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Sports & Recreation

  • Best Sports Figure Not Named Pujols

    Stan Musial

    Everyone expected Stan Musial to get more attention during the opening ceremony to the 2009 MLB All-Star Game. Sure, what happened was nice enough — he rode in on a golf cart, the players and coaches waved, Joe Buck described him as "the heart and soul of the St. Louis Cardinals" and he trundled away — but most people anticipated… More >>
  • Best Homeless Soccer Team

    St. Louis Roadies

    OK, so St. Louis only has one homeless soccer team. That's the point! Peter & Paul Community Services started the St. Louis Roadies in the spring of 2008 with modest hopes of attracting enough players to field a squad. The game is played four-on-four; the Roadies, coached by David Flomo and Keith Deisner, began with eight players. After a mere… More >>
  • Best Wheelchair Athlete

    Clayton Braun

    In July 2003 Clayton Braun nearly died on a Mississippi River sandbar after he dived headfirst into the water during a day of waterskiing. Three years later, confined to a wheelchair and with extraordinarily limited use of his arms and hands, Braun was something of a reluctant recruit to the area's quadriplegic rugby team, the St. Louis Rugby Rams. Slightly… More >>
  • Best Rams Player

    Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe

    There haven't been many bright spots during the Rams' atrocious 5-27 campaign over the past two seasons, but in that time free safety Oshiomogho "O.J." Atogwe has established himself as a cornerstone of the team's eventual (oh, please, sports gods!) turnaround. The 28-year-old Atogwe enters his fifth season after notching five interceptions and a career-best 85 tackles last year; in… More >>
  • Best Coach

    Mike Anderson

    The joke about Mike Anderson on opposing campuses is that the University of Missouri men's basketball coach bears an uncanny resemblance to Sherman Hemsley's George Jefferson character on the '70s TV show The Jeffersons. Like his doppelganger, Anderson and his family are movin' on up in the echelon of Big 12 basketball. Last season the Tigers, led by DeMarre Carroll… More >>
  • Best Sports Broadcast Personality

    Joe Buck

    At times Joe Buck comes close to being a victim of his own success. The ubiquitous broadcaster seems to be behind the mic so often that FOX TV viewers can be forgiven for wondering whether the network has any other commentators. But then, calling a game is not like playing one. You don't need a day or two off afterward… More >>
  • Best Local Boxer

    Ryan Coyne

    Oh-nine was a big year for Ryan "The Irish Outlaw" Coyne. As of late summer the cruiserweight had maintained his undefeated pro record (13-0) and logged a decent string of appearances on the Versus Channel's boxing reality show, The Contender. Coyne never got to spar for the $250,000 grand prize awarded at the close of the series, owing to a… More >>
  • Best Local MMA Fighter

    Jesse Finney

    Though he's fresh off a win at the action-packed June 6 Strikeforce event at Scottrade Center, if you go purely off records, Jesse Finney does not have the most impressive record among local mixed martial arts pros. Hillsboro, Illinois, native Matt Hughes holds that honor, and deservedly so. But Finney gets the nod for his contribution to regional MMA outside… More >>
  • Best MMA Event in St. Louis

    Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields

    In the history of Missouri, there has never been a better time for dudes who love watching other dudes whale on dudes than this past June 6 at Scottrade Center. And it's not just because Strikeforce: Lawler vs. Shields was Missouri's largest MMA event to date. It's not even because Granite City's brawler, Robbie Lawler, fell victim to a guillotine… More >>
  • Best Boxing Gym

    North County Athletic Association

    There was a time when seventy-five, a hundred kids worked out every day in Jimmie Howell's gym. Come Golden Gloves tourney time it was all Howell could do to tape the fists fast enough for his boys to get in the ring and fight. Of course, that was ten, twenty, thirty years ago. To keep ten kids on the roster… More >>
  • Best Public Pool

