Filed under Opinion

A Cardinals fan, need I say more?

I could never say that I am a sports expert.  If I did, I would be a liar.  There is too much going on in basketball for me to care.  Football… yawn.  Does anyone even like soccer anymore?  But with this disinterest in most mainstream sports, there is one exception. Baseball.

I never chose to be a Cardinals fan.  I was born one.  My mother has always been a huge St. Louis fan.  She watches every game (thank goodness for DVR), she celebrates every win, she curses every bad call, and she doesn’t mind telling off anyone that puts down her team.

While my father does show support of the Cards and heads to Busch Stadium for games every year, I do have a suspicion he only does that to appease my mother, socialize with anyone who will listen, and spend half his paycheck on a few beers.

I have learned in Central Illinois, you are either a Cubs fan or a Cardinals fan.  It is almost unheard of to be anything else.  I, for one, grew up a naive Cardinals fan.  Although I knew of the rivalry between the Cards and the Cubs, I thought it was a friendly rivalry, as oxymoronic as that sounds.

I remember in 2003, when the earth stopped, I cheered for the Cubs as they made it to the league championship series in the MLB Postseason for the first time in my life.  I celebrated the wins, and I was disappointed with the losses.  I thought that was how this rivalry worked.  You want your team to win over the other, but you still wish the other team the best in the Postseason if yours didn’t make it.  I couldn’t have been more wrong.

The following year, the Cardinals made it to the World Series to face the Red Sox.  I fully expected Cub fans to back the Cards, but the exact opposite occurred.  It was then I realized this rivalry wasn’t friendly at all.  It is the type of rivalry where you hope the other team’s stadium crumbles into a giant sink hole with all of its fans trapped inside it.

Honestly, I don’t know where this rivalry came from, besides the close proximity of the teams, but I do know the two teams seem to always be pitted against each other.  In many cases this rivalry has gotten out of hand.

There is no excuse for the hatred between the opposing fans.  I mean, every time I pull on my 2006 World Series hoodie or button up my 2011 World Series Berkman jersey, I wonder how many snide remarks I am going to hear that day.  I can’t even begin to count the number of times I have heard the phrase, “Cardinals suck.”

I mean, a Cubs fan saying that is like the pot calling the kettle black.  But in this case, the kettle is made of pure gold and the pot is one of the worst flops in MLB history.  It just doesn’t make any sense.

A really good friend of mine, who is a Cubs fan, once told me Cardinals fans are arrogant and always go around bragging about the number of World Series titles St. Louis has.

Personally, I wouldn’t have to remind anyone of the 11 World Series championships the Cardinals have if I wasn’t provoked.  For the most part, I consider many Cub fans to be irritatingly rude, almost borderline hostile.

To be fair, not all Cub fans are hostile, and not all Cardinal fans are innocent bystanders.  There is a fair share of unwarranted comments coming from both directions.  After all, it is a rivalry.  Bickering is going to occur no matter what, especially where there are so many Cubs and Cardinals fans in the same area.  There is nothing wrong with a little bit of friendly competition, but it really doesn’t need to lead to hatred.

Cub fans, it must be hard to see an enemy be successful, but don’t hate a guy for being happy.  You really can’t expect a fan to be modest.  There will come a day when the Cubs win a World Series again, and I can’t begin to imagine the amount of boasting and celebrating that will occur.

Cardinal fans, I know many Cub fans may seem like annoying Chihuahuas nipping at your ankles, but instead of boasting, give them a pat on the head every once and a while and say, “maybe next year.”

In all honesty, there is still a fraction of me that hopes the Cubs will one day win the World Series again.  Maybe then that chip on their shoulders will be temporarily healed, but who knows when that will be.  Maybe it will be next year or maybe it will be after another winless century.

Cardinals, it was another great season.  You might not have made it to the World Series a second year in a row, but it was one heck of an exciting run.

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