The Online Source for St. Louis Sports

ISSUE #55

January 30, 1996

Copyright © 1996 St. Louis Sports Online

Reproduction Prohibited Without Permission of Publisher [StLSports@aol.com]

St. Louis Sports Online is an online sports weekly that aims to provide St. Louisans (and transplanted St. Louisans) with an additional source of news, information, and humor about St. Louis-area sports events and St. Louis-area sports teams.

ISSUE #55 includes articles from our News and Notes columnist, KMOX radio's Randy Karraker; StLSO Blues beat writer Brian Stull; Riverfront Times hockey writer Randy Hu, Joseph Andrews, Eric Niederhoffer, Scott Simon, and Brian Crawford.

St. Louis Sports Online can be reached at StLSports@aol.com and via FAX (618-457-5691). Subscriptions to StLSO are free, and can be obtained by sending a polite request to StLSports@aol.com.

St. Louis Sports Online is also available on the World Wide Web at http://itdcomm.com/stlsol/

St. Louis Sports Online JANUARY.96.4 CONTENTS

1.0 StLSO News and Notes by RANDY KARRAKER
2.0 StLSO Sports Shorts
2.1 Cardinals News by JIM HUNSTEIN
2.2 Blues Banter by BRIAN STULL
2.3 Rams News by JIM HUNSTEIN
2.4 StLSO Quote of the Week
2.5 StLSO Headline of the Week
3.0 StLSO Features
3.1 All-Star Break Numbers and Iron Mike by JOSEPH ANDREWS
3.2 Super Bowling by JIM HUNSTEIN
3.3 The Academic: Review of The College Football Hall of Fame by ERIC NIEDERHOFFER
3.4 Hull-acious by RANDY HU
3.5 News From the North by BRIAN CRAWFORD
4.0 StLSO Game Recaps
4.1 Blues Summaries by BRIAN STULL
5.0 StLSO Numbers
5.1 Blues Statistics (through GAME #47)
6.0 StLSO Media Watch by SCOTT SIMON
6.1 KFNS Changes
6.2 Sportscaster Bob Buck Passes Away
7.0 StLSO Interactivity
8.0 StLSO Editorial: The Wizard and the Caravan

St. Louis Sports Online JANUARY.96.4

1.0 StLSO News and Notes by RANDY KARRAKER

Good move by the Cardinals to sign Gregg Olson as an insurance closer. As we had mentioned here before, the Cards' first choice was Duane Ward, but after working him out in Arizona they decided Olson was healthier and a better gamble. Gamble...a word that wasn't in the vocabulary of the old Redbird regime. Walt Jocketty and Tony LaRussa have seen how well risks like this work while they were in Oakland...and also realize that the upside is significantly higher than the downside is low. Would it surprise you...if Olson weren't effective for the first month...to see Tom Henke back on May first? Wouldn't surprise me a bit. Although I hate to see Bernard Gilkey go...especially to the Mets...it was a move that had to be made in the interest of both parties. The team needed to cut payroll, and Gilkey needed to play. If one of the players involved in the trade makes it to the majors, it'll be a bonus for the Cards. For all of his wheeling a dealing, Jocketty has tried to restock the abysmal farm system by getting three prospects for Ken Hill, two in the Todd Zeile trade, and three in the Gilkey trade. Since they don't have any outfield prospects to speak of, it was certainly in Jocketty and LaRussa's best interests to tie down their outfield long term, and that's what they've done...through at least 1998, with the new three year plus an option deal for Ray Lankford.

As we write on Wednesday, NFL free agency is about three weeks away. The Rams plan to dive in head first...they've told their medical staff to be on standby after February fifteenth because numerous free agents will be visiting St. Louis. I bet lots of assistant throughout the football world noticed that Rich Brooks promoted from within to fill his staff vacancies, rather than go outside. By moving Steve Greatwood to OL, Nick Aliotti to special teams, Steve Brown to cornerbacks and John Ramsdell to tight ends, Brooks certainly must have gained the appreciation of his staff members. Assistants look at situations like that when moving on, because everyone wants a chance to move up if a vacancy arises, and many teams go outside the organization to replace departed members. As an example, 49er OL coach Bob McKittrick, considered for the Rams head coaching job, came on board with Bill Walsh. Yet San Francisco hired Marc Trestman...out of football three years...to replace Mike Shanahan. Bet that really helped the staff morale, eh?
Speaking of eh, the Blues are back in action following the All-Star break. It was a much needed respite for the guys Mike Keenan plays all the time (Hull, MacInnis, Corson). Hopefully for their sake the Blues won't have to scramble to make the playoffs, because if they do...those guys'll play forty minutes a game and be whipped come playoff time.

Hope you all enjoyed the Super Bowl. My prediction was Pittsburgh-31, Dallas-27...mostly because I hate the Cowboys. Have a good week.



2.0 StLSO Sport Shorts

2.1 Cardinals News by JIM HUNSTEIN

The Cardinals lost another hometown player last week. University City's favorite son OF Bernard Gilkey was traded to the Mets on Monday. Then on Thursday, Pattonville's baseball homeboy 3B Scott Cooper left not only St. Louis and the National League but the entire continent. Cooper signed a one-year contract with the Seibu Lions of the Japanese League.

Cooper realized his future with the Redbirds was limited due in large part to his very disappointing season in 1995. He hit only .230 with 40 RBI and three homers. This came after a 1994 season in Boston where he hit .282 with 53 RBI and 13 homers.

