The Hot Stove buzz is that a Giancarlo Stanton deal will likely happen by the time the MLB Winter Meetings get going on December 10. With reports stating that the St. Louis Cardinals are still a serious competitor for the slugger, we ought to take a look at some of the non-baseball factors that a local deal would bring for Stanton.
The number of off-field considerations for the big right fielder are ample, and create both economic and quality-of-life opportunities with the St. Louis Cardinals that might not be available in either SoCal (Dodgers) or NoCal (Giants). Those considerations might entice Stanton to accept a deal here. Here are just a few:
The Rich Get Richer Cost of Living Bennie: All markets are not created alike, and the differences between ANY big-market California deal and a St. Louis one start with how far money stretches here.
It’s not even close. For Giancarlo Stanton, it would be flat-out theft.
Take a look at these mid-2017 cost-of-living rankings for the Americas. If you don’t want to scroll through, I’ll save you the trouble.
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San Francisco is the highest in the United States. That’s because at almost any income level beneath Giancarlo’s, it’s just plain sick to try to make ends meet there.
Los Angeles trails behind a number of cities, but that’s in part because there’s more land and spread-out burbs making for more choices than in SF.
Our town, on the other hand, has a drop-dead advantage, sitting alongside towns like Greenville, SC and Birmingham, AL. It’s entirely possible that Stanton’s dollars could stretch 25-35 percent further in St. Louis than those other, um, inferior markets. This makes a particular difference on the real estate side.
If you don’t think this is a big deal, think about how many players have avoided playing in Canada, because of the higher assessment of taxes. And how those teams have often had to belly up with a higher offer just to stay competitive with American teams.
Let’s say, just for sake of argument, that Stanton could save $4 million more per year during his deal, and invested that money for a decade at a few percent per year. Compounded, the difference between being here versus elsewhere could create a more than $50 million advantage. That’s no small potatoes.
Getting Around is Easy Peasy Bennie: Not only are the ultra-homes cheaper here, but traffic is a walk in the park compared to either West Coast market.
Have you ever tried to even GET to or from Dodger Stadium? Sure, it depends where you live, but don’t get me started on driving in LA, at any time other than 3 am. It’s a bad nightmare, almost every time. Streets, highways, it all sucks.
San Francisco isn’t a heck of a lot better, and depending where you choose to find your estate, the drive — I think we can agree Giancarlo won’t be taking BART anytime soon — can easily top an hour each way.
Then there’s St. Louis, where Clayton, Ladue and Creve Coeur, the most likely culprits for our sports heroes, are hardly thirty minutes away. Another hour a day of life for a decade.
Jet Setting is Better Bennie: Since MLB teams have airplanes at their beck and call from various airlines, living in St. Louis, where direct flights aren’t as ample as elsewhere, isn’t really an issue. And, in fact, the flying situation is better here.
Why? Well, because we live in the middle of the country, of course. No matter where they go, the Cardinals have a serious flight advantage compared to teams that must traverse the entire continent by virtue of living on a coast.
Our division rivals are probably about the same distance as those the Dodgers and Giants have (though San Diego is admittedly the shortest, comparable to Chicago and Milwaukee). Even realignment of divisions down the road won’t change that.
But hey, while SF is jetting to Miami, or LA to Philly, we’re shaving half the continent away. Our flights are shorter, meaning again, saved time and additional quality of life.
Cock of the Walk Bennie: You know how it is here. Baseball players are heroes, and that’s just the regular ones. Now think Albert Pujols, Stan the Man, Gibby, Sweet Lou. These are Mount Olympus types in St. Louis, immortals who receive ultimate reverence.
That would be Stanton. For a decade playing, and beyond into immortality. One needn’t even live here after their career to remain at a lofty level; even those who have drifted off to their hometowns stay Cardinals Forever.
I’m not knocking the rarefied history of the Dodgers or the Giants. But there are a lot more things that occupy fans in those cities. Sports, entertainment, Silicon Valley, Hollywood. But here, we are Redbird Fixated, and always will be. The singular focus of St. Louisans, of our collective culture, is and always be baseball.
That’s not just a qualitative thing, either. No doubt Stanton would have as many endorsement deals as he is willing to take on here. Sure, the bucks may not equal those in the bigger markets, but boy oh boy, everybody here would see him every day in some way on TV. And that’s nothing to sneeze at.
The Keep it On the Lowdown Bennie: This is kinda the opposite of the previous point. St. Louis is someplace where one can duck the national spotlight more easily than in LA or SF. So while the fan proximity to our baseball heroes here is closer, the constant click and whirr of the cameras and the hard drives remains a bit more at bay here.
It may not be any one of these things that makes the difference for Stanton to sign off on a St. Louis deal (though the financial stuff alone would suffice for many). But the combo, depending which factors are most important to Giancarlo, could indeed persuade him to accept a transaction that makes him our next local hero.