    The Aquatic Center at The Lodge

    If "I'll be at the lodge" is a phrase you associate with the country-club set, dip your big toe into the impeccably kept pool at the Aquatic Center at The Lodge in Des Peres and feel your net worth swell, if only in your head. Even the staffers look as though they work at a resort: The concession-stand workers wear… More >>
  • Best High School Athlete

    Jacob Turner

    While the Cardinals looked high and low for a dominant starting pitcher before this season, one was growing up right in their back yard. Jacob Turner, a six-foot-four right-hander at Westminster Christian Academy, was virtually unhittable in his senior season. He pitched 58 innings, posting a 7-2 record that included six complete games and four shutouts. In his high school… More >>
  • Best Basketball Court

    12th and Park Recreation Center

    The four new basketball hoops at the 12th and Park Recreation Center just south of downtown attract players for much of the center's operating hours, from 10 a.m. till 6 p.m. Even when it's raining, you'll usually find a solitary player practicing free throws. The new courts are equipped with smooth blacktop; fresh white lines; red, white and blue nets… More >>
  • Best Tennis Courts

    Sublette Park

    If you watch enough televised tennis, you might get the impression that it is one of those upper-crust sports like water polo or dressage. All those people clapping politely, dressed in suits and hats, eating strawberries and cream? That's the height of athletic elitism. Luckily, St. Louis has no shortage of public tennis courts, so the rest of us can… More >>
  • Best Urban Bike Ride

    River Des Peres Trail

    For as long as anyone alive can remember, River Des Peres has had very little going for it as an actual body of water. An overgrown storm drain, the river is often cited as an object lesson in poor urban planning and water pollution. But by turning lemons into lemonade, city planners used the stinky waterway as the crown jewel… More >>
  • Best Run

    Great River Road Run

    Each year on the Saturday following Thanksgiving, hundreds of fleet feet descend upon Illinois' Great River Road to work off the holiday calorie uptick. Is it an organized "race" with clocks and timers and officials in neon vests? Yes. But the spirit here is much more, "Hey, let's go for a run!" than, "Dude, your ass is grass!" (Consider the… More >>
  • Best Place to Jog

    Al Foster Memorial Trail

    Depending on whom you ask, the Al Foster Memorial Trail is anywhere from 2.5 to 5.5 miles long. For the purposes of this honor, we're going with the Meramec Greenway's version, which pegs the 2.5-mile stretch of trail between the Sherman Beach Trailhead and the Glencoe Trailhead (off Highway 109 in Wildwood). There's a reason local cross-country coaches bring their… More >>
  • Best Yoga Studio

    Marbles Yoga Studio

    We're all for the seemingly exponential increase in yoga studios and yoga practitioners. After all, who's going to quibble with more people getting good exercise, decreasing their stress level and finding a greater mind-body balance? But with more choices comes more confusion — like the day that you go to the grocery store and realize, Oh my God, there are… More >>
  • Best Public Golf Course

    Spencer T. Olin Golf Course

    A lot of people think of golf as a pretentious pastime, but the St. Louis region is lucky enough to lay claim to several really fine courses that require neither a platinum card nor the putting on of airs to go with it. Exhibit A: the Spencer T. Olin Golf Course across the river in Alton, Illinois. These Arnold Palmer-designed… More >>
  • Best Hole at a Golf Course

    No. 12

    What do we like about this hole? For one, its name. They call No. 12 "Gambler." Any golf hole named after the best damn song Kenny Rogers ever sang is a birdie on the scorecard of life. We also like that despite its name, "Gambler" is a thinking-man's hole that rewards smart play over big risk. A par five, the… More >>
  • Best Miniature Golf

    Tee Time Family Fun Center

    Landlocked as we are in St. Louis, we don't have the faded boardwalks, funhouses and amusement parks that dot the Eastern seaboard. Those ramshackle buildings stand as a testament to a simpler time, one of fantasy and eternal summers. Think of the miniature golf course as a Midwestern stand-in for the carnival midway: It's a slice of Americana that seems… More >>
  • Best Bowling Lanes

