Aren’t Cardinals fans just the worst?
I’ll get this out of the way right now: I’m a Cubs fan and 2011 has sucked royally. I was expecting a terrible year, this team has delivered and then some. I saw a manager (whose selection was unpopular) watch two of his players (one fat and one lazy) fight in the dugout early on in Spring Training, which led to the fat one being released. Or maybe it was his awful pitching that did that; it was months ago, I don’t recall the specifics. I saw an unprecedented string of averageness when the Cubs were never more than one game away from the .500 mark for a couple weeks. I saw two starters go down with injury. I saw a (lazy) third baseman be lazy. I saw bad pitching, bad defense, bad hitting, basically I just saw the Anti-Tom Emanski videos played out over 162* games. Through it all though, I had one pleasant thought: at least I’m not a Cardinals fan.
*Note: As I write this, its actually 160.5 games, but I doubt anything will happen in tonight’s or tomorrow’s games that will un-do this wretched year.
Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to have seen the Cubs contend for the Wild Card into the final days* instead of having been eliminated by Patriots’ Day, I’m not saying the Cardinals team has had a bad year, I’m just saying that this particular Cardinals team (really though, every Cardinals team ever) has some awful fans. Before the season started, Cardinals fans were up in arms over Pujols turning down $200 million dollars (or more) to stay with the club as well as grumbling over Tony LaRussa sticking around for his 16th year as manager. Cubs fans can only dream of having a superstar worth spending that kind of money on, or about having that kind of stability (even if it is a douchy stability) at skipper. But they whined and moaned because the team that couldn’t beat the Reds in 2010 was going to have to contend with those same (but very underachieving) Reds in 2011 as well as a vastly improved Brewers team, and do it without Adam Wainright who would miss the year with an injury. They didn’t spend all their time whining, however, Cardinals fans somehow managed to view the acquisition of former Cub Ryan Theriot as a good thing because former Cubs bring good luck or something, I don’t know, I rarely acknowledge Cards fans after the first three words.
*Note: As I’m writing this the Cardinals are half a game behind the Braves, Atlanta has one game left while the Cards have one left after the one in which they’re currently leading, so I guess it is effectively a tie.
Once the season began, Cardinals fans began singing their same old tune: The Cards are the best team ever, we’re going to go 162-0, Albert is going to hit 93 home runs (and he’s never used steroids!) and Tony is going to cure Feline AIDS! Then the games started and their bullpen started blowing saves left and right, which led to a Redbird Nation suicide watch. But then, due to the magic of Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan, the Cardinals released Ryan Franklin and the team quit blowing games in which they had leads in the late innings, which allowed them to move up in the standings. After a while the Cardinals and Brewers managed to separate themselves from the pack and make it look like the NL Central would be a two-team race (well, the Pirates pretended to exist for a while, but they don’t actually matter). Then Pujols broke his wrist. And Cards fans went all Eeyore on us, again, complaining about how their magical season is over, as if Cubs fans have never had to carry on after a first baseman go down with a broken wrist. Suddenly everyone was supposed to feel bad for them because one guy got a boo-boo. For a few days Cardinals fans became so emo even emo kids made fun of them. Out of nowhere, the news broke that Pujols would only be out a couple of weeks (he’s never used steroids!) and Cardinals fans were celebrating as if Louie (their stupid mascot) had invented a time machine and stopped both the Holocaust and 9/11 using only the power of love (he’s never used steroids!). That’s right, after a brief reprieve, I was again subjected to Cardinals fans insisting that their team was only a couple of pieces away from being the greatest team in the history of sports. “With one pitcher, we could defeat the ’72 Dolphins, the 97-98 Bulls or even the 1938 Swedish women’s curling team*” they said. And then they made their move, trading one young, talented, cost-controlled center fielder for a LOOGY with a name he can’t even spell, a starter on the cusp of free agency and Corey Patterson. The more ex-Cubs the better, I guess? This was it; the Cardinals were going to be unstoppable. And then they fell ten games behind the Brewers.
