Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

This Time around There's No Dancing in the Streets

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

This Time around There's No Dancing in the Streets

Article excerpt

Oh. So the Rams can move to St. Louis after all? Go figure. Suddenly we're worthy, another Jacksonville.

This National Football League pronouncement didn't trigger conga dancing in our streets Wednesday. One of the few animated people we could find on a gray and blustery day was Joe Sanfilippo, owner of J.F. Sanfilippo's Restaurant.

His place virtually abuts the new football stadium, so he started hooting when our buddy Paul Tagliabue spit out the magic words.

Cha-Ching!

Sanfilippo immediately hung welcoming Rams banners on the awning of his restaurant and over his bar. His customers stared back blankly. Nobody was wearing a Jerome Bettis jersey or even a Rams cap.

"A lot of people didn't know about the vote," Sanfilippo said. "They were saying, `We got the Rams? Really?' Some people will be surprised. They had blocked it all out. They were afraid of getting another negative outcome."

Pessimism reigned. So did cynicism. Ordinary folks grew sick of reading about money, money, money in the sports pages.

And understandably so. We just went through a hockey lockout, a baseball strike and then this epic Butting of the Greedheads. Greater St. Louis cheerfully funded an enormous slush fund to lure the Rams . . . and then everybody but the Queen of England wanted a piece of it.

"It's all dollars and cents," Sanfilippo surmised. "Just like Georgia Frontiere did to St. Louis, the NFL did it to Georgia. They had the leverage."

When Frontiere first announced her decision to move to St. Louis, she triggered a day-long celebration. Her coronation, er, news conference was jammed with hundreds of stray fans and well-wishers.

Sanfilippo came to Georgia's news conference and cheered with the proud masses. But he skipped Wednesday's FANS Inc. news conference along with most everybody else.

There was no band this time. No beaming children. No complimentary soft drinks. …

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