Thank you for taking the time to chat with me about both of our's favorite topic, the St. Louis Blues. More specifically I wanted to talk with you about how the organization treats the pre-season.
I know many fans look at the pre-season as meaningless fluff. I also am fully aware that St. Louis is a baseball town. Even if the Cardinals were in last place out of all the teams in MLB, Cards baseball would still pre-empt every other sporting event in town. But for many Blues fans hockey is our sport. We can't wait until that first drop of the puck. We watch the draft. We follow the prospect camp. We eagerly await the start of free agency to see what moves the team is going to make for the up coming season. Then we endure the months of July and August with no hockey whatsoever. Then training camp starts up and we start to get excited again. We look forward to seeing the prospects playing with the full team. We are curious as to how the free agency pickups and off season trades are going to fit into the club. Then we get to see a handful of pre-season games that whet our appetite for the season to start in October.
This training camp had even more meaning because this was the first camp in a long long time without Oshie. Armstrong had mentioned during the off season that the prospects were going to be expected to step up this season. So all eyes are now on the "youngsters" to see which ones are going to make the team and where they will fit in the depth chart.
When training camp started excitement was building. The Saturday scrimmage at the Scottrade was a huge success with the unveiling of the Hall of Fame Plaza. Since I do not live in St. Louis I lived vicariously through friends on twitter finding the bricks they had purchased to commemorate life events or memorializing a loved one. Seeing all those pictures shared on social media was really fun for those of us who couldn't be there.
Then there was Monday night at Busch stadium with the Cardinals wearing their Blues warm up gear for batting practice. There was David Backes throwing out the first pitch at the game. Team STL all working together. The picture of the team with Lou Brock is priceless.
Tuesday night was the big night. The first hockey game of the new season. Interesting twist with a split-squad game against the Columbus Blue Jackets. For those of us who live outside of St. Louis or who haven't had a chance to visit the training camp we will get a chance to see the youngsters earn a spot on the roster. We'll get to see how the new acquisitions fit in with the rest of the team. But nothing. No television broadcast. No radio. All we get are twitter updates from the St. Louis Blues twitter account. So what am I doing here in Annapolis, MD tonight? I am listening to the Columbus Blue Jackets' radio broadcast of the game being played in Columbus, OH and watching a Periscope feed provided by a fan at the Scottrade Center.
All that build up and excitement with the unveiling of the plaza and the hockey night at the ballpark thing and then poof. You all but hide the first pre-season game from all of us. Last night here in Maryland I got to watch the first pre-season game of the Capitals on television. And that is with both of the baseball teams in the DC-Baltimore metro area playing each other the same night. And the Blues? You can't even provide a radio broadcast for your home opening pre-season game.
I know this team struggles for attendance in the fall. And we all know it is because of baseball. But the dominance of baseball in St. Louis doesn't give you an excuse to not do what you are supposed to do and that is promote the hell out of this team and make the games accessible to fans. I know people will say that pre-season games are not worth the money spent on paying people to provide coverage of the games. But if that was the case, why does every other team in St. Louis promote the hell out of their pre-season? Not to mention, sometimes it isn't a matter of cost. Sometimes, you do it because it is what you are expected to do.
People want to cheer on the Blue Note. People have been waiting for this all summer long. I don't think we are asking for that much. A radio broadcast or streaming audio or video. Why not give some up and coming sports casters an opportunity to call the game. After all it is only pre-season. It would be fun to hear some fresh voices give it a shot for the first time trying to earn a spot just like the Blues' prospects are doing during the pre-season.
This is a make or break season for this team and we want to be part of every minute of it. It would be nice if the management of this team shared the same excitement that the fans do about the start of the season.