Pierre Desir's story is incredible. His parents' story is incredible. Pierre's mother, Marie, did not just attend this event that day. She probably washed twice as many feet as any other volunteer. I hope Desir makes St. Louis his full-time home when his NFL playing days are over. He's going to do so much good in his lifetime.
A few spring trainings ago, back when Mike Matheny was still the Cardinals manager and Kolten Wong was still the Cardinals second baseman, but not one who was cemented as an every-day starter, a discussion about a quote the Cardinals did not like turned into a conversation about journalism.
The Cardinals were talking about potentially platooning Wong, and when I talked to Wong about that, he suggested he would rather be traded than be used as a part-time player.
Wong didn't like the word platoon. The Cardinals didn't like Wong mentioning the word trade. Neither Wong nor the Cardinals liked that the building frustration between the two sides was now news, which, of course, it was.
Why, Matheny wanted to know, was I always focused on the negative?
I asked Matheny if he read the column in which I complimented him for bringing Chris Carpenter and other veterans back around the team during spring training, or any of the other upbeat topics that had been covered in the previous days.
No, he said, he had not.
Matheny is now managing the Royals. Wong proved he's an every-day starter, but now he's a free agent searching for a new team. A valuable lesson stuck around, at least for me.
When you only pay attention to the negative, it can become all that you see.
It can happen to managers and coaches and players.
It happens to writers.
Lord knows it can happen to me.
How many times have I prioritized answering a snarky tweet from someone over a thoughtful email from someone else?
More times than I would like to admit.
I'm trying to be better about that, in part because a little positivity goes a long way during these pandemic times.
With that in mind, here are my favorite columns from the calendar year 2020.
Each one jumped out to me as something positive I got the chance to cover during a challenging year for all of us.
Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year.
Helping souls with soles — NFL's Desir giving back to St. Louis
Cardinals and Harris-Stowe join together to give Stars Park the renovation it deserves
I don't think this project got the love it deserved. The Negro Leagues are such an important chapter of baseball in America, and there is a living monument to that period in time right here in St. Louis. The Cardinals knocked this one out of the park.
How an All-Star effort landed St. Louis another marquee event
If you build it, they will come. Right? I had heard the John Calipari story long before, and finally found the right place to use it. The All-Star weekend, dominated by Blues, was a blast. Kentucky's basketball coach gets an assist.
Isaac Bruce is headed to Canton, and he's taking St. Louis with him
Every once in a while there are moments in this business where you wish you could go back in time and tell the childhood version of you that, one day, you were going to get to do this cool thing. Talking to Isaac Bruce the day he heard the good news was one of those days. I didn't get to cover Bruce when he played for the Rams, but I'm grateful to have formed a professional relationship with a player who was one of my favorites to watch as a football-obsessed kid.
Father's fight against ALS inspires up-and-coming golfer on and off the course
Forget sports heroes. Jamie Secrest is a hero, period. I think of his advice often: “Shake off the bad times in life. And enjoy the great times.”