Saturday, February 8, 2014

EXTRA: Quinn on hand for tribute to a Cardinal; How will the Cubs fans react?

Now, he's a bridge
I realize that the greater St. Louis metro area spills over into Illinois (similar to how metro Chicago includes a piece of Indiana). Yet I can’t help but think it a bit odd that our governor was among the dignitaries on hand Saturday for the opening of a new bridge that pays tribute, in part, to the St. Louis Cardinals’ great Stan Musial.

Would a Missouri governor feel compelled to be on hand if something were named for Chicago Cubs great Ernie Banks? At least in his case, it could be justified by saying he once played for the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro leagues of old.

BUT QUINN WAS among the political people who showed up for the ceremonies marking the new bridge that connects St. Louis to East St. Louis – which makes it a major entryway to people entering Illinois from the southwest.

And Quinn justifies the appearance by saying it’s the first new bridge built in that area in four decades. A “catalyst for business development and job creation for the future?,” as Quinn phrased it.

Let’s only hope so. Because I wonder how many people hear the name “East St. Louis” and automatically envision the Griswold family driving through town on their way to Walley World (remember “National Lampoon’s Vacation”)?

Officially, the new bridge is the Stan Musial Veterans Memorial Bridge, which means it pays tribute to the military veterans that Quinn likes to honor any chance he gets.

IT’S TOO BAD that this wasn’t a bridge named (for whatever reason) for Lou Brock. He was, after all, both a Cardinal and a Cub.

Although I suspect that reminding Cubs fans of that deal would probably kill off any chance that they would consider voting for him in the November general election.

Can we pretend it didn't happen?
Then again, if he hadn’t shown up on Saturday, he might well have been accused of snubbing those baseball fans of Madison and St. Clair counties – which are among the few places outside of metro Chicago where Quinn might actually get significant numbers of votes.

How quickly the trivial gestures our political people make take on actual substantive results!

PART OF WHAT amuses me about this particular move is that putting Musial’s name on the bridge is supposed to make us forget how Cardinals fans in the Missouri Legislature actually named a nearby highway for Mark McGwire.

Oops, wrong team!!!
It was in the aftermath of 1998 and everybody was drunk with the spirit of those 70 home runs and Interstate 70 does pass through St. Louis. I remember people cheering at the sight of McGwire meeting personally with Pope John Paul II when the latter was in St. Louis early in 1999.

Of course, now that even McGwire admits he was using certain questionable substances to help bulk up his body to give him added strength for those “dingers” (remember The Simpsons? That’s what people really want to see), it seemed embarrassing.

Local officials actually went back to calling it the “Mark Twain Highway.”

NOW, CARDINALS FANS can still have a ballplayer’s name prominently displayed in the area near downtown St. Louis. And considering that Musial hasn’t played ball in 50 years (and died last year), it is unlikely he could do anything that would bring added shame on the St. Louis area.

Which may be the one way in which Chicago Cubs fans showed some restraint. To my knowledge, too many people got absolutely stupid in their worship of Sosa and his home runs all those years ago, but we don’t have anything named after him.

Except for those people who actually shelled out $19.95 (plus tax) to get a “Sammy Sosa Drive” sign. Which they can now use to whack themselves upside the heads while asking, “What was I thinking?!?”


No comments: