Late on Wednesday night, the Cards put out a tweet that some folks thought might have been an April Fool’s joke.
👀Coming soon… pic.twitter.com/yN2e5lr7Yv
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) April 2, 2020
I guess I could see people thinking that it might be a joke, but 1) brands usually try to do their jokes early in the day, not early evening and 2) everyone had pretty much agreed the traditional jokes weren’t appropriate this year, what with us all trying to deal with a pandemic and everything. Getting a huge championship trophy, though? That definitely feels like it could have been an Onion story or something of that nature.
A lot of people were down on this, but honestly, it seemed like a pretty interesting centerpiece for the new section of Ballpark Village, which is where it is at. It looks like it is right in front of the new office complex and the fitness place, right down from the new apartments. It ties BPV Phase II into the Cardinal tradition and looks pretty nice right there with the new buildings. (You can see it in this video if you haven’t.)
Seeing this also made me think about that new section of the village and how strange it must be for all the people that had planned this, built this, booked this to now….basically have it sit empty. I know that the apartments were pre-sold, but how many of those people were able to keep that commitment given the sudden changes in employment status and work hours we’ve seen this past month? Forget that, how many could actually get moved in without risking contamination?
And for those that did move in, sure they can still get some nice views of the stadium, but they expected to see games going on, people going by, a great atmosphere as part of their daily lives. Instead, there’s a quietness as people hunker down. There’s not much activity at the stadium at all–most of the employees are working from home, if they are able to work at all.
I’m sure the business that paid the what-has-to-be-exorbitant rent didn’t plan on many of their employees still not seeing their new digs. They didn’t plan on business slowing. They thought that the opening of BPV2 would be a time of great celebration. Instead, it’s just going to happen quietly, assuming people are moving in already.
Which does bring us to the DeWitts. With millions and millions of dollars, there’s nobody that’s concerned that they aren’t going to be getting by or that they can’t handle this downturn, but it definitely isn’t what they were expecting either. And they’ve put a lot of their own money into this project–money that well may impact the ball club over the next year or so as well. With no baseball revenue coming in and less BPV revenue than expected, it wouldn’t be surprising if the spending is even less than we are used to in this coming winter–and that says a lot, given that they didn’t really spend this year.
As fans, we should want Ballpark Village to thrive, not only because it adds a dimension to the St. Louis downtown area and to the ballpark experience, but because the better it does, the more likely (I am not saying it’s a guarantee, mind you) that some of those revenues will find their way to the ballclub. Right now, the pandemic may be making the new phase a money pit and that’s not a great thing for anyone.
I’m sure that statue was commissioned and paid for a long time ago. It may be the last new thing downtown sees for quite some time.