Busch III and the McGwire statue

From yesterday’s New York Times, a walk around Busch III, which greatly impressed George Vecsey. This had me nodding in approval:

The playing field has avoided the intentionally quirky corners and gimmicks of many newer ballparks.

“Our No. 1 criteria was that we wanted it to play like the other Busch,” said Tony La Russa, the Cardinals’ manager. “We wanted it to play fair for the hitters and the pitchers. That’s the way the game should be.”

DeWitt said, “My belief is that asymmetry should be the result of the uniqueness of the site, not just dreamed out of nowhere.”

A quirky corner like the Mets have in right makes the same amount of sense in that park’s location that a hitching post makes in front of my downtown office building.

One other fun thing mentioned that, if I ever knew it, I had forgotten, and that’s that there exists a Mark McGwire statue to match the other immortal Cardinals’ statues, except it sits under wraps in an attic somewhere. The rationale seems rather silly, though: the statues are only for Cardinals who have been elected to the Hall of Fame or have had their numbers retired by the club. The club only retires the numbers of Hall of Famers, Ken Boyer excepted. Since McGwire isn’t going to be elected to the Hall of Fame anytime soon, the statue remains in limbo.

I’ve said it before, but the Hall of Fame wields way too much friggin’ influence. Or, rather, those around baseball allow it to. The Cardinals have the power to honor anyone they want. If Giants’ fans gave Barry Bonds a standing ovation last night, you can bet your bippy that Cardinals fans would be happy to have Mark McGwire honored as well. Who cares if a handful of sanctimonious writers have declared a vendetta against him? He brought an immense amount of joy to the people of St. Louis and an immense amount of money to the owners of the Cards. He should have his day in Busch Stadium and his statue should take its place alongside the other Cardinals’ immortals.

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  1. Richard in Dallas said...

    You’re absolutely right, Craig.  After all, isn’t there a portrait of Richard Nixon in a row with other presidential portraits somewhere in Washington?

  2. Michael said...

    I’ve been aggressively against the known juicers these past few years, but I actually couldn’t agree with you more, Craig.  And I’d like to think I would have been one of the hardest people to be persuaded here.

    I remember his run in 98 with Sosa, and how awesome it was to talk about their little derby every day.  He was a hell of a ballplayer for 15 years and, whether he juiced or not, he did a ton for the A’s and Cardinals and I almost think giving him this tribute will allow us to move on from the dark cloud of steroids and allow us to celebrate a ballplayer who was excellent and talented either way.

  3. Ron said...

    Okay, how do we get you elected Commissioner?

    Let’s get the campaign started. Bud can’t last forever, and I really don’t want Bob Costas to get it.

  4. kevin said...

    no statue for mac in the loo. cards fan here.
    how many times did mac take the cards to the world series? he hit alot of homers in an doubly dubious era: watered down expansion pitching staffs and the steroids. take a look at his list of pitching victims of his 70 HR season. a veritable list of “who’s that” and not a “who’s who”. would such be under discussion if he never hit 70? no.
    we love mac and wish him nothing but the best. he married a local girl and has a beautiful family. he wants to be left alone. alone we’ll leave him.

  5. Adam said...

    Completely agreed.  Never been a Cardinals fan, but in 1998 I was 10 years old.  Some of the most exciting times was watching Mark McGwire play and the home run chase.  He deserves the statue and HOF.

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