Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Baseball Fans Here Will Get Religion Again

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Baseball Fans Here Will Get Religion Again

Article excerpt

Unless you lapsed into a 365-day stupor after eating Grandma's fruitcake last Christmas - gagging down a whole pound of that pyschedelic brick was a poor decision - you realize that 1995 was an epic sports year in St. Louis.

The Blues finally moved into their sparkling new Kiel Center. Spoonball bounced all the way into the NCAA Tournament. Georgia Frontiere brought us the Rams and earned the Johnsonville Bratwurst Woman of the Year honors.

The Trans World Dome finally opened, giving North America a central location for championship tractor pulls. The Ambush was successful; Harrisburg never knew what hit it. Washington University's spikers sent another class of victims home with volleyballs tattooed on their foreheads.

It was a glorious year, one that made local sports fans feel better about themselves, if not their bank accounts. (Who needs a new car when can you own a PSL!)

So what's next? Nineteen Ninety-Six will be The Year of the Cardinal. Thanks to passionate new ownership, an improving talent base and a brilliant new field manager, the House of Cards will lure back the worshipers in this religious baseball market.

No more whining about greedy Anheuser-Busch, indifferent August Busch III, arrogant Dal Maxvill, catatonic Joe Torre, and the ghosts of Gussie Busch, Whitey Herzog and Jack Clark. The new guys have taken over, and given the franchise a heart and soul.

The club needed a decent shortstop to succeed Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith? Say hello to Royce Clayton.

Some big lumber was needed to build a better batting order? Welcome Ron Gant and Gary Gaetti.

A strong arm was needed to anchor an enigmatic pitching staff? Andy Benes, come on down.

After suffering through one season with a woeful talent shortage - no offense, Scott Hemond - general manager Walt Jocketty has a surplus of players to build with. Suddenly, myriad trade options lie before him.

With the Blues putting fans to sleep, the Rams back at square one and the Billikens struggling to survive a rebuilding year, local sports fans will fill much of their winter with hopeful baseball chatter. Blockbuster trades are no longer fantasy around here; they actually happen. …

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