The Deal of the Century

Convention and Visitors Commission honcho John Ferrara gets hot and bothered about the RFT's treatment of the Trans World Dome deal; plus, other St. Louis follies and foibles

As for the film, it's what you would expect from NFL Films, the propaganda arm of the league: No downers. No bad news. No replays of the referee's decision to rule Bert Emanuel's catch incomplete -- that might go into a video of Tampa Bay highlights. There's lots of slow motion, the typical NFL Films crescendoing soundtrack and at least three views of each big, big play.

Perhaps the person with most reason to smile Monday night was KSDK's Mike Bush, sports honcho at Channel 5 and the first-year radio voice of the Rams. For each sound clip of him used in the NFL highlight film, Bush got 50 bucks. It was hard to keep track, but chances are there were five or six samples of Bush's radiocasts. The lagniappe was a surprise for Bush. "It's a few hundred bucks, but it's more than I thought it was going to get."

And more than most folks around town will be reaping from the season.

John Ferrara on the RFT's $720 million price tag for the Trans World Dome: "When you went to journalism school, you should have studied economics."
John Ferrara on the RFT's $720 million price tag for the Trans World Dome: "When you went to journalism school, you should have studied economics."

LEMME PULL SOME JOBS OUTTA MY HAT: Richard Fleming, the big kahuna at the RCGA, isn't pleased that the Post-Dispatch's Jerry Berger reported that average monthly employment in the metro area only had grown by a "scant" 1,500 people between 1996 and 1999. That would jeopardize a bonus for Fleming, Berger said. Fleming responded Wednesday by telling a luncheon crowd at the St. Louis Association of Realtors that Berger's numbers are baloney. According to Fleming's stats, more than 91,000 jobs have been created in the metro area since 1995 -- and, by golly, we're on track to hit 100,000 by the end of this year. Of course, as is often the case, the truth is somewhere in the middle. A check with Randall Clark, analyst with the Missouri Division of Workforce Development, shows that the 12-county metro area had an annual average nonfarm wage and salaried employment of 1,246,000 in 1995. That grew to 1,319,500 in 1999, up about 73,500 jobs. The bad news is that the rising tide hasn't lifted all boats. St. Louis County, for example, has seen a 9.3 percent increase in the number of jobs, or about 54,600 jobs (third-quarter 1999 figures compared with third-quarter 1995 figures), but the city of St. Louis has lost 22,500, or 8.4 percent.

FLOTSAM AND JETSAM: Congrats to the Rev. Lawrence Biondi, S.J., who, at least in this one instance, has come around to The Riverfront Times' way of thinking. Biondi sent a broadside to the Grand Center board of directors with a Feb. 15 letter saying he was "disillusioned and frustrated by the leadership in Grand Center. There has been virtually no progress on major initiatives." Could it be that it took this long for "Father Capone" to read Eddie Silva's same assessment in "Grand Illusion" (RFT, April 21)?... And since when is it another sign of player greed and the imminent demise of baseball when one of its superstar players accepts $30 million less in a contract so that he can play for a small-market team? Guess it's when the sportswriter is the daily paper of record's Dan O'Neill and he's writing about Ken Griffey's turning down a $148 million contract in Seattle to accept a $116 million contract in Cincinnati. O'Neill called it "extortion" and said that "money, greed and indulgence have turned baseball into a perverse country club." This coming from a guy who usually covers golf, which isn't even a sport. It's a hobby, a pastime. Puh-leeze, stay at the country club.

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