*Note: I have no idea if there were Olympics in ’38 or if curling was a sport back then or even if Sweden existed in 1938. Just go with it.
Once it appeared the season was over, Cardinals fans went back to doing what they do best, saying their team is better than the Cubs and that that’s the most important thing. Never mind making the playoffs or winning the World Series, all the Cardinals are ever really after is a better record than the Chicago Cubs. This went on for a while, apparently the BEST FANS IN THE WORLD ®* forgot that they had been in a pennant race when they made their big trade, because all I heard was that the Cards just wanted to make sure they got rid of a clubhouse cancer and brought in guys who would make the team better than the Cubs.
*Note: BEST FANS IN THE WORLD is a registered trademark of people who don’t realize that nobody looks good wearing red.
Something strange happened in September, the Wild Card leading Braves forgot how to win baseball games. Many theories exists, but I assume it had to do with Braves great Deion Sanders having to miss baseball games because of his grueling football schedule. Such is the life of a two-sport player. This affected the Cardinals because they had been playing kinda, but not completely, awful, but better than the Cubs, but worse than the Brewers baseball just long enough to get within half a dozen games of the Braves. You can guess what happened next. You’re right; Cardinals fans went all crazy about how they always had hope in catching Atlanta and winning the Wild Card. Suddenly they went from being better than only the Cubs to being better than every other team in baseball because another team in a tougher division quit using pitchers who knew how to pitch. They began to live and die with every pitch, to abandon their homes, businesses and children in order to follow every second of Cardinals action, it was as if the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything were in a toilet bowl situated under scenic I-40*.
*Note: I don’t care which highway it’s actually under, Busch is under a goddamn highway.
I don’t know how 2011 ends for the Cardinals, I do know that if it ends with the team not making the playoffs, or losing in the playoffs, Cardinals fans will act as if it’s the end of the world, while simultaneously lording their winning season over Cubs fans. If the Cards do end up winning the World Series, they will lord it over Cubs fans while simultaneously complaining about the prospect of losing Pujols in the offseason, or worrying about Wainright coming back healthy, or begging LaRussa to return then complaining about him returning. Such is the life of Schrodinger’s fans, which is why I’m glad I’m not one.
TL;DR – Cards fans suck
Well, that sucked. It sucked like a black hole full of Dysons. The Cardinals managed to win the World Series. As a baseball fan, I’ll say it was a great series. As a Cubs fan I’ll say it was the worst ten days of my life. Their insufferable fans went insane, they were clamoring on as if they had defeated no the Texas Rangers, but the Kraken. Cards fans showed what they really are, that is the National League Yankees, using nothing but world championship counts to lord themselves over all other baseball fans. They showered their team with love and affection and suddenly held their manager in the highest regard. LaRussa announced his retirement the day after the city of St. Louis held a parade for the Cardinals and fans began to cry for the loss of their brilliant skipper. A man who they had criticized months before for improperly handling his bullpen and for publicly speaking ill of his young center fielder was now an irreplaceable genius. Fans openly feared that with LaRussa leaving they would not be able to win a game ever again. It was feared that hiring the wrong replacement manager would lead to Albert Pujols leaving, which is funny because they also state that they don’t want to retain Pujols if he keeps asking for a record setting contract. But Cardinals fans were soon back out of their deep depression when Mike Matheny, whose illustrious career ended far too soon, was announced as the new manager. They called him the perfect man for the job because, even though he had no managerial or real coaching experience, he has character. I guess you have to find little victories where you can. That brings us to Albert. As of now, he’s still a free agent looking for a huge pile of money to sleep on while his career takes a (non-steroid induced) downward spiral. Cardinals fans love him, they see him as the second coming of Stan Musial, but they also see him as evil, since he isn’t willing to take less money for the privilege of living in a dull Midwestern city that prides itself on having a monument to the fact that people have only ever wanted to pass through. Whatever happens, it is going to be a rough offseason, one in which Cardinals fans will be simultaneously gleeful and sorrowful. Like always.