Any Given Sunday

3 02 2019

Greetings from Warsaw.

First off, even if I really had an interest to watch the Super Bowl, the kickoff is at 12:30 AM in my time zone, (Poland and Germany are both on UTC+1), and I’ll be well off into log sawing land by then.

But I saw this interesting piece in SI tonight.

This article sits at the intersectionality of what were two of my serial interests, one of which is now hot again:  The Great Stadium Soap Opera of 2015, and what I now term the Louschaltung (portmanteau of St. (LOU)is and Gleichschaltung), the city-county reunification effort.  (Remember, you might not be interested in the Louschaltung, but the Louschaltung is interested in you.)

I might have mentioned here once or twice or 847,295 times, but just in case you either missed it or are new here, I figured from just about the get-go of the North Riverfront stadium proposal at about the start of 2015 that it wasn’t a serious plan, that local and state officials were going through the motions of looking serious about proposing something that smelled like a serious plan to build what seriously could have been a new stadium, because they all knew that Kroenke was going to move the Rams back to L.A., so they wanted to position themselves on the chessboard in such a way that, when what they knew would happen eventually did happen, all the PR splatter and civic anger would splat on Kroenke’s face, and none of it on any elected or non-elected St. Louis civic officials.

From this article, it seems like that effort has massively succeeded, considering the way “Kroenke” is now a cuss word back on the old home city.

The only thing I got wrong in the long term is that I presumed that Kroenke made up his mind about moving the Rams back to L.A. in the spring of 2014, because the whole Donald Sterling non-troversy relating to the Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA showed the business community how valuable a Los Angeles based major pro sports franchise can be.  As it turned out, after the move was done, and people started confessing to stuff, Kroenke actually made up his mind in 2012.

Now, as for the matter of the Louschaltung, it says in the SI article that Kroenke’s formal application to the league for relocation:

St. Louis is a misunderstood place, a city that boomed a century ago and then had a lot of things that didn’t break its way. Chicago reversed the flow of its river, sending us its sludge downstream and then outpacing us with growth. Municipal leaders did some disingenuous and stupid things as they drew boundaries, creating this arcane setup where the microscopic city is left with declining population and atrocious schools. Most of what we call St. Louis is actually St. Louis County, in a bizarre twist, and has its own separate set of demographics and statistics more robust than the city’s. All of us former Kool-Aid babies understand this. Kroenke understands this. And then he and the Rams used those quirks and mistakes, twisted those facts, to pave the Rams’ path out of town. In the team’s application to move away, Kroenke and his cronies listed a smattering of stats about the city’s stagnancy—most of which took into account only the city, not the 10-times-larger metro area—to claim a place that had played home to an NFL team for 49 seasons between the Cardinals and Rams couldn’t viably support one.

In reality, those stats were just an excuse, and even if he didn’t list them, the league still would have approved his relocation application.  That’s because Kroenke is among NFL owners the “good cop” to Jerry Jones’s “bad cop,” and the league has wanted a team back in L.A. badly for a long time.  But that’s not quite the point:  The point is as long as “St. Louis” in terms of the city proper is as statistically bad as it is based on the fact that it’s a relatively small entity both geographically and population-wise, it houses a particularly degenerate black undertow, the more of an embarrassment it becomes to everyone in the region, and hurts the metropolitan area’s prospects.  Or so they say.  Which is why, if you look closely enough, you’ll find one of the two real reasons for the Louschaltung is the “big rug” thesis, that is, using the relatively well behaved white people of St. Louis County as statistical cover for the high violent crime, homicide and STD rates for black St. Louis City.

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Local Boy Does Good (“Was Ist Diese Flagge?”)

8 12 2018

Düsseldorf

Remember this flag I brought with me on the move?

I told you I brought it with me because I figured I’d have a use for it.  And that I did, yesterday, in Düsseldorf.

Over the summer voyage, I found that Bremen is the German city that most holistically reminds me of St. Louis.  During our day there, I saw in the local media that the soccer team in town not long before that signed an 18-year old native St. Louisan by the name of Josh Sargent, grew up in St. Charles County, and he is indeed a rookie on the team this season.  He started the season on the club’s kinda-sorta JV squad (U-23), but was just recently called up to the big team.

The way the German Soccer Bundesliga works is the way most countries’ soccer club leagues work, in that every team in the league plays one game at home and one on the road against every other team.  The Region here has five teams in the league:  Mönchengladbach, Düsseldorf, Leverkusen, Gelsenkirchen, and Dortmund, the latest being the best team in the league so far this year.  The Bundesliga is basically a two-team league, Munich and Dortmund, and Munich is having a down year by its standards this season, after having won the league for the last 87 years in a row, so this opens up the door for Dortmund.  Incidentally, Leverkusen is where Bayer is based, and Bayer sponsors the team — I wonder if part of the deal is free aspirin for the players for getting headaches because of all the time bouncing soccer balls off their heads.

Furthermore, the second tier soccer league in Germany, called Zweite Bundesliga (“Zweite” = Second), has three teams in the region:  Cologne, Duisburg and Bochum.  Meaning combining both top and second leagues, there are eight soccer teams, just here in my 10 million population region.  Promotion and relegation of teams up and down among tiers and classes of leagues is the device that contributes to some semblance of parity in sports cultures that use that system and within leagues.  The United States doesn’t have P&R on the pro level, so back home, what enforces parity is the reverse standings amateur draft, and of course, amateur drafts don’t exist in P&R cultures at all.

Anyway, this means that Bremen is making five trips to The Region this season, to play their one away game against each of the five teams here.

