St. Louis is more than baseball town
With Eric Becker
CARLINVILLE (Aug. 16, 2018) – The NFL thugs would disagree, but the city of St. Louis and surrounding communities showed the world how great of a sports town it can be this past weekend.
It is not just about Cardinal baseball, as the NFL would argue. For one magical weekend, golf fans flocked to Bellerive Country Club in Town and Country for the PGA Championship, featuring the top golfers from all the land.
Crowds were estimated between 40,000 and 55,000 each day for the four-day tournament, plus the three days of practice rounds leading up to the tournament.
It really helped put a spark in the area’s economy, which is always nice. Hotels, restaurants and other services and nearby businesses really benefited from such a tournament being in their backyard.
While I don’t watch much golf on television, I was tuned in as Brooks Koepka tapped in to win the 100th edition of the PGA Championship.
I watched the golfers leaving the course and some of the post tournament interviews. Living in the St. Louis area, I felt an immense sense of pride. Something I hadn’t felt in a very, very long time.
Golfers were all in agreement that the fans here this weekend were some of the best they’ve ever seen at a tournament.
Tiger Woods, who finished second to Koepka, commented he appreciated the fan support, not hearing any negative vibes come his way during the tournament. He hoped to play in the area again soon.
Since the Ferguson protests in August, 2014 and subsequent violence which followed, the St. Louis area has not been seen in a good way publicly.
Violent crime is up, especially in the north part of the city and county. Many murders take place, as well as other violent crimes against victims.
Hosting a major golf tournament will not make all these problems go away, but it can help instill that the sports community of St. Louis can handle the NFL as well as other top notch sporting events.
I am still to this day completely upset about how the NFL handled its move of the Rams to Los Angeles. While I know the person behind it was mainly responsible, the other owners and league officials did nothing to come to the aid of St. Louis.
Losing the NFL looked bad for the city as far as revenue and having the average Joe who has nothing to do with the city look upon St. Louis as a lost cause.
It is not a lost cause. It still has the most passionate and knowledgeable baseball fans around here. Hockey support has also increased, despite the Blues’ postseason woes over the years and unable to hoist Lord Stanley’s Cup as of this writing.
Soccer has always been popular in the STL, and would have had an MLS team in town had it not been for a few politicians who didn’t see it that way.
People in St. Louis were willing to build a stadium for the NFL and a stadium for the MLS, but greediness in one instance, and lack of willingness to use public money for such stadium in another, have prevented St. Louis from prospering and growing in the sporting community.
Hosting the PGA championship and all the accolades that came from the golfers, visitors, dignitaries who visited, is a giant step forward for the community.
St. Louis should be proud of its sporting heritage. Some of the top broadcasters of all time are either from here or spent a great deal of time in the city. Many a great athlete are from the area or have played in the town.
Unfortunately, it’s time for the NFL to kick into gear. Don’t know about you, but even in preseason, a 33-7 Rams loss to the Baltimore Ravens is a delight. One of those Ha-Hah moments.
St. Louis doesn’t have the NFL any longer, but outsiders should not mistake the town for just a baseball town. The area proved it this past weekend. The NFL can continue its tyrant ways, and the league will hopefully continue its spiral descent to the abyss.