Then the Cards signed 3B Gary Gaetti, who had a monster year right down I-70 in Kansas City. He had 35 homers, 96 RBI, and a .261 average. He even stole three bases, a three-year high. He has a three-year average of 20 homers, 68 RBI, and a .264 average. Cooper's three-year numbers are 8, 52, and .266.

There was little chance of the Cardinals signing Cooper. He was even benched the last month of the season, partly for his performance (or lack thereof), and partly for tonsillitis. Youngster Jose Oliva got a chance to show what he could do, which turned out to be not much. He finished the season batting .142. So the Cardinals felt they had to shop the free agent market and landed Gaetti.

So Cooper decided to explore his other options. He had been talking with the Royals (especially since they just lost their third-sacker), White Sox, and Brewers. But the Japanese had a greater yen for him. Yen to the tune of $2 to $2.5 million in salary with a chance to make more than $3 million in incentives.

And Cooper would not have wanted to stay here since he would have had to be a second string reserve. At 28, he's not ready to accept that role. So he'll try to re-establish himself as an offensive threat and probably try to find some interest in the states in 1997.


2.2 Blues Banter

*Blues C&GM Mike Keenan, when asked after the recent Florida Panthers game about the possibility that Grant Fuhr was getting tired: "Why don't you just leave it alone?"

*Blues January 1996 Schedule and Results
#  DATE         HOME         AWAY         result comment   
39 Thu Jan  4                CHICAGO      L 3-2  Hull: 1G
40 Sat      6   PITTSBURGH                W 3-2  Hull: 1G
41 Tue      9                NEW JERSEY   L 4-2  Hull: 1G
42 Thu     11                PHILADELPHIA T 4-4  Hull: 1G
43 Sat     13                MONTREAL     T 3-3  Blues blow lead
44 Sun     14                NY RANGERS   T 3-3  Blues blow lead
45 Tue     16   EDMONTON                  L 5-1  Cujo returns
46 Wed     24                WINNIPEG     W 6-5  Twist: 1G
47 Sat     27   TAMPA BAY                 W 2-1  Twist: 2G
48 Mon     29                OTTAWA       L 4-2  Hawerchuk: 2G
49 Wed     31                TORONTO      W 4-0  Hawerchuk: 500th

January totals: 4-4-3

*Blues February 1996 Schedule and Results
#  DATE         HOME         AWAY         result comment   
50 Thu Feb  1   VANCOUVER                 T 2-2  Courtnall: 1G
51 Sat      3   PHILADELPHIA              L 7-3  Lindros: 3G
52 Tue      6   DALLAS                    7:30 
53 Thu      8   CHICAGO                   7:30 
54 Sat     10                DALLAS       2:00 
55 Sun     11                FLORIDA      6:00 
56 Tue     13                TAMPA BAY    7:30 
57 Fri     16   DETROIT                   7:30 
58 Sun     18   WINNIPEG                  6:00 
59 Tue     20   OTTAWA                    7:30 
60 Thu     22                CHICAGO      7:30 
61 Sat     24   LOS ANGELES               7:30 
62 Thu     29                VANCOUVER    7:30 


2.3 Rams News by JIM HUNSTEIN

*Attention, all you armchair coaches who think you know more about running a football team than those pinheads on the sidelines. The Rams have two openings for entry level coaches you might be interested in. Both positions are at the quality-control level, which is the first rung on the coaching ladder.

The openings were created when Coach Rich Brooks shuffled his staff around to fill two higher positions that were vacated just after the regular season ended. Special teams coach Wayne Sevier, who masterminded many of the popular trick plays on kick returns, retired and offensive line coach Dan Radakovich was fired. Both positions were filled internally.

Sevier was replaced with Nick Aliotti, who worked with the safeties this past season in his first year at the pro level. He was also a member of Brooks's coaching staff at the University of Oregon for nine years, the last two as defensive coordinator and secondary coach. The Rams have been praised this year for the play of the defensive secondary, particularly the young, hard-hitting safeties.
Taking over the offensive line will be Steve Greatwood, who coached the tight ends and the offensive line this past year. Last year was also his first season with the Rams and his first at the pro level. And he also coached for Brooks at Oregon starting in 1982 in the same capacity as he served in 1995. The returns on the tight ends' performance last year were not nearly as glowing as that of the safeties. The main complaint was that the tight ends were seemingly left out of the game plans, except as safety valves.

Other coaching moves include switching John Ramsdell from offensive quality control to tight ends and Steve Brown from defensive quality control to cornerbacks.

*Long-time Ram Jackie Slater has left the organization after setting a new NFL record for longevity after playing in his 20th season. There had been speculation that he might be slated for the offensive line coaching position, but he wants to pursue a career in broadcasting. He has been working the Super Bowl this past week for the Prime Sports cable network.

*Five former Rams will be featured in the Super Bowl, two of whom were cut by the Bighorns in the preseason. The other three left to pursue free agency.

St. Louis cut Tim Lester and Robert Bailey. Lester is the Steelers back-up running back and Bailey plays nickel back for the Cowboys. Two starters for Pittsburgh, Tom Newberry at left offensive guard and Kevin Greene at left outside linebacker, opted for free agency. And Dallas' back-up running back and special teams player David Lang left the Rams in the 1992-1993 offseason to sign with the Steelers but ended up with the Cowboys last April.


2.4 StLSO Quote of the Week

In response to media queries about Tony Twist's appearance on the Blues power play after the Twister had scored two goals vs. Florida, Twist said--"When you're hot, you're hot."


2.5 StLSO Headline of the Week

From the 1.29.96 Chicago Tribune: "This Magic moment long overdue", a headline in reference to Magic Johnson's imminent return to the NBA's LA Lakers.



