Saturday, September 23, 2006

SPORTS - First Capitol News Sports Section - MIKE MCMURRAN Sports Editor


Cardinal baseball was introduced to me by my grandmother in 1964. That means I was able to watch Lou Brock in his first season as a Cardinal, watch Bob Gibson, Timmy McCarver, Bill White, Julian Javier, Dick Groat and others overtake the Phillies on the last day of the season to win the National League pennant. 1964 was the year the Cardinals beat the Yankees in seven games to win the World Championship. The Yankee lineup included such names as Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. What better introduction to Cardinal Nation could a 10 year-old boy ask for?

I’m somewhat certain I’ve mentioned it here before, but it warrants repeating. In the 70’s and early 80’s, Cardinal Nation was more like “Cardinal Village,” in that tickets were easy to come by. It was not unusual, nor difficult, to purchase front row box seat tickets on game day. Most would not even waste their money on box seats because they knew they could purchase general admission seats and simply move down to the box seats. I remember being at Bob Forch’s first no-hitter in April of 1978; there were less than 17,000 in attendance.

Through the years I have remained a loyal Cardinal fan. On the day Lynn and I were married, the entire wedding party had their pictures taken at the foot of Stan Musial’s statue. Both Lynn and I have insured all three of our children have been exposed to Cardinal baseball. It is not unusual to find all three kids, after they finish their homework, watching the Cardinal’s on television. Just last evening I caught Joe watching the game some 10 minutes or so past his bedtime. “Ah Dad, c’mon! Molina is batting with the bases loaded and he’s never hit a grand slam before. Can’t I just watch what he does?” How could I turn him down?

This past Sunday Joe and I were the guests of Harry and his son Derrick Griffits at Busch. Even though we sat through 3 hours of rain, and never so much as saw a pitch, Joe and I witnessed the retiring of Bruce Sutter’s number “42.” “Pay close attention, Joe,” I told my son, “someday you will come here with your son and you will be able to tell him you were at the game Bruce Sutter’s number was retired. You will be able to tell your son how your dad took you to the game, just like you are taking your son.” That’s how it is suppose to work!

After the game was called I offered Harry his tickets back. He told me to keep them. “Harry,” I offered, “these are like cash, now that the game has been cancelled.” I knew that to be true because in years past should a game be cancelled, or not completed, all you had to do was take your ticket stubs to the ticket window and you would either (a) receive a full refund, or (b) trade the tickets in for a different game.
Such is no longer the case! According to the Cardinal ticket office, all season tickets will simply receive a credit on next year’s bill – no matter who had the tickets. Now, in my situation I really can’t complain. The tickets were a gift to Joe and me. But I couldn’t help think of all those, and I guess there to be hundreds, if not thousands, who bought tickets outside the stadium, on the street. It is rather well known throughout Cardinal Nation, season ticket holders will unload tickets outside the stadium. These tickets are far, far better than any tickets one can purchase at the tickets window; after all, they are season tickets. Sometimes one must pay a premium (scalper), sometimes not. The closer it gets to game time, the closer to face value the tickets become.

So, let’s say a family of four wished to go to Sunday’s game, had no tickets, and planned on buying them downtown. I think it is safe to say one might drop $200 for 4 tickets – 4 decent tickets. Once the game was cancelled, those tickets became worthless! The Cardinals refuse to issue any cash refund to the ticket holder! “That is our policy,” is the only response they would give. “We will credit the season ticket holder’s account next season.” I guess that means that any season ticket holder who doesn’t renew is also out of luck.

What does all this mean? It means the Cardinals’ owners are doing their best to insure Cardinal Nation dies after this generation. Baseball is about tradition – age-old tradition! For the past two centuries, baseball fans held on to their ticket stubs until the 5th inning. Why? Because they were as good as money, that’s why! Not now!

What does all this mean? I’m not sure. Does it mean I will boycott Cardinal baseball? Nah, I’m addicted. I am concerned about the future of Cardinal Nation.

On a positive note, we’ve only 44 days remaining until we vote Sally Unfaithful out of office. For those with a short memory, she is the candidate who unseated Rep. Tom Green in ’04, with a campaign based on untruths and out right lies. The timing of the malicious mailings were well planned and thought out – preventing Mr. Green to respond in ample time. To use a boxing metaphor, she sucker punched him. It won’t happen again.

St. Charles West still knows Warrenton’s Weaknesses

By Louis J. Launer

Welcome to bare-bones football at Steve Stahl Stadium at St. Charles West High School. The Marching Warriors were traveling to Murray, Kentucky for a band contest. So there was no band for the football game. Those who came to the game expected to see a football game that would make up for the last two games that provided embarrassment for the St. Charles West Warriors.

After going 0-2 in the first two weeks of the season, West needed a confidence boost. They got that and more against the Warrenton Warriors. Since joining the GAC four years ago, Warrenton has never beaten St. Charles West. With no band, someone or some people had to create excitement. The fans did quite well without a band, especially the student-fans.

Brannon Champagne started for St. Charles West at quarterback. His first two games were not good at all due to fumbles and interceptions that cost West the two losses. West returned to its traditional running game out of the wishbone formation.

