All is not happy in Mudville, USA, but here in Saint Louis the town is delirious with pennant fever. It grieves us though that throughout this great nation there are Mud-villains who do not share our joy, but what really cuts us to the quick is their lack of love towards our beloved Redbirds. When did the Cardinals become the team to hate?
Ever since the time of proverbial Casey at the bat, the most loathsome team in baseball has always been those damn Yankees. They still outdistanced their nearest competitor (Saint Louis) with a better than two-to-one advantage in World Series Championships. Still as of late, the bloom has been off their rose. At the beginning of this month, Brian Costa of the WSJ asked, “With the Yankees gone, which baseball team should you hate?” He even derived a ‘Hate-ability’ index, in which he ranked the then still contending, teams. I am pleased to point out that of the four teams currently still in the running, the Cards are the
least hate-able most likeable baseball team left.
Last week, Jason Keidel wrote for the NYC CBS affiliate an article, “House of Cardinals”, which asked, “Are the Cardinals America’s team?” Keidel’s own answer and the accompanying survey both overwhelmingly said yes. Maybe I’m just one naïve Midwesterner, but this didn’t sound like faint praise.
So, now that Yankee fans are shedding themselves of endless choruses of “We are the Champions”, the rest of the country wants to also foist upon Saint Louis the moniker “Damn Cardinals”. Derivative news sources like Dead Spin and Slate’s Hang Up and Listen podcast have piled on with further Redbird hate speech. The kernel of their complaint does not seem to be about the team itself or (mostly) the city either, but is primarily directed at the Cardinal fans. We’ve been accused of ‘humble bragging’, which is supposed to mean that we pretend to be all nice and humble, but are really just employing this act as a ruse. Once our team beats your team, we’ll lord it over you until the cows come home.
Over the last few years, the Cards have been in post season play a lot. We’ve won a lot of those series and I guess have made enemies of the losing team’s fans. The Saint Louis metropolitan area is only about twentieth in population size among American cities. That puts us boxing above our weight class in these playoffs. All of the other contenders come from much larger media markets, with comparably deeper pockets. What allows the Saint Louis Cardinals to float like a butterfly and sting like a bee? I say it is their fans. Those same damn fans that are now being pilloried. I’m sure this post reeks of hubris and the cardinal sin of pride, but to those Mud-villains out there I say, I’ll see you in hell, because envy is also a cardinal sin.