3.0 StLSO Features

3.1 All Star Break Numbers and Iron Mike by JOSEPH ANDREWS

All Star break stats for five players Mike Keenan and the Blues have deemed unsuitable to wear the Bluenote during the past several months are listed below:

PLAYER TEAM        GP  G  A PTS +/- PIM PP SH GW GT  S  PCTG
B. Shanahan Har    37 21 13  34  2  47  6  1   3  0 152 13.8
C. Janney SJ       46  8 35  43 22- 20  4  0   0  0  57 14.0
K. Miller SJ       44 12 15  27 7-  31  2  0   2  1  91 13.2
Petr Nedved Pit    43 20 26  46 20  34  2  0   2  1 101 19.8
I. Korolev Win     41 15 19  34  4  26  6  0   2  1  90 16.7
In return for those five players, the Blues received Chris Pronger (and a bit of salary relief for the 1995-96 season), Igor Kravchuk, Jay Wells, two draft picks, some waiver cash, and one season's service from Jeff Norton, Todd Elik, Doug Lidster, and Esa Tikkanen. This analysis depends on assuming that Norton was traded even-up for Kravchuk.

And lest you forget. The rumored throw-in in the Nedved for Lidster and Tikkanen deal? The rights to Mike Keenan.

Here's to you, Iron Mike.


3.2 Super Bowling by JIM HUNSTEIN

*The Rams may have had more to do with this game than they realize. Their season-opening victory over the Packers gave Green Bay a critical one-win shortage for home field advantage throughout the playoffs. As well as they were playing at the end of the season, Dallas might have had a tough time beating them up on the storied frozen tundra. So this might have been a Steeler-Packer ball game on Sunday.

*Dallas won the coin toss (called by network spokes-stiff Joe "Oh God There's A Camera On Me!" Montana) and elected to receive. Pittsburgh made a better choice on sides. In the first quarter, the Cowboy receivers had to look directly back into the sun. You could see the trouble Michael Irvin was having on the second play of the game. He seemed to be telling someone to turn off that big ball of light in the sky. Pittsburgh didn't have that problem in the second quarter because the sun had gone down. Irvin got his way on that one but not on an offensive pass interference call on his typical swim move that cost him a TD in the second quarter.

*NBC's animation of the Dallas offensive line was pretty good albeit a little on the cheesy side. But it could have been a tactical error: Showing cartoons in a typically blown-out game could have served to remind viewers they could be watching "The Simpsons" on Fox at the time.

*It seemed as though the turf itself was responsible for more tackles than any defensive player. How often has it happened that you have an important event, meeting, whatever coming up and you send you best jacket to the cleaners and it comes back ruined. The NFL (Or was this Bidwill's doing?) did the same thing; they sent the sod out to be professionally cut and it came back loose.

*I hope the Rams executives were watching the Cowboys offense carefully and noted the creative and effective use of the tight end.

*Gamblers all over the world are in a tizzy. Not only did Pittsburgh cover the spread (14 1/2 at game time), but as StLSO Godfather Jeff Gordon pointed out, Dallas did not outscore Michael Jordan for the day. And woe be unto those poor souls who bet the over when the Dallas punter would show up. The line was the third quarter and there he was with four minutes remaining in the second.

*With every incompletion, Steelers free agent-to-be QB Neil O'Donnell was that much closer to being a Ram. Those two untimely interceptions right into the arms of DB Larry Brown (a most deserving MVP, by the way, not to mention O'Donnell's best receiver for the day) made him seem like even a more perfect fit into the Bighorns offensive scheme.

*No truth to the rumor that Oliver Stone and other conspiracy buffs are investigating into which team O'Donnell bet.

*Usually in Super Bowls the only thing to look forward to, besides the level of carnage, is the commercials. Well, this game was a good one, but the ads were still more fun. The unofficial winner was Pepsi with two of their spots. The best of show was the one in which the guy gets the can frozen to his lower lip and has to snowshoe to a doctors office (did anyone else think "Northern Exposure" during this?) where everyone and a dog had the same thing. And then they showed a Coke delivery man, ostensibly on a store security camera, sneaking a Pepsi off the cooler shelf and about a million and a half cans come pouring out.

*Tragically, the erstwhile favorite Bud Bowl has been reduced to a single play. In this case, it was a naked reverse and I guess that couldn't be shown on national television. (Only in smoke-filled, seedy bars late at night should a bottle be seen without a label.)

*The Anheuser Busch creative team must have been pounding ice cold Pepsi at their creative meeting because they came up with the same mouth-frozen-to-metal concept for their Bud-croaking frogs.
*The best ads in the non-humorous category goes to the Principal Financial Group. They showed some incredible acrobats and gymnasts. I don;t know how that relates to what they were selling, but the visual impact was impressive. (It should be noted that you lose some the subtle nuances of dialog and other audio aspects of a commercial when you watch the game at a noisy bar where you can hardly hear the person at the same table.)

*The happiest people for the close game was NBC but not for the reason you might think. As Dallas was pulling away in the first quarter, the network was loading up the breaks with commercials to make sure the advertisers got the promised level of viewership so NBC didn't have to give away spots in other programs to make up for nobody watching at the end of a blowout.

