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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Blues Player

    Erik Johnson

    St. Louis Blues general manager Larry Pleau and coach Andy Murray have made no secret of their plans for the down-at-the-heels franchise. "Build from within" has become their mantra as they hungrily stock up on fresh young hockey studs-to-be like David Perron, Lars Eller, Jake Allen and T.J. Oshie — none of whom is even old enough to legally purchase… More >>
  • Best Rams Player

    Torry Holt

    There weren't many bright spots along the way to the Rams' 3-13 season last year. Still, one player continued to shine. Wide receiver Torry "Big Game" Holt led the Rams in total yards (1,189) and touchdowns (7) in '07 and was the only player on the team selected for the Pro Bowl. This year Holt is likely to increase his… More >>
  • Best Cardinals Player

    Yadier Molina

    If Albert Pujols is the heart and soul of the Cardinals, then Yadier Molina is the guts, a player whose importance you might not consider — until, from his knees, he throws out the tying run diving back into first base, or until you see his calming, but no-BS attitude when talking to one of the many pitchers with whom… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Rick Majerus

    Rick Majerus' first year at the helm of Billiken basketball was...predictably mediocre. With the cupboard left bare following the departure of Brad Soderberg, the team finished with just sixteen wins and tied for ninth place in the Atlantic 10 Conference. Still, Majerus managed to make things interesting. He added a strong emphasis on academics to the program, and two players… More >>
  • Best High School Athlete

    Ronecia Nash

    East St. Louis has produced scores of legendary track-and-field stars, including Carmelita Williams, Dawn Harper and, of course, the incomparable Jackie Joyner-Kersee. Now we can add Ronecia Nash to the list. Nash led the East St. Louis High School Flyerettes to their first state track title in a decade; her performance at the Illinois state competition last May was simply… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Jeremy Maclin

    Dear Jeremy: Do you remember when we met on that brilliant Saturday afternoon last September? There we were in the nosebleeds of the Edward Jones Dome, irrationally optimistic (yet again) that this would be our year. And there you were on the field, so cool and confident in front of those 66,000 partisan fans. But that didn't matter to you.… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    Hermann

    The sounds of the city's hustle-bustle can almost serve as a security blanket of sorts. You grow used to the car horns, the rumbling trucks, the emergency sirens, the obnoxious neighbors. When you wrap yourself in the comfort of the noise, it's easy to forget the simple pleasure that can be found in peace and quiet. Remind yourself already and… More >>
  • Best Bowling Lanes

    Saratoga Lanes

    The International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame is relocating to Texas. But bowling aficionados need not worry — Saratoga Lanes reflects the pastime at its finest. This year, in celebration of Saratoga's significance as a historic landmark, the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. According to Lindsey Derrington of Landmarks Association of St. Louis, who… More >>
  • Best Yoga Studio

    Southtown Yoga

    Now open for a year, Southtown Yoga is a yogi's dream: small classes and a wonderful fusion of yoga styles. Owner Brigette Niedringhaus says her approach is "down-to-earth and friendly, yet deeply rooted in ancient yoga traditions." Classes cost $15 apiece ($12 for students), and the studio will supply mats and props. Check out the website for a current class schedule.… More >>
  • Best Fishing Hole

    North Riverfront Park Lake

    The hum of traffic and the "clang, clang, CLANG" of scrap metal bouncing around the iron bed of a flatbed truck on Riverview Drive is muted by the "plop, splash" of catfish jumping out of the water at North Riverfront Park Lake. The fishing hole just inside the northern city boundary of St. Louis isn't a lot of things. It's… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    Shaw Park

    Did you know the United States Tennis Association requires that all outdoor tennis courts line up parallel with the north-south axis? The design mitigates (somewhat) the impact of the rising and setting sun. At Shaw Park the influence of Earth's nearest star is further diminished by the office towers lining Brentwood Boulevard. The skyline shrouds the courts in shade in… More >>
  • Best Sports Broadcast Personality

    John Rooney

    In September 2006, this paper noted that in John Rooney's final year as play-by-play announcer for the Minnesota Twins, the team won the World Series. Same thing when he worked for the Chicago White Sox. Though Rooney was in his first year as the Mike Shannon's partner in the Cardinals' radio booth, we wrote, "On behalf of championship-starved Cardinals fans… More >>
  • Best Batting Cage

