STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

STL sports chat with Ben Frederickson

Bring 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.
    Thanks for making the time to keep our Tuesday ritual rolling here, even without games.
    Let's roll.
    Ok Ben, I've got this problem. It started several years ago, and at first I thought if I ignored it, it would go away. Sure, I could've spent some money, but I'm frugal. It's gotten gradually worse over the years, and it's coming to a head. It's starting to get embarrassing. My patience is wearing thin, and you know I hate to have the spotlight shine on me. If I want to sweep it under the rug, do you really think I need toupee?
    My advice? Face the music. Lots of guys are breaking out the clippers for a quarantine cut. Use that as an excuse to ditch the rug and go bald. That Cali sun will have it tanned in no time, and it will be a good look in court in 2021, with stress veins popping out while on the stand in front of a jury. Hey, a guy can dream.
    What did you make of the NFL Draft haul the Broncos put together for Lock? Lots of talent there to help him succeed as the starter.
    Other than Joe Burrow, I'm not sure any quarterback had a better NFL Draft than Drew Lock. Goodness. The Broncos had committed to Lock as the starter by the time the season ended, and made it clear their goal was to build him an offense that could help him win, and win big. Talk about putting your money where your mouth his. The offensive line was upgraded before the draft, and then the draft was used to grab as many weapons as possible for the quarterback. Jerry Jeudy seems like a steal at No. 15. He was believed to be one of the best route runners in college football. K.J. Hamler, the receiver out of Penn State who became the Broncos' second pick, is going to need some polishing, but his explosiveness and speed are going to help. And I like the decision to take a shot on tight end Albert Okwuegbunam. Drew should know as well as anyone how to motivate the big guy.
    Your column about Mizzou needing to get back to producing NFL Draft talent under Eli Drinkwitz aged pretty well, didn't it?
    It did, unfortunately, for Mizzou.
    Three straight years without a first-round pick, and the Tigers have only produced two picks selected before the fourth round in those three drafts.
    Albert O would have been better off with another season.
    I don't know why Trystan Colon-Castillo declared.
    With the state opening back up on Monday and no limits on gatherings do you think the MLS group will have a ground-breaking ceremony and team name announcement soon?
    I think the MLS4TheLou ownership group is going to be more in line with the city of St. Louis stay-at-home restrictions than the governor's.
    Mayor Krewson has said the St. Louis area has too many cases of coronavirus to "reopen" on Monday, and Parson said local leaders can issue stricter stay-at-home restrictions.
    Good morning: What is the latest on Boumeester? Is there a period of time that he can be carried as inquired even if his contract has expired? Is there a hard date that he has to declare retirement?
    Bouwmeester's contract with the Blues expires after the season ends, though we don't know right now what the season's end will look like, whether it's already happened or will happen in the future. Strange times. He doesn't have to retire. He could play elsewhere, but I don't think it will be with the Blues. The Marco Scandella extension seemed to prove that. And it probably means that Bouwmeester will retire, though the Blues are not going to steal his thunder on that type of announcement. The writing seems to be on the wall, though.
    Do you think it's possible the STL area (I'm thinking Family Arena) could attract an NBA G League team? I don't think we can lure an NBA team without the Blues relocating (I'd be fine with that trade) but I think G League would thrive here.
    Anything is possible, but I don't have any details or developments about that being something that is being pursued by the area or of interest to the NBA or G League. It's funny this got brought up, because just the other day I was researching the old NBA exhibition games that used to come through town once in a while. Specifically, the one that was supposed to include Michael Jordan. But he retired, and the Bulls came without him. It happened the following year, and ticket sales and attendance were not what the league or region hoped. I do think St. Louis would support an NBA team, but I'll say what I've said in this chat many times before -- util there is an owner with deep pockets willing to make it happen, there's really nothing to discuss. Showing interest in it doesn't mean you are willing to pay the price to make it happen, either. And the league would have to be convinced, because it has teams in Memphis and Indianapolis, and a potential challenger in Kansas City. I'm not sure if the area would support a G League team. I can only speak about what I would be interested in, and I don't think that would capture my interest. I'd rather watch college ball than the G League, personally.
    What do you mean when you say Drew Lock could know how to motivate Albert O? Is a chance to play in the NFL not enough motivation?
  • You would think so, right?
    It wasn't always so with Albert, though.
    A former Mizzou coach -- not Odom but someone on his former staff -- once told me that if Albert wanted to be a star as much as those around him wanted it for him, he would be unstoppable.
    He's not a bad kid. He is confusing to those who see his gifts -- size, speed, skill -- but also see a hesitation to max them all out with the kind of work ethic, determination and physicality that would make him a force.
    He need to become tougher mentally and physically if he's going to stick in the league.
    Lock knows these things, and perhaps he can guide Albert in the right direction in an unforgiving league.
    BenFred, you are adamant about St. Louis not working with the NFL because of how they treated St. Louis. You mention how the MLS is way better for St. Louis because they like St. Louis more. However, many NFL owners are also MLS owners. If St. Louis works with the MLS, they are working with guys like Arthur Blank, Robert Kraft, and even Stan Kroenke. What do you think about the fact that the NFL and MLS share many owners?