*This was arguably one of the better Super Bowls since before the Bills thought they were worthy. But nothing will ever match the classic of a number of years ago when hero-for-the-common man Billy Clyde Puckett ran a 23-Blast over guard Puddin Patterson for the TD with four seconds left to give the Giants a 31-28 win over the dog-ass Jets in the best Super Bowl ever. That final drive was a thing of beauty as Puckett ran and for the short yardage and WR Marvin "Shake" Tiller somehow managed to snare QB Hose Manning's horrible passes. True, Jets' all-stud CB Dreamer Tatum was sidelined with a sprained ankle (and an enormous headache caused by being flat run over by Puckett), but the Giants were not to be denied. And any true fan of Dan Jenkins knows what I'm talking about.

*Anyone else equally appalled at the sight of Cowboy's owner signing $100 (or maybe $1,000) bills up in his luxury box? I presume they were using the lower denominations to light their contraband Cuban cigars. First he defies the NFL by striking his own endorsement deals with American Express, Pepsi, and Nike (which is why you gotta love Emmitt Smith's commercials wherein he says his brand is Reebok) and now he defies America by defacing US currency. What's next? Will he use the flag to put a shine on his wingtips? Maybe tug on Superman's cape?


3.3 The Academic: Review of The College Football Hall of Fame by ERIC NIEDERHOFFER

During a recent trip to South Bend, Indiana, I had the opportunity to view the new College Football Hall of Fame (opened in August 1995).

The CFHF is located at 111 South St. Joseph Street in what would be characterized as the downtown South Bend. It is conveniently located near several hotels and is well within walking distance even though there is parking at the CFHF. You reach CFHC from exit 77 on I 80/90, which puts you on US 31/33 and leads directly into downtown. Bernie Kish is the Executive Director and gave us an introduction to CFHF. You may reach CFHF at 219-235-9999. Their Fax is 219-235-5720. For the Internet, use http://collegefootball.org/

The building resembles a football stadium (actually it's a field because one end is open, for you technocrats a stadium is entirely enclosed) and the parking lot is a gridiron denoted "Gridiron Plaza." This is the first Hall of Fame I have visited and therefore I cannot make a comparison to the other "Halls of Fame" around the country. The CFHF consists of six main areas: Pursuit of a Dream Sculpture, Stadium Theater, Hall of Champions, The Locker Room, Pigskin Pageantry, and Training Center.

Upon entering the CFHF you observe a 43-foot sculpture, which is suppose to "symbolize the spirit of amateur athletics." It did little for me. The theater presented a nice summary of college football, including the filling of the University of Michigan's stadium prior to kickoff. (I wonder what Notre Dame recruits think of this part of the film.) There are 11 screens to view, but you will find yourself constantly turning around to see all the screens, mainly because each screen has a different scene. The CFHF should consult with movie theaters to get better surround sound.
After you leave the theater, there is a reasonable collection of materials in the Hall of Champions. The management at CFHF is soliciting colleges and universities around the country to obtain additional items. The Stanford marching band member who got run over during the multiple lateral running play that won the game for Stanford donated his horn to CFHF.

The Locker Room provides some interesting visions of coaches, while Pigskin Pageantry deals with some of the associated pre-game activities. For those of you athletically inclined, there is the Training Center, three areas consisting of a Fitness Room, Practice Field, and Strategy Clinic. There are a number of interesting demonstrations that determine such strengths (or weaknesses) as jumping ability, dexterity, and agility. During my visit several of the exhibits were having computer problems (I hope CFHF didn't buy those bad Pentium PCs). Visitors may practice field goals and passes on the Practice Field, while those of us with some mental prowess may venture into the Strategy Clinic. You are asked to make the call on a variety of plays.

I'm not convinced that South Bend is the most appropriate place for the CFHF. The rationale was based on competitive bids and travel statistics for the region. South Bend is just off the interstate and close to Chicago, so there are quite a few potential visitors for CFHF. They have the Michiana Regional Transportation Center nearby for convenient flights on several airlines. CFHF needs additional financial support; only the U.S. Postal Service, Ameritech, Alka Seltzer, and Burger King have invested to date. Burger King has not been doing well in the hall.

The other people we were with appeared to have a good time in the CFHF. I'm not a big football fan to begin with and Notre Dame is at the very bottom of my list of favorite teams. The hall is small and should there be a lot of people around, you may be in for a bit of a wait to see the exhibits. For those of you who crave college football, check them out. Hours are daily 9 am to 7 pm. General admission is $6, seniors $5, kids 6 to 14 $3, and those under 5 get in free.


3.4 Hull-acious by RANDY HU

On his weekly radio show last week, Blues winger Brett Hull offered some revealing insights on his self-proclaimed team. On why he couldn't play with former Blues center Craig Janney: "Craig would always cut left when he crossed the blueline, away from me." On why he can't play with center Dale Hawerchuk: "I can never get a good read on what Dale is going to do with the puck." Hull and Hawerchuk, paired at times, eventually split quicker than Michael and Lisa Marie. Incidentally, Hawerchuk has been Blues coach/GM Mike "Suitcase" Keenan's second biggest mistake (after the Brendan Shanahan trade), tying up $7.5 million over 3 years for the second-line center.

Though the Kiel Center is just over a year old, Hull constantly complains about its ice surface. "Something needs to be done about the ice at the Kiel Center," said Hull. "The ice is brutal because they skimped on $1 million for the air duct system. They can spend millions of dollars for players, yet can't do anything about the ice. After my first shift in the Edmonton game, I had to come off because I aggravated my groin and back."

When asked about the chances of the Blues advancing in the playoffs, Hull responded with a resounding "no chance."

"There's not enough talent on this current team," said Hull candidly. "We need help in certain areas and hopefully he (Mike Keenan) can bring them here." Hull has always been known to lay it out straight and told me once that he says controversial things because "stuff can get too boring around here."

