Over the last couple of days, Ken Bone has literally seen his popularity explode as his question in the Presidential Debate set off a viral reaction of social media which has led to national media appearances, a run on red sweaters, and even Halloween costumes.
“It’s been nuts,” said Bone. “I had to call in sick Tuesday night and Wednesday night–my boss is totally cool with it, he’s a good friend of mine. I was able to talk to the CEO of my company, he said don’t worry about it your putting a good face on the energy debate, the problem is I’m running out of vacation time so I’m gonna start to not get paid if I keep doing this.”
Bone is a power plant operator for the Prairie State Energy Campus and lives in Belleville, IL. But with this new-found fame, there may be some other side opportunities in the future.
“There’s stuff in the works with a couple of companies, I’m not really in this to make a buck,” said Bone. In fact, he and his wife have made a public pledge of how they will use any earnings–currently and in the future–from this fame.
Ten percent of any money made from his “media stuff” will to voter initiatives such as the non-profit VotePlz.org and homeless charities in Belleville.
“Back in the old days, used to have ESPN Classic and it was great to see some of Shannon’s postseason glory,” explained Bone, who isn’t old enough to have watched Shannon play in person.
“I really wish he could’ve had a longer career, that was so terrible but we were fortunate to get him in the broadcasting booth fresh out of baseball at a young age after he had to stop his playing days. We’ve had him for so many years–every year I get to hear Mike Shannon while I’m barbecuing burgers with my dad in the backyard–what a great St. Louis tradition.”
Barbecuing isn’t the only time Bone has his radio tuned into the Cardinals game.
“I used to be a pizza guy, so I think I caught 161 games on the radio one year,” he said. “This year, it’s been mostly television. I was able to get out to the last Reds game, like the fourth to last game of the year. It was a lot of fun, that was the only game I was able to get this year but next year I’m hoping to get to a lot, a lot more. I get out to see the Blues a bunch and I want to get out to see the Cardinals more too.”
And while Ken Bone may be undecided about the presidential election, there was no hesitation in answering what his choice would be if it came down to the Cardinals winning the World Series or the Blues hoisting the Stanley Cup.
“I mean, we’ve got 11 World Series and to add to that prestige–oh my goodness, to have something else to rub all over the boys in blue that are unfortunately still out on the field, but a Blues Stanley Cup–oh my God,” he exclaimed. “I’ve seen in my lifetime a Super Bowl. I’ve seen a couple of World Series. The first World Series win in my lifetime was a month after I was born–my dad says I loved it a lot. But to see a Stanley Cup raised here in St. Louis, I think would be the ultimate.”
The Blue extended an invitation for Bone to be in attendance at the home opener on Thursday, but as he mentioned the vacation time is running out.
“I gotta go to work,” he explained, noting the team was kind enough to extend their invitation to a later game. “That’s very kind of them. They’re a fantastic organization–top to bottom, just like the Cardinals. Both of them really embody the St. Louis spirit of community and positivity and hard work. What else can you ask for?”
photo credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports