Baseball Culture

I heard KWMU’s Don Marsh “Saint Louis on the Air” interview with Bob Krizek, a professor of communications at Saint Louis University (SLU). Dr. Krizek arguably has one of the best jobs in Saint Louis. His job seemingly is to philosophize about baseball. Admittedly not an “on the field” expert of baseball, listening to his interview he seemed better suited as a pastor in the Church of Baseball then as the professor he is at SLU, the very Catholic Jesuit University in town. One of his opening comments was that more people watch sports then attend church on Sunday.

An eighteen year resident of Saint Louis, Krizek hales from Chicago, but that’s OK. He is a White Sox fan and not a Cubs fan. His top ten list appears on the SLU website and lists his top ten favorite baseball games. Almost all of them are mere footnotes in the history of baseball, but serve to underscore his belief that baseball acts as a bridge between the generations. Younger fans remember going to the ball game with their elders, while older people come to cherish the time spent with the young.

I learned that Saint Louis was once the baseball team for the entire west, the only team west of the Mississippi. Back in the day, when radio was king, and was still the soundtrack of summer, baseball from Saint Louis spread out across the west. In the fifties though, the Giants and the Dodgers broke that monopoly and now there is a half-dozen or more teams in the west. Krizek describes his adopted city as strange. Saint Louisans expect to produce a playoff team every year and a World Series team every five years. Coming from Chicago I can see why he might think of this as strange. Is this really so strange though? No one thinks it strange of New York, or Boston. Maybe it is only strange that the bantam Saint Louis punches so well above its weight?

After all, this year finds this one small town pitted against the entire state of Texas. Last night’s game was both disappointing and frustrating. It was even more so, in the morning, after some of the behind the scenes machinations became known. The Cardinals are back in town now. Tomorrow night they play downtown. It’s still the same old story, a fight for love and glory, a case of do or die. As for love, the Cards had us at hello. As for glory, they’ve covered themselves before and will again. Now it is time to do or not do, there is no try, let alone die.

I met the most odd of birds on Saturday, another bicycling ornithologist. He pointed out and identified the above pictured Pied-billed Grebe. In truth he was the ornithologist, I was just a bird-watcher. He went on to identify Swamp Sparrows, yep, they’re in Sibley’s too. He was very generous and pleasant, so I should feel bad about telling you all that my bike was way better than his.

Now as this story heats up, it is time for another furnace update. Anne only saw one furnace contractor today. Add the five that she saw yesterday and that gave us six quotes to wade through today. Time for another spreadsheet! We’ve winnowed down the list to four and expect to pick one of them tomorrow. We are leaning towards the high-efficiency, 95% efficiency variety, the expensive ones. Cold weather coming in tomorrow should help expedite this process.

2 thoughts on “Baseball Culture

  1. Carl, the head of our local Church of Baseball, was at the 1974 Opening Day (35 degree day) listed in the top 10 above.

    We will be rooting for the Cards, for a quick furnace installation, and warmth in your heart and near your hearth.

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