Hull also knows he's not going to be traded anywhere and according to sources for the Kiel Center Partners, "he will finish his career in St. Louis." Hullie even thinks he'll outlast Keenan's stay here.
With Ozzie Smith on his way out from the Cardinals and the Rams still in the novelty stage, the Golden Brett sits high on the throne as reigning king of St. Louis sports. And he knows it.

EDITOR'S NOTE: Randy Hu is the hockey columnist for The Riverfront Times.


3.5 News From the North by BRIAN CRAWFORD

3.5.1 Cardinals E-Mailing List

CHICAGO--The hot stove league in my new neighborhood has been blazing the last couple of weeks. My neighborhood happens to be the world of baseball on the Internet, and the temperature is measured in megahertz and kilobauds, not degrees Fahrenheit.

About six weeks ago, I launched an Internet mailing list for the Cardinals, and within a few weeks, found a new home and a new project at eWorld.com, Apple's Internet product. High people in high places at eWorld asked me to move the Cardinals list to their site, but wanted me to bring five other major league mailing lists with me. Free site? No problem.

By January 3, we had the Cardinals list moved to eWorld, and six other lists--run by fans all over the country--in development. We've added two more since then. Part of my responsibility as the volunteer coordinator of these baseball mailing lists has been to subscribe to each of the lists and help each list administrator work the bugs out. In the process, I've been exposed to upwards of 100 email messages a day.

Last week, the hottest topic was interleague play on most lists. Most fans are against it, if you use these mailing lists as a barometer of fan opinion.

Except this guy:
"....interleague play would give those in either the senior or junior circuits a chance to see their favorites "up close & personal", especially those transplants (like myself) who grew up on one circuit's offerings and wants to see them again in their hometown. My town, Detroit, knows nothing of N.L. ball, and will I get a chance to check out the Cards at home? I HOPE SO!!"

But this opinion from a general baseball chat list is far more common and represents the sentiments of most fans posting on various baseball mailing lists:

"My objections to interleague play are purely aesthetic. For me, baseball has always been, and should continue to be, pennant races within the leagues. There's always been "the other league" out there, where they do things slightly differently and have slightly different strategies, etc. But the two stay separate in order to find the best of each league. Then, and only in the World Series, do we find the *champions* of each league face off against each other.
"This is one of the primary factors which makes the World Series special. Different from the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup Playoffs, college hoops March Madness, the NBA Playoffs. In the World Series each year, we finally see the coming together of the two separate entities of Major League Baseball. The regular season builds up to this, and finally in October, it happens."

If you are interested in baseball mailing lists on the Internet, check out the Society for American Baseball Research's "Baseball On The Net" World Wide Web page at http://www.skypoint.com/~ashbury/_hhdir/hhhotlinks.html.

From there, you'll get complete information on every known baseball list, including the Cardinals list.


3.5.2 Cubs Convention Packs 'em In

The annual Cubs Convention was held in Chicago two weekends ago. Last year, the Cubs exhibited a rare public relations brilliance by inviting both Lou Brock and Ernie Broglio to the annual Cubbie mediocrity-fest.

Insiders report that the Cubs were planning to invite Todd Zeile and Mike Morgan this year, but Zeile apparently didn't turn out to be the next Lou Brock after all. Zeile was reportedly shopping for a new temporary apartment in Philadelphia. Morgan is getting ready to report to spring training. Brock is still in the Hall of Fame.
Fortunately for Chicago-area Cubs fans who were shut out of the sold-out convention, regular updates were broadcast on the Tribune Company's local cable news outlet, CLTV.....Dang! I must have been watching figure skating.

Here's part of a first-hand report, as posted to the Cubbies mailing list: "Mark (Grace) did mention that after he retires he would like to either be a hitting instructor or possibly a broadcaster...Grace also mentioned that he wants to stay with the Cubs but...he wants to win. He said if management makes moves that tell him they are not committed to winning, he will look elsewhere."

Cardinals fans will appreciate that comment. Grace declined to sign with the Cardinals, in part because of his feeling they would not make the moves needed to produce a winner.

That was just a few weeks ago, wasn't it?



4.0 StLSO Game Recaps

4.1 Blues Summaries by BRIAN STULL

4.1.1 at Winnipeg Jets (GAME #46; 1.24.96)

The St.Louis Blues traveled to Winnipeg in a showdown with the Jets to determine which team would remain in fifth place in the Western Conference. Both teams had earned 44 points at the start of the game, but the Blues had 46 at the end--after defeating the Jets 6-5.

The Blues struck first as Tony Twist scored on the rebound of a Brett Hull shot from the boards; Jets goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin couldn't find the puck and Twist moved in to knock it in at 3:53. Just over two minutes later, Geoff Courtnall took a pass from David Roberts and worked in from the left wing, holding off the defender to beat Khabibulin for his 300th career goal.

Winnipeg bounced back, scoring a goal of their own at 6:39 when Mike Stapleton hit the post, but the rebound went to Mike Eastwood at the corner of the net for the easy goal. The Blues gained back their two goal lead at 9:10 as Craig Johnson sent a backhanded pass from behind the net to Dale Hawerchuk, who flipped the shot over the shoulder of Khabibulin for the goal. Soon after, Tim Cheveldae replaced Khabibulin in goal for the Jets.

