OK, just bear with me here. Calling anything "the best" is, of course, subjective. Tie that to the fact that summer isn't over yet and I'm seriously jumping to conclusions and I'm just fine with that for a couple of reasons. First, if you weren't aware, this blog is mostly based on opinion. (Fun fact: It is also loosely based on the classic children's movie The Neverending Story. Oscar is my Luck Dragon.) Second, has this not been an awesome summer so far? Even if the rest turns out horrible I can't help but place it number one on my list of all-time best St Louis summers. I will admit that only being here for one makes it a very short list.
Falcor the Luck Dragon
The NeverEnding Story- Limahl
Probably the number 1 feature this summer has offered is the weather. It has been downright pleasant if you haven't noticed. Many days of just highs in the 80's, only the passing rain shower and cool breezes has made this a fine year to be outdoors. Compare that to what most people will tell you St Louis summers are like and you'll know how much of a nice surprise it's been. According to Microsoft and their crackerjack team of weather scientists, the average high for St Louis in June is 85F and in July 89F. August drops back down to 88, but we are still talking pretty hot there. This year? The 2009 June average high was 87F. The July average high was... wait for it... 84 degrees! Using mathematics I've calculated that this summer has been indeed cooler. So far through August we are right on schedule with an average of 88F, but I'm cool with that too. I think having such a mild summer makes the hot days seem less hot.
Even if we had one of those notoriously hot summer's here, do you know what makes up for it? St Louis has long, easy springs and falls. In Chicago autumn lasts maybe three weeks and being that it's my favorite season I always felt like I missed it. Hopefully that's not the case this year. I wouldn't want to miss out on October especially. Reason being...
Go Cardinals! It's been maybe the most fun year ever to be a Cardinals fan. We started the year as over-achievers still winning while playing with a weak line-up. Now, through brilliant and shrewd front office moves, we've got a serious team to go with some serious numbers (6). These games have been so fun to watch this year and I feel incredibly lucky that I'm able to experience so many of them first-hand. And this Albert Pujols guy... I'll be telling my grand kids about watching him play if I ever get around to having actual un-grand kids. It reminds me so much of the Jordan years for the Bulls. He just wills the team to win. And that's not easy considering there are so many plays that he has no opportunity to contribute to.
The people of St Louis are getting excited. Walk into a bar during a Cards game and that's all anyone is talking about. Actually, walk into a bar during anything other than a Cards game and that's still what everyone is talking about. It's just fun to be a part of.
In the meantime, St Louis continues it's re-emergence as a destination city again. Every year the city continues to take baby steps towards building a thriving downtown. Sure, there are always bumps on the road such as the death of the Metrolink expansion, but in only 8 months I've seen some huge improvements many of which I need to write about in greater length. The new Citygarden which takes a page out of Chicago's Millennium Park, the Old Post Office Plaza, the new downtown grocery store Culinaria, the emergence of Midtown - the area between SLU and Downtown, and perhaps most important, the early talks of how to tie downtown back to the Arch grounds/the river. Having the Allstar game here during the recession that brought many improvements and projects to a halt certainly gave us a boost that many cities did not have the luxury of receiving. Hopefully, we retain some of that excitement to get things done.
And if not, then the Nothing has won and all of Fantasia will be lost. By the way, I think the next project should be building the Oracles over the Mississippi River. They shoot lasers out of their eyes! That'll teach all of the Cubs fans coming down for the next Cards/Cubs series.