    Swing-A-Round Fun Town

    You'll be pleased to know that the Riverfront Times softball team enjoyed a markedly improved season in 2008, hovering around .500 for much of the summer. While armchair analysts have attributed this uptick in performance to human growth hormone, carbo-loading with Busch beer and questionable calls from the ump, we know that a little practice in the cages goes a… More >>
  • Best Basketball Court

    Richmond Heights Community Center

    A little more than a year ago, Steve Lee, an employee at the Richmond Heights Community Center, and Anthony Bonner, basketball coach at Vashon High School, teamed up to form the St. Louis Stunners, a semipro basketball team in the American Basketball Association. Each week the pair ran open practices and tryouts at the Heights, the recently remodeled fitness hub… More >>
  • Best Boxing Gym

    12th and Park Recreation Center

    The boxing gym at the 12th and Park Recreation Center is nothing to look at, with its peeling paint and ancient-looking equipment. Sans A/C, or even cross-ventilation, the place blasts like a furnace on hot summer days. But the scrappy setting matters not to St. Louis' young fighters, who flock to the gym by the dozen come weekdays at 2:30… More >>
  • Best BikeClub

    Belleville Area Bicycling & Eating Society (BABES)

    Fridays are for pub crawls and Saturdays for movies. Wednesday is a night to go riding. And there's no better outfit to tag along with than the Belleville Area Biking & Eating Society. The BABES (as they call themselves) hitch up every Wednesday at 6:15 p.m. Three possible routes, usually ranging between 13 and 26 miles, begin and end at… More >>
  • Best Urban Bike Ride

    Christy Green Trail

    The River des Peres isn't known for being much more than a stinky, trash-strewn sewer and storm drain. And while it's hardly our city's most scenic waterway, it does serve as a guidepost to a fine, fairly flat bike trail through south St. Louis. A paved trail runs adjacent to River des Peres Boulevard, and a footbridge traverses the dirty… More >>
  • Best Place to Roller Skate

    Forest Park

    Ahh, roller-skating. That fabled, so very California recreation of the '70s and '80s. Who among us hasn't dreamed of cruising the Santa Monica Pier with Jack, Janet and Chrissy from Three's Company? Or about joining our favorite journalist, Fletch, as he rolls his ankle boots past the beaches of LA? Alas, our town doesn't have the ocean, boardwalks and palm… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    Gateway Arch grounds

    Former U.S. Senator John Danforth may think he has a spectacular makeover plan in the works for the Gateway Arch grounds. To runners, however, the overtures ring blasphemous. Cafés? Hot-dog stands? As well it should take an act of Congress to hoist commercial property on our fat-ass of a town's best place to jog! This is sacred turf, all right.… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf

    Family Golf & Learning Center

    Circles, Tilt, Dropsy: The names of the holes are as straightforward and simple as the holes themselves seem to be. But don't be deceived. The turf is quick, the hazards — hills, curves, strategically placed rocks — subtle, like a sparsely decorated room that adheres to the principles of feng shui. This well-designed course demands ample skill and foresight, and… More >>
  • Best Hole at a Golf Course

    No. 1, Dogwood Course

    The first's the worst for most golfers. But here's an exception: the opening hole on the Dogwood Course in Forest Park. Long and tree-lined, with an uphill dogleg at the lead-in, No. 1 combines excellent scenery with athletic challenge. The par-five begins across Lagoon Drive from the clubhouse, in the shadow of the exquisite Saint Louis Art Museum, making for… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course

    Norman K. Probstein Community Golf Course and Youth Learning Center

    Too often golf courses are idealized as refuges from the mundane, workaday world, oases of seclusion — albeit often amid tracts of huge suburban houses. Bucolic, perhaps, but shouldn't we ask for more? And then there's the Norman K. Probstein Golf Course in Forest Park. When you play a round on this course (named for the late hotelier who helped… More >>
  • Best Sports Bargain

