Sports & Recreation

  • Best Coach

    Joel Quenneville

    Joel Quenneville, the head coach who couldn't lead the Blues into the Stanley Cup Finals no matter how big his payroll, is St. Louis' best coach? The guy who was sitting on a barely better-than .500 record when he got the ax, watching impotently from behind the bench as his "team" of "stars" struggled through one of the worst slumps… More >>
  • Best Sports Broadcast Personality

    Joel Goldberg

    Sports anchors can be so dang clichéd. Evidence KSDK-TV (Channel 5)'s dreadful D.C. import Rene Knott and the insufferably pompous, plaster-haired Steve Savard of KMOV-TV (Channel 4). Thankfully, we have the always witty, down-to-earth Joel Goldberg to lighten up the airwaves. Goldberg and his equally competent FOX2 battery mate, Martin Kilcoyne, are a refreshing jolt of beer and bourbon compared… More >>
  • Best Batting Cage

    Tower Tee Batting Range

    Students of the game, take note: It was Wellington Stockton Titus, a catcher for an amateur baseball team in Hopewell, Virginia, who invented the batting cage in 1907. Seems Titus wanted more time playing and less time chasing down errant pitches and fouled-back baseballs. Titus' portable cage was a big hit, and it remains so today -- especially at the… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf

    Tee Time Family Fun Center

    You're assaying your first shot on the tenth hole at Tee Time Family Fun Center. There's a giant alligator behind you and lions, tigers and bears hidden in the jungle terrain all around. But that's not the reason you're panicking. Here, on the tenth hole, you realize the true hazards of this unconventional course are not the sand traps, streams,… More >>
  • Best Hole at a Public Golf Course

    No. 15

    Avid golfers often use the "enjoying nature" excuse in justifying their addiction to this unforgiving sport. Hogwash! Most golf addicts wouldn't care if they were playing on an Astro-turfed parking lot, so long as they were hitting the shiznit out of the Titleist. But in the case of No. 15 at the Missouri Bluffs, the "nature" excuse has merit. With… More >>
  • Best Cardinals Player

    Scott Rolen

    On a team whose stars borrow millions from God and drive Ferraris, Scott Rolen is a throwback. Indiana born and bred, the muscular third sacker is a perfect fit for a town that put the H in hoosier. While the Redbirds threw prime-time Benjamins at the quietly intense RBI machine when he came here from Philadelphia in mid-2002, that wasn't… More >>
  • Best Cardinals Rump

    Albert Pujols

    We freely admit it: Our seats at Cardinals games are always down the third-base line because it affords the best view of Mr. Albert Pujols' seat. When he raises that stick over his beautiful head and dips his knees fixin' to clout, we fervently pray to Paul Lynde that the team tailor performed a subpar job on Mr. Albert's inseam.… More >>
  • Best Move

    J.D. Drew and Eli Marrero to the Braves for Ray King, Jason Marquis and Adam Wainwright

    Cardinals general manager Walt Jocketty was hesitant to trade talented but too-often-injured outfielder J.D. Drew, for fear the kid would finally come into his own and have a monster season someplace other than St. Louis. Well, Jocketty finally pulled the trigger this past off-season -- and lo and behold, a suddenly healthy Drew is having a breakout year that has… More >>
  • Best Yoga Studio

    Big Bend Yoga Center

    A yoga studio is only as great as its teachers. One could build a million-dollar studio with gently cushioned floors, perfect walls and a Surroundsound stereo system, but if the yogi's wack, it's all for naught. Put another way: Your favorite instructor could hold practice on the banks of a lagoon and you'd follow. Luckily, St. Louis is gradually catching… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    Triple A Golf & Tennis Club

    Triple A Golf & Tennis Club in Forest Park just might be the best-kept secret in St. Louis. It's also home to the finest tennis courts around. The 107-year-old club has hosted three Davis Cup tournaments and was the early stomping ground for Belleville native Jimmy Connors. But forget history: What sets Triple A apart is that fourteen of its… More >>
  • Best Skate Park

    Fountain Lake Skatepark

    If the O'Fallon Youth Activity Park's skatepark didn't have a bogus age restriction -- allowing only two hours of skating a week for those who are nineteen and up -- it might have won this category. Might have. For even if you disregard the age restriction, admission price, helmet rule and the fact that there are armed park rangers inside… More >>
  • Best Place to Rollerblade

    The Loop

    St. Louis is a city of conformists. It is also a city of few Rollerbladers. Both of these theories are proven painfully accurate when one deigns to skate down Delmar through the throngs of sidewalk diners and teenage posses crowding the Loop on a daily basis. So relentless is the staring that takes place, one might feel compelled to double-check… More >>
  • Best Rams Player

