Late August, when the Cardinals have a comfortable lead in the standings and the playoffs loom pregnant with possibility, is a very good time to be a baseball fan. Autumn's cool beauty and a straight shot to the pennant seem as certain as the 6-4-3 double play. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could improve the state of affairs in Baseball Heaven. Unless, perhaps, there were more home teams to root for. Did such a halcyon time ever exist?
Why, back in 1915 it did. On Monday, August 23, the Cards were sitting at 57-60, and they'd finish the season at 72-81 and in sixth place. The Brownies were their legendary miserable selves, losing their eighth in a row (to the Red Sox) on their way to a 63-91 record. Only the St. Louis Terriers, sitting pretty at 62-56 in the nascent Federal League, had a winning record, and they'd do the town proud by journeying to Wrigley Field to win a five-game series (3-2) that Monday. So they won against the Chicago Whales, and they folded at the end of the year along with the rest of the Federal League; at least they outlasted the Indianapolis Hoosiers.
Steve Steinberg, author of Baseball in St. Louis: 1900-1925, explores the era when the American League was in its infancy, the Federal League was dying, and the National League stood above them both, all in St. Louis. Using more than twenty photo collections and a legion of stories and stats, Steinberg brings to life the age when three pro teams brought three times the baseball to St. Louis. He discusses his book and, of course, the National Pastime at 7 p.m. at Left Bank Books (399 North Euclid Avenue; 314-367-6731). -- Paul Friswold
Yin Yang Twins! At the Upstairs Lounge!
So some smaller clubs on Washington Avenue closed. That's definitely a shame, but when was the last time the South Grand district got any attention? Through all the downtown media coverage, the Upstairs Lounge (3131 South Grand Boulevard, upstairs from Mekong, get it?) has been plugging away with nightly music and for only a nominal cover. Each Wednesday has a yin-and-yang theme: RFT Music Award-nominated DJ Cory Thomas is joined by Mike D and Brandon B on yin weeks; Corey Anderson, Flip Lynch and Tolga round out the yang. We are in a manly yang week now, so come check the breakbeat and tribal fire -- it's sure to be a hot time. Call 314-773-3388 or visit www.upstairslounge.com for more info. -- Alison Sieloff
Calling All Party Animals Jammin' at the Zoo returns
If you're tired of the same old happy hour with the same old faces at the same old bar, then the Young Zoo Friends invite you to their RFT-sponsored Jammin' at the Zoo event (in Forest Park, of course) from 5:30 'til 10 p.m., rain or shine. The party has all the usual stuff, such as live music (courtesy of Paint the Earth and others), beer, wine, soda and bar food, but it also offers "frozen specialty drinks" to help you cool off. In addition, you can register to win a trip for two to Las Vegas. Now that's happy!
All this fun is free for Young Zoo Friends; non-members pay $5 (unless you join the organization at the party -- then you and a friend get in free). Help out the critters and sign up already! The event is 21 and older, and all proceeds benefit the zoo. For more information check out www.stlzoo.org or call 314-768-5450. -- Guy Gray
If you love dinner but have always wondered how it's made, learn from the best at Soulard Market (Lafayette and Eighth streets; 314-622-4180) on Saturday mornings from August 21 through September 25. Area chefs lead free classes at 10 a.m., instructing the curious in the art of preparing healthy, tasty meals using fresh ingredients. Landis Irvin, head chef at Mangia Italiano, starts this season of Chefs at the Market with his pasta know-how. --Paul Friswold