Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mcgwire's Mark on Community One for Ages

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Mcgwire's Mark on Community One for Ages

Article excerpt

Hero worship is integral to our society. We need icons to rally around, beacons to lead us through the hum-drum grind of work, school and keeping the litter box clean.

Lonely men want to serve under Xena the Warrior Princess. Hillary-hating Republicans still pray at the Rush Limbaugh altar. Mopey teens with lousy stepdads sing along with Eddie Vedder. Conspiracy buffs tune in to Art Bell from bomb shelters.

Martha Stewart is there for hostesses who obsess over seasonal centerpieces. Sports fans, too, need true heroes to rally around. Chicago has Michael Jordan, the biggest hero of them all. Dallas has Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith. Even Kansas City had Joe Montana for a couple of years. St. Louis was starving for such a hero until Mark McGwire arrived. Cardinals shortstop Ozzie Smith is awaiting his Hall of Fame induction. Rams receiver Issac Bruce certainly ranks as a star, but his wounded hamstring makes this season a wash. Cards outfielder Willie McGee, an Ozzie-like icon from the 1980s, plays only part time. Blues winger Brett Hull still can score goals and entertain fans, but he is being offered around the league as you read this. Wayne Gretzky could have been like Montana here, but he just passed through as a Blue. Cards outfielder Brian Jordan created an aura with his aggressive play, but his body failed him. Swashbuckling Blues winger Brendan Shanahan owned this town until the evil Mike Keenan banished him to Hartford. Did anybody else leave you watching games with a childlike wonderment? Or inspire you to rehash great sports moments with co-workers around the coffee machine? Didn't think so. We were missing the most precious commodity any sports town can have, the megastar who transcends all boundaries to become part of our daily lives. The Blues put mild-mannered defenseman Chris Pronger on their billboards, and drivers yawn. The Cards tried to market slugger Ron Gant, but his season went pfffffffftttt. Rams quarterback Tony Banks has a cannon arm and loads of confidence, but his fumbles have fans grousing. Now we have McGwire. How big will this guy be? Huge. Eclipse-like. …

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