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if you build it, they will sure as hell come

latest update from the meetings via my secret source, the post-dispatch:

  • the cards have offered 1-year deals to sore-armed setup men braden looper and octavio dotel
  • stl wants tavy back in the bullpen -- pitching middle relief, not the 8th
  • morris is too costly; thanks for the mem'ies m-mo
  • marquis likely staying put for now
  • 2b update: mueller signing unlikely (whew), grud'k signing not likely but not impossible
  • another washed-up keystoner has joined bret boone in hovering over the cards' middle-infield vacancy -- freddie vina. like flies over an outhouse portal . . . .

also of note:

  • the cubs got juan pierre for three minor leaguers
  • the reds traded sean casey (same link as above, scroll down) to pittsburgh for lhp dave williams; dunn will likely move to 1st, and kearnes-griffey-pena will man the outfield for cincinnati; smart trade
  • the shortstop merry-go-round revs back up: the sox want rid of edgar and are trying to move him in a three-way deal for tampa ss julio lugo, with edgar winding up in atlanta to replace furcal. see the same link as above (keep scrolling); i also saw this in both the atlanta j-c and the boston globe

rather than lay more of my typical baseless roster speculation on you this morning, i'm gonna share another idea (equally baseless) that i've been mulling for some time now. it concerns the new stadium, construction of which is about to begin in earnest. old busch is nearly gone; just one small segment left to bring down. rockin redbird's diary at left links to a time-lapse sequence of the demolition; it's rather cool. makes me sad though; i loved that ugly old concrete wheel and am really gonna miss it. . . . .

anyway, i'm here to talk about the new place. it might be kinda late in the game to introduce this wrinkle into the plans, but i think it'd be worth it. you ready? here's the idea:

build a moat around busch stadium iii.

you know, like they did at that casino out in riverport. carve a little diversion channel to draw a trickle of mississippi murk into a culvert that flows under downtown and resurfaces right at the stadium, then encircles the place to create an "offshore" island. voila -- legalized gambling.

can you imagine the revenues? they'd rake in enough bucks to buy a whole rotation of aj burnetts, and then if they all came up injured buy another rotation more. no more of this "mid-market team" bullshit; the cardinals would finally be armed for combat with the coastal teams and their local-tv and -radio windfalls.

you'd put a glassed-in casino at the outfield end of the grandstand, overlooking the field behind the foul pole, and let the patrons in free. free admission to a cardinals game? place would be overflowing 81 nights of the year; the other 280 nights you just fill the giant hdtv screens with out-of-town games, nfl, nascar, etc etc. if you build it, they will sure as hell come. on game nights, along with the usual casino stuff, you'd have a big board for proposition bets relating to the ballgame. who will score the first run -- cardinals ($1.55) or visitors ($1.45)? what player hits the game's first homer -- pujols (8-1), dunn (8-1), griffey (9-1), edmonds (10-1), rolen (12-1), kearnes (15-1) . . . . ? you'd have nightly over-unders on the aggregate run count, hit count, and home run count; ditto the duration (in innings) of the starting pitcher's outing, time of game, etc. and during the game, new prop bets would arise based upon the game situation. eckstein draws a leadoff walk in the 7th inning of a tie contest, and jacque jones (barf) steps up to the plate. will he bunt? get your bets down before the 1st pitch. carpenter goes back to the mound in the 9th with a two-run lead and a pitch count of 98. will he close out the complete game? get 'em down, people. and of course there'd be nightly line on the game itself -- and on all other mlb games being played that night.

the fun need not be entirely restricted to the lucky people inside the windowed gaming section. all the evening's betting lines would be on display via a special jumbotron scoreboard (a late addition to the blueprints) so that regular ticket-buying patrons could get in on the fun. their bets would be taken at special gambling stations out on the concourses, next to the hot-dog stands. occupants of the luxury boxes and box seats would have special keypads right at their seats, enabling them to place all their wagers electornically and with maximum convenience. slots and vid-poker machines could line the outside rim of every concourse and abut every concession stand and john entrance. . . . truly endless possibilities.

i can think of nothing that would more greatly enhance the enjoyment of watching baseball. the cardinals' famously intelligent fans could put their smarts to the test nightly -- and, if they really know their stuff, reap the profits thereof. moreover, this initiative would make busch iii an instant national sports mecca. gambling and baseball in one location? las vegas itself would be jealous.

i probably should have revealed this brilliant idea long ago, because precious little time remains now to implement it. but with the demolition having run so far ahead of schedule, there must be some wiggle room in the construction sched. they'll have to hustle, but it's still doable i bet (hah! get it?). get crackin' boys.