The spring is turning into an early summer, and the Cardinals are playing in a fabulous new downtown ballpark, but it wasn't always certain things would turn out this way.
Invoking Wayne's World dream sequence imagery, let's go back to 2004 when negotiations were at their peak on the proposed new ballpark for the city.
Imagine for a moment that negotiations for a downtown ballpark had failed. Imagine that the cooperation between the city and the county never happened. And then imagine that the Cardinals followed through on their promise to get a new stadium somewhere. And imagine that somewhere turned out to be a "blighted" farm field up near Interstates 55 and 270, around Edwardsville, Illinois.
Baseball season 2006 opens and Busch Stadium sits dark and empty in downtown St. Louis. All the buzz about the Cardinals season would be happening at KTRS' studios in Westport Plaza and the new, suburban ballpark in Southwestern Illinois. Downtown would still have KMOX, but not the Cardinals. Columnists would write about the similar fates of our jilted downtown and KMOX- they still have each other, but not the Cardinals.
Fortunately, that scenario was avoided. We can pinch ourselves and see a fantastic new ballpark right where ballparks are supposed to be: downtown.