STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

ring your Cardinals, Blues and St. Louis sports questions, and talk to Post-Dispatch columnist Ben Frederickson in a live chat starting at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

    Greetings, chatters. Hope everybody is safe and healthy and finding some way to keep some sanity. We've got a few hours together, so hope that helps! Let me know what's on your mind. We can talk Rams relocation battle -- there was news on that yesterday -- the MLB being sued for not returning ticket sales, anything and everything. Let's roll.
    So in your list of traditions you don't want to return, you can't stand people having a good time singing Country Roads, but you want to deny us seeing the pitcher bat? Why not make it specialized offense/defense like football and have 9 DH's then?
    I can stand it, but I can't understand it.
    People can have a good time singing lots of songs.
    Why St. Louis wants to latch onto a song about West Virginia -- or Virginia, some argue -- is beyond me.
    That song is already a staple at West Virginia games.
    Simply poaching it is lame.
    That's all.
    Many Cardinals fans don't agree with me about the DH.
    That's OK.
    I get it.
    Touchy topic.
    But aligning two leagues that play for the same prize so they don't have a drastically different rule makes a lot of sense, and the DH is not going away from the AL. The lack of the DH also puts NL teams at a disadvantage in certain spots, like when it comes to signing certain free agents. Teams that can offer a DH spot can offer bigger, longer commitments. It's pretty unfair, when you think about it in those terms.
    National League pitchers over the past handful of years have been even worse at the plate, and they were no good to begin with. It's not fun to watch that. If your argument is that the strategy that comes with managing around a pitcher hitting makes it worth watching a pitcher hit, OK. But please don't try to get me to believe people like watching pitchers hit. There are a few exceptions. Just a few.
    What does Kroenke stand to lose in this trial that STL is headed toward? Need some background to get up to date, for sure, but mainly I'm wondering what or how much he could lose and the reason why he would lose it. Thanks for the chat!
    Here's the fastest way to explain it.
    Team STL is suing Team Kroenke.
    Team STL is The Dome Authority, St. Louis and St. Louis County.
    Team Kroenke is Stan Kroenke, the Rams, the NFL, the 31 other NFL teams, and the 31 other NFL team owners.
    The charges -- breach of contract, unjust enrichment, fraudulent misrepresentation and tortious interference with business expectancy -- all stem from how Team Kroenke did not follow the NFL's own relocation guidelines.
    Team STL is seeking damages and restitution of profits, to the tune of billions of dollars.
    That's what it could cost them.
    And there there is what it is already costing them.
    ESPN reported a while back that Kroenke was responsible for footing all legal bills for the team and the league, as part of an indemnification agreement the league presented to the Rams, Charges and Raiders the day the relocation vote went down. ESPN reported legal bills have reached eight figures for some teams, after Team STL asked for tons of documents, including cell phone bills of team owners dating back years.
    The cost just went up again, as Monday's news out of the U.S. Supreme Court shut down Team Kroenke's hope for arbitration, a faster, cheaper, and nicer-to-corporations approach than a public jury trial.
    Now there's either a settlement, or a trial next year, which means the asking price for a settlement just went up.
    Should be clear here. I have no reason as of today to believe a settlement has even been discussed.
    The BFIB were really ahead of the curve with the whole physical distancing thing during the NLCS. Right?
    Have you adopted a team to root for the CPBL league? I'm about a day away from reloading my Bovada account to make these games a little more exciting with my coffee at 5am...
  • I checked one of them out.
    Right as I got the stream going, the broadcasters were ripping American baseball for overpriced food and beer.
    Talk about playing to the new audience!
    BenFred, did you watch "The Last Dance" on Sunday? If so, what was the most surprising thing you learned?
    I didn't know much about the reasoning behind Scottie Pippen's willingness to accept a deal that prioritized guaranteed money over what could have been a bigger pay day if he slow-played things a bit. He did get paid in the end, though he didn't play up to his paycheck then. I guess it all came out in the wash, more or less.
    I loved those teams growing up. I remember crying in my basement when MJ retired. So this has been really fun to watch.
    One thing disappointed me. I think it's kind of a shame how Jerry Krause is being treated. He's dead, and unable to defend himself. His moves helped make that team win six championships -- and the discussion after the first two episodes was all about how the pulled the rug out from beneath the Bulls. What? Maybe they would have had seven or more if he played things differently. But maybe they would have had zero if they played things differently, too. Just feels like he's an easy punching bag, and I'm not sure that's fair. How have the Bulls done without him? How has MJ done since his transition to the front office? His warts could have been covered without making him The Bad Guy. Feels cheap to me. 
    Good morning Ben. Thanks for having the chat again. Great article this morning about Kroenke’s failed attempt to take this suit to arbitration. I have to think the NFL owners are not happy about this. Will the commissioner and other owners pressure Stan to settle? If so, does St. Louis stand to reap a larger amount as opposed to going through with a trial?
    You bet.
    Thanks to you all for keeping me company.