    Olivette Lanes

    You know you're in the right place when you see the black-and-whites of the Rat Pack in front of the Sands hanging in the entryway. Actually, that just confirms it; you were pretty sure this was the right place when you espied the purple exterior of Olivette Lanes amid all the strip malls and parking lots, a bold swath of… More >>
  • Best College Athlete

    Theresa Lisch

    Apparently, the knack for knocking down three-pointers runs in the Lisch family. Theresa, younger sister of Saint Louis University men's basketball star Kevin Lisch, led the A-10 conference in scoring, averaging nineteen points per game last year and breaking the school's single-season record for total points scored. The junior guard also set school records for free-throws made, career free-throw percentage… More >>
  • Best Place to Skate

    Ramp Riders Skatepark

    Those seeking new thrills in inlines or on skateboards or RipSticks should pay a visit to Ramp Riders Skatepark, an enormous brick warehouse located less than a mile from where Interstate 55 crosses Gravois and filled to the brim with a new layout of sturdy wooden ramps. The skatepark offers one of the best and safest locations in St. Louis… More >>
  • Best Batting Cage

    Tower Tee

    Whether you're looking to test your mettle against 90 mph fastballs or crank slow-pitch softballs off a distant wooden Cubs logo, Tower Tee is a hitter's paradise, equipped for just about any batting option one could possibly desire. For slow-pitch softballers Tower Tee offers three different arcs; for fast-pitch there are two speed options. Baseball gets a whopping eight machines… More >>
  • Best Public Park

    Lafayette Park

    Sometimes you don't feel like running, or boating, or bird watching, or playing golf or tennis, or taking in some enlightening cultural activity. Sometimes you just want to spend a quiet afternoon plopped under a tree with a book. Lafayette Park, at the center of Lafayette Square in the eponymous neighborhood, boasts the best reading-trees of any park in the… More >>
  • Best Place to Bird-Watch

    Castlewood State Park

    Local birders know that in the fall, the bald eagles hover along the Mississippi, and in the spring, the songbirds bustle in Tower Grove Park. But there's another spot due west of town that's perfect for appreciating our avian friends year-round: Castlewood State Park in Ballwin. Castlewood's range of habitats — meadows, forests, bluffs and the Meramec River — makes… More >>
  • Best Fishing Hole

    Fairgrounds Park Lake

    For all you urban anglers, the nine-acre Fairgrounds Park Lake in north St. Louis is a solid bet. Here's why: Carp, bluegill, crappie and largemouth bass reproduce naturally there. But that's not all. The Missouri Department of Conservation drops about 300 channel catfish into the water roughly every couple of weeks from late March to early October. They don't announce… More >>
  • Best Picnic Spot

    Tower Grove Park

    Tower Grove Park's calendar of events reads like a picnic protocol, so it's best to check it in late spring and plan your summer accordingly. Uncork a bottle of wine from your basket on Monday evenings by the Music Pavilion during the Compton Heights Concert Band series, where you'll be regaled for free by the unfailingly unique featured artists —… More >>
  • Best Place to Hike

    Cuivre River State Park

    For hikers longing to escape northern Missouri's rolling plains, Cuivre River State Park is the closest you can get to an Ozarkian oasis north of the Mississippi: a mere 50 miles from downtown St. Louis. Hike the rugged terrain of any of the nine winding trails along the park's forested hills; follow Big Sugar Creek Trail, which traverses seven miles… More >>
  • Best Stroll

    The Central West End

    The French pride themselves on speaking a language far more elegant than ours. True, they are a people who regularly deploy phrases such as zut alors! — but sometimes they have a point. Who wouldn't rather be a boulevardier or a flâneur than a loafer or a malingerer? A flâneur is someone who experiences the life of a city, not… More >>
  • Best Weekend Getaway

