Our Top 16 St. Louis Sports Stories From 2016: #’s 8-1

Day two of our top stories countdown carries a similar theme from day one: Our collective pain and hatred over Stan Kroenke and company screwing over our city.

Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke

There are those out there tired of reading on the topic, and it’s true moving on helps with healing, but the story was such a large part of our town’s year that it’s not surprising many continued to find interest.

Part of that interest came from catharsis offered by clarity and outrage, which Bernie Miklasz and Randy Karraker offered in their writing.

Below you will find numbers 8 through 1 of our 2016 top stories. Here’s hoping next year’s countdown holds more cheer and less justified outrage from our writers and staff.

Hey, the Cardinals did find their center fielder, right?

8. Let’s Be Real: The NFL Isn’t Coming Back To St. Louis, and That’s OK – January 14

The Skinny: The NFL cartel had just voted 30-2 in favor of letting the Rams leave St. Louis, and someone asked Raiders owner Mark Davis if he would ever consider moving his team to the proposed north riverfront stadium.

“Absolutely not,” Davis replied.

When the pumpkin-pie haircutted Davis (whose stadium features raw locker room sewage) shoots you down, It’s time to call it day. Bernie Miklasz writes why the NFL won’t be coming back, and blasts Jerry Jones and others’ comments that another STL team would ever be a possibility.

Killer Quote: “We have two excellent franchises here, the Cardinals and Blues. That’s more than fine. Let’s just appreciate what we have instead of getting trapped in another NFL con game. This town should never put itself in the position of slobbering for the NFL and setting ourselves up to be used for leverage by some NFL owner…”

7. The Cardinals will look for a center fielder. Here are seven preliminary candidates – October 6

The Skinny: The dust settled on the 2016 Cardinals season and John Mozeliak set out to make particular improvements to the 2017 club. A top priority on the list: Finding an everyday center fielder and move Randal Grichuk to right.

The Cards found their guy in Dexter Fowler, but he was just one of seven names Bernie listed as big-field possibilities.

Killer Quote: “Ideally, this center fielder would help the Cards address a number of issues including defense, base running, and batting leadoff so Matt Carpenter can hit in the thicker part of the lineup.”

6. Weak: Kroenke, NFL Intimidated By the STL Cardinals’ Popularity – January 12

The Skinny: Stan Kroenke’s 29-page relocation application was largely fiction. It contained a market feasibility analysis claiming the Cardinals’ success would never allow the Rams to prosper in St. Louis.

Bernie picks apart the argument, writing how the Cardinals draw more weight, but largely because they have an owner who engages the community, helped finance a new stadium, and cares about winning…All the things Stan Kroenke never did.

Killer Quote: “I may have missed it, but I don’t recall DeWitt threatening to move the Cardinals out of town when the Missouri legislature rejected a proposal to fund a new ballpark for the baseball team. DeWitt went to work and built his own baseball stadium.”

5. The NFL Is Guilty Of a Personal Foul, But a Proud St. Louis Will Rally – January 13

The Skinny: This is Bernie’s first piece following the Jan. 12 owners meeting which will live in infamy. Area fans had been dragged through the briar patch in the drawn-out process and wanted to vent while trying to understand how they’d gotten to this point.

The author provides catharsis here, laying out in sections the NFL’s hypocrisy and giving an honest interpretation of it all. Bernie concludes we still have a great city no matter how much we’ve been knocked around.

Killer Quote: “No one is going to care about St. Louis except the people who  are  St. Louis, and a man named after Enos Slaughter and Stan Musial wasn’t going to fix our problems. So we have to look out for each other. Because we’re here. We’re staying. We’ll dig in. We won’t run away. I’m damned proud to live in this city.”

4. Kroenke’s Relocation Application Was a Troll Job – January 6

The Skinny: The title says it all. Another Bernie relocation piece, this one just days before it became official. The story concentrates on the guts of the Rams’ relocation application, with an emphasis on “the Kronk” and NFL’s joint effort to poison the STL well.

Killer Quote: “The Kronk also understands this: there are a lot of lazy dopes in the national media that will swallow the narrative and regurgitate it to the public until it’s accepted as the gospel that justifies Kroenke’s brazen money grab.”

3. NFL Insults Orlando Pace by Removing St. Louis from Hall of Fame Speech – August 7

The Skinny: The NFL pulled a China-job and censored Orlando Pace’s Hall of Fame induction speech, removing any mention of St. Louis from the online version.

Pace will always be a member of the ‘St. Louis Rams,’ and Randy Karraker shines light on the league’s “technical error” by describing the timeline of Pace’s speech and what was removed, as well as how the act disrespected the Hall of Famer in addition to the city.

Killer Quote: “It’s depraved. It’s vicious. It’s vile. That a league like this, which sells itself as a family league…a league of the people, which aspires to a leadership level in our country…would do something as ruthless as this to eliminate part of its history out of spite for a community, is unconscionable.”

2. An Open Letter to Stan Kroenke – January 14

The Skinny: Randy sent a letter to Kroenke’s Denver headquarters just a day after the relocation was made official. In it, he refutes various portions of a press release announcing the team’s move. The release called local “emotionally charged commentary” on Kroenke’s motives “not true and unfounded.”

Killer Quote: “I find it notable that you discovered AFTER you moved the franchise that an important emotional connection exists between the fans and the team, and that we do become emotionally charged.  That was clearly something you never fostered once you took over here. Perhaps that knowledge will benefit you with your new fan base.”

1. Mike Greenberg Goes Off on Rams and Stan Kroenke After Loss to 49ers – September 13

The Skinny: Have you been sensing a theme here? St. Louis was wronged. Pure and simple. So there was some poetic justice to be had when the (again) newly christened LA Rams laid a great big ol’ eggy in San Francisco on national TV to begin the season.

It only added to local elation when Mike Greenberg of ‘Mike and Mike’ fame called out the team, and Kroenke, for being atrocious both on and off the field. Greeny threw in a shout-out to St. Louis for good measure. It was nice to know not all national media had swept us under the rug.

Killer Quote: “I take no pleasure…Let me rephrase that. I take some pleasure in how bad the Rams are, solely because of their owner…Who, already worth billions and billions and billions of dollars, needed some more by yanking his team away from the good people of St. Louis.”

More: Our Top 16 St. Louis Sports Stories From 2016: #’s 16-9