The WSJ just published "St. Louis to America: Don't be Jealous" by Francis G. Slay, mayor of St. Louis, as a response to the recent appointment of the St. Louis Cardinals as the most 'hateable' MLB team in the 2014 playoffs (see Index below).
I must admit, when I read his article, I cringed A LOT. First, for the Cards to be ranked #1 'hateable' based on statistics such as historical pennants won, payroll figures, and general fan-based fever, it is clearly a compliment in this case. If someone 'hates' you in sports, they are simply stating that you are 'the team to beat'. Therefore, (with all due respect) I cringed at the mayor's overall defensive tone in his response article. This index is just getting the MLB playoff teams into a competitive spirit for the post-season baseball season. It's all in good fun. No defenses needed.
Also, I read the list of reasons the mayor is clearly proud of St. Louis only to quickly thereafter state, "The point is that we here in the Midwest are not a boastful people. We're humble and quietly go about our business..." This is quite a contradiction. AND, by the way, this tone is exactly what rubs people the wrong way. I've known plenty of people over the years who have claimed 'St. Louis people think their city is paved in streets of gold.' It's fine and expected to be proud of your hometown, quite another to be arrogant about it. Nobody cares to hear you rant and rave about why you believe your city to be superior. Though I no longer live in St. Louis, I will always cheer for my St. Louis teams and be thankful for so many awesome experiences growing up there...Certainly, there is much to love. But, I also recognize it is just one of MANY amazing U.S. cities, so who is to say which is 'better' than the next?
Granted, it is to be expected that the mayor of St. Louis is going to be proud of his city. Yet candidly, the list of things he brags about is rather lame. Rather than spouting debatable facts and figures, I would much rather he describe the more authentic and qualitative reasons St. Louisans should be proud of their city. There are many. I understand his intent in writing this article, but the tone, approach, and data he weaves into his ill-suited defense is a big mis-fire, in my humble opinion.
Finally, neither residents of St. Louis nor any other Midwest city should bother wasting their time defending their cities to coastal residents. After living in six different cities (Midwest and East Coast) over the last twenty years, I can say there are pros and cons to living in any major or mid-size city in the U.S. Each city has its own unique history, landscape, and culture, with various things to offer. It can be a TON of fun to live in New York, Boston, Chicago, D.C., Atlanta, San Francisco or Los Angeles, for example. But, a very high quality of life DOES exist outside these places. I always laugh at those who provincially believe otherwise. And, I always find it ironic that those who DO have a pretentious or elitist attitude about the East Coast or West Coast are actually not culturally savvy at all. Clearly, they are totally closed minded to other places.
Try the adventure of moving to say, Milwaukee, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Charlotte, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, Nashville, Austin, San Antonio, (St. Louis), or any other mid-sized city and I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised. But here's the thing: you have to leave your snooty attitude at the door and actually MAKE AN EFFORT to get to know the locals, discover the cool authentic neighborhoods, culinarily diverse restaurants, and cultural/historical gems in these cities. Sure, it is not Central Park, or Fenway, or the Golden Gate, or the United Nations. But keep this in mind: you often trade culture and opportunity for cash and convenience. After living in Chicago, Boston, and Atlanta, I can tell you there is MUCH to see and do in these awesome cities, but you will pay a premium in logistics and $$ to enjoy them. You are lucky if you settle in a place that is balanced to your liking.
By the way, Deadspin author Drew Magary wrote a scathing response to the Mayor's article and it made me cringe even MORE. Despite his excessive vulgar language, poor writing skills, angry/whiny/immature/snarky tone, I could see this coming. Although the mayor may suggest otherwise, I doubt any St. Louis fan/resident actually believes anyone is jealous of their city. Nevertheless, get a life, Drew. Take Slay's article with a grain of salt, from someone who has had WAY bigger fish to fry this year than just defending the Cardinals. Who is so enthusiastic about trashing another person or city? A terribly insecure, unhappy, and sad individual. I am sorry you spent so much of your youth as a benchwarmer.
Oh, and Drew predictably states in his pompous douche-bag tone, "The whole 'flyover' country thing reeks of Midwestern reverse snobbery. It sneers at the imaginary coastal elites who ignore St. Louis for perfectly viable reasons, and it suggests that St. Louis is some kind of hidden gem of an American city that only REAL FOLK know about. All lies. St. Louis is a boxcar on fire." Clearly he has never LIVED in St. Louis, nor any of the other Midwest cities that he constantly trashes. What a joke.
I love St. Louis, and will cheer for the Cards until the rally squirrel stops running the bases. Oh, and by the way, Drew, did you catch their AMAZING win over the Dodgers last night?
I will share his response below...But clearly, take HIM with a grain of salt ; )