Saturday, April 14, 2012

Off To St. Louis

Kinda strange going back to St. Louis today, just over a week after having vacationed there with the family. But today I go back alone. Today is Game 2 of the NHL playoff series between the San Jose Sharks and the St. Louis Blues.

It's tough being a Sharks fan some 1,500 miles away from San Jose, but Indy is somewhat favorably situated between five NHL cities- Chicago, Detroit, Columbus, Nashville, and St. Louis. The longest drive is to Nashville, at just over 5 hours.

I'm hoping my luck holds out. The past two seasons, I went to playoff games in Detroit, and in both cases the Sharks won the games, both in OT, both by a 4-3 score. You can't expect to have your team win a majority of the games on the road, especially in the playoffs. I saw a playoff loss in Nashville 4 years ago. This will be my first playoff game in St Louis.

It will be interesting to see how the crowd is. Nashville was definitely more hostile than Detroit. Red Wings fans have drawn the comparison to fans of the Atlanta Braves, and I agree. The fans are used to their team making the playoffs, and they don't get caught up in crazed, irrational hatred if your team takes out theirs. In fact, they were somewhat playful with me.The Red Wings fan behind me held his sign too near to my head such that I finally said, "Okay pal, let me see your sign". He showed me and the whole section burst out laughing. I had to get a picture.

Yes- that is a 1991-92 Doug Wilson jersey I'm wearing. Anyhow, time to hit the road!


Josh Featherstone said...

My experiences as a Blackhawks and Cubs fan in St Louis have never been pleasant. I rank that city at the top of the list when it comes to being unwelcoming, mean, and borderline violent. I thought I was going to get my ass kicked in the tunnel on the way out of the Kiel Center just for wearing a Hawks shirt. I've had passing cars throw cups of soda are me on the sidewalk while wearing a Cubs jersey.

And none of these occurred during playoff environments.

Mike Kole said...

Well, Josh, I survived. I even went full brass and wore a Bryan Marchment 1999-2000 jersey. I read your comment and almost left it in the car.

I suspect it's that the Blues hadn't won a playoff game in 8 years, that the memory of the 2000 playoffs when the #8 Sharks eliminated the #1 Blues has faded, and with it hatred for Marchment, but I didn't get any grief for the jersey until I was walking out after the game was over! Some fans behind me were chirping about dirty play, but I shut them up laughing by asking "Is this Detroit?" (reputation for crying fans) and when my guys got roughed up saying, "That's just good playoff hockey".

Your experience has to be the intense rivalry with Chicago. I think of Pittsburgh-Cleveland, or Pittsburgh-Philly for equivalents. St Louis-San Jose isn't even close.

Now it would have been nice if my team scored. It's a longer 300 miles home when your team loses and is shut out, for sure.

Mike Kole said...

This clip shows Bryan Marchment in action in the 2000 playoffs. My jersey is identical to what he's wearing, right down to the 'NHL 2000' patch: