Sports & Recreation

  • Best Cardinal

    Albert Pujols

    Given the disturbingly unpredictable quality of their team play, it's surprising that the 2001 Cardinals feature so many players having individually fine years: Fernando Viņa (at bat but especially in the field), Placido Polanco, Matt Morris, Darryl Kile (skimpy win total to the contrary), Steve Kline, J.D. Drew (when not benched by injury), even part-timer Craig Paquette. But in a… More >>
  • Best Name For a Baseball Player

    Stubby Clapp

    Right there in the middle of the horrendous slump the Cardinals ran through in June, St. Louis fans had to accept whatever excitement they could find for their baseball dollar. So when the PA announced the first-ever major-league at bat for Stubby Clapp, Busch Stadium faithful figured, "Why not give him a standing ovation?" It didn't take a sabermetrician to… More >>
  • Best Lap Pool

    Downtown YMCA

    We're inclined to believe the Jack La Lannes of the exercise world who argue that swimming is one of the most effective ways to trim the fat. But that doesn't mean we have to do it in the futureworld pools of spa-land, surrounded by trim souls exercising not to lose weight but, it seems, to rub it in that they… More >>
  • Best Professional Coach

    Mike Martz

    As much as we admire the cool professionalism of Joel Quenneville and the brooding intensity of Tony La Russa, the Rams' Mike Martz ranks as St. Louis' most outlandishly entertaining coach since Whitey Herzog retired to the fishin' hole. Martz suffered last year from absurdly outsized expectations: He took the reins of a Super Bowl champion, and handicappers confidently predicted… More >>
  • Best $35 Spent On a Joyride

    Skyline Aviation

    Care for a closer view of the wild blue yonder? Spirit St. Louis Airport in Chesterfield has three flight schools where an average person can learn to fly. The runway leading to a pilot's license involves a minimum of 40 hours' flight time, up to 10 hours of ground instruction and a cost of $2,500. But maybe you just want… More >>
  • Best Ballroom Dancer

    P.J. Mallinckrodt

    She whirls, she twirls, she competes in those big fluffy dresses. And she has the best amateur standing in Latin dance in the city -- possibly the country. This year, P.J. Mallinckrodt of Kirkwood has accumulated more titles than a Ford dealership. At the Dancers Cup Grand Ball in Nashville, she took first place in the Open International Latin Championship.… More >>
  • Best Motorcycle Ride

    Franklin County backroads

    For maximum twisties with minimal traffic, head south on I-44, take the Washington exit onto Highway 100, go about five miles, turn left on Highway V and start getting lost. It's alphabet soup, roadwise -- Highways A, KK, YY, UU, AB and a host of others spider through the hinterlands -- and you can spend a whole day scooting through… More >>
  • Best Bar For Pingpong

    Red's Eighth Inning Bar

    This is category where there is far too little competition. Why more bars don't have pingpong tables set up defies reason. What goes better with a 12-ounce cold one but a good volley of pingpong? OK, for the hoity-toity, call it table tennis. The table's been up for years at Red's Eighth Inning Bar, although lately it's being taken down… More >>
  • Best Place To Go Broke and Have Fun Doing It

    Fairmount Park

    We'll take the ponies over pai gow poker any day. The fresh air. The past-her-prime longshot that winks en route to the post, sending you scurrying for the nearest betting window. The wise guys poring over reams of stats sitting next to cute girls in tube tops who giggle at the rube that bets it all on a past-her-prime mare… More >>
  • Best Golf Course

    Annbriar Golf Course

    Forest Park Golf Course is our sentimental, and readers', favorite. Opened in 1912, the course was a progressive city's answer to members-only private country clubs. The 27-hole course, recently renamed for the late businessman and benefactor Norman K. Probstein, is undergoing a major facelift led by the city and Forest Park Forever. Of course, if it's the quality of the… More >>
  • Best Minor-League Team

    St. Louis Swarm

    Most of the ink and airtime goes to the Rascals and the Grizzlies -- and no, we don't mean the NBA Grizzlies -- but the real minor-league success story is the St. Louis Swarm of the International Basketball League. In the Swarm's first two years, they've won the IBL championship twice; you can't do better than that. The Swarm's coach… More >>
  • Best Sports Broadcast Personality

    Skip Erwin
    WGNU (920 AM)

    In this town, "sports broadcast" and "personality" appear to be mutually exclusive terms. Except for Mike Shannon -- and let's hear it for the Moon Man -- there aren't many talking heads talking about sports that anyone with any sense or taste would want to hang with. Imagine being caught in an elevator with Malcolm Briggs. Can we crawl outta… More >>
  • Best Bowling Lanes

    Arcade Lanes

    When it comes to bowling, 50,000 Frenchmen can't be wrong. OK, make that two Frenchmen, one writer and one photographer from L'Equipe magazine. They were in the Mound City recently to do an article and a photo spread on bowling. Where else in the world would the truly suave go for that assignment but to our Mound City, which is… More >>
  • Best Sports Arena or Stadium

