Thursday, September 10, 2009

Birds of prey

Contributed by Auggie

When the Tampa Bay Rays went to the World Series last season, you could be forgiven if you had to pause and ask yourself “are they in the American League or National League?” Not much of a baseball tradition in Tampa Bay. In fact, the last decade or so has seen several newbie’s rise to prominence. In 1997 the Florida Marlins won the World Series in only its fifth year of existence (Cubs fans everywhere were seen pouring gasoline on their heads). The Arizona Diamondback topped that by taking the prize in 2001 in only its fourth year (sales of nylon rope spiked in the North side of Chicago). Florida won it again in 03, and more recently the Colorado Rockies and Rays have made it to the series before losing. If you root for underdogs, or typically embrace the latest rage, then those were glory years for you. But, if you have an affinity for baseball tradition like I do, then Booorrring! I suppose all traditions need to begin somewhere, but if we could just slow the pace a little that would be great, thanks.

One team with a rich and illustrious tradition is the St. Louis Cardinals, and they are in the thick of the race again this year - as they so often seem to be. For baseball afficionados, the Cardinal’s tradition rivals any other. All-time greats include the likes of Roger Hornsby, Dizzy Dean, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Stan “the Man” Musial, Lou Brock, Bob Gibson and Ozzie Smith to name just a few. It's current star Albert Pujols will no doubt rank high among the greats when all is said and done. It's storied history includes classic events that define not only to the Cardinal’s tradition, but embellish baseball’s tradition as America’s pastime as well. Notable events include: winning 43 of their last 51 games in 1942 before beating the Yankees for the Championship; the 1946 seven game WS classic against the Red Sox when Enos Slaughter dashed home from first on a hit to left-centerfield in the bottom of the eighth; Bob Gibson’s dominating performance in the 68 series against the Tigers; and the famous Don Denkinger blown call in the 1985 I-70 series against the Royals of Kansas City.

Witnessing the storied history are fans that are devout, knowledgeable and classy. The mid-western fans appreciate the game, and seem to lack (in relative terms) the odious disposition of their kinfolk in the Northeast corridor (I’m looking at you Philly, NY and Boston).

The Cardinals are currently battling the Dodgers for the National League’s best record. They have legitimate Cy Young candidates in Chris Carpenter and Adam Wainright, an MVP candidate in Pujols, and their key mid-season acquisition, Matt Holiday, has not disappointed. Don’t be surprised to see them in the fall classic yet again. The tradition endures


  1. Jeff Ryer9/10/2009

    Have you ever been to New York ? How can you even think of comparing Boston fans with NY ? As one who has travelled the USA extensively and has the benefit of having clients who can actually afford season tickets in CA, TX, MN, etc.., I can attest that these baseball fans have all been to Fenway, have little desire to go to NY, and admire the Boston fans in many instances above their own.
    At the Red Sox game a few weeks ago, the sold out crowd got up again and belted out another inspiring "Sweet Caroline" to the amazement of the family from Chicago seated in front of us. It just reinforces the fact that Boston is as much an inspired baseball town as any other. The rest of them can play their Puff Diddy music and put on the chicken shows for their half empty stadiums and rude fans. I'll go to Fenway anyday.

  2. Perhaps I should have left my blog as a harmless tribute to the Cardinals, but I thought it would be fun to throw in one incendiary comment. It’s nice to see that (Ned) Ryer(son) took the bait, even if he missed the point. Again. My characterization of mid-western fans as devout and knowledgeable would apply to Boston equally, if not more so. Boston fans are very dedicated. They follow their team across the country much like dead heads followed the Grateful Dead, and Kentucky folk follow the Wildcats. Many away games for the Sox sound more like home games. It’s amazing. And I would rate Boston fans among the most knowledgeable in the entire sports kingdom. But let’s talk about the ‘disposition’ comment for a moment. [For the record, I believe Philly has the clear cut most obnoxious fans. When you cheer injuries to the opponent you have crossed the line. NY is second]. I may have been too harsh with my words, but I don’t think ‘obnoxious’ would be an unreasonable term. Every fan base has its share of classy fans and downright jerks – that’s indisputable. My comment was a generalization of the entire fan base (as are yours). But you want to tell me Boston fans cannot be cruel and ruthless? Let’s ask Bill Buckner. Oh wait, I’m sorry, he was “forgiven” after the Sox won in 04. That should tell you all you need to know. But I’m sure his children feel better now after their childhood was scarred and they had to leave their home in order to escape the venomous environment. Forget that Buckner carried the team in August that year and he was a great player of high character. All that was wiped away with an untimely E-3.