    Horse Hooky Tuesdays at Fairmount Park

    A decade ago there were more than 200 days of horseracing each year at Fairmount Park. These days there are 60. With the deals the track is trotting out, it's hard to fathom why people aren't flocking to play the ponies. Take Fairmount's Horse Hooky Tuesdays, which promise a full afternoon of thoroughbred racing for the cheap admission price of… More >>
  • Best Public Pool

    Wayne C. Kennedy Recreation Complex

    We suspect that the "complex" part of "swimming complex" refers to the number-crunching involved in calculating admission. Some pools charge one amount based on whether you live in the area, another price if you work in the area and if you just want to take a dip but live and work out of bounds, you might as well fork over… More >>
  • Best Place to Bird-Watch

    Malcolm Terrace Park

    No one knows about Malcolm Terrace Park, not even the birds. Hell, they've been shaking their tail feathers here for years and took it for granted that they owned the place. Like any true Missourian, there's nothing our songbirds like better than keepin' it real, which is easy for them at Malcolm Terrace, where there are more trees than path,… More >>
  • Best Stroll

    Missouri Botanical Garden

    Let's get this straight: You do not take a stroll for the exercise. If burned calories are all you're after, the results of a stroll will make you cry. No, you take a stroll to clear your mind, to work through whatever knotty problem currently plagues you, or, if you must take a companion, to have a serious conversation. (Sadly,… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Russell E. Emmenegger Nature Park

    Emmenegger Park doesn't offer quite the natural beauty or tranquility of many regional hiking destinations (cf. Babler State Park, Shaw Nature Reserve). But you've got to hand it to this 124-acre preserve in southwest Kirkwood. It sure is convenient. Just a stone's throw from the intersection of Interstates 270 and 44, Emmenegger makes for an easy getaway whenever you have… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Concordia Park

    Ah, Martin Luther. By the time you tacked up your 95 Theses on Wittenberg's Castle Church door, the world was ready for your revolution. You tossed papal indulgences to the wind and gave life's indulgences back to the people; things like music, wine and good food. You'd be pleased to find just such guiltless pleasures every Tuesday in June at… More >>
  • Best Public Park

    Aboussie Park

    When Interstate 55 cut its way through Soulard back in the early 1980s, residents turned the pie-shape parcel of land at 13th and Lynch streets into St. Louis' smallest park. At just four-tenths of an acre, Aboussie Park, named for the onetime leader of the Ninth Ward Democratic Organization, Martie J. "Murph" Aboussie, could easily be mistaken for a side… More >>
  • Best Move

    The Cardinals sign Kyle Lohse

    Last year Kyle Lohse had a turbulent season, splitting time between Cincinnati and Philadelphia and compiling a middling 9-12 record with a nothing-to-write-home-about ERA of 4.62. During the off-season he stood by while other free agents were signed to multi-year deals; midway through spring training St. Louis swooped in and inked him in for a year at a bargain-basement $4.25… More >>
  • Best Reason to Look Forward to Summer

    St. Louis Aces

    St. Louis isn't home to Wimbledon or the French Open, but that doesn't mean local folks have to jet out of town to catch top tennis talent in action. Thanks to World TeamTennis and our own St. Louis Aces, great players come to us! For a few weeks each summer, the Aces host matches starring phenoms like the Bryan brothers… More >>
  • Best Sports Figure Not Named Pujols

    Tony La Russa

    Gnash your teeth as he persists in batting his pitcher eighth. Scratch your head when he sits a red-hot Ludwick for a struggling Duncan. Roll your eyes when the box score shows two or three relievers, each with only one batter faced. And snicker (still) when you see the mug shot from his 2007 DUI arrest. But ask yourself: Where… More >>
  • Best Boxer

    Robbie "The Peashooter" Cannon

    A boxer isn't defined by whom he trains with or by his last fight. A boxer is defined by his career. This is the story of how a kid named Robbie "The Peashooter" Cannon fought his way out of Jefferson County to join the upper echelon of local boxing alongside the likes of Deandre Latimore, Devon Alexander and Hollie Dunaway.… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    The Scottish Arms

    The Scottish Arms is hands-down the best place to watch football in St. Louis. Unless, of course, you're trying to catch the Rams game. Then you should head to any of the city's sports-bar staples — like Tom's, Lester's or Sports Zone. At the Arms, football means soccer, and the crowd that frequents the place is passionate about it. During… More >>
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