I fully intended to go to one, but it was just a matter of timing:  Whether I had something else and more important to do, and whether Sargent was promoted to the big club.  Bremen’s game at Dortmund doesn’t happen until May, and Dortmund tickets are really hard to get, being as the team is so good.  (Though right now, because some fans are on strike against going to the games because they have a burr up their saddle about Monday night games, for some reason, that’s not so true at the moment.)

All the stars lined up yesterday, for Bremen’s game at Düsseldorf.  So I went.

The only X-Factor was whether Sargent would start, and if he didn’t, whether he would get in the game as an in-game substitution.

As luck had it, while the former didn’t happen, the latter did.  It was his first playing time in the Bundesliga.  Even better, he scored a late game goal in Bremen’s 3-1 win.

When Sargent’s entry into the game was announced, I yelled out “YO JOSH” from where I was sitting, and waved my St. Louis flag.  Unfortunately, he didn’t hear me, even though a lot of people around me did.  Not a surprise that my voice didn’t make it that far away or down:  One thing that became perfectly evident about German professional soccer games is that the crowd is constantly and steadily loud, with only a few breaks of being a little less loud, then getting ear splitting when someone scores a goal.  The way I figure, at this game, around 40% of the crowd were Bremen fans, even though it was an away game for them.  Then again, it’s not a long haul between one city and another in Germany.  That, and Düsseldorf is in last place, so I’m sure their fans were in a ticket-unloading mood — Which is how I was able to score one myself so easily.

Naturally, there was a lot of curiosity about the piece of cloth on a stick I was carrying around.  And I anticipated there would be.  Lots of people were carrying and waving lots of flags, but Germans don’t get the opportunity to see the flag of the city of St. Louis every day.

While High German is not that morphologically similar to English, some words and phrases are just obvious.  Such as an interrogatory directed my way quite a few times during my several hours at the stadium in Düsseldorf:

Was Ist Diese Flagge?

Before going to the game, I pre-loaded the Wikipedia pages for both St. Louis and Sargent into tabs of the browser (Brave) on my sail foam.  So that when I was inevitably asked about the flag, all I had to do was pull out my foam and my passport and do a lot of pointing, to make it understood that I was there to show out for the homeboy.

Because he and I have something in common:  We’re both St. Louisans trying to make our career bones in Germany.

 

 





If St. Louis Was Its Own Country, He Would Be Getting an Official State Funeral

26 11 2018

CWE;  Belleville

I’ve thought all my life that professional wrestling is hokum, but I’m just old enough to have remembered Wresting at the Chase being on Channel 11 and Larry Matysik announcing.

My bet is that his family’s original last name is Matosich, or something similar, Croatian in origin.

He was on the Belleville PD before he started with WATC.





Here Versus There

12 11 2018

Sassuolo, Italy

Yeah, that’s something I’ve noticed since at first vacationing in and then not long later moving to Germany.

A difference between the official professional sporting and athletics cultures of the United States and Europe.

Here in Europe, there are constant non-stop official public moralist preening campaigns against “racism in sport.”

In the United States?  Not so much.  Sure, we’ve got the occasional dork in Orlando with a fax machine.  But that’s it.

That begs the question:  Why the difference?

I think the answer relates to the concept of necessity.  In the United States, nobody has to instruct white sports fans never to take their own side in a political debate, because they’ve willingly surrendered their racial courage, because the nearby sports team, college or pro, needs to win games.  Meanwhile, and in contrast, here in Europe, professional sports, especially soccer, and the way they’re organized from the ground up, the grass roots up, serve as an easy conduit for the development of populist-nationalist politics.  (Here and here, and also most of the street protesters in Chemnitz several weeks ago are also soccer hooligan types)  Even if the soccer teams themselves have rosters that are half non-white.

Europe’s obsession with “racism in sport,” therefore, is nothing more than an attempt to cut off the ability to use locally organized soccer clubs as a base for organization/recruitment on behalf of populist-nationalist political parties.

Back to this article, there’s this:

When you go to Germany, you see the people go on the street. There are maybe three, four thousand racists walking on the street and have the right to walk on the street and put their arm up and do the Hitler sign.

That’s news to me.  There are all sorts of vigorously enforced laws about displaying public support for, as it is officially termed in German public parlance, “unconstitutional organizations.”  My reading of my German news sources indicates that it’s about a once a week thing that someone’s catching a case for something like that.

Kevin-Prince Boateng has a more famous brother with the same surname, whom I have discussed in this space in the past.





I Miss Playing Golf (Big But)

9 08 2018

Town and Country

I took in the first day morning rounds this morning at Bellerive for the PGA Championship.

This will be the only day I go.

Twenty-six years ago, when the same major tournament was at the same club, I also went.  It’s where I first heard of Phil Mickelson, who from that day continuing to the present became my favorite golfer of the current playing generation.  A little later, I first saw his ultra-hot wife on TV.

It all makes me realize how much I miss playing golf.

But I’m about four weeks way from one hell of a consolation prize, one that I’d take eight days out of every seven every week instead of being able to play golf, and frankly, one I would not be getting right now if I still had the ability to play golf.





Oh Nick…

1 08 2018

Queens

Really?

“Beat the Mets, beat the Mets, step right up and sweep the Mets…”





Frequent Filer

31 07 2018

Your Blogmeister’s Secret Hideout

Tobe Namedlater is going to do a whole lot of traveling today.  Constantly moving back and forth among thirty cities.

Poor guy seems to suffer this fate every July 31.