First, let me adamantly remind you folks that I am a die hard St. Louis Cardinals fan. I live and die by this team. I allow my mood to be handed over to them for roughly 7 months out of every year. They find a way into my nervous system every summer. So when I say I am fucking tired of the Cardinal Way and the Best Fans in Baseball titles, trust me, they come from a sophisticated yet firmly planted point of view. I am simply tired of them.
St. Louis Post Dispatch writer Bill McClellan is a Cubs fan and he has made that known in several columns. Last week, he had some fun with Cards fans when he wrote a piece about being worn down by this Cardinal Way and idea that the Cardinals were perfect knights. I usually don’t like McClellan. He is known to troll topics, slide his take in and run away from the scene. This time, however, I couldn’t agree more. Enough with these fictitious labels. The Cards are a good enough baseball team that they don’t need these tromped up mantras.
The Cards don’t have the best fans in baseball. A number of other sports teams faithful trot out every season hoping for a turnaround. The Cleveland Indians fill their stadium and support their team. The A’s have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball yet draw a decent crowd. The Cubs fans don’t behave too well but that sad bunch comes out every year to support their lost little cubbies. My point is, how in the hell do the Cards have the best fans? Other stadiums give standing ovations to visiting players. Other stadium’s fans act classy and polite to visitors. It doesn’t make sense and it doesn’t hold up. I have been at Cards games and seen our fans berate someone or scream too loud while mixing in a heavy dose of profanity. I have seen it and it doesn’t make me think the greatest fans in baseball exist here in St. Louis. We have good fans and a solid base of support. We back our town and fill Busch every home game. That doesn’t make us the best.
What is it with these media types and best items? Get a hobby guys and gals. Yes, the Media created these labels. They heard it, clenched their teeth on it and found a way to exploit it until the last drop of juice hung from the story.
The Cardinal Way? Come on. Look at Joe Maddon down in Tampa doing things the right way and getting little acclaim for it because his team has a third of the budget of the Cardinals, no fan support and can’t even retain All Star pitchers like David Price without mortgaging the beach. What is the difference between his way and the Cards?
Look, I know where it started. Cards legend and bench coach George Kissel wrote this memo styled instruction book to all rookies coming into the Cardinal organization entitled “The Cardinal Way”. That is classy, cool and something to be proud of. When the media got a hold of it, everything went out of control. It got crazy and really quick. It’s time to tone it back down. Let the pipe spring a leak on this fable. Give it up.
This hit a pinnacle when the Cards played the Dodgers in the National League Championship series last October. Suddenly, the Cards turned into the Jedi warriors full of nobility and praise and the Los Angeles team resembled the evil Death Star bent on destroying the universe and killing all hope. Sure, Yasiel Puig was a complete moron and Adrian Gonzalez slumped down to a lower level than we know him for, but overall there were two teams vying for a prize. No good and bad sides squaring off like West Side Story on a baseball field with bats instead of knives. The Cardinal Way went overboard and the national media began to hate the Cards because we were supposed to represent The Field of Dreams and all other teams were rotten trash.
Look, The Cardinals are a special team and every die hard fan knows it. We don’t need to be labeled the best or abide by A Cardinal Way to know that. The media needs to stand down and the population of fans who spread this thing like wildfire jam need to cut it out. Baseball is about to start. Real games in three weeks. Let’s leave the fables to the storytellers who tell the tall tales of what happened this year and the next. For now, it simply needs to be left alone.
Shut down The Cardinal Way and BFIB please. Enough already.
Come back next time for a bullet round focused on the Cards, Rams and Blues. Until then, check out my first published piece for KSDK Sports on the Blues.
Have a good day folks!