Big week for St. Louis sports

Bradley Piros , Sports Editor

you an article saying why it’s time to panic if you’re a St. Louis sports fan, and it still is to an extent, but we did get some good news all throughout the week.

Depending on your stance, the biggest news of the week was the big Cardinals trade. It wasn’t Bryce Harper but at least the team is being active during free agency. The team tried to land some big names last year, but only came up with Marcell Ozuna and look where he got them (hint: not the post-season).

The Cardinals acquired first baseman Paul Goldschmidt from the Arizona Diamondbacks for right-handed starting pitcher Luke Weaver, back-up catcher Carson Kelly, infielder Andy Young and a Round B compensation pick in the 2019 draft.

Many people, including myself, believe that this was an absolute steal, because it was. All of the players traded away can be easily replaced when the time comes. STL needed some more offense to strengthen that sub-par batting order, and that’s exactly what they did.

“Goldy,” a 31-year-old and six-time All-Star is an excellent addition to the team without a doubt. The Cardinals have struggled at first base ever since the absence of Albert Pujols, which has been six seasons now. I’m not taking anything away from Jose Martinez, because he was still a good all-around player, but he’ll be getting replaced by someone better, meaning he’ll have to fit in somewhere else.

Last season Goldschmidt boasted a .922 OPS and batted .290/.389/.533, hitting 33 homeruns along the way. He had a good start last season but slowed up around May dropping to a .198 average. He got out of his slump though and batted .328/.418/.606 down the stretch, when it matters the most.

So, the Cardinals finally did something crazy over the off season, but are they done yet? Well no; they still need more reliable pitching, especially in relief. They’re also probably going to need to find another back-up catcher as Yadier Molina has become a bit injury prone the past couple of seasons.

Still, I don’t mean to sound greedy here, but Goldy really isn’t enough. He is a terrific all-around player that should slide right into the lineup easily, but the front office can’t just sign one big player than sit back and watch while Harper and Manny Machado are still out there for the taking. The Cardinals are still in the race to sign Harper.

Many of you will roll your eyes at this, but there’s still a chance and STL is a rather good candidate compared to the others. As of now he’s still a free-agent and with winter meetings coming our way next week, we should have some more answers by then. Picking up Goldschmidt might show Harper that the Cardinals are indeed interested in improving, and he could be the guy to round out the lineup.

Moving on to the other bit of news for St. Louis. football is coming back! The city hasn’t had a team for two seasons since the relocation of the Rams, and it upset quite a lot of people. It won’t be the normal football you’re thinking of though. STL is one of the eight cities to acquire an XFL team.

You might be rolling your eyes again, but hey, it’s something okay. The former home of the Rams, the Edward Jones Dome has sat rotting for two years and is by today’s standards considered way outdated. Since the Rams absence, the dome has been used from everything from Taylor Swift concerts to Monster Jam, but never football.

The XFL (Xtreme Football League) is owned by none other than CEO of the WWE, Vince McMahon, and NBC (split 50/50). He used his own money (an estimated $100 million) to reboot the program alongside the TV network giant. Many speculate that McMahon will retire from the WWE soon as his step-son Paul “Triple H” Levesque will take over. Mr. McMahon has a net worth of $1.1 billion due to his 52 percent stake in the WWE and will likely want to focus more on the XFL if he really wants it to succeed this time. The last time anyone heard of the XFL was back in 2001 when the league only played one season and was plagued with controversy.

This time the league will begin play 19 years later. Each season will run from February through April, starting play in 2020. There are eight teams and they are in Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, St. Louis Seattle, Tampa Bay and Washington. Each team will have a 45-man roster and play 10 games, culminating with two semifinal games and a championship.

Other big news for St. Louis football fans was the University of Missouri’s transfer. Without the Rams, STL has declared Mizzou as “their team.” Clemson back-up quarterback Kelly Bryant will take over the position. With four-year starter Drew Lock graduating, but not yet declaring for the draft, that position needed to be filled.

This will be Bryant’s final year of playing eligibility before he most likely declares for the draft himself. In 2017 he completed 65.8 percent of his passes for 2,802 yards and rushing an additional 665. He picked Mizzou over Auburn, Mississippi State, Arkansas and North Carolina. Bryant’s led a team to the college football playoff before and makes a strong addition to the Tigers lineup.

On top of all that, their head coach Barry Odom was given an estimated $70,000 raise and signing him until the 2024 season. So for Mizzou and STL football fans, you have all that to look forward to next fall.

Mizzou finished the regular season 8-4 overall and 4-4 in conference but finished on a four-game win streak. I went to one of those loses against the Georgia Bulldogs and Mizzou gave them a good fight only losing by 14; the spread was 14.5. Lock, in his final game, will take on Oklahoma State University in the Liberty Bowl on New Year’s Eve.

Next up is something that really has me excited if it all works out. That’s an MLS expansion team. This idea has been talked about for a while now, but it has actually been gaining traction, and some say if all goes well we can see a team by 2021.

It’s a bunch of nonsense and meetings, but the stadium has been cleared to be built. The stadium will be built south of Market Street and north of Interstae-64. It will be behind Union Station and be part of an $8 billion city redevelopment plan.

Now they wait for the funding and the final go ahead from the league. The league hasn’t yet confirmed a team for STL, because there are so many hoops to jump through, but it is getting closer. Not a lot is known about this still other than the fact that a stadium is cleared by the city of alderman to be built. I’ve always told myself that when this finally does happen, I will be a proud season ticket holder.

Do I have to talk about them? Ugh, I guess I should. Last and certainly least; our hockey team. I couldn’t just let them off the hook. I could’ve trashed the Blues for this whole piece, but today they’ll get off easy with all the other good news surrounding STL right now.

The Blues are the second worst team in the league to no one’s surprise with the way they’re playing. This team has only three wins in their last 12 games and are last in the Central. They are five games out from a Wild Card and are currently on a terrible two-game skid.

The Blues had a good 3-2 overtime win on the road in Colorado about a week ago which was supposed to turn them around; NOPE. Instead they go out and lose 6-1 in Arizona. Then it looked like they were going to bounce back against Connor McDavid and the Oilers, securing a 2-0 lead after one period of play. Then Ryan Nugent-Hopkins scored in the second. It was 2-1 after two periods and I kept watching.

I even told my roommates the only reason I’m still watching this game is because I know we are going to blow it. Oscar Klefbom scored with 54 seconds left in regulation, taking it to overtime. Brayden Schenn took a tripping penalty in overtime and I surely thought it was over, but it wasn’t.

The Blues showed enough resilience to take it to a shootout. Now only if they would have played like that all game, and you know, the opening 26 games of the season. Instead, I sat back and watched them choke away what once was a two-goal lead when McDavid scored the game winning shootout goal.

We fired our coach and three of our best players have day-to-day injuries, including our captain Alex Pietrangelo and one of our more consistent forwards in Jaden Schwartz. Robbi Fabbri is also hurt again.

After all that, I for some reason still believe in this team. When asked for what I wanted for Christmas, I still said a new Blues jersey, because I believe. We aren’t tanking yet, and if they start I will be really upset, because it’s still not too late to turn things around. I’m confident we can go on a six or more winning streak come Christmas time and we’ll be right back in it, hopefully. Or we lose to the Winnipeg Jets tonight and dig ourselves deeper in the standings. I shall wait and see.

I hate to end it on a sour note, but it still has been an exciting time in St. Louis to be a sports fan. I’m still panicking for the Blues, looking forward to the XFL team, praying for an MLS team and counting down the days until opening day at Busch Stadium. Let’s all not give up on St. Louis just yet.