they made it that far. A few years after that, Laurie sold the team, they dumped Pronger and other vets and the lockout ensued. The Cards were at the beginning of a historic 15 year run. It started about then, even though it took till 2006 to get there, the 2004 & 2005 Cards were probably better than the 2006 team. At that time, the franchises were on the cusp of great things, even though the Cardinals were the only team to sustain it.
The Cardinals and Blues are SOOOOO fine.

The Cardinals have an aging core? True. And they have a bunch of young studs ready to be the next core. That's what great franchises do. The Cardinals are a great franchise.

They remain in EXCELLENT shape to be very good for a very long time. Their competition has improved to the point that an off-year would not be kind in the standings, but as long as they perform reasonably to the expectations of their roster, they'll be fine. The TV deal and some expiring contracts ensures that they'll be able to continue to spend in the upper third of the league and we know they'll continue to do it in a wise manner.

I'm not even a little bit concerned about our baseball franchise.

The Blues are what the Blues have been for most of their time in St. Louis. So I'm not really worried about them either, other than the fact that I'm constantly worried about them. They're going to remain very good for a very long time.

You can question whether Jake Allen is a big game goalie, I suppose, but beyond that, I don't see that there is anything to question about the Blues goaltending. Allen is well on his way to becoming elite. He is the best goaltender the Blues have had since at least Curtis Joseph. (They've had plenty of big names at the end of their careers or young guys with potential, but nobody who's really been clear cut elite while wearing a Blues uniform. Roman Turek may be the exception, but that ended abruptly for multiple reasons.)

Can they win the Cup? Who the hell knows any more. I sure hope so. The roster is capable. Will this be the year they step up and get the breaks? Check back in April and hopefully May and June.

The Rams are a sad story. But I'm close to over it. I'm done with that. But the Blues and the Cardinals? Lots and lots to look forward to.

But if we're counting colleges as local sports teams, we should add to the misery with Illinois. They have an interim football coach (who they might have to settle for thanks to so many teams looking for coaches) thanks to a scandal with their former head coach. They have a basketball program that may be on it's way to it's lowest point in 2 decades. They don't have an AD partly due to the aforementioned scandal and partly due to the fact that he was just awful. And they don't have a school chancellor to help find an AD. Oskee-wow-wow!

relax; it's not like we're Philadelphia.
Why are you so hard on the future of the Cardinals? Sure our core is older but we've called up a bunch of young talent and now it's time to have some fun in free agency. The Cardinals are set financially for the next 30 years.
I think the Blues also have a bright future. They have a shown they can draft well and they have some good young talent, including one of the future megastars of the league.

The Rams aren't leaving town. The team is awful but also the youngest team in the league. They need a regime change and QB and then the only place they can go is up.
roger wyoming II wrote:

relax; it's not like we're Philadelphia.

Really? It's tough being a sports fan in St. Louis? We're not even in the top 10.

I feel sorry for Oakland. Within a few years the Raiders could be San Antonio, the Warriors in San Francisco and the A's in San Jose.
^ I guess we'll have to cross Kansas City off that most cursed list.

Back to Philly, it's amazing how awful their professional sports scene is right now.

Their baseball team finished last in their division
Their soccer team finished 18th out of 20 MLS teams in points
Their basketball team hasn't won a game yet this season (0-15!)
Their hockey team is settling into the bottom tier
Their football team likely will finish last in their division

Yeah Philly!
I think ya'll are reading into what I wrote, as ripping the future of the Cards and Blues. I think my point was not to say the Cards are doomed,but to say their road to the playoffs looks like it is going to be WAY tougher, now that the Cubs are for real and are not going away. Add in the Pirates and the Central is the best division in baseball or at least one of the best. The Cards have had a big advantage, playing in the Central, minus a few years. They need to beef up their lineup and solidify the pitching for 2016. Now, going forward, I do have concerns, since many other teams have cherry-picked our scouting dept. and front office, as well as figured out our model. Can they replace those individuals with talented people to continue the franchise's amazing scouting? I do not know, but I am concerned. We may have a lot of talent, but our farm system has dropped in several franchise rankings. It used to be #1 continually. Same with the Blues. I don't see a lot of talent that is going to make a huge difference. Deals like the Miller deal and the rise of players to the NHL, have left the system a bit bare. While I agree, the Blues and Cards are much less of a concern, the Rams, Mizzou, SLU and Illinois, are enough to get sports fans depressed. I can't remember a time when my Tigers were so inept in both football and basketball, with so much uncertainty looming. Times are tough, especially on the local college scene. I'm not looking back at our past glory (Cards/Rams). I am looking at the immediate and longer term future. Are their worse cities than us, of course. Then again, we are used to being a great sports city, winning championships and having competitive teams. After all, is avoiding being Cleveland or other "cursed" cities the goal or expecting a quality and competitive product from our local teams, a reasonable expectation? I think we are a better sports town with higher expectations.
I was kind of wondering in what area does St. Louis rank unusually high because the per person denominator is so low, similar to crime rankings, but in a good way. I was guessing we might have high sports attendance per city resident. So I went to ESPN and got all the attendance numbers for the last full regular seasons for the top pro sports - NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, & MLS for each team, and added them up for each city. Then I divided by city population and also metro population. Even though St. Louis has no MLS, NFL, or NBA, we came out number 1 out of 50 when you divide total pro sports attendance by city population. I also tried dividing by metro population, and we still came out pretty high at number 5 out of 50. I posted the results in my wordpress blog.

Here are the rankings for Cities.

And Metros: