His Shannonisms include the "Whoo! What a beauty!" for a nasty curve ball, "Mmm-mmm-mmm!" in admiration of a player's skills, "the worm has turned" when yesterday's victors become today's losers and his trademark, the exclamation Shannon uses to describe the uniquely amusing properties of the umpteenth game you've just heard: "Ol' Abner has done it again!" Don't forget Shannon's beverage of choice, the "ice-cold frosty Busch."
Commenting recently on an exhibition of grace by new Cards third-baseman Scott Rolen, Shannon said "this guy can dance like ... Joel, who is that Russian guy?" Shannon's partner and straight man, Joel Meyers, says, "I don't know -- Baryshnikov?" "Yeah, that's the guy," says Shannon. Soon after Shannon says, "We need a pitcher's best friend here: the old double-play ball. Ha-ha! Yessirree." The amazing thing is, he never stops. You can hear this stuff coming from Shannon's mouth for nine innings straight, six months a year.
Perhaps the greatest Shannon moments come when he's sharing a story about some retired teammate, and you can hear the crowd roar behind him. Something important has just happened in the game, but we aren't going to find out what until his story ends! The beloved Jack Buck may be gone, but we've still got the Costello to his Abbott, Mike Shannon.
It's near the end of the year, and no one has yet figured him out. Baseball takes great comfort in statistics, but to compare numbers between one era and another is tricky. It's hard to gauge which player had the best first two years in the majors. But whenever that debate is pursued, Albert Pujols' name is going to be mentioned. Poo-holes: Get used to saying it. He's going to be the talk of this town for a long time. All he needs is a nickname.
The Katy Trail -- its name taken from the now-defunct Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad, one of whose routes it traces -- starts in St. Charles and spans more than half the state. Country towns are spaced nicely apart, and wildlife encounters are not uncommon. We've got a number of good trails around here, though. The North Riverfront Trail is very doable. From the Arch north to the Chain of Rocks Bridge, the twelve-mile trek wends through urban, industrial and natural settings. Ride past scrapyards, fields of restored prairie grass, men fishing from the banks of the river. The Great River Road Trail, starting in Alton, heads northward with the shining Mississippi on the left and towering bluffs on the right. Barges, laden with coal or grain or salt, ply the river; egrets, gulls and, in winter, bald eagles soar overhead. The spirit of the mythical Piasa bird is strong here. None of the trails should be missed -- you like living, right? -- but it's the Katy we ride when we're searching for natural beauty.