Some would argue that St. Louis has gotten six weeks of winter in the last few days, but no convenient blizzard is a match for Groundhog Day, our furthest-seeing holiday. In the tradition of Punxsutawney Phil, then, some things the St. Louis sports franchises might find strikingly familiar in 2011. Number one: Albert Pujols contract negotiations.â†µ
Albert Pujols' contract negotiations have, thus far, gone almost exactly like the abortive discussions last year. Spring Training deadline for talks? Check. No leaks at all from either side? Check. Barely restrained hysteria on the part of Cardinals fans on one side and every team with a hole at first base's fans on the other? Double check. Hopefully this time will be different, and soon—we no longer have six weeks until pitchers and catchers report.â†µ
The St. Louis Rams will have another year of Sam Bradford-mania if the quarterback isn't spooked by Josh McDaniels' shadow. Last year adequacy was enough to get people back to the Edward Jones Dome for the first time since Marc Bulger was mummified live on the Astroturf during yet another loss sans-o-line. This year, with McDaniels promising to bring a little verve and perhaps the occasional forward pass to the Rams' moribund offensive set-up, Bradford could vault into borderline-Pro-Bowl territory. It would be better if Phil sees a wide receiver in the Rams' immediate future.â†µ
And finally, the St. Louis Blues seem to have internalized Groundhog Day's rhythms already. Look at their game log—a season of wins, a season of losses, a season of wins, a season of losses. And concussions year-round. If Blues fans would have reason to be as excited about Jaroslav Halak as they were in the offseason—well, that would be the best repetition yet.