    It's pretty simple, really.
    The powers that determine the direction of the NFL uprooted the Rams, disregarded the relocation guidelines and helped Stan Kroenke sell a disparaging image of St. Louis that was not true.
    The powers that determine the direction of MLS saw an opportunity to expand into a promising city the NFL turned its back on, and prioritized St. Louis as a desirable partnership with a strong, locally based ownership group.
    Sure, there is some overlap between the leagues, but the differences in them is pretty clear based off the actions, isn't it?
    If the NFL wants to to plant an expansion team or the Chargers here without the public spending a dime on it as proof it screwed up, I'm sure my hope that St. Louis will move on from the NFL would be ignored by many.
    But the NFL won't do that.
    The NFL has thought all along that the lawsuit over the rigged relocation was sour grapes.
    The league's ego remains amazing.
    So, yeah, I do see a difference between MLS and the NFL.
    And no, I have no problem saying St. Louis would be better off, long term, if it eliminated the longing for another NFL team from its hopes for the lawsuit's outcome, or life moving forward in general.
    You're better off without the league.
    I have loved The Last Dance so far. However, one complaint I have is the lack of Toni Kukoc. Why isn't he there? He was part of the 1997-1998 season but he hasn't been interviewed yet which makes me think he won't be interviewed. Thoughts?
  • The absence of Toni Kukoc so far has been a reminder that this is not the story of the Bulls.
    It's Michael Jordan's story of the Bulls.
    The reason this whole documentary happened was because MJ agreed to be involved with it, and that involvement came with certain influence.
    Sam Smith, the longtime hoops writer who now works for the Bulls' official website, had to be approved by MJ as a participant, for example.
    MJ's side of the story is fascinating, because we rarely hear it, but don't forget whose side we are getting.
    Kukoc was a Jerry Krause guy. He was always on the outside looking in because he was perceived as a threat to Pippen. He's made some recent comments, defending Krause. That alone should tell us why he's been missing so far. I hope he shows up at some point.
    I've seen Charlotte's MLS twitter account staying pretty connected with their supporters even during this whole pandemic. Do you think the STL group could do a better job at interacting with their supporters ? Having said that I know Charlotte also kicks off next year whereas STL is two years out? I just feel the STL group doesn't really do a very good job of keeping the buzz going for their franchise
    I tried to answer some of that during a recent interview with Carolyn Kindle Betz.
    She stressed then that the group feels it's best to help keep the focus on the coronavirus pandemic at this time.
    There's a fine line there, between trying to take advantage of the lack of games elsewhere, and being viewed as self-promotional during a hard time for many.
    Pick one side, and there will be criticism from the other side.
    Another thing to keep in mind is that Charlotte, because of the timeline you mentioned, probably has a bigger team running the team.
    The pandemic has interrupted to some degree the timeline the St. Louis group had for its soccer operations hires.
    Once the team name and colors are released, I think there will be a pretty steady flow of interaction, information and updates.
    That's kind of the green flag for the building of hype until the 2022 launch.
    There's worry about raising the flag too soon, due to the circumstances, and this group has shown a tendency to err on the side of caution.
    I know the group has a community service response in the works at this time, and hope to have some more information on that soon.
    Is your belief that the NBA stopped playing preseason games in St. Louis is because they didn't get as good as attendance as they anticipated?
    I think that was part of it. We're also talking about the mid-90s, so I don't think it would be wise to assume the reasons it stopped then would be the reasons it doesn't happen today. If Brad Beal and Jayson Tatum brought the Wizards and Celtics here for an exhibition game, I imagine it would sell out and be a smash hit. The NBA should consider it.
    Did you see Kurt Huntzacker's tweets about the Battlehawks plans for the LA game? They had planned to introduce a Ring of Honor for St. Louis football history. Do you think this would have been cool? Do you think this ring of honor could still be placed somewhere in the city, maybe Ballpark Village?
    Yep.
    I mentioned it in last week's column about Hunzeker.
    Of course it would have been cool!
    But no, I don't see Ballpark Village adopting the idea, as it's pretty consistent with its baseball theme and has not shown much interest in branching out into celebrating/honoring other sports.
    Thank you, as always, for the chat. Your reaction to the penalty handed down by MLB for the Red Sox? Seemed a little light to me, though I wasn't expecting it to match the Astros penalty?
    I agree with you that it seemed light, but we once again underestimated a New England team's ability to throw a low-level nobody under the bus so the big names got off with a free pass.
    To suggest the video coordinator was the only one with a hand in the cheating was both hilarious and ridiculous.
    But, Manfred and his investigators could not get a better story, I guess.
    There's a reason that news was dumped right before the NFL draft -- to bury the story as fast as possible.