The first period scoring continued as Igor Korolev took advantage of Grant Fuhr getting caught behind the net after the puck bounced off his stick to the front of the crease, giving Korolev a wide open net for the goal at 10:31. St.Louis went on the power play near the end of the period and Shayne Corson was able to knock Al MacInnis' rebound between Cheveldae's pads for the goal at 19:28.
The second period opened with Winnipeg jumping to a two-on-one break. But when Teemu Selanne tried to pass the puck to Alexei Zhamnov, Chris Pronger knocked the puck down back to Selanne...who was able to put in the net past Fuhr.

The Jets tied the game 4-4 at 6:42 as Darren Turcotte was left alone in front and buried the quick pass from Teppo Numminen. However, the Blues responded a minute later when Brett Hull scored on a second effort, after Cheveldae made three great saves.

The St.Louis defense came up big later in the period, killing off a double-minor to Craig Johnson after he high-sticked a Jet while trying to clear the puck out of the Blues zone. The Blues defense couldn't stop the perfect execution of a three on two break to open the third period as Zhamnov passed to Selanne, who sent the puck to Keith Tkachuk for the power play goal at 3:20.

Brian Noonan broke the tie, scoring at 10:36 on a wrap-around set-up from behind the net by Mike Hudson. Winnipeg pulled Cheveldae with 1:03 left in the game, but the Blues defense held and St.Louis earned the victory 6-5.

GAMENOTES: The Blues outshot the Jets 40/29........the Winnipeg power play (among the league leaders) was held to 1/7.......the goal scored by Twist was his fourth career goal-- he scored a "hat trick" for the Blues over the course of last season......the Blues return home for a game against Tampa Bay on Saturday.


4.1.2 Tampa Bay Lightning (GAME #47; 1.17.96)

The Blues defeated the Tampa Bay Lightning 2-1 in a game that Tony Twist is likely never to forget. Twist was the game's first star as the Blues left winger scored two goals in a game for the first time in his NHL career.

The game's beginning was unusual in that Tampa's leading scorer, Brian Bradley, was assessed a five-minute high-sticking penalty only 13 seconds after the opening face-off. Bradley's high stick creased the nose of the Blues' captain, Shayne Corson.

But the Blues failed to score during the extended power play. And the Lightning's Jason Wiemer had the best chance during that period when Chris Pronger coughed up the puck near his own blue line, leading to a clean break-in for Wiemer. But Blues goalie Grant Fuhr made a nice glove save on Wiemer's knee high shot.

The Blues outshot the Lightning 14-5 in the period, but failed to score, even after having a two man advantage for nearly a minute late in the period.

But Twist scored the game's first goal at 1:56 of the second period, scoring on the rebound of a shot by Craig Johnson. The Lightning's Chris Gratton responded about a minute and a half later, when he tipped in a shot from the point by Petr Klima. Gratton's goal made the game 1-1.

Twist and the Blues regained the lead less than a minute later, when, at 4:13 of the second period, he tipped a shot by Geoff Courtnall past Lightning goalie Darren Puppa. The goal was Twist's third of the season, and third in two games.

The period ended without further scoring.

The third period was scoreless...and the Blues, on the strength of two Tony Twist goals, defeated the Lightning 2-1.



5.0 StLSO Numbers

5.1 Blues Statistics (after Game #47)

5.1.1 Scoring

Player               Gp   G   A Pts +/-  Pim Pp Sh Gw Gt   S  Pctg
Brett Hull           39  28  24  52  5    26 10  5  5  0 182  15.4
Al MacInnis          47   8  28  36  1    50  4  0  1  0 174   4.6
Dale Hawerchuk       46   8  26  34  1    16  4  0  1  0 102   7.8
Shayne Corson        47  14  19  33 12   115 10  0  0  1  91  15.4
Geoff Courtnall      47  12  13  25  8-   56  4  0  0  0 151   7.9
Brian Noonan         47   9  16  25  4    63  3  1  4  0  83  10.8
Stephane Matteau     43   8   7  15  6-   32  4  0  0  1  61  13.1
Chris Pronger        43   4  10  14  0    73  2  1  1  0  84   4.8
Adam Creighton       39   6   7  13  3-   49  2  0  2  0  60  10.0
Igor Kravchuk        34   4   9  13 10-   12  3  0  0  0  82   4.9
Craig Johnson        36   8   4  12  0    20  1  0  0  0  53  15.1
Peter Zezel          32   5   6  11  1     6  0  0  0  0  50  10.0
Mike Hudson          35   4   4   8  2-   37  0  0  0  0  44   9.1
Murray Baron         47   1   7   8  3-  115  0  0  0  0  46   2.2
David Roberts        18   0   5   5  5-    8  0  0  0  0  27    .0
Tony Twist           25   3   1   4  0    34  0  0  1  0   6  50.0
Denis Chasse         42   3   0   3  9-  108  1  0  1  0  25  12.0
J.J. Daigneault      38   1   2   3  4-   26  0  0  0  0  44   2.3
Patrice Tardif       10   1   0   1  3-    6  0  0  1  0  11   9.1
Greg Gilbert         14   0   1   1  0     8  0  0  0  0   8    .0
Paul Broten          15   0   1   1  1-    4  0  0  0  0  11    .0
Dallas Eakins        15   0   1   1  2-   32  0  0  0  0   6    .0
Jay Wells            45   0   1   1  5-   43  0  0  0  0  18    .0
Grant Fuhr           47   0   1   1  0     4  0  0  0  0   0    .0
Fred Knipscheer       1   0   0   0  0     2  0  0  0  0   2    .0
Crister Olsson        3   0   0   0  1-    0  0  0  0  0   4    .0
Bruce Racine          7   0   0   0  0     2  0  0  0  0   0    .0
Basil Mcrae          10   0   0   0  1-   20  0  0  0  0   1    .0