    I don't have Jerry Jones on speed dial, but I have to imagine yesterday's news made some ripples with NFL owners.
    The elimination of arbitration as an option means a settlement is the only thing that guarantees all of the league's dirty relocation secrets that have been discovered, and will be discovered still, will get out.
    Plus whatever else is in the mix.
    Don't forget the lawyers representing STL won the fight about requesting and receiving years worth -- years -- of cell phone records from NFL owners.
    That doesn't mean texts, but it does mean call logs. 
    Imagine what could come out of those, just by simply tracing the calls back and forth between certain owners as the backdoor dealing was taking place.
    There have been rumors about some really damning evidence from internal correspondence, including one former Rams employee.
    The million, maybe billion-dollar question will be how to handle things if Team Kroenke pursues a settlement.
    Sure, there is interest in seeing all of this get its full day in the bright sun of a jury trial.
    But the gamble would be passing up a potentially lucrative settlement and winding up with nothing.
    That's the risk, but it's only a risk if Team Kroenke purses a settlement.
    There's been no sign of that to this point that I know of.
    It's a big story.
    I've been hollering that for a while now.
    I hope people are starting to listen.
    OK, I'll bite: Where do you stand on MLB teams not refunding ticket revenue? Pretty low, IMO, given the billions in TV revenue that have been lavished upon all 30 teams.
  • If people want their money back, they should get it back.
    It's that simple.
    Sacrifice in the short term to keep your fans happy when things get back to normal, or whatever normal looks like from this point forward.
    I feel the same way about baseball games as I do airlines, but I'm still waiting to get my money back for the canceled trip to London to cover Cards-Cubs, and there's nothing I can do about it other than trust the airline will make it right eventually.
    I think baseball will eventually make it right, but it's a shame they are now being sued because they waited.
    They are worried about money, sure, but so are hard-working people who could use that money back.
    What is your take on whether the Blues resigning Petro? I can see cap casualties on the horizon if we try to keep him. I’d certainly like to see him stay but at $9 mil or more a year I’d like to reinvest that into our younger players. Besides, with the league cap staying the same or maybe even shrinking I don’t can’t see anyone paying that kind of money without weakening the rest of their team.
  • My stance has not changed.
    I don't think Petro is going anywhere.
    And I think the salary-cap situation you mentioned could help the Blues' chances of keeping him more than it hurts them.
    Unfortunately, for Petro, his stellar play as a pending free agent is going to be impacted by the coronavirus-affected salary cap. Whether it stays the same or shrinks -- and there's a decent chance it shrinks if the season is canceled -- there will be fewer dollars to go around for premier free agents.
    I don't think Petro is going to go just anywhere.
    He wants to compete, not just play for the team that gives him the most money.
    So that will limit the pool a little more.
    He's got triplets and in-laws that live in the area.
    I'm not saying he can't afford help with the kids, but that hometown feel has to count for something.
    He's the first Blues captain to bring home the Cup. He will never buy a drink in this town again. That counts for something.
    What would a team have to offer him to outweigh all of these benefits of staying, and what are the chances of that offer coming with this surprise cap situation?
    The Blues are not giving the captain the cold shoulder. They want him. They are eager and willing to lock him up. They will make him fit if he wants to be here, and they have plenty of trades they can make to make it happen.
    Jake Allen could be moved. Alexander Steen could be bought out. Justin Faul could be moved; a no-trade agreement doesn't mean much in hockey.
    The agency repping Petro is similar to Scott Boras in basball. They slow-play. They try to get the best deal for their client, and for themselves. But Petro's word will be the deciding factor at the end of the day, and I just don't see him leaving a Blues team that is willing to be competitive to keep him.
    When Kroenke first moved the Rams, he seemed like some sort of evil long play cold calculating genius (bought into the Rams for a 20 year medium term play in St. Louis with an eye on moving back, hired a coach with experience moving, wowed the owners with his presentation, etc.), and yet, after rubbing salt in our wounds by making it to the Superbowl, a lot seems to be going wrong for him. Do you think he (and the NFL) are really shocked by how the lawsuit has gone? Were they that dumb to think they could just get it dismissed or sent to arbitration? How can Kroenke be so seemingly brilliant, and then have so many problems? Bad luck? Or just another case of a guy who's good at one thing (building Walmarts for his wife's family and getting TIF's) thinking that translates to cashing in on the L.A. market by moving a team and building his own stadium?
    Yes, I do think the league and its decision makers are surprised at how the case played out. That doesn't surprise me. Their ego is their weakness, and it's hurt them in this process.
    Kroenke's ego has hurt him in this process. He made statements about not being interested in moving the team that could come back to bite him. He learned to stop saying that, but he never stopped Kevin Demoff from saying it. That revealing interview Demoff gave to the Los Angeles Times about the long plan to move the team back to Los Angeles was jawdropping in a foolish way. As was the relocation document that was full of slander about St. Louis as a sports region, which was completely unnecessary. How is that argument going to hold up when a jury sees the numbers from the BattleHawks? A spring team that was starting from nothing came in and crushed ticket sales, merchandise sales, attendance and corporate sponsorship. Yikes. Honestly, the legacy of the BattleHawks might be that they slashed the tires of Kroenke's argument that St. Louis would not support an NFL team.