    What really baffled me was Manfred mentioned in his report that eliminating the Red Sox second-round draft pick was an increased punishment due to the fact the draft will be shortened this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. And yet, Manfred has done nothing to fix the fact that former Red Sox manager Alex Cora -- who was suspended through the "end of the 2020 postseason" due to his tie to the Houston sign-stealing that was postponed until the Red Sox investigation ended -- along with former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager A.J. Hinch could be at work in baseball again by the time this coronavirus shutdown ends. If the league does not find a way to play games, and the start of the 2021 season becomes the next time we have baseball, all three of these guys could be good to go. Hell, Cora could be back as the Red Sox manager. Some punishment. Manfred should have said he's amending the initial punishments to include 162 regular-season games along with a postseason, no matter when they are played. That was his intent when he handed down the punishments. Furthermore, I can see how people are confused here. In Houston, Manfred said the manager and general manager had to know this kind of stuff was happening. In Boston, the same stance was not taken.
    It looks like the 3 state proposal could work, as all 3 states are opening up. It would be ironic if this virus comes back when MLB is ready to go because they did open up too early.
  • The question isn't if the virus will come back, as it has not gone away, and won't entirely until there is a vaccine or proven treatment that knocks it down.
    The question is if leagues can navigate an altered schedule with enough testing and self-containment to keep it from being derailed by the virus.
    The question is if the league can keep the virus out, or at least minimized enough once it gets in, that it doesn't force a stop after the start.
    We still don't have answers as to how it would be handed when a player tests positive when teams reassemble. Is he out for two weeks? Is that team? Until there is a system in place, we're really not talking about much.
    With the success of the NFL draft, you think MLB should televise their draft, or are the players at that point too unknown to generate interest.
    I'm not sure it would be a smash hit on three networks, like the NFL draft is. But MLB Network, which caters specifically to baseball lovers, should absolutely do this. Why not? It's better than watching old games. People would watch. Do more on the players in the earlier rounds, then pick your spots as the names get less known. Live sports of any kind is going to be better than canned ones, I think.
    Let’s face it, the Astros got off easy as well as the Red Sox. And so did all the juicers for that matter. It is an insult to all the players who did it right, it lessens the integrity of the game, and it sends a cheaters prosper message to youth. Ok, done with the rant.
    All players got off easy in the Houston and Red Sox investigations.
    For sure.
    The league granted immunity to get the full story.
    Sounds like that plan worked in Houston, but not in Boston.
    And if Cora, Hinch and Luhnow wind up being free to work in baseball again the next time a real baseball game is played, then yes, the punishment was far too light.
    Manfred should fix that.
    I remember the Bulls-Pistons series and how the Bad Boys had Jordan’s number for a while. Don’t see why Jordan still holds a grudge because they did not shake hands after the Bulls finally beat them. Jordan has shown he is the GOAT. Revenge is best served cold.
    Jordan could be a jerk along with the best of them, but he did always seem to honor the sportsmanship code. Congratulate those who beat you fair and square, and he exercised that belief after the Pistons knocked him out. To not have it reciprocated, on top of the Pistons breezing by the Bulls bench after the tables turned? I can see how that would tick him off. I'm also not sure why he was surprised. That was the Pistons whole thing. They were the party crashers, the unwanted winners. And yet they -- the Pistons, not the Bulls -- whine about not getting enough respect. That's their whole shtick! Whining waters it down. What the doc didn't show is that there's a lot of other beef there between Isaiah and Jordan. Isaiah was a pariah in the league, for a lot of reasons, and Jordan used his leverage to make it so.
    Asked DG yesterday...I know it's your job to attend when the time comes but if it wasn't...would you attend games and concerts before a vaccine is available?
    Sure.
    I've said all along that I'm going to take my recommendations from the health experts and scientists, and if they sign off on gatherings of certain sizes, I'm going to trust them.
    Dave Matter's top 30 Mizzou athletes series was something else! Great reading. Could we have a peek at BenFred's top 5? I'm guessing that maybe it wouldn't include two wrestlers among the top three?
    It was a blast.
    A great idea and even better execution of it.
    And it shows how well respected Dave is that not only were the list members picking up the phone call to give him fresh interviews years later, but arguing over where they should appear on the list! 
    Matter's opinion mattered to them, and that's pretty cool.
    Dave's list would have been different from mine, because it was based on the years he's been covering Mizzou sports.
    I've been following Mizzou sports since I was born. Both my parents and my older sister went there, but I haven't been covering them as long as Dave.
    You can't have a list without Askren and Cox in the top-five, so you read me wrong there.
    I agree that Chase is No. 1 because you have to give college football a weighted advantage. It's the biggest, most important college sport.
    I would have found some way to move Sophie Cunningham into the top-five.
    She was the Chase Daniel of women's basketball at Mizzou, and had an Askren-like vibe. Bigger than her sport.
    I was also amazed by the names who didn't make the list. 
    Imagine me telling you when Michael Porter Jr. signed that he would not make this list.
    Same for Blaine Gabbert, who was drafted miles ahead of both Smith and Daniel.
    Who's the best high school hoopster you saw play? I miss the days of the old Coca Cola/KMOX Shootout. One year I went and saw KG, Marbury and Vince Carter in the same day. Also, I'm old enough to have seen some great Larry Hughes-Johnnie Parker Jr battles and really old enough to have seen Kelly Thames drop 55 on the Ladue Rams in a 3OT thriller.
    Tatum would top mine.
    No one else really comes close.
Powered by Platform for Live Reporting, Events, and Social Engagement