    Torry Holt

    As riveting as it was to follow last season's morality play about NFL wide receivers who showboat in the end zone -- and what's so wrong with injecting a little entertainment into the stultifying stoppages that punctuate football games? -- it was even more beguiling to watch Torry Holt and his Rams receiving-corps brethren absent themselves from all the self-pimping… More >>
  • Best Place to Bird-Watch

    Riverland Environmental Demonstration Area

    On its Web site (www.stlaudubon.org), the St. Louis Audubon Society lists fifteen places in the Metro area that are excellent for bird-watching. Among them are the obvious (Forest Park's Kennedy Forest, the Powder Valley Nature Center) and the unexpected (Tower Grove Park -- who knew it was a high-quality migrant trap?). But even these dedicated fowlers admit that of the… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Tower Grove Park

    An amazing aged Gouda has just arrived from the Cheese of the Month Club and you're dying to devour it with a glass or three of Champagne. Okay, okay. You're trying to get rid of leftovers and it's a beautiful day outside. Es macht nichts.You'll find no better picnic spot than Tower Grove Park, which stretches from Grand Boulevard to… More >>
  • Best Fishing Hole

    Lake 35

    Hugged on three sides by the 6,987-acre August A. Busch Memorial Conservation Area, Francis Howell High School has the coolest backyard in the state. About 30 minutes outside Our Fair City, Busch Wildlife isn't much of a haul, nor does it require a long stay to make it worth your while. The welcome center is adjacent to a bait shop… More >>
  • Best Scenic Drive

    Route 100 from Alton to Grafton, Illinois

    The portion of Highway 100 that stretches from Alton to Grafton all but unlocks the land. There are sailboats here. Sailboats? Yep, although this is the river, it's the bend. And where there's a bend, baby, there's transport. At the underrated confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers exists a mysterious oasis called Brussels and two charming river towns that… More >>
  • Best Stroll

    Shaw Nature Reserve

    Using a treadmill's fine. A track'll do, too. Hoofing it around your neighborhood, subdivision or local park is even better -- you get the pleasures of architecture and flora into the bargain. Walking is good any way you slice it, but how much better it is when freed of the mandates of the clock, the heart rate, the almighty baying… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Route 100

    Can't take another minute of traffic, pollution and asphalt? Turn off your cell phone, lace up your hiking boots and take a marvelous, curvy drive along the Mississippi River to Pere Marquette State Park, located 45 miles north of St. Louis at the confluence of the Mississippi and Illinois rivers. From the visitor center, take the Goat Cliff Trail to… More >>
  • Best Public Park

    Queeny County Park

    It's a fall day at Queeny Park, a 569-acre recreation complex that mercifully interrupts the urban sprawl of the west-county suburb of Ballwin. Dogs chase Frisbees through an open field alongside kids flying kites. The open stretches of green are surrounded by rolling hills stacked with oaks, maples and dogwoods that, thanks to the cool summer, are already showcasing vibrant… More >>
  • Best Blues Player

    Chris Pronger

    Sure, Keith Tkachuk is better-looking, Mike Danton got more press and Dallas Drake certainly comes to play. Even so, last season belonged to 29-year-old Chris Pronger. We could run down a list of the accolades he added to his collection (All-Star and Team Canada selections, NHL Defensive Player of the Week, etc., etc.), or note that his 54 points (14… More >>
  • Best Local Sports Encyclopedia

    Earl Austin Jr.

    Earl Austin sounds like Rain Man. Thinks like him, too. These are good attributes when one is trying to carve out a niche in St. Louis' saturated sports-media market. Trying to remember who won that second-round game -- and by what margin -- in the 1986 Suburban North girls' basketball conference tournament? Earl knows. What's more, he's probably the only… More >>
  • Best Basketball Court

    Lift for Life Academy Parking Lot

    There are two hoops in the Lift for Life Academy parking lot in Soulard, but they're laid out back to back, preventing full-court action. The avid hooper must also overlook the fact that the parking lot is sloped slightly, which means that the rim you're shooting at will fluctuate from nine to eleven feet depending upon where you are on… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    Francis Park

    The praises of majestic, sprawling Forest Park have often been sung, and rightly so. But when it comes to your daily jog, picturesque Francis Park, located in St. Louis Hills, gives the grand old park a, er, run for its money. It's large enough to provide a thorough workout (60 acres), but it has a decidedly cozy feel and is… More >>
  • Best Urban Bike Ride

