A Bruised Cardinal Fan

I know my team is the undisputed World Champions, but still the naysayers chatter. Like Al-Qaida terrorist they mutter. They plot their plans for the future. Mutter, chatter and plot all they want, the Saint Louis Cardinals are still the World Champions and will remain so until next year and then maybe even longer, the good Lord willing. Even my dear bro/sis-in-law from Seattle has taken to sniping. Don Denkinger even after two World Championships is still too raw a subject to speak about around these parts. These west coast prejudices only grow worst the further south you go. Why my two brothers could root for the Giants, against the Rangers, last year and then this year roots so fervently for these once disdained Texans against my beloved Cardinals, remains a mystery to me.

What really ruffles this Cardinal fan’s feathers is not the west coast, but that haughty coast to the east. I understand its sense of entitlement, but sorry folks, you just did not have enough to bring to the table this year. This is how I figure it:

Red Sox + Yankees + Braves + Phillies = FAIL

Did I get my math right?

There are snow flurries in the forecast for tonight, but think back to last August 25th. Saint Louis, as usual, had plenty of mercury to spare and the Cardinals were 10 ½ games out of a playoff spot. A month later and only on the last day of the regular season, they squeaked into the playoffs. They had the fewest regular season wins, 90, of any playoff team. The Cards were the National League Wild Card team, in every sense of the meaning. They went on to trail their opponents in all three postseason series, and then came Game 6 of the World Series. The Cardinals were down to their last strike, twice. They eventually won that game and then the series. Love them or hate them, even the most partisan of baseball fan must admit that this year’s Cardinals were the most improbable of champions.

I know that we are the come from behind team, the improbable winners, the underdogs, the small market, Midwest team, but that is what makes the Cardinal’s story this year so great. This reputation is also a little disingenuous. The Cards draw three million in attendance and have done so for decades. Baseball is not all about TV revenues, there still is thing called fan base. Saint Louis is a baseball town. Ask the owner of any other sports franchise in town about that. It was not by accident that the two FOX World Series announcers both have strong Saint Louis connections. Then there is the record book. This was the Cardinal’s eleventh championship, hence, the entire hubbub about 11 in ’11. This year further cements the Cardinal organization’s position as the second most championship winning franchise in history. It also draws us one notch closer on the most winning franchise, those damn Yankees.

The five clay tiles, pictured here, are relief sculptures inlaid into the new Busch Stadium’s outer wall.

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