5.1.2 Goaltending

GOALTENDER        GPI MINS   AVG  W  L  T EN SO  GA   SA  SV % G  A PIM
Bruce Racine        7  182  1.98  0  2  0  0  0   6   81  .926 0  0   2
Grant Fuhr         47 2666  2.75 20 17  8  1  0 122 1370  .911 0  1   4
Pat Jablonski       1    8  7.50  0  0  0  0  0   1    5  .800 0  0   0
        TOTALS     47 2860  2.73 20 19  8  1  0 130 1457  .911

5.2 Rams Special Teams and Defensive Statistics

RAMS PUNTING   No. Yds  Avg  Net TB In Lg Bl
Landeta        80 3548 44.4 36.7 11 22 63 0
no other Ram punted in 1995

RAMS PUNT RETURNS Ret FC  Yds  Avg Long TD
Kinchen            48  7  363   7.6  23  0
Bailey              2  0   42  21.0  22  0
Bruce               0  0   52    -   52  0
Lyght               0  0   16    -   16  0
Thomas              0  0   61    -   61  0
RAMS TOTAL         50  7  534  10.7  62  0

RAMS KICKOFF RETURNS No. Yds   Avg Long  TD
Kinchen              32  684  21.4   50   0
Thomas               29  665  22.9   46   0
Bailey                4   81  20.3   28   0
Pinkney               1   26  26.0   26   0
RAMS TOTAL           66 1456  22.1   50   0

RAMS FIELD GOALS 1-19 20-29 30-39 40-49 50+
McLaughlin       1/ 1  4/ 5  2/ 6  1/ 3 0/1
Biasucci         0/ 0  3/ 3  2/ 2  0/ 0 1/3
RAMS TOTAL       1/ 1  7/ 8  4/ 8  1/ 3 1/4

RAMS INTERCEPTIONS  No. Yds   Avg  Long TD
Toby Wright          5   61  12.2   27   0
Lyght                4   34   8.5   29T  1
Lyle                 3   42  14.0   31   0
Phifer               2   45  22.5   25   0
Parker               2   -5  -2.5    3   0
Dorn                 1   24  24.0   24T  1
Scurlock             1   13  13.0   13   0
Farr                 1    5   5.0    5   0
Conlan               1    1   1.0    1   0
RAMS                20  220  11.0   31   2

SACKS: Farr 11.5, K. Carter 6.0, Gilbert 5.5, Stokes 2.5, Phifer 2.0, Jenkins 1.5, D. Davis 1.0, Figaro 1.0, McBurrows 1.0, Alexander White 1.0, Toby. Wright 1.0


6.0 StLSO Media Watch by SCOTT SIMON

6.1 KFNS Changes

All-sports KFNS-AM (590) replaced Bob Ramsey in afternoons with former TV sportscaster Tim Van Galder on Jan. 22.

Van Galder, 51, last worked as a weekend sports anchor at independent KPLR-TV in 1992. The former St. Louis Cardinal backup quarterback from 1966-1972 is known for being the main sports anchor at CBS affiliate KMOV-TV, Channel 4, from 1977 to 1986.

It's not known at this time what plans KFNS has for Ramsey, a charter member of the KFNS staff, known for being the play by play broadcaster for the St. Louis University Billiken basketball team, and also as play by play man for the St. Louis Ambush indoor soccer team. He was offered a contract by the station a couple of months ago, but sources tell me that it also included a provision that he would give up his other broadcasting assignments to avoid frequent absences on the air. It would have added up to a pay cut for Ramsey, who has worked in the market since 1985. Van Galder will be joined on the 4-7 p.m. show by Mike Claiborne, who also was Ramsey's co-hort.

While Van Galder has a smooth and listenable style, he has been away from covering sports full-time for nearly nine years. His style is laid back, and non-confrontational, and won't really help the station's very anemic ratings.


6.2 Sportscaster Bob Buck Passes Away

Sadly, the world of sports mourns the death on Jan. 22 of Bob Buck, younger brother of St. Louis Cardinals and CBS Monday Night Football radio broadcaster Jack Buck.

Mr. Buck apparently committed suicide at his Evansville, Indiana home. He was 58.

Since 1985, Mr. Buck was the Sports Director for WIKY/WBKR in Evansville, which included play by play of University of Evansville football and basketball. Prior to that, he was a sportscaster for NBC Radio, and was Sports Director for KMOV-TV, St. Louis, from 1972-1979.

Mr. Buck has undergone tragedy and personal setbacks in recent years. A spouse committed suicide in their home a couple of years
ago, and last year, Mr. Buck had successful open-heart surgery.
He is survived by his wife, Carole, a daughter, and three grandchildren.



7.0 StLSO Interactivity

*Screenname KWREMIKE writes--

The V100 (KFAV 99.9 FM) Charity Softball Team will be playing in the 15th Annual "Sno-Ball Classic" Softball Tournament this weekend February 3rd and 4th. The tournament is held at Blanchette and McNair Parks in St.Charles, MO and proceeds benefit the St.Louis Association of Retarded Citizens and the St.Charles Parks and Recreation Foundation.

Among the players on the field for V100 will be John Michaels, host of the Westplex Morning Brew, Marty Linck (mid-days), Tom Brengle (afternoon drive), Tony B. (nights), and St. Louis Sports Online's Brian Stull (captain of the Prize Patrol Van). The first game for V100 is Saturday morning at 9:30 on Diamond 1 at Blanchette Park.
For more information on the tournament call the St.Charles Parks office 949-3372.

