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Commentary: Five ways St. Louis trumps Miami

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 6, 2011 - First, yes, this is serious.

Word on the net is that the Miami Marlins have offered Albert Pujols a 10-year deal worth more than $22 million a year. The Cardinals are said to be the only other team in contention for the first baseman's services.

Some in St. Louis, looking out at dreary skies and a hint of snow, may be feeling a bit gloomy themselves. But St. Louis has some pluses:

1. Cost of Living

When you are talking $22 million a year, the cost to fill your Escalade's tank may not matter, but housing prices could. The cost of that mansion in Wildwood either translates into an OK condo in South Beach or exurban living that includes alligators.

2. South Beach

Wait, you say SoBe is a plus. Didn't LeBron James say he was taking his talents to South Beach? Yes, he did. And the club scene in the country's international playground is a draw for many athletes. But that is not the Pujols image. And we actually believe it's not the Pujols reality.

3. Back to Gators

The Pujols reality seems to revolve around family. We contend that St. Louis is a great place to raise kids. Educational options abound and the outdoors offers variety. A drive out to the Everglades is fun, but for a regular destination, we'll take Missouri parks.

4. Variety

The Pujols family ties to the Dominican Republic already mean that they have ample opportunity to enjoy the tropical life when they want -- school schedule permitting. So home and hearth in the midst of the Midwest grounds the family in two worlds.

5. Big Fish

D Wade, LeBron, Reggie Bush, the U, Hanley Ramirez: Lots of sports stars shine in Miami. In St. Louis, the top dog is clearly Albert Pujols. And he is embraced for all the right reasons: playing the Cardinals way (smart, with respect for history) and for the work he does through his foundation and other efforts.

Donna Korando started work in journalism at SIU’s Daily Egyptian in 1968. In between Carbondale and St. Louis Public Radio, she taught high school in Manitowoc, Wis., and worked at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the copy editor and letters editor for the editorial page from 1973-77. As an editorial writer from 1977-87, she covered Illinois and city politics, education, agriculture, family issues and sub-Saharan Africa. When she was editor of the Commentary Page from 1987-2003, the page won several awards from the Association of Opinion Page Editors. From 2003-07, she headed the features copy desk.

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