Friday, October 25, 2013

Oblivious and self-righteous Cardinals fans vs. desperate-to-play-the-victim Red Sox fans: WHO YA GOT?

If you happen to cross paths with any media members who write about either of these teams anytime in the next few months, kick them in the crotch for me.  I'm not 100% sure which side is worse, although I am leaning strongly towards the Cardinals.  At least loudmouth moron Red Sox fans are pretty honest about themselves: they're loudmouths, they're morons, and they're OK with that.  Their other most annoying flaw is their obsession with climbing up on their crosses and portraying themselves as victims (as seen most recently in the way many of them donned tinfoil hats and briefly insisted that the NFL changed the "pushing your teammates into the line of scrimmage" rules specifically to screw them, or more generally in every tweet Simmons has ever tweeted after a Boston team loses).  And that flaw is insufferable.  HOLY SHIT, THE WORLD IS NOT AGAINST YOU, AND IT SURE AS SHIT HASN'T BEEN PARTICULARLY CRUEL TO YOU IN THE REALM OF SPORTS FANDOM FOR THE PAST 15 YEARS.  But mostly, Boston fans just love their teams, and think their teams are better than your teams, and FACK YOU if you disagree.  I have a modicum of respect for that.  Cardinals fans?  Oh boy, here's where it gets much, much uglier.

The whole "Best Fans In Baseball" thing has been a vomit-inducing and out of control myth for a long time now, perpetuated by mouth-breathing commentators (both national and regional) who bring it up EVERY FUCKING TIME you're watching/listening to a game that's taking place in Saint Louis.  The Bob Costases of the world trip over themselves to point out the fact that the fans clapped for their starting pitcher who came out of the game mid-inning after a good start, or cheered tepidly for a nice catch made by an opposing player in the bottom of the 2nd, before the game gets tense.  Essentially every example some retard might try to give of Cardinals fans being the best around can be put into one of two categories: 1) something that all fans of all teams everywhere do (classic example: cheering for former players who come back as members of other teams) or 2) things that are not true (classic example: being super "classy"--counterpoint, see the Twitter feed linked above, or the way they handled the Pujols departure).

But the real cherry on top of the shit sundae is how oblivious they are.  Most Red Sox fans, if asked to evaluate whether Red Sox fans are obnoxious, will at least consider the possibility.  Most Cardinals fans, if asked to evaluate whether Cardinals fans are obnoxious, will act like they are being asked to evaluate whether the earth is flat.  If you didn't hate Will Leitch before (and Jesus, how could you not?  Will Leitch is a huge piece of shit), you will after this.

All right, we need to get something straight, and we need to get something straight fast. I have never, ever, ever ever ever ever ever, heard a Cardinals fan refer to him or herself as "one of the best fans in baseball." I'm sure it has happened. I've just never seen it. And I hang out with a lot of Cardinals fans.

1) It happens every 15 seconds or so on that Twitter feed I've been linking 
2) As I already said, it happens every. Single. Time you listen to or watch a game that's taking place in Saint Louis, so it doesn't really matter whether they gave themselves this moniker (which I'm sure they did); it's being crammed down our throats anyways, so who gives a shit where it came from
3) It's very unlikely Leitch has any friends, so his story is dubious to begin with

This notion, that Cardinals fans are always walking around patting themselves on the back, telling everyone they run into, "Hey, did you know that I'm part of the best fans in baseball? Well, I am," appears to have secured its place in the public consciousness. 

It's laughable that a person who is smart enough to operate a computer would not understand how this works.  It's like he's never heard of the concept of smugness.

It's ridiculous. Humans don't talk like that, particularly ones as earnest and cheerfully dopey as Cardinals fans. 

He's like a lawyer, using legalese and hyper-literal interpretation of terms to try to confuse the argument.  CARDINALS FANS DO NOT SAY THIS EXACT SET OF WORDS VERY OFTEN; THEREFORE, THEY ARE DEFINITELY NOT SELