Bobo's here, where's all the ballplayers?
I believe there is still a chance for some sort of activity between now and November. A lot can happen in that period of time. Given the tremendous stakes, MLB and most of the players will be eager to do something before 2021. Our country will get back to work incrementally and baseball will be like every other industry in that regard.
As chat regulars know, I don't see the NFL returning any time soon. Basically it would take a multi-bilionaire wanting to put a team here at any cost. It would take that multi-billionaire refusing to take no for an answer. As for the XFL, it was started to look fragile before the shutdown. Now, with the pro sports industry getting hammered, its future looks extremely bleak.
The STL was probably the strongest market for the XFL. It's a shame for fans here. I believe the team has enough staying power for Year 2. In other markets the novelty was starting to fade, so the league knew it had some real work to do for Year 2. Then came the pandemic and the world got flipped upside down.
They feel they better sign Betts to a long-term deal. That, or at least get a postseason tournment out of this baseball season so it can make a run for the title. But . . . the package traded for Betts and Price wasn't THAT great. The trade was a salary dump and the Dodgers might not have to pay much of that salary.
The MLS will take a big hit like every other pro sports league due to this pandemic. But it's not the XFL. It's been around a long, long time. And the St. Louis franchise is backed by people with serious money. As for the construction, I haven't been by there lately but the site preparation was underway.
On paper, the Blues would have been better this spring than last spring. After all, there is more skill in the lineup overall with Tarasenko returning to a team that saw Thomas and Sanford take big steps and Schwartz and Schenn bounce back from down regular seasons. But as we saw last season, not much separates the teams. I would have liked the Blues chances of playing for the Cup again, but if Tampa Bay was on the other side this time . . .
The NFL will more receptive to expansion to St. Louis when both coasts go underwater due to global warming. Until then, again, the best chance for the NFL to come here is a super-rich guy buying a team and insisting on moving here at all costs.
Football is very, very expensive for colleges. Think about the high number of scholarships to fund and the training, medical and insurance costs. And the college sports industry is getting crushed by this pandemic too. Athletic departments are going to be bleeding red ink at the Division I level. If there is no football this season, some departments will collapse without massive support from the general fund. I don't see SLU getting into football unless some insanely wealthy booster decided to underwrite the whole thing. And even then it would be a dicey proposition.
While the number of people who remember the St. Louis Hawks shrinks every day, they were still a thing. The BattleHawks, if they are indeed done for good, will be barely a blip on the radar screen. The St. Louis Swarm would have a greater legacy.
For the most part, I would have avoided established NFL markets. In those markets you are more likely to be pereceived as minor league. The more crowded the landscape, the harder it is to get attention. Here, the B-Hawks were a thing. This team got real coverage. And, yes, some fans were going to spite the NFL. That is not an enduring motivation, but it helps pump up some initial enthusiasm.
Right now, if the MLS team called a news conference nobody could attend. I imagine this is the sort of thing the team would want to present more in a pep rally-like format, as it has done with past events.
When you say viable owner, you mean somebody with tens of billions of dollars willing to buy a team and bankroll a stadium. If such an owner existed, it might be easier to just buy another team and move it here. The NFL could take a financial with this pandemic and that could make near-term expansion an even more remote possibility.
Never is a strong word, because the world could change drastically.
The NFL would be powerless to stop such a project. What happened has been pretty well reported. The short answer is Jerry Jones wields tremendous clout. He has been one of the driving forces in the leagie's massive revenue gains. He was in business with Stan, so he put his full weight behind that proposal. A lot of other things happened, too, but Jones and Kroenke are a formidable tag team.
At the non-scholarship Division III level, there are still the training, medical and insurance issue. A lot goes into starting a sport. Also, schools like to keep a Title IX balance with male and female athletes and a football team throws that out of whack.
Due to the pandemic, the convention center expansion is one hold. So who knows how American's Center proceeds. All levels of government will bleed red ink for years, so the convention center could end up in retrenchment mode.
Same question keeps coming up. I am optimistic. There are three pro teams with strong owners and pretty good facilities in place or in the plans. Also, SLU basketball could be viable for the long haul with as long its one big-time booster stays committed.
It's straining to put the BattleHawks in the same category as the Rams and Cardinals. Don't pull a muscle there.
Arizona training in May? Games in June? Yeah, that is a big reach. I do see some level of return for baseball at some point this year. What does that look like? Might it just be some sort of all-star deal in the fall in a secure location? Will be it studio sports with no fans in a sequestered area? We'll see. But the world will gradually get back to work, bit by bit, and sports will be part of that. When it comes back and what form it takes initially is TBA.
That could happen. But renovating the convention center, with the dome demolition included, would be a big undertaking. And what sort of convention business will St. Louis have for the next 10 years? How much money will the city, county and the state have? What will financing look like?