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MLS Blues Cards combo image

Johannes Gutenberg revolutionized the world by modernizing the printing press in the 15th century.

Historians believe the debate about who writes the headlines started the very next day.

We, the writers, don’t.

You, the readers, often doubt.

Usually the conversation stirs when someone is upset.

That made a suggestion received this week a refreshing change of pace.

Carolyn Kindle Betz, one of the leaders of the MLS4TheLou ownership group that just secured St. Louis a Major League Soccer expansion team, decided to propose a headline instead of disagree with one.

“The greatest sports summer in history,” Kindle Betz suggested to the Post-Dispatch on Tuesday from the podium at The Palladium.

I’ll quibble a little.

Why set the limit on a summer?

What St. Louis is experiencing could be described as a post-Rams Renaissance.

It’s not bitter. It’s emboldening.

“St. Louis is such a strong sports city,” World Wide Technology Raceway owner Curtis Francois said from his track on Friday. “A lot of us took it personally that a football team would want to leave. I think what you are seeing is the result of sports fans — whether it be for baseball, soccer, hockey or racing — are coming together and saying, ‘Hey, don’t get the wrong idea about St. Louis. We are a premier sports city. Let’s show what we can do.’

“That’s what we are seeing here. As St. Louisans, we know we come together when we need to. Now we are showing the entire country that this is a sports town like no other.”

Francois is expecting a record crowd for this weekend’s third Bommarito Automotive Group 500. His mission is growing before our eyes. Open-wheel racing fans from Indiana to Australia are driving and flying in for Saturday night’s main event.

If you are reading this as a sports fan who’s here to see it, welcome. You have arrived at a good time. We can give you plenty of reasons to come back.

St. Louis is one of eight cities the XFL has picked in its attempt to tackle the NFL. Time will tell if the revived league can carve out a lasting niche, but president Kurt Hunzeker is determined to make it happen here. The team just got its new name, the BattleHawks. Let’s see where this thing goes.

The PGA Tour Champions has agreed to a four-year deal for tournaments in St. Louis, KSDK sports director Frank Cusumano reported this week. The agreement comes on the heels of a wildly successful PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club last August. Packed crowds has the PGA coming back for more.

On Thursday, Blues legend Bob Plager and his grandchildren became the first skaters on the Plager Rink at the Centene Community Ice Center, the brand-new practice home of the Stanley Cup champion Blues.

On Friday, the Cardinals beat the Rockies again and lead their rival Cubs by a game for the National League Central lead. The Redbirds had won 11 of their last 14.

I bring up the events in this order because each of these moments happened since Tuesday, when a decades-long quest to match MLS and St. Louis became a reality.

“We were so pleased to hear about the MLS announcement,” Francois said during Friday’s practice sessions at the track he rescued. “The fact that it happened the week of our race, it just adds energy to the sports scene here.”

Some week. Some summer. Now, look ahead.

The U.S. men’s national soccer team will host Uruguay at Busch Stadium on Sept. 10.

The Blues begin training camp the same month. The fast-approaching hockey season will be a combination of championship celebration and championship defense. A banner is going up. Rings will be handed out. Craig Berube’s team has the pieces to try to do it all over again.

Barry Odom’s Missouri football team will start its season in one week, heading to Wyoming just a few hairs outside of the nation’s top 25.

Travis Ford’s St. Louis University basketball team, which is stocked with homegrown talent, is preparing to defend its Atlantic 10 tournament title and return to the NCAA Tournament.

The Musial Awards, the heartwarming St. Louis staple that celebrates sportsmanship, will be held Nov. 23 and, for the first time ever, debuted to a national CBS audience as a one-hour televised special.

The NHL All-Star Game arrives at the Enterprise Center in late January.

The most impressive active athlete breathing, Simone Biles, and the 2020 men’s and women’s gymnastics Olympic Trials take the Enterprise Center stage in late June.

Francois is pressing the pedal. With NASCAR, IndyCar and NHRA racing at his track ever year, he is driving discussions to secure another NASCAR event in the next round of race realignment.

It turns out the St. Louis sports scene has plenty of fuel in its tank.

And, yes, that is deserving of a headline.

Quick Hits from BenFred

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