    I don't know about you, but I cannot get into watching any of these old baseball games that air airing online (even though they're all available on YouTube anyway). Highlights and clips? Sure. But I can't do even a half inning of these games. But, give me a random NBC Game of the Week where I don't know the outcome and I'm immediately more interested. Problems? Maybe.
    I'm with you.
    The suspense of not knowing what's going to happen is 99.9 percent of the reason we watch.
    There are exceptions, sure.
    But you've probably watched the exceptions by now.
    Slim pickings after that.
    If NFL offers us the Chargers (with Kroenke and co agreeing to waive the lease, ban on moving, etc., Chargers play in the dome even!) if we settle, would you want them?
  • I'm sure I'll get ripped for this, and that's OK, but no.
    I don't know why St. Louis should welcome back a league that didn't just let Kroenke do what he did, but helped him every step of the way!
    Get a settlement so big it blows minds. Or, crush them in court. But I have zero interest in another NFL team coming back to St. Louis.
    People latched onto Gloria, a song about a woman living a chaotic life trying to escape a stalker or something, as a victory song. Doesn't make sense does it? But it has a catchy hook.
    It doesn't have to make sense.
    It should be original, though.
    Country Roads has been claimed by West Virginia.
    It's played at all of their sporting events.
    Gloria wasn't being blared after Bob Huggins and his team won a basketball game.
    Another difference: Gloria was a player-driven thing. 
    I agree with you BrenFred, I love the song Country Roads, just not sure how it applies to a Blues game. I'm sure they can find something better. How about when the Blues go marching in?
  • I don't even think it has to be a song that applies to a Blues game.
    Just not one that applies to a West Virginia sports game, and has for years.
    So, this Friday night was going to be Grateful Dead Night at Busch Stadium. Any suggestions on how I should celebrate safely at home?
    You have come to the right place.
    I can help.
    Head to YouTube and press play on one of the epic jam sessions that can be found for your viewing pleasure: https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed_bXHbUqOd0
    Start here, and then just bounce around the similar videos connected to it.
    I found myself doing just that last night. 
    God bless YouTube.
    The only thing missing is that smell . . . 
    Say that St. Louis wins a billion dollars in the lawsuit, the NFL, Kroenke and co. are humiliated, etc. Should we have a parade for the lawyers with a giant Kroenke pinata where the lawyers ride on a float and catch beers from the crowd like the Blues did?
    The lawyers involved in this are a little more low key than that, but I'm sure they would take a beer or two if this thing works out in their favor. I can't stress this enough, there is still a long way to go. Who knows how it will end. But Team STL has won more than their fair share of little battles leading up to the big war.
    Now we have a three state proposal, seems like MLB is grasping at straws. Let’s have the fans play and make the MLB teams watch.
  • I see it the opposite way, as the talks leading to something that might be more realistic than the initial all-in-Arizona plan that never seemed very realistic to me.
    The league is sorting through ideas. Some things are going to get out, and then those things are going to shift, adapt, evolve as the talks continue. There's another thing to keep in mind, too. People who cover this stuff at the national level are looking for any morsel of news about the discussions they can get their hands on. Reporting on what is being discussed should not be interpreted as reporting on what will happen.
    The decision-makers are trying to salvage a season on the fly, while situations change daily.
    It's going to be messy until there's an agreed-upon plan.
    Unsolicited baseball book rec of the week...Terror in the City of Champions by Tom Stanton. A deep dive into a secret society operating in Detroit during the Great Depression with a lot of Tiger baseball in there as well.
    I enjoyed your take on Fauci, but don’t you think his messaging is a bit compromised at this point? He is not going to be straight on these things for fear of losing his job. Plus, he had several conditions on whether play should resume. I know we need to hang our hat on something, but let’s not pop the champagne yet.
  • No champagne popped.
    Just an acknowledgement that when the expert is saying he sees a path where sports -- while adjusted for no crowds -- could return is good news that we have not heard before.
    I care a lot more about what he says than random sports media people guessing, or most politicians, for that matter.
    What is refreshing to me about Fauci is that he does not seem to compromise his message for anyone, whether that's a president who he's clashed with, or the media, who he's straightened out more than once for reading too much into potential rubs between him and Trump.
    He's a truth-teller.
    We need more of them.
    Do you agree that fans are probably going to have to wait till next year to attend sporting events?
    That one's above my pay grade. I don't have any info that you don't have, and my guess would be no better than yours. As long as crowd are limited to very small numbers, there won't be crowds at sports games, concerts, movie theaters, etc.
    Do you think the two owners who voted for the Rams to stay in St. Louis should be excused from "Team STL's" (as you call them) lawsuit against them?
    Nope.
    They're a part of the league.
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