When sportswriters fight, no team wins.

It’s a common argument with Thrashers and Blues fans alike – the other local teams get more/better/exclusive/whatever coverage than does the hockey.  The AJC tends to be very college sports heavy, and now that baseball’s started and the Braves show a modicum of promise to soon be dashed, the whole paper is Bravos ga-ga.

I really don’t have to explain St. Louis’ situation.  The city is Cardinals central.  Every little move the team makes or does not make is put under a microscope that would make Anton von Leeuwenhoek squee with delight.  Why is La Russa putting Schumaker at the 5th spot?  Why is Molina sitting out this game?  Will Albert’s elbow be ok?  How close are the owners to securing Pujols for the next century and how much will they pay him?  Signing Matt Holiday was absolute front page news.

The Blues could sign Ilya Kovalchuk and Evgeny Nabokov during the off season, and half the news media in St. Louis would ignore it until it served them well to bitch about it.

The end of the last season saw the Blues swept in four games by the Vancouver Canucks, but it was still a positive time for the Blues, and the Blues sports columnists rightfully were excited.  Might they (and admittedly, the fans) have gotten a little overexcited for this season?  Of course.  It was hard not to, and it’s still hard to not be psyched for the next year.  Our youth are growing and still show promise.  Yes, this year’s “You’re the final piece of the puzzle” ad campaign was very ill advised, because the team’s still short a few.  We need a solid #1 goalie. We’d like to have a true sniper to go along with Boyes, who might regain his touch next year, but he might not.  But, like Dan O’Neil said, we’re moving in the right direction, right?

Not to hear the other local sports media spin it.

Bad news gets more attention and more money, that’s a gimmie.  Sometimes, doom and gloom has to be fabricated to get that attention, or things have to be blown out of proportion to catch someone’s eye.  Last season’s playoff sweep of the Cardinals was practically apocalyptic in nature – of course, we were still the Division Champions, and probably will be again this season, and a sweep doesn’t erase the amazing history of the franchise, but to hear Bernie Miklasz and Joe Strauss and the like tell it, everything was crashing down around our ears.

Right.

Now that the Cardinals season has started and is showing promise, the pundits are shifting their attention to the Blues, whose season is ending a little short of where they’d like to be, although the point totals from this season and last season are about the same.  You know, why look at things like point totals when tearing the team apart for finishing in tenth place (or possibly even ninth) in an absurdly difficult conference is much more fun?  Wouldn’t it just be a gas to rip the Blues apart so people will actually listen to KTRS 550?

That’s exactly what is happening.  I noticed it the other night on Twitter, when Chris Kerber ripped the press apart for hopping over Jeremy Rutherford of the Post-Dispatch for being mildly positive.

Well, then, Kerbs.  Absolutely true (though as someone in Atlanta, I would kill for the Thrashers to get a tenth of the press that the Blues get in StL).

What prompted this?  You really don’t have to look any farther than this op-ed by Dan Caesar of the P-D.  Reading this is what made me write this little op-ed of my own.  What team have these gentlemen been watching?  No, the Blues haven’t arrived yet.  But to say that they’re at the same point as they were when Checketts purchased them is flat-out ignorant.  That first season they had to bribe people to come to the games with free food and some guy named Brett Hull.  The Blues were abysmal in that 2005-2006 season, and the first thing that John Davidson did was bring in some solid veterans like Legace, McKee, and Weight to help steer the team back to respectability.  Drafting has been absurdly excellent – our young kids are all products of these drafts, and they’re some of the top talent in the game.  People who criticize the kids are expecting them to play like ten year vets.  Newsflash: they’re not.  They’re still learning, and while there’s still room for improvement, their output so far has shown nothing but promise.

Which is why Mike Claiborne of KTRS 550 had some comments published that rubbed me the wrong way.

“How about this whole youth movement we’ve heard about?” Claiborne asked. “The only thing the Blues are going to do is have another shot at being in the (draft) lottery. This is getting old.

“I like John Davidson; he’s a nice guy, he goes on everybody’s radio show,” Claiborne said. “He’s a very forthright individual. I think everyone would say he’s a good man, he’s a good face for the organization. But here’s the deal — that rhetoric has got to stop. This team isn’t much better now than they were when (the current management group) first hit town. No real goal scorer, no leadership, no shut-down goaltender. … It’s the same things this team was lacking when the current regime took over.

“It’s unfair to the loyal Blues fans who have found this team has no real direction. They’ve miscast players and coaches.”

I would really love him to successfully compare the teams of the last two seasons to those of 2005-2006, or even better, 2006-2007.  Do it.  I dare you.

We do not have a chance at being in the draft lotto this year – if the season ended today we’d draft 16th.  If my math is correct, that means that there were fifteen teams worse than us this season.  Fact check your stupidity before you vent.

We had a goal scorer in Brad Boyes – no one expected the drop in production that he had this year.  Oshie and Backes will be more than able to be 30 goal scorers on a consistent basis.  Not every team can have a Crosby, Malkin, or Kovalchuk.  Our pockets aren’t that deep.  While I agree that we do need an actual #1 goaltender, none were available this past off-season who were an improvement over Mason, so JD got the best backup in the league as insurance.

And no leadership?  I highly doubt some sports reporter from the AM station that no one cares about has serious locker room access enough to see what kind of leadership is going on.

I usually don’t go off like this on the media, because any coverage of a team is press, and I do enjoy the Post-Dispatch and Globe Democrat’s coverage of the Blues, though I think that Rutherford’s the best.  But these complaints recently are ignorant ramblings of people who pay no attention to the team until it serves their publishers’ needs.  They need to go back to making up things to wring their hands over regarding the Cards; they have that down to an art form.

 

About Laura Astorian

Laura Astorian is the head editor for the SB Nation blog St. Louis Game Time and has been a Blues fan from childhood. She promises that any anti-Blackhawks bias will be left at the door. Maybe.