The worst month for sports

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February is the absolute worst. Football season is over, as much as the executives at ESPN try to convince us otherwise. Spring Training is underway and although people claim ‘baseball is here” it’s still hard for me to get excited when St. Louis still has a few inches of snow sitting on the ground. On Thursday the St. Louis metro area was basically shut down due to snow. While I was trapped indoors for the better part of two days, it made me realize that this is my least favorite time of year on the sports calendar.

Baseball is, has, and always will be my favorite sport. I cannot wait until baseball season starts so this time of year is torture. While I am the cold of St. Louis and my view the last few days has been the picture above, the players are being shown on TV playing catch under the Florida sun. The cold weather and snow leave me very hungry for some warm weather and baseball. Watching the players in Spring Training play catch is nothing but a tease to me. I compare it to someone putting a thick, juicy steak in front of me on the dinner table and telling me that I have to wait an hour until I can eat it, even though it is sitting there right in front of me. It’s gotten to the point that it’s hard for me to watch Spring Training coverage on TV. The bad thing is, there really isn’t anything to distract me from it right now.

The St. Louis Blues have a decent distraction but I am not a huge hockey fan. I have always been a Blues fan, but their games aren’t what I would call “must see tv” until the postseason begins. We don’t have an NBA team here in “the Lou” so I have never really been a fan of the NBA game. I really don’t pay much attention to the NBA until the Conference Finals. I love NCAA Basketball but at this point of the season it’s just building toward the best month in sports. The NCAA Tournament is what begins to get me over winter, and looking forward to baseball season.

My winter blues start going away whenever the NCAA Conference Tournaments begin. It the bigger conferences these tournaments many times don’t matter to many teams except for seeding purposes. The beauty to me lies in the smaller conference tournaments where teams are fighting for their only shot at getting into “the dance.” We have a good conference tournament locally. The Missouri Valley Conference tournament, called “Arch Madness”, takes place in St. Louis and it is one of those tournaments. The Valley usually only gets one team, sometimes two, into the NCAA tournament. Selection Sunday is one of those things that I would consider “must see tv.” Those first four days of the tournament are like Christmas for me, the 2nd weekend is like New Years Eve. The NCAA Tournament also makes it ok for me to follow Spring Training because that’s when I can feel baseball coming.

I am sick of the winter. I am ready for spring.

Budweiser tribute to Stan Musial

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Wonderful picture from the King of Beers. This picture will appear as an ad in and upcoming Sports Illustrated

The Man

Photo: The greatest Cardinal of them all, Stan "The Man" Musial, died today at 92. Share your thoughts. http://tinyurl.com/b52jedl

Ever since that I first heard the news of Stan Musial’s passing, I have wondered what to say about him in my blog. I wish that I had more experience doing this because I want what I write about him to sound perfect. I have thought about how that I wanted to honor him, and if I should use other people’s words to help describe the greatness of “The Man.”

For those who don’t live in St. Louis there really is no way to describe the love affair between city and person. It’s hard to describe the emotion felt simultaneously from 50,000 fans anytime he would be whisked into Busch Stadium to smile and wave to the fans. You can feel the emotion here  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YgAwg8QwLes     Stan was an icon and was loved by everyone in our baseball crazed city. I can honestly say that I have never heard a bad thing in my life about Stan Musial. And I have been hearing stories about him my entire life. Between my father and my grandfathers I was told about his greatness from a very young age.  His greatness to me is defined by a mixture of hall of fame worthy statistics, and being a hall of fame worthy human being. I have read and heard so many stories the last few days about his character and how great of a person he was. You can find examples of those all over the internet. I am going to honor this legend with the story of the one time that I personally met “The Man”.

When I was 14 years old Stan Musial was signing autograph’s one Saturday morning in the St. Louis Galleria. I waited in a long line to get it, but it was well worth the wait whenever it was my turn.

“The Man”: Heya there buddy

me: Hi

“The Man”: you a ballplayer?

me: yes sir

“The Man”: atta boy!! what position do you play?

I won’t go into the whole conversation because I honestly don’t remember all of it but he asked my 10-15 questions about baseball and left me with the advice to always “get my uniform dirty”. For those few minutes I was standing with one of the great baseball icons and he was the one making me feel important. There just aren’t many like Stan Musial out there. I am glad that I got the opportunity to meet “The Man” and I am glad he was ours.

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