For any of you that have been here before, you probably realize where I am coming from on this issue. I’m a Cubs fan, let’s get that out there up front, so that is where my hatred of the Cards started, but the more I think about it on an objective basis I can’t understand why the hell more people don’t hate the St. Louis Cardinals. Let’s be honest, hating other sports teams is just as much a part of Americana as cheering for your own. This usually stems from a couple things. One possibility is of course the rivalry. ESPN makes sure that we know how much hate is involved in the Red Sox-Yankees feud, we here about the Dodgers-Giants and recently the Cubs-Cardinals have been getting more national attention. As sports fans we are programmed to understand why fans of one of these teams hates everything about their rivals. Another type of hatred is a lot less common. This is of course the hatred of one team by the majority of the rest of the league. The best example of this is probably the New York Yankees. Most teams and fans are just envious of the financial resources at the Yankees’ disposal, but there is a lot more that plays into it too. It is this type of hatred that got me wondering why anyone not a Cardinals fan wouldn’t seriously dislike them.
If you have read up to this point I’m sure you’re thinking to yourself this is just some bitter Cubs fan who has finally just started admitting that the most recent World Series wasn’t canceld trying to lash out at his more successful rival. Well, you’d be correct, but that doesn’t mean anything I’m about to write isn’t on point.
- Tony Larussa: Might as well start at the top with the list, and trust me Tony will tell you how great he is. First of all, the man is a lawyer, so that is one huge strike against him. But beyond that, how many of us actually like the person that constantly tries to prove he or she is the smartest person in the room? Tony is definitely a good manager, but I think he falls far short of the greatness that he seems to believe is his birthright. It gets to the point where Larussa feels he should be more of the story than his ball-club. Remember a couple of years ago when he started batting his pitcher 8th? I’m not going to argue the utility of this strategy, except to say that most managers wouldn’t have considered it because it couldn’t possibly help THAT much. Not Tony, he did not give a damn if it was a distraction or an embarrassment to the guy batting behind the pitcher he just wanted the media and fans to recognize that he was smart enough and inventive enough to do what others weren’t going to. . . even if it didn’t make a damn bit of difference.
- Albert Pujols: I’m going to avoid the usual discussion of the rumors about his alleged steroid use or the fact that the man is the oldest looking 26 year old on earth and focus on the facts. The simple fact is that Pujols is a surly asshole. (Get it, Pujols=asshole, sorry couldn’t resist). Pujols has long been regarded as the golden boy of baseball but I think the world is finally starting to see the truth. The recent comments about Ryan Howard winning the MVP were not only stupid, they can’t be made by someone with a freshly minted World Series ring. It just comes across as selfish and puts in question all the things Pujols has said in the past about caring more about winning games then personal achievements. Why did it take so long to see this side of Pujols? Well the St. Louis media isn’t exactly comparable to New York and are pretty good about protecting their superstars. I don’t care how much money the man donates to charity or what charities he supports because we can never really know the real reason he does so. For people in situations like Pujols it is easier to right a check to look like a stand up guy rather than actually acting like one. He’s taken over Barry Bonds’ mantle as best hitter in the game, but unfortunately he has also begun his run at the biggest asshole mantle as well.
- Scott Rolen: Just ask my Phillie loving friend Doug about Scott Rolen. Everyone loves a superstar that mails in performances to force a trade away from a team because the fans are a little too hard on him. Well that is exactly what Scotty did in Philadelphia. His Cardinals tenure has certainly had some highlights, my personal favorite of course being him struggling something fierce down the stretch run last season and then magically blaming it on a mysterious shoulder injury that had been bothering him for months. Was his shoulder giving him some problems? Most likely, but either it wasn’t hurting too bad that he couldn’t play or if it was hampering his performance maybe he should have let his manager in on his little secret instead of springing it on him the last week of the season.
- Scott Spiezio: I’m pretty sure that facial hair would look pretty lame without dying it red, but way to go Scott, you managed to take it to a new level. Maybe its required when you are playing guitar with Barry Zito and Scott Stapp, but it shouldn’t be necessary when you are playing 5 different positions at a very mediocre level.
- The Fans: The St. Louis Cardinals fans are probably the most annoying thing about the team and the reason even if the Cards signed nothing but players I really liked I would still hate the Cards. Not sure how many people realize this, but did you know that St. Louis fans are the best baseball fans in the country? According to whom you may ask, and the answer would be most of the national media. I’ve seen stories on ESPN and in SI, but have yet to figure out what the basis for this is. Are they the most intelligent fans in the game? I can’t imagine that being the case since the vast majority of them can’t read. It can’t be that they cheer when they are supposed to, it can’t be that simple. Is it because they usually have a pretty full stadium? It isn’t that big of a shock given how little else there is to do in St. Louis aside from getting drunk, wearing some safety orange and hoping this will be the time your first cousin will ditch your dad and finally let you take her out to dinner at the local bowling alley. Especially considering the Cardinals usually field a pretty decent baseball team there is no reason that Busch Stadium shouldn’t be full almost every night. That can’t show anymore dedication then a fan base that consistently shows up for a team that hasn’t won a World Series in almost a century. I’m just saying. So while there seems to be no rational basis for calling them the best baseball fans in America, they never seem to let anybody forget it. Not that I can blame them that much, I guess a made up honor is better then having absolutely nothing to hang your hat on. The annoying part about it is that Cardinals’ fans can’t wrap their simple minds around the fact that other baseball towns might take offense to that. I’m not going to sit here and say Chicago is a better baseball town the St. Louis, cause I can settle for just a better overall town, but its a little ostentatious to perpetuate a myth that you are better than all the other baseball fans out there.
- Joe Buck: I’m sure all of you are familiar with Joe Buck from calling playoff baseball or football on Fox. What a lot of people don’t realize is that Joe Buck is a terrible announcer. Oh wait, you all get that part, nice I won’t have to sit here and explain why a man that makes less sense than TROY AIKMAN is a terrible play by play guy. My real problem with Buck is how he makes no attempt to hide his unquestioned biased for the Cardinals whenever he is involved calling one of their games. We get it, you grew up around the Cards where your dad was a much less annoying announcer. But you aren’t calling the games for the local St. Louis channel anymore so when you get that national gig, could you pretty please, just for me, try to call the game down the middle?
I’m sure I could probably list some other reasons why the Cardinals should be despised by the world at large, but I think everyone should be picking up on the theme by now. Obviously, I’m not thinking I’m going to convince any Cardinals fans with this, so if there are any of you reading this I’ll go ahead and apologize up front. The chances of a Cardinals fan reading this is slim however, because it would be dependent on one of them actually having a computer and being able to turn it on. I guess a non-cardinals fan could print it out and drop it off at the nearest trailer or outhouse they could find, but we would still have to get over that whole illiteracy thing. For the rest of you, the next time you’re flipping through the channels or in a sports bar and you run across a Cardinals game on just let out a little “fucking cardinals” or something similar for me. All of Cubs nation and the baseball world at large will be in your debt.