Monday, July 30, 2007

Our preseason football poll is just around the corner

With the start of August comes the next step in getting ready for the high school football season at, which means we're almost ready to put together the region's only poll for all 32 high school teams in Southeast Missouri. Look for that poll to come out in mid-August, a couple of weeks before the first games of the season.

Last season's poll is online here, and we've also posted schedules here for teams across Southeast Missouri, including the SEMO Conference and Mississippi Valley Conference. Look for the final additions of Salem and Thayer soon.

• Another site update: Basketball info from last season is being updated this week on our high school pages, and new year-by-year basketball archives should be up soon for several teams, including Gideon, Hayti Jackson and Malden, among others.

• Summer baseball is winding down, but not before Jackson hosts the American Legion zone tournament starting Thursday. Because of a quirky rule that guarantees the host team a spot, Jackson is in with a 23-27 record, even though it was one of the first teams out of last week's tournament. Other teams are Dunklin County, Imperial, Manchester and Anheuser-Busch of St. Louis.

• Two local auto racing notes: Saint Francois County Raceway near Farmington takes a break from weekly events Saturday because of the county fair, which is held on the racetrack's fairground site. And Sikeston sprint racer Hunter Schuernberg won at I-69 Speedway in Marion, Ind., last week, hish first win at I-69 this season.

• The buzz that Beef O'Brady's sports pub might open a location in Cape Girardeau comes as good news not just to diners who love Buffalo wings, but to local schools and sports leagues looking for sponsorships. The 208-restaurant chain has gained notoriety for its active sponsorship of local youth leagues and sports programs wherever it builds, and last year it gave away $34,000 in college scholarships. Plans are to have the restaurant open by Christmas.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Minor league baseball? Here? Sounds familiar

Kevin Winters Morriss couldn't mask the glowing optimism in reporting Sunday for the Southeast Missourian about the on-again, off-again and now on-again prospect of Cape Girardeau landing a minor league baseball franchise.

Granted, it's the same media source that nearly wet itself in curious excitement over a band of traveling teen golfers last week at Dalhousie. And in Kevin Winters Morriss' defense, he did warn against "anyone getting too excited" not once, but twice.

Mayor Jay Knudtson, he of eternal optimism and photo ops, stoked the flames of big-time baseball pipe dreams with his revelation that — and again, we're warned, don't get too excited — that our cozy 'burg by the river might possibly potentially sort of somewhat be interested in eventually exploring the notion of maybe looking into it.

In other words, it ranks right up there with the possibility that NASA will launch future shuttle missions from a local Wal-Mart parking lot.

Kevin, we like you. Your animated larger-than-life mug on makes us chuckle every time we see it.

But here's a little history, since you're not from here.

Less than five years ago, Mayor Man With A Plan was glowing with the prospect of helping bring indoor football to the Show Me Center. Before that, it was minor league basketball. Before that, it was minor league baseball. And so the cycle goes.

It seems every year that guys with deep pockets grow weary of making the drive from Cape Girardeau to St. Louis to catch a ballgame, or some other town gets something — anything — that makes Cape Girardeau look a step behind. In this case, Marion, Ill., landed a Frontier League baseball team, so Cape Girardeau leaders are scratching their heads and plotting their next move in the eternal game of oneupmanship.

Later this year, if history holds true, SEMO football will amble toward a season opener and provide enough distraction that the minor league talk will fade to a quiet grumble about what could be done, should be done or won't be done because nobody will step forward to do it.

With enthusiasm, dedication and creative financing, a minor league franchise might work in Cape Girardeau. Would it thrive? That's hardly a given. Local sports consumers have shown they'll flock to watch a winner, but there's less tolerance for a losing minor league team with unfamiliar names and faces.

Sure, it would be nice if Mayor No. 1 Sports Fan has an inside line to the area's biggest bankrollers and can lead the charge to put together a leadership group, help secure public funding and make the most difficult sales pitch in Cape Girardeau history.

But as Kevin Winters Morriss warns, don't get too excited.