For A City Reinventing Itself, The Cardinals Are A Point Of Pride
The World Series is now tied after the Cardinals came from behind to beat the Red Sox 4-2 last night in Boston.
Games 3, 4 and 5 move to Saint Louis starting tomorrow night. It’s the fourth time the Cardinals have made it to the Fall Classic since 2004.
JEREMY HOBSON, HOST:
Well, from football to baseball. The World Series is now tied one to one. Last night it was the Red Sox' turn to make mistakes. The Cardinals won that game, Game 2, at Fenway Park. Games 3, 4 and 5 will be in St. Louis starting tomorrow night. It is the fourth time the St. Louis Cardinals have made it to the Series since 2004.
From the HERE AND NOW contributors network, St. Louis Public Radio's Maria Altman reports on what the team means to the city.
MARIA ALTMAN: St. Louis, like a lot of Rust Belt cities, has lost much of its manufacturing base. Its population is the lowest it's been in 100 years. Public schools are struggling, and crime and poverty remain stubborn problems. Of course the city also boasts the Arch, some great universities and an emerging tech industry. But perhaps most of all, St. Louis has baseball.
With 11 world championships, the Cardinals are second only to the Yankees, and fans are ready for number 12.
GABRIELLE SHIELDS: And I think that we're going to win again, and I have to believe, just like we did in 2011. So go Cards.
ALTMAN: Gabrielle Shields is waiting for a friend, getting lunch at a hotdog stand just outside city hall. Shields says when the Cards are in the World Series, the normally quiet downtown comes to life. People start to smile.
SHIELDS: A lot of negativity kind of goes away, and it's a cheerful time of the year, kind of like Christmas. It feels like that, just earlier.
ALTMAN: All that cheer is good for the city's coffers, too. Each World Series game played in St. Louis will bring in a half-million dollars in tax revenue. St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay says getting to the World Series is a win-win.
MAYOR FRANCIS SLAY: It builds civic pride, it builds excitement, people have a lot of fun with it, and it also brings a lot of money into the community overall.
ALTMAN: Projections by the regional Chamber put the total economic impact of each game in St. Louis at nearly $8 million, with booked hotel rooms and busy restaurants and bars. But while the Cardinals' winning ways are good for business and bragging rights, radio talk show host Charlie Brennan says he doesn't see great baseball having a bigger impact on the city.
CHARLIE BRENNAN: The Cardinals, God love them, really don't matter much when it comes to a declining tax base or a lack of manufacturing jobs or poor schools.
ALTMAN: Brennan has spent 25 years on KMOX, the AM station that's been synonymous with Cardinal's baseball since the 1950s.
BRENNAN: I'd like to think that St. Louisans would look at the Cardinals and be inspired to do greatness because we see that they can achieve greatness, so maybe we'll do the same thing, but I don't think it works that way.
ALTMAN: On the streets of St. Louis, Cardinals fans are a bit more optimistic.
ROBERT ADAMS: Any time that you can come together on a common ground, you know, it's a good meeting place.
ALTMAN: Cab driver Robert Adams says he's not only looking forward to more fares this weekend but seeing the city come together.
ADAMS: It's a platform to start to do pretty much anything you want to do.
ALTMAN: Like making what many consider the baseball town the best city. For HERE AND NOW, I'm Maria Altman in St. Louis.
HOBSON: Robin, I did not have tickets to the game last night. Did you?
ROBIN YOUNG, HOST:
No, of course I didn't.
HOBSON: No, OK, but I was at dinner about a block away from Fenway, and I should've realized that because it was so quiet in the restaurant...
YOUNG: The Sox were losing.
HOBSON: They were losing.
YOUNG: Well, St. Louis claims best baseball town. They certainly have a lot of World Series to show for it. Here in Boston, you know what we say: May the best team win.
HOBSON: Do we say that?
YOUNG: But that's not what we say at all.
YOUNG: Back in a minute, HERE AND NOW. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.