    Soulard

    This city's blatant disregard for bicyclists makes any urban ride an adventure, but for those up to the challenge, we suggest the following route: From the intersection of Jefferson Avenue and Russell Boulevard, head east down Russell to Seventh Street. This downhill leg is equipped with a designated bike lane and, in case you're thirsty, it passes at least a… More >>
  • Best Local Boxer

    Cory Spinks

    Could we really choose anyone else? Since earning our choice as best boxer in 2003, Spinks has gone on to stun the boxing world with a thumping of Ricardo "El Matador" Mayorga last December, only to top that by successfully defending his welterweight title with a unanimous decision against Zab Judah in April. How many undisputed boxing champions currently hail… More >>
  • Best Boxing Gym

    Panda Athletic Club

    We're going on potential here, but at the age of only a couple months, the Panda Athletic Club stands to quickly ascend the ranks of St. Louis' many hovel-like pugilist haunts for one big reason: Steve Smith, the fedora-crowned don-and-king of backyard boxing. Along with two other licensed boxing coaches, Smith's a co-founder of the Panda (so named because it's… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Nick's Pub

    How many times have you wanted to watch game five of the NBA finals and all your barmaid can find are lumberjack competitions on ESPN2? At one area watering hole that shall remain nameless (and awardless), the bartender informed us that the owner does not permit basketball to be shown on the television sets. Can you believe it? Give thanks,… More >>
  • Best Sports Bargain

    Upper Terrace Reserve ticket

    9) .283 team batting average (.352 on-base percentage) and a 3.51 earned run average at home 8) Leaving the Cubs in the dust 7) Hot dogs and beer 6) The bullpen 5) Edgar Renteria 4) Larry Walker 3) Jim Edmonds 2) Scott Rolen 1) Albert Pujols and his tight, tight pants (see "Best Cardinals Rump") That's one reason for… More >>
  • Best Ballpark Parking

    The Westin

    Success, as George W. Bush has so aptly proven, is all about who you know. When parking for a game at Busch Stadium (at least, this year's Busch Stadium), the man you want to know is Blue. Blue runs the front door at the Westin, just scant feet from the ballpark gates. For only a few bucks more than what… More >>
  • Best Jockey

    Ramsey Zimmerman

    Chicago used to be Ramsey Zimmerman's kind of town. The blue-eyed, blond-haired 22-year-old grew up in the 'burbs and achieved early success aboard Illinois' most sterling colts at Hawthorne and Arlington, the latter being one of the nation's premier venues for thoroughbred racing. But with early success comes an invitation to ride in horse racing's fast lane, which for reckless… More >>
  • Best High School Athlete

    Arthur Sargent

    Arthur Sargent looks like a natural. A lean, mean, six-foot-five machine with lock-cable upper-arm muscles, Sargent is one of only a handful of local athletes -- perhaps the only one, at that -- who will generate interest among Big 10 and Big 12 schools in both football and basketball, so outstanding a multi-sport athlete is he. (He also high-jumps six… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Linas Kleiza

    This Lithuanian freak of nature will make Missouri Tigers basketball fans forget Arthur Johnson ever existed. Check that: It will make Mizzou fans wish his fat underachieving (in the first half, anyway) ass had cleared out before last year even started. That way Kleiza, then a freshman, would have played more and the Tigers might have cracked the NCAA tourney… More >>
  • Best Public Pool

    Webster Groves Aquatic Center

    There are bigger and newer pools, pools with more attractions and bobbing gadgetry, pools with taller and faster waterslides. But of all the St. Louis area's watering holes, the Webster Groves Aquatic Center stands out for its luxurious, resort-like ambiance. The mean grilled-cheese sandwiches and chicken nuggets at the concession stand don't hurt either. From the bright-purple shade structures (you… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Kansas City

    Our little sister city to the west, Kansas City, takes a heap of abuse from us. Some of that stems from the Don Denkinger Incident, some is just normal sibling rivalry. There comes a time when siblings grow up, mature a little bit, and realize that the smaller, younger, slightly stankier sister ain't so bad. So we're going on record:… More >>
  • Best Bowling Lanes

    Saratoga Lanes

    The first thing you see after climbing the flight of stairs to Saratoga Lanes is the bar. Behind it stands Mark, who promptly fills your request for shoes, pulling a pair from beneath the chilled Jägermeister machine and asking, "Are you ready for a drink?" Clearly, this is your kind of bowling alley. Opened in 1916, Saratoga Lanes is one… More >>

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