    The Original Springs Hotel

    The head says: Wow, what a neat old hotel! It was constructed in the 1890s and offers comprehensive spa services in a completely unpretentious atmosphere rife with small-town country charm. The heart says: All that is true, but it does not address the fact that this place is thoroughly haunted. By ghosts. While the conflict of head versus heart may… More >>
  • Best Reason to Look Forward to Summer

    Loyal Family Production Parties

    Loyal Family brings a variety of up-and-coming artists to local venues Pops Blue Moon, Off Broadway and the Old Rock House all year long, but when they roll out the tents for a summer production outdoors, it's on. Dancing's always better when there's a breeze evaporating the sweat off your brow, beer's colder when you're drinking it on a warm… More >>
  • Best Blues Player

    T.J. Oshie

    It needs — it demands — a name, but what? The Move? The Deke? Fans on the official NHL website voted it the "Goal of the Year," and for now that will do. Really, though, words don't do justice to the goal Blues rookie T.J. Oshie scored against the Vancouver Canucks on March 26 of this year, sending the hometown… More >>
  • Best Reason to Look Forward to Winter

    Cold Weather

    That's right, bring it on. Red faces and frozen toes, snowboards and skis, slick, icy streets and crunchy frosty grass, everything misty and quiet as the days slow down. The early darkness, all wrapped in layers, the chill winds make summer seem like it was make-believe. There's a beauty in winter's wrath, and who knows better and appreciates more nature's… More >>
  • Best Sports Bargain

    Nails

    Look, the great credit-crash/oh-shit-everybody-lost-their-job crisis might be ebbing a bit, but one thing remains the same: Tickets to sporting events are expensive, and buying them is a lot more like commodities trading than it is a kick-back afternoon with the fellas. So, you can watch the game from the couch, or you can entertain yourself with the cheapest game in… More >>
  • Best Cardinals Player

    Albert Pujols

    As we compose this ode, September lies before us, and the road to the postseason seems lined with lovely fall colors. Will we indeed be able to look back on '09 as a glory year for the St. Louis Cardinals franchise, one in which all aspects of the team clicked into sync in late summer and drove relentlessly to the… More >>
  • Best Move

    Ryan Franklin from Cardinals Setup Man to Cardinals Closer

    Around mid-July John Mozeliak must have been thinking: "The RFT will be cranking up its 'Best of' machinery soon, and I want to make things difficult for them in the Best Move category." Not coincidentally, it was around this time that the St. Louis Cardinals general manager went out and got Mark DeRosa, Julio Lugo and Matt Holliday. Nice try,… More >>
  • Best Busch Stadium Amenity to Die in the Past Year

    Best's Kosher Hot Dog Stands

    CHICAGO, November 19, 2008—Sara Lee Corp. today said it will close its kosher hot dog and meat-processing plant on the South Side of Chicago. Best's kosher beef hot dogs were staples at U.S. ballparks, including Wrigley Field in Chicago and Busch Stadium in St. Louis. But Sara Lee says the best hot dog's numbers aren't the best, and that the… More >>
  • Best Sports Bar

    Highlander Pub and Grill

    Near the footprint of the old arena, the not-yet-two-years-old Highlander Pub and Grill is a sports institution in its own right. Cards games are punctuated with cherry-bomb shots, Blues games with blue curaçao shots, Mizzou games with pints of "Black and Gold" (the Highlander's take on the Black and Tan). Mizzou and University of Nebraska alumni groups both call the… More >>
  • Best Soccer Bar

    Amsterdam Tavern

    Soccer may still be catching on in the rest of the country (for the past 30 years and counting), but St. Louis has long been infatuated with the beautiful game. Amsterdam Tavern opened earlier this year on Tower Grove South's bustling row of bars and restaurants, and it's a stellar addition to the city's already impressive roster of soccer-friendly establishments.… More >>
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