But how does anyone really know how much money something like this will generate? It's all just a ballpark figure, right?

"No, we have constructed a model, which is, essentially, based on our experiences with actual events over the years," explains Fleming. "We try and calculate the number of out-of-towners who will come, how many dollars they will spend, the entertainment dollars that will go to restaurant and retail outlets, the indirect impact of that spending in the region. And we factor in local spending and so on. There's something of a science to it all."

Whatever the case, if Fleming's $60 million projection is even close to being on the money, well, that's a lot of money. Consider: Ruth Sergenian, chief economist for the RCGA, said this year's Mardi Gras brought $20 million to the region, based on the same model Fleming spoke of. The NCAA wrestling event was good for $14 million. Last year's BMW golf championship delivered $28 million.

So there you have it. As Garrett Morris as Chico Esculo on Saturday Night Live used to say, "Baseball been berry, berry good to me."Ellis E. Conklin

Signs of Spring in St. Louis: Ted Drewes, Cardinals Baseball and Brick Thieves
The days are getting longer and warmer. Perfect time to work in the garden, take in a ball game, eat ice cream and participate in that oh-so-St.-Louis activity: brick rustlin'.

As preservationist Michael Allen reports on his blog, Ecology of Absence, the brick thieves are out of hibernation and making short work of an abandoned home on Maiden Lane near the intersection of North Jefferson and Cass avenues. The house, according to Allen, is owned by McEagle Properties — a development company that has acquired hundreds of north St. Louis lots and buildings.

Allen notes that it's strange that brick thieves have evaded detection from authorities on this particular property, seeing how the home's "west wall faces out at busy Jefferson Avenue, not far from the police station.

"In the middle of a flagging economy, brick theft could be elevated this summer," warns Allen. "It's time for all of us to get tough — city government, police and neighbors. Let's hope this summer does not see a wave of destruction like the ones that hit the north side in the past two years."
—Chad Garrison

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