Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Promotion Sickness Cardinals Are Winning Back Fans by Winning Games -- What an Idea!

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Promotion Sickness Cardinals Are Winning Back Fans by Winning Games -- What an Idea!

Article excerpt

Baseball has taken desperate measures to lure fans back into the ballpark. The Disney folks have gone overboard in Anaheim, hiring wholesome cheerleaders to pep up the laconic Angels crowds.

Team Goofy did, however, stop short of bringing Itchy and Cranky over to add a comic touch to middle relief.

The Cincinnati Reds let fans run the bases Sundays at Riverfront Stadium - and old friend Marge Schott was out there at the head of the line, touching them all with her St. Bernard. (Think of the sanitation hazards that presented. It's no wonder baseball has banned her from Riverfront.)

The Cardinals have long been promotions minded, but this weekend needs no gimmicks. Long-suffering Cards fans will be clamoring for tickets at Busch Stadium. Why, some ducats may actually be sold for above market value by entrepreneurs lurking around the Giant Stan monument.

The Home Team suddenly is a juggernaut, having won 20 of its last 23 games against NL Central foes.

The Home Team plays four games against the hapless Chicago Cubs to start an 11-game home stand. The beer taps will flow and the house will rock. Misty-eyed youngsters will be lining up to buy Brian Jordan can openers, Todd Stottlemyre shoehorns and Alan Benes bookmarks.

This is what Cards fans have been waiting for since the 1980s. The indifferent August Busch III is out of their lives, replaced by a new team of enthusiastic owners. Pulitzer Publishing joined in, adding depth at the critical mascot position with the Weatherbird.

That hideous artificial turf is gone. The doomed Geronimo Pena is gone, too, removing another chunk of bad karma from the organization.

The work stoppage that ruined the 1994 and 1995 seasons is fading into memory. So are names such as Juan Agosto, Gibson Alba, Gary Buckels, Todd Burns, Ozzie Canseco, Scott Coolbaugh, Bien Figueroa, Lee Guetterman, Howard Hilton, Les Lancaster, Terry McGriff, Rich Rodriguez and Willie Smith.

Now The Home Team is a real team. After spending most of this season on the road - rehabilitating injuries and working out kinks - the Cards play 24 of their next 30 games at home. And they will have some fun, too, making you forget all about the inert Joeball Era. …

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