Warrenton made mistakes early. A bad punt deep in their own territory on their first series in the first quarter gave West the ball on the 1 yard line. Chazz Davis scored the first touchdown of the game for St. Charles West. Davis carried the ball 7 times in the game for a total of 84 yards. Davis also scored his second touchdown for West from 2 yards out late in the second quarter.

Matthew Jones, who really did not see much action in the last two games, showed he could carry the ball as he had 13 carries for 90 yards. He scored a touchdown in the first quarter from 10 yards out.

Champagne, who definitely had something to prove in this game, attemped a pass late in the first quarter, only to see a big hole opened up thanks to the St. Charles West offensive line. Champagne scored a 30-yard touchdown and summed up most of the offensive highlights for St. Charles West.

Warrenton’s troubles on defense didn’t affect their offense after a 21-0 first quarter shutout by St. Charles West. West placed its second string defensive line in while Warrenton kept their first-string offense. That gave Warrenton’s Alex Tobben a chance to run a 3-yard touchdown and ruin West’s shutout.

St. Charles West’s Scott Butler, another player who didn’t receive a lot of playing time during the first two games of the season, scored a 4th quarter touchdown, just to get some experience. But Warrenton’s Alex Tobin, took advantage of a sleepy St. Charles West second-string defense and caught one pass and scored a 40-yard touchdown.

Two field goals in the fourth quarter by St. Charles West’s Zach Ring made the final score 34-18 in favor of St. Charles West. This past weekend, St. Charles was the only winner of the three high schools in St. Charles. St. Charles High and Duchesne had problems of their own and both of those teams played in the annual Gateway Gridiron Classic held at Lindenwood University.

MICDS 51, DUCHESNE 26 (at Lindenwood University) – In three weeks and three games, Duchesne can only get their offense going late in the game. Anthony Suber and Joey Zimring had two touchdowns each for MICDS and the rout was on. Duchesne’s Dan Friedel caught four touchdown passes for all four of Duchesne’s scores. His longest reception was from 35 yards out. To add insult to injury, MICDS’ Tyler Johnson at the end of the game received the last kickoff after Duchesne’s fourth touchdown. Johnson ran the ball back 90 yards for the final score.

WASHINGTON 14, ST. CHARLES HIGH 6 (at Lindenwood University) – The Washington Blue Jays are 3-0 thanks to a balanced offensive attack. In the first quarter, Andrew Gildehaus ran one touchdown in from a yard out. Denodus O’Bryant caught a 25-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Matt Scheible in the second quarter and that was all Washington needed to defeat the SCHS Pirates. O’Bryant had 120 yards rushing for the Blue Jays. St. Charles High’s Clifton Brown did have a 48-yard touchdown run in the third quarter for the Pirates’ only score.

There was one touchdown called back by the Pirates. Quarterback Jake Bornhop passed to Eric Henningsen for what was supposed to be a 19-yard touchdown pass. But a holding call by the officials wiped out the touchdown and the offensive momentum of the Pirates.

The Ladies’ Battle of St. Charles
Warriors Raid the Pirates in Exciting Match

By Louis J. Launer

No matter what sport these two schools play, St. Charles High and St. Charles West are serious rivals. Girls volleyball is definitely taken seriously by the students who packed the Gene Bartow Gymnasium at St. Charles High School last Thursday night.

St. Charles West’s Erika Holmes had two kills in a row in the first game of the match. Holmes is a freshman on the varsity squad. Her teammate, junior Mary Cunningham served a few aces. But some mistakes by Cunningham forced a side out and sparked a rally by the St. Charles Pirates. Erin Bekebrede and Emily Jacobs of the Pirates worked well together by putting together a 5-point rally keeping in pace with the Warriors, who led the entire first game. The Warriors’ good communication among their teammates kept the lead for the Warriors, although no was expecting either team to dominate.

Brianna Baldwin is a good setup player. She’s the tallest player for the Warriors at 6 feet 2 inches and only a sophomore. She set the ball for senior Courtney Champagne and sophomore Allison Naumann to make the score. Game point saw the Pirates’ serve as going out, with the Warriors watching. St. Charles West took the first game, 25-21.

St. Charles High regrouped for game 2. Led by Molli Wilkerson, the Pirates communicated and took advantage of several West serves going either out of bounds or striking the net. West regrouped and tried to stay focused. Erika Holmes still provided a couple of kills for the Warriors. But senior Abby Schulteheinrich and junior Tori Fenemor helped each other with the setup and scores for the Pirates as they kept West behind, forcing the Warriors to catch up in game 2. Wilkerson blocked two Baldwin tappers and also tapped in a few scores to keep the Pirates ahead. St. Charles West tried to rally and come back. But falling behind in a volleyball game is the first fundamental learned. St. Charles High took the second game, 25-16.

The student fans as well as parents on both sides were pumped up ready for game 3 of the match. Even several male students, apparently members of the varsity football team for St. Charles West, had their faces painted and cheering on the volleyball team. Game 3 is where one St. Charles West player began to dominate. That was Mary Cunningham. The 6’0” middle hitter scored two aces, set up several scores with key bumps and was able to surprise the Pirates who appeared either afraid to touch the ball or was not focused on the location of the ball. The Pirates did attempt one comeback after two Warrior mistakes close to match point. But the Warriors did take the third game and the match win over the Pirates, 25-16.

Both teams still have Duchesne on their schedule, another team that has been quite dominant recently in girls’ volleyball.