St. Louis fans show what a great sports city looks like

Before he took his football team and left, Rams owner Stan Kroenke made claims suggesting St. Louis wasn’t a good sports town.

In the last couple of weeks, we’ve been reminded of how wrong he was.

First came the Blues’ Stanley Cup victory. The game was the most-watched in NHL history. Stores couldn’t keep jerseys and gear in stock; in fact, a local supplier said Blues gear outpaced sales in much bigger markets that won Stanley Cups in the past. An estimated one million fans, by some estimates, flooded downtown St. Louis for the victory parade, and the jubilation coincided with zero broken windows, shootings or burned cars. Imagine that. On the day of Game 7, Blues fans filled Enterprise Center to watch the game, and tens of thousands more watched the game in Busch Stadium in the rain.

Then, recently we watched as St. Louis fans put aside the bitterness of losing one of their stars, giving standing ovations to the great Albert Pujols on his first return to St. Louis after leaving for a huge contract to California eight years ago. The affection between city and sports teams can’t be understated in the Arch city.

St. Louis fans love their athletes, and not just the ones who are the greatest. Last week, fans gave a standing ovation to Stephen Piscotty, a former outfielder who was traded to the Oakland A’s, partly to be closer to his mother who was dying with an illness. Piscotty, never a star in St. Louis, showed a lot of heart in how he dealt with his mother’s sickness. Cardinals fans remembered that, and showed their appreciation.

Here’s to hoping the Blues’ success rubs off on the Cardinals, who are struggling right now and have missed the playoffs the last three years. But even during struggles, St. Louis sports fans have ways of showing the rest of the country, including NFL owners, what a great sports city looks like.