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Dan McLaughlin

Dan McLaughlin is most familiar to St. Louis sports fans for his work in the Cardinals' television broadcast booth. But he changed gears Wednesday, when he made an impassioned speech before city aldermen in support of the effort to bring a Major League Soccer franchise to town. (Photo by Chris Lee)

Sports fans through the region are accustomed to hearing Dan McLaughlin handle the play-by-play duties on Fox Sports Midwest’s Cardinals and St. Louis University basketball telecasts, as well as on occasional appearances on local radio shows, plus his “Scoops with Danny Mac” podcasts.

But his voice was booming in an unusual venue Wednesday, when he made an impassioned nearly 10-minute speech before a committee of St. Louis alderman considering a tax incentive plan that would benefit a proposed Major League Soccer stadium near Union Station.

Although he said the invitation to speak was extended by key figures in the effort to bring a team to town, he said that wasn’t the reason he powerfully advocated for the effort.

“I’m here because I love this city. I love it,” he said at the meeting. “I want to make this clear, I have zero, no skin, in this game. I have no ownership, no employment opportunities, no financial interests in this team or this stadium. None.

“As a matter of fact — and believe me, if you’re on social media or any other entity — I have more to risk than to gain by being here today and speaking out today. But to me the risk is worth it for what we may get and for this city.”

He said FSM and the ballclub approved his appearance at the meeting.

“They gave their blessing,” he told the Post-Dispatch. “They understood that I was speaking up as a proud, lifelong St. Louis citizen who wants what’s best for the region. As I stated in the speech, I was there as a concerned citizen.”

In that speech, he discussed while traveling for work being hit with negative comments about St. Louis, and how development in other cities outpaces what is done locally in development.

“One of the constant themes I hear is that we as a city do not have enough progress,” he said in his speech. “So once I heard about this project and how it works, I thought to myself that I could either sit around and do nothing or as a concerned citizen get up, use my platform, my voice, and help and try and make a difference.

“That’s why I’m here today. I believe this stadium, MLS, makes us a better city. This is progress for St. Louis. If we don’t do this, and take soccer out of the equation, if we don’t support projects like this through, believe me we are in trouble.”

As he wrapped up his presentation, he made an impassioned plea for the measure to be approved.

“As a city we need to set cranes in the ground reaching toward the sky,” he said. “People at work, Progress for the city.

“And to think that this is even close to a Rams situation is laughable. It’s laughable. All you have to do is look at the philanthropic and civic efforts of the Taylor family (an integral part of the MLS bid) here in the city of St. Louis. The Arch. Soldiers Memorial. Union Station. Powell Hall, Forest Park. Do I need to go on? If we say no to them, who are we possibly ever going to say yes to? ... These people are helping us day in and day out, and they aren’t going anywhere.”

A day after his appearance, he still was fired up about the topic.

“I would like to think that everybody knows that I’m passionate about progress for the city. I grew up here,” he told the Post-Dispatch. “I live here and raise my family here. To me, this project is way more than soccer. I think what the Kavanaugh-Taylor families are doing and have done for our community has been extraordinary and we should be grateful for that. I saw how it could work and I wanted to get behind it and support it. ... A project like this is a step in the right direction.”

He’s glad he made the appearance.

“I did what I thought was right,” he said.

“I think anytime you put yourself out there for a cause you believe in, you’re going to have those that don’t agree with you. That’s why there’s risk. I’m not a politician. I call a 6-4-3 double play for a living. I do have a platform though and a voice and I wanted to use it for something that I’m passionate about. To me, this is way more than sports. Our city needs a win.”

KFNS CORNER

Rumblings at KFNS (590 AM), which used to be all-sports but now mixes athletics with political shows and general chit-chat, are that two controversial hosts will come aboard early next year.

The return of sportscaster Dino Costa was held up shortly after a deal was struck last week because of scheduling issues that coincided with reports surfacing of racially oriented comments in social media that were attributed to him. He said the posts were made by others on rogue accounts in an attempt to “sabotage” him.

Costa now is expected to start at the station in January with an evening show.

A fellow outspoken host, conservative political commentator, Jamie Allman, is said to be arriving then in the 5-7 a.m. weekday slot. He was fired in April from KFTK (97.1 FM) and dropped by KDNL (Channel 30) following a controversial tweet.

UP NEXT

“Media Views” returns Dec. 14.

Dan Caesar is the sports media critic for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.