St. Louis Blues = Chicago Cubs of NHL


Second round action of the NHL playoffs gets underway tomorrow night and the St. Louis Blues will have plenty of opportunities to see all the action on whatever big screen TV that’s nearby.

Three years. Three first round playoff exits.

Not that that news is really all that surprising. The Blues have a long tradition of finding ways to lose whenever the Stanley Cup Playoffs roll around. Recently, it’s been first round exits. Second round, third round, doesn’t really matter – the Blues are bound to lose at some point in their never-ending quest to Lord Stanley’s cup. So breaking your heart right off the bat at least spares you the agony of future series defeats.

Still, is it that much to ask a team to make it to the second round of the playoffs when you’re going up against opponents that you have beaten all year long?

In the Blues case, yes, it probably is.

Those of us who were actually around back in 1967 had no idea how good we had it when the Blues made it to the Stanley Cup final in their first year of existence – to be followed by two more consecutive visits. Granted, the league was structured back then so that a playoff team was guaranteed to make it to the Stanley Cup Final. Still, it was the Blues who made it three years in a row.

And lost all three.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals were in the midst of winning the World Series in ’67 and returning to it again in 1968 – so the Blues took a back seat to the Birds and they have been in that position ever since. And that quest for the Stanley Cup is even more elusive today than it was back in 1967.

So the Blues have now set a precedent that makes them comparable to the Chicago Cubs who are still seeking their first World Series title since 1908.

Many people believe a Cubs World Series will not happen in their lifetime.

I pretty much feel the exact same way about the Blues.

I’m not a die-hard Blues fan. And I’m kind of glad I’m not – because die-hard Blues fans have suffered many deaths along the way.

I have a tough time getting in to regular season hockey – knowing that it means virtually nothing once the playoffs roll around. And I have an even tougher time getting into the playoffs, knowing that somehow, someway, the Blues will end up just like the Cubs.

Wait until next year.


A Howard Gossage quote updated for today’s times

In this day and age, not a lot of people have ever heard of Howard Gossage.

Too bad.

Howard was known as “the Socrates of San Francisco”. He was one of those famous ad men from the Mad Men era.

It was Howard who said, “If you have a lemon, make lemonade.”

Of course, that was just one of many, many quotes that made Howard famous back in the glory days of advertising. I first read about Howard Gossage in a book that was aptly called, “The Book of Gossage”. I’ve been a fan of him and the way he approached advertising ever since. (Here’s a link to some of his more famous ads –

This past weekend, I just so happened to be in San Francisco and I was engaged in a lively conversation about social media and twitter and how today’s youth is so accustomed to just scrolling and scrolling through their twitter feed until they hit upon something that grabs their attention.

I brought up one of my all-time favorite Howard quotes, “People read what interests them. Sometimes, it’s an ad.” And I suggested that it should be modified to apply to today to be, “People read what interests them. And sometimes it’s a tweet.”

“That’s great,” said one of the people I was chatting with. “Only you have to add a third dimension – time.” He went on to explain, “They’re not interested in reading what happened two hours ago or two days ago … if it’s truly relevant to them, they’ll find out soon enough. But you have to be out there in the moment. If you’re not, your message gets lost in a sea of never-ending messages.”

I thought about that and I’m still thinking about it – because it makes our job as communicators so much more difficult.

Not only do we have to create messaging that is targeted, attention-getting relevant and memorable, we have to deliver it on an unbelievably timely basis.

It’s not just yesterday’s news that becomes dated. It’s this morning’s news. It’s this post that is already past tense.

In our ever-expanding information society, it’s tougher than ever to make a dent and do something that is truly memorable.

We live in the here and now.

I wonder what Howard would say.


Atlanta Journal-Constitution takes a shot at St. Louis

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution says St. Louis is a bust.

St. Louis was compared to the boom city of Chicago in an-going series in the newspaper’s year-long series concerning the economic state of Atlanta.

Basically, the gist of the story is: Atlanta needs to work to get better or we could end up being like the racially divided city of St. Louis and its abundance of accompanying municipalities that make up St. Louis County’s ineffective and wasteful government bureaucracies.

There’s a video that I found fascinating to watch as well.

Here, the author of the story gives a little history of how St. Louis has basically been on a downward spiral ever since the renowned city planner, Harlan Bartholomew, helped fuel the exodus from St. Louis city to the county as well as contributed mightily to the region’s fragmentation and racism.

I’m a lifelong St. Louisan and didn’t know that I grew up in such a sorry state of decline.

It’s interesting that none of the speakers in the video are identified – and the story was heavily slanted to show nothing but St. Louis’ dark side. Still, I think many of the points made in both the article and the video are on point.

There are 91 municipalities in St. Louis County or, if you prefer, 91 kingdoms.

A kingdom protects itself. It needs to feed itself. It sets its own rules and rarely does it look out for others outside of the kingdom.

Those who enter the kingdom are subject to the rules of that kingdom, including 20 MPH speed limits.

I’m not sure where Champ, Edmundson, Flordell Hills or Velda City are even located with their respective populations of 13, 834, 822 and 1,420 proud citizens – but they’re somewhere in the confines of St. Louis County and they each have their own elected officials and local ordinances.

For quite some time, I’ve been a firm believer that St. Louis City and County need to unite – combine our forces, address our problems and begin thinking and acting on behalf of this whole region.

I know that is way oversimplified.

The question is, if it’s so obvious to outsiders, why can’t we see it ourselves?

Better yet, why can’t we do something about it?

I know people are trying.

We’ve got to try harder.

We’ve got to turn things around and go from bust back to boom.



A formula to follow for next year’s March Madness

I had Wisconsin winning it all – in one of the brackets I filled out.

I was basically clueless in the other three where I actually paid money to be in a pool.

Traditionally, I never pick the odds-on favorite to win it all – and most times, the odds-on favorite at the beginning of the tournament doesn’t win it all. And if they do, you’re one of many who made the obvious pick so you had better have done well in all of the previous rounds.

The times when I have actually won money in any March Madness pool, it’s been when a semi-dark horse rose to the top.

I will probably still follow that route with an entry or two in the future.

But I’m also going to try this next year: in each region, choose the coach who has the most tournament appearances and if there’s more than one coach per region with a high number of appearances, break it down even further to the coach with the most elite eight or better yet, Final Four appearances. Pencil those four teams into your Final Four and work your way backwards to the start of the tournament. Maybe fill the rest of it in with upsets or at least one per region.

In the Final Four, choose the coach with the best winning percentage in Final Fours and the same for the National Champion.

Had you followed this path this year, you would have had 7 of the elite 8 teams correct.

I think Izzo would have beat Pitino but I’m not sure regarding total tournament appearances. In the end, you would have had all four of the Final Four. Granted, with this formula Calipari would have beaten Bo. But he didn’t – which ended up creating a much more interesting matchup on Monday night.

In the end, Coach K would have been your winner.

Will this work next year?

Of course not.

Who cares, anyway? It’s baseball season now.

Go Cardinals!

And I’m not talking Louisville.