  3. I agree with Auggie. Did you see Buckner at opening day after the '07 victory? He looked like he came straight from his cabin in Idaho: Disoriented, bushy beard, uneasy with there being more than .5 people per square mile. He was literally socially outcast from new england by the media. What about Stanley's wild pitch? What about the fact that it was GAME SIX?! The sox had another chance! We all know the story... and no fanbase is safe from acting that way. NY fans jump all over A-rod for being human. He's gonna have slumps. Unfortunately, this is the ugly side of fans.

  4. Boo Hoo9/12/2009

    I agree with Ryer. Maybe it was you who missed the point - ya that's right, I am tired of posters who can't handle someone calling them out. They resort to "you missed the point". Auggie is just mad because he was caught in a rigged poll (The dinner poll, it was closed right after your last self vote)
    I have my tech guru digging deep into the bowels of this blog to get the proof, and when I do I am going public with it in a national press conference.
    Back to baseball - one incident as opposed to a pattern of wreckless abuse.
    Lastly, you have to admit that Buckner would have been ostracized even if he was a ten year old boy in the little league world series.

  5. Clever post Ned. It sounds like someone needs a hug. Since you seem obsessed with the silly poll, let me offer full disclosure here. I didn’t vote – not once. That’s a fact. You can have the imaginary dinner, on me.

    Regarding baseball, it wasn’t one ‘incident’, it was one ‘example’. And yes you did miss the point, and still do. I’m tired of ‘commenters’ who enjoy tossing barbs and then can’t handle it when bloggers respond similarly. So there.

    However, I will refrain from further comments on this topic as I’m reminded of the old saying “ when you argue with a fool, there are two fools arguing”.

  6. Anonymous9/12/2009

    Now you kids behave. There's no need to get nasty. Wasn't the blog about the Cardinals in the first place? Coincidently I turned on the television last night and caught part of baseball documentary. They were talking about the Cardinals when they were called the Gas House Gang back around 1934(?). Apparently St. Louis had a strong radio station and people from all corners of the country were following them. There "can do" attitude and swagger was inspiring to many in the country as they were trying to climb out of the depression. Interesting.

  7. Jeff Ryer9/12/2009

    I don't need Boo Hoo to defend me (although that guy is the best) What part of this paragraph do I miss:

    Witnessing the storied history are fans that are devout, knowledgeable and classy. The mid-western fans appreciate the game, and seem to lack (in relative terms) the odious disposition of their kinfolk in the Northeast corridor (I’m looking at you Philly, NY and Boston).

    You wrote it and I didn't like it - get over it. I guess maybe you missed my point.

    On the poll issue, Boo Hoo will find the truth and then the world will see you as I do "The Burger King Bandit".

  8. Anonymous9/12/2009

    This hurts to read...can't we all just get along?
    Back to Buckner-- true fans know it was game 6, the game was already TIED, Calvin and Stanley and Gedman blew it, and they were up 3-0 in game 7. We never had to forgive him. He was a clutch player that got em there in the 1st place.
    And what about the Cubs-- to ostracize (sp?) Bartman beyond belief just because they became completely unraveled after that 'fan interference' (game 6?)-- oh I forgot those are those 'nice' mid-west fans with the good dispositions. ..JD

  9. Boo Hoo9/12/2009

    Sorry Ryer, the truth will have to wait until I return. I am leaving this afternoon for Africa to help feed the hungry children. I will have no internet access in the dark jungle. I sure hope Auggie has fun having dinner at BK with his voters (he, himself, and him) and has a large onion ring in tribute to the children.