Fans of the St. Louis Blues know there’s a connection with their team and a bar in South Philly, but they don’t know all the nuances.
The first nuance is that it’s not a bar. It’s a private Mummers’ New Year’s Brigade club. We won’t even get into trying to explain the Mummers.
KMOV-TV is sending reporter Steve Harris to Boston to cover the Stanley Cup Finals between the Blues and Bruins. But first, the CBS station is having him stop in Philadelphia. He’ll watch Monday’s Game 1 at the Jacks NYB clubhouse then make his way up the Jersey Turnpike toward Boston for Game 2 sometime on Tuesday.
In early January, five Blues players found themselves in the Jacks’ nondescript club on the corner of a tree-lined street on Moyamensing Avenue in South Philly.
There was an Eagles playoff game that day and the party was raucous. The Jacks celebratory song, the catchy 1982 pop hit “Gloria” by Laura Branigan, caught on with the players. St. Louis, the worst team in the Western Conference at the time, shutout the Flyers the following night. Shortly after, and aided by an 11-game winning streak, the song took hold of the entire team. As the Blues have advanced to their first finals appearance in 49 years, fans have joined in, even if many of them aren’t sure why they’re singing a 39-year-old song.
The phrase “Play Gloria” has become to St. Louis what “Trust the Process” is here.
“Fans still ask us, ‘Why Gloria?’” Harris said. “We would tell them as much as we can tell them, but we want to show them.”
St. Louis is about 900 miles from Philadelphia, and the Jacks’ club has been visited by business travelers and St. Louis transplants throughout this stunning playoff run. The song itself has appeared in ITunes top-25 recently, though Branigan passed away in 2004.
Harris works for KMOV’s “News 4 This Morning” show, so his reports will air Tuesday morning beginning around 6:30 our time. South Philly is quite a detour in route to Boston, but fans can’t get enough of the Blues.
St. Louis has never won the Stanley Cup. Flyers fans have every right to be blue with envy.
“It’s a great story,” he said, “and we want to bring it directly to the viewers.”