*WAYNE FRAZER writes--
The Cardinals, though maybe going the Keenan route a tad heavily (can you say, "When's my Social Security check arrive?"), are headed in the right direction. The new ownership group and Mark Lamping obviously had one thing in mind for the off-season, and that was to generate interest in the team.

They have succeeded. The signings of Ron Gant and Andy Benes, coupled with the acquisitions of Todd Stottlemyre and Royce Clayton have shaken a city used to accepting the same old bunch every year.
Sure, St. Louis has always been a great baseball town. But we had been lulled to sleep by an organization either too afraid or too complacent to make the big moves. Face it: we took the Cardinals for granted.

No longer. Die-hard fans who were angered by front-office inactivity are buzzing. The talk-show phones are ringing of the hook. Baseball is on the front page of the sports section almost every day. Excitement equals dollars, and finally management understands you have to spend it to make it.

Even the failures have been exciting. The attempts at Mark Grace and Criag Biggio served notice that the Cardinals were ready to take the next step and committ to winning. And don't think others haven't noticed. When Don Mattingly is making overtures to your ballclub, you are doing something right.

So, even if the Cardinals don't bring home the division title this year, they have put baseball back in the forefront of the minds of St. Louisians. That may be the biggest victory of all.



8.0 StLSO Editorial: The Wizard and the Caravan

In the entire state of Indiana, no one under the age of 21 is allowed into a tavern. So crying babies and arguing adolescents are seldom heard in Hoosier drinking establishments.

What the heck does that have to do with St. Louis sports?
For the past several days, the Cardinals Caravan has been traveling throughout the midwest. Last Wednesday, the Caravan stopped at Evansville, Indiana's Executive Inn hotel.

The Time-Out Bar is the Executive Inn's watering hole. Written on a sign just inside the door: "50 cent drafts and $1.00 well drinks". And another sign stated that "No One Under 21 is Allowed to Enter".
In other words, The Time-Out might be a good place to try and hide some ballplayers prior to a public appearance...or at least shield them from some young fans...young fans who would get a crack at some autographs later in the evening.

So where did the Cards VP Marty Hendin decide to hold the media gathering prior to the scheduled event? In the Time-Out Bar. For one thing, the bar is adjacent to the suite of meeting rooms that had been set up specifically for the caravan. And it also makes some kind of sense to get A-B employees, ballplayers and media-types together in a bar, doesn't it?

But that was only part of Hendin's reasoning. You see, Ozzie Smith was a part of the Caravan, along with Brian Jordan, Tom Pagnozzi, and Mark Sweeney. And Hendin felt that limiting access to Smith might just be a good idea.

Talk about an understatement.

While only a couple hundred Cardinals' fans showed up at the 1995 Caravan (being a work-stoppage year and all), the 1996 Caravan was attended by about 1,500 fans...and held in a room having a maximum occupancy not too much larger than the number of fans in attendance. And it seemed like at least a thousand or so of those present were there to see Ozzie Smith.

Whereas the evening's festivities were supposed to commence at 6:00 pm, the Cardinals had arranged for local media access to the players, beginning at 5:00 pm

But because the crowds were so large at the previous stop (Mount Vernon, Illinois), the Caravan arrived several minutes behind schedule. The few folks milling around at 5:00 knew something was up, though, when the local 5:00 news opened with a head shot of their on-the-scene reporter.

"Ladies and Gentleman, yes that's right...Ozzie Smith IS IN THE HOUSE!" bellowed the newshound. That was just the beginning...
Due to the Cards' tardiness, the 5:00 news guys that were on hand had to be satisfied with short interviews with Cards broadcaster Al Hrabosky and minor league director Mike Jorgensen, both of whom served as capable stand-ins for the real stars of the evening.
At about 5:30, Hendin herded the four ballplayers into an open space in the bar (the dart-throwing area), and a half-dozen or so of the local print media began peppering Smith and his three ballplaying buddies with questions.

This went on for a few minutes, until the radio guys moved in and began taping one-on-one interviews. The most sought-after players, of course, were Smith and Jordan. But mostly Ozzie Smith. And it was really fun to watch Ozzie work the media. And work the fans.

First of all, the high regard that Hoosiers have for Ozzie Smith is, frankly, something that borders on religion. And it is clear that Ozzie values their opinion of him, too. Graceful to a fault, in the course of 45 minutes or so Smith talked with every media guy (and gal) that came his way...and signed dozens of balls, bats, cards...and whatever. Despite Hendin's intentions, some autograph seekers did make their way into the bar, looking enough like media types to get by the informal barricade that had been established.

But this observer was struck by the following scene. Ozzie was sitting at a small serving table, on the side of the bar, with his back to a glass partition that separated the bar from the outer hallway. Dozens of red-clad folks passed by, and most of them could hardly contain themselves when they realized that all that separated "The Wizard" from them was a transparent piece of glass.
Ozzie, of course, took it all in stride. But the sight was an odd one...in that Smith almost seemed like a prisoner, with microphones and cameras on the table in front of him, autograph seekers to his left and right, and admirers peering in from behind, gazing through the glass.

When the evening's program got underway, Cards broadcaster Bob Carpenter introduced all four players. While the fans' applause was polite for Sweeney and Pagnozzi, and a bit louder for Jordan, all in attendance rose when Carpenter mentioned Smith's name. The applause was long, loud, and genuine. There was some real affection going on there. The fans came to see Ozzie...and he rewarded them with his own brand of kindness.

All of which, of course, has nothing to do with who will be the starting Cardinals shortstop in Busch Stadium in April.