The Amazing Shrinking Excuse: Try Again, Mr. DeWitt, Despite Goodwill Factor

Gaylon TeSlaaContributor IFebruary 6, 2009

Everyone knows that it's lonely at the top, right?   God knows I'd LIKE to be able to have to relate to your dilemma of having to negotiate multi-million dollar contracts with prima dona athletes all the time.  

And God knows, Mr. DeWitt, that you may be sorely tempted to hit the "back page" key upon seeing my name on this article.

But you see there is one more piece of information that has been disseminated recently which I am hereby nullifying...better to get it from me than scoundrels like...I mean, reputable agents like Scum Boras...yeah, we don't much like him either.  

We're sure that the riches that Boras et al extort...make that - glean from honest to goodness exaggerating/citing of statistics - readily lubricate any angst they might feel when being referred to in a less than flattering light.

St. Louis was referred to as "a shrinking city" the other day on this site!   Maybe it's that shrinking and sinking feeling people at the second halves at home Rams' games have experienced, or possibly just that barely imperceptible sensation derived from Cards' fans learning of physicists' discovery that the speed of light OVER THE New Madrid Fault is NOT a constant?


Area/2000 census/1990 census/am't of change/% change

1 NewYork--Northern New Jersey--Long Island, NY--NJ--CT--PA CMSA 21,199,865 19,549,649 1,650,216 8.4%

2 Los Angeles--Riverside--Orange County, CA CMSA 16,373,645 14,531,529 1,842,116 12.7%

3 Chicago--Gary--Kenosha, IL--IN--WI CMSA 9,157,540 8,239,820 917,720 11.1%

4 Washington--Baltimore, DC--MD--VA--WV CMSA 7,608,070 6,727,050 881,020 13.1%

5 San Francisco--Oakland--San Jose, CA CMSA 7,039,362 6,253,311 786,051 12.6%

6 Philadelphia--Wilmington--Atlantic City, PA--NJ--DE--MD CMSA 6,188,463 5,892,937 295,526 5.0%

7 Boston--Worcester--Lawrence, MA--NH--ME--CT CMSA 5,819,100 5,455,403 363,697 6.7%

8 Detroit--Ann Arbor--Flint, MI CMSA 5,456,428 5,187,171 269,257 5.2%

9 Dallas--Fort Worth, TX CMSA 5,221,801 4,037,282 1,184,519 29.3%

10 Houston--Galveston--Brazoria, TX CMSA 4,669,571 3,731,131 938,440 25.2%

11 Atlanta, GA MSA 4,112,198 2,959,950 1,152,248 38.9%

12 Miami--Fort Lauderdale, FL CMSA 3,876,380 3,192,582 683,798 21.4%

13 Seattle--Tacoma--Bremerton, WA CMSA 3,554,760 2,970,328 584,432 19.7%

14 Phoenix--Mesa, AZ MSA 3,251,876 2,238,480 1,013,396 45.3%

15 Minneapolis--St. Paul, MN--WI MSA 2,968,806 2,538,834 429,972 16.9%

16 Cleveland--Akron, OH CMSA 2,945,831 2,859,644 86,187 3.0%

17 San Diego, CA MSA 2,813,833 2,498,016 315,817 12.6%

18 St. Louis, MO--IL MSA 2,603,607 2,492,525 111,082 4.5%

19 Denver--Boulder--Greeley, CO CMSA 2,581,506 1,980,140 601,366 30.4%

20 San Juan--Caguas--Arecibo, PR CMSA 2,450,292 2,270,808 179,484 7.9%


The huge factor that Mr. DeWitt and others who are so fearful of population shrinkage in the STL area completely forget about is how earlier owners' and management wisely broadcasted their baseball games through the entire Midwest, including several states where MLB had no other team.

As the son of an Iowa farmer, I can't tell you the number of "hoots' and "hollers" that rose up ignominiously from fertile farmland as Ted Simmons or Ted Sizemore or Tim McCarver (I'm old and can actually think of more "T" names) rallied their baseball team for late inning victories to give Bob Gibson or Steve Carlton or Rick Wise (not so often - damn that Carlton trade!!!) the win!  

The St. Louis Cardinals may have the footprint of a smal market Midwest baseball team, BUT there are millions of square miles of farm land and small to medium towns who have NO OTHER MLB team to support (you will note I also highlighted another prototypical smal market team's footprint).   Even if MANY of them only get together to come to St. Louie for a game or two once a year, these are avid, baseball loving, regular Americans whose fanhood you are belittling, Mr. DeWitt et al, who desparately WANT the Cardinals to be COMPETETIVE, if not EVERY YEAR, then most of the time!  

The Cardinals are a high profile and storied MLB franchise, Mr. DeWitt, and YOU have stepped up to buy the team and the expectations that go with it!   You are entrusted with something MUCH more than a business investment...and really, something more than a team needing a spendthrift owner!

Cardinal fans DO NOT want an owner to spend like crazy (and therefore raise ticket prices to a level that only a Manhattan investment banker can afford), they/I want somebody willing to take a few chances to at least SHOW fans that management is trying to win it all!  

When you signed Kyle Lohse (a former TWINkie, BTW) after last season, that showed the sort of will to win that fans will reward.   Ever since that time, you (and Mr. Mozeliak) have been exceedingly the point of letting numerous of last year's productive Cardinals fly away.   You've built up the farm system and there are numerous quality reinforcements, which is fantastic.  But very definite weaknesses remain, even though they are NOT numerous.

Your management knows where those weak spots are...reading fans' comments and blogs undoubtedly reinforces this.   Make a legitimate move and an impact deal (of some kind) before the end of Spring Training, the kind of thing needed for the team to definitely contend...and you'll see your fan base respond!