Photo courtesy of St. Louis Cardinals
Memphis has long been considered Cardinal Country, and rightfully so. Before 1955, St. Louis was the western-most and southern-most city in Major League Baseball. Add the mighty airwaves of KMOX radio and you had generations of Memphians growing up on the exploits of Dizzy Dean, Stan Musial, and Bob Gibson.
Since 1998, when the Cardinals moved their Triple-A affiliate to the Bluff City, Memphis has sent several stars north to Busch Stadium. From Rick Ankiel to Adam Wainwright, from J.D. Drew to Randal Grichuk, from David Freese to Kolten Wong, St. Louis has embraced baseball players who earned the birds-on-the-bat jersey first as Memphis Redbirds.
Last night at Busch Stadium, though, we may have seen the first sign of St. Louis becoming Grizzly Country. (Might we call such territory . . . Griz Ground?) The finest mascot in the NBA took the field in front of a late-arriving baseball crowd (rain was in the area) to throw out the first pitch before the Cardinals-Cubs game. As for the whispered rumors, Grizz showed no affection for a baseball team that chooses baby bears as its mascot. Chicago beat the first-place Cardinals, 8-5, handing St. Louis its fifth loss in six games.
Grizz will be at FedExForum, of course, on October 28th, when the Grizzlies open their 2015-16 season against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.