How boring is St. Louis? Let’s pick up on Cubs star Kris Bryant’s put-down
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How boring is St. Louis?
So boring, pizza comes on cracker-thin crust, the excitement of dough rising too much for locals to handle.
So boring, skyscrapers double over in embarrassment, forming arches.
So boring, NFL teams pack up and drive as far away as possible, stopping only to avoid plunging into the ocean.
As Kris Bryant said Friday night at the annual Cubs Convention: “Who would want to play in St. Louis? Boring. So boring. I always get asked, ‘Where would you like to play? Where would you not like to play?’ St. Louis is on the list of places I don’t like to play. It’s rough.”
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Approximately 300,000 people live within the city limits of St. Louis. When I moved there for a job in 2000, the figure was about 12 percent higher. But once upon a time, the city’s population was far more robust than that: believe it or not, knocking on the door of 1,000,000.
So what happened? Why is St. Louis the U.S. city with the largest drop in population, by percentage, since Stan Musial was in his prime?
Could it be that St. Louis is simply that boring?
No, of course not. There are more serious explanations, some of them dark and cynical — put “white flight” at or near the top of the list. Then again, I’m not a social scientist. I’m just a know-it-all who lived in the heart of Cardinals country for 17 years.
Also, if I’m being honest: I liked it there. A lot. And I believe Bryant’s dismissal of the city was unfair and, probably, ill-informed. Generally speaking, people who trash St. Louis as “boring” have left a heck of a lot of stones unturned.
Not cool, KB. You should’ve thought better than to insult a city, a rival team and its fan base.
Then again, there was Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina’s rather ridiculous rebuke of Bryant on his Instagram. Molina chastised Bryant for failing to show proper respect — “elite players and leaders of their teams do not speak bad about any city,” he wrote — but then lowered the bar several levels by referring to Bryant as “stupid” and a “loser.”
How stupid is Kris Bryant?
So stupid … come to think of it, no, there’s no good way to search for a punch line for that one. Calling Bryant — a bright, nearly always good-natured sort — “stupid” is more crass and unprofessional than calling a city “boring.”
Slapping somebody with the “L” word — “loser” — is, too.
So chill out, Yadi. Maybe have one of those locally brewed cream sodas your town so delights in.
But am I making too much of this?
Actually, I liked the light-hearted manner in which St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Benjamin Hochman framed Molina’s comments.
“It was many things,” Hochman wrote. “It was awesome. It was petty. It was funny. It was silly. It was, most importantly, everything that makes Yadi Yadi — he’s unabashedly passionate about his team and town.”
St. Louisans are passionate, too, and they’re wired to take affront to perceived slights from the nearly 10-times-bigger city a few hundred miles up I-55. One suspects an inferiority complex is largely to blame for that, but who knows? Either way, you can bet the last piece of toasted ravioli in your basket that Bryant will be booed all season — and perhaps beyond — when the Cubs play at Busch Stadium.
Added buzz for an ever-enjoyable rivalry? That won’t be boring at all.