    Busch Stadium

    Love it while you can, because the Cardinals say it sucks and want it torn down. Given an odd alliance that included Republican mayoral candidate Michael Chance and most liberal of Democrats, Jeanette Mott Oxford, couldn't scrape together enough signatures to put a stadium-replacement proposal up for a public vote this fall, the old ballyard's days do seem numbered. Before… More >>
  • Best Ferry Ride

    Golden Eagle

    New Yorkers seem to find love on the Staten Island Ferry. Our best chance is the Golden Eagle. Oh, there are the free ferries, of course, the Brussels being especially cute, but romance requires time, and scenic backdrop, and a long buildup. You wind through peaceful, seemingly insignificant farmland, and then, when you think you can go no farther, you… More >>
  • Best St. Louis Ram

    Marshall Faulk

    The most important Ram this year, in terms of indispensability, is likely Kurt Warner: Without Trent Green to sub if Warner crumples under a blindside blitz, the stunt-flying Rams aerial show could well find itself losing significant altitude as journeyman Jamie Martin or youthful Marc Bulger stares blankly at the controls. But even absent Warner, the Rams remain capable of… More >>
  • Best Place To Take the Kids Fishing

    Harry L. Simpson Park

    How many fishhooks can be baited with a single nightcrawler? That is a question for Sunday mornings, when Valley Park Hardware with its full bait shop doesn't open until 11 a.m., leaving only the quickie-mart down the road, where 2 bucks buys a dozen crawlers. Besides a pole and a stringer (and a license for those over 16), that's all… More >>
  • Best St. Louis Blue

    Scott Young

    Sure, Chris Pronger is a 6-foot-6, 220-pound banger who in the 1999-00 season won both the Hart and Norris trophies, the first person to do that since Bobby Orr won them in 1972. Yes, we know that Al MacInnis has the fastest slapshot in the Milky Way and won the Norris Trophy in 1998-99 as the National Hockey League's best… More >>
  • Best Place to Exercise

    Forest Park

    You can't ask for much more, or much better, compared with the blaring Top 40 and mechanical torture devices at indoor gyms, than Forest Park. There's its 6-point-something-mile track that circles much of its perimeter, available for runners, cyclists and Rollerbladers (who tend to take up more than their share of both the path and the supply of spandex in… More >>
  • Best College-Sports Team

    Washington University Bears women's basketball

    The Washington University Bears, the Division III women's basketball team, amassed an 81-game winning streak before losing a game in January. Only UCLA teams coached by the legendary John Wooden had a longer run in the win column. The Lady Bears, led by coach Nancy Fahey, have won the national championship in their division for the last four consecutive years.… More >>
  • Best Video-Game Arcade

    Tilt Video Arcade

    Huge video arcades can create sensory overload that can leave a person rocking in the corner. Anyone who has had to drag an overstimulated, kicking and screaming kid out of Chuck E. Cheese's can relate. Sometimes smaller is better. Case in point: Northwest Plaza's Tilt, which has just about anything an avid arcade junkie needs to have a good time… More >>
  • Best Sports Call-In Radio Show

    Motorsports Weekly, KFNS (590 AM)

    Motorsports Weekly has to be the fastest two hours of sports radio in the area. The time seems to fly by for a number of reasons. Radio personalities Tony Hubert, Tim Woody and Ken Roberts have a classic dynamic: Hubert is the no-nonsense (sometimes even strident) ringleader, the know-it-all -- in short, the Moe. Woody is the high-voiced, excitable Flavor… More >>
  • Best Afternoon-Drive Destination

    Black Madonna Shrine and Grottos

    Visitors to the Black Madonna Shrine might expect an Afro-world of '70s kitsch. Instead, they'll find a surprisingly touching and beautiful shrine, hand-built by Brother Bronislaus Luszcz, a Franciscan who emigrated to St. Louis from Poland in 1927. The "black" of "Black Madonna" refers to the darkened skin tone of Our Lady of Czestochowa painted by St. Luke, a reproduction… More >>
  • Best Boat Ride

    Paddle boats at Union Station

    OK, so it's not exactly a cruise down the Mississippi, but a burst of spontaneity has its place in a hectic life. The best part about the paddle boats at Union Station is that no planning is required. Shopping in the mall can instantly turn into a fun-filled navigation around the pond in the heart of Union Station. The experience… More >>
  • Best Municipal Recreational Facility

    RiverChase

    With more and more suburban municipalities jumping on the bandwagon to build big and beautiful recreation centers and water parks, it isn't easy singling out one as the best in the region, and holding onto such a title may be tough. Still, no city in the St. Louis area has yet to top Fenton's RiverChase, a gleaming facility visible from… More >>
  • Best Potential Corporate-Naming Sponsor For the New Stadium

    Dirt Cheap Cigarettes, Beer & Liquor

    First: the recognition factor. Nobody really knows what Savvis is, other than another company with troubles. TWA -- now that's an embarrassment, "The Acquisition" Dome. But Dirt Cheap? "Cheap, cheap. Fun, fun." You can hear the ad in your head right now, can't you? Everybody knows Dirt Cheap, and everybody knows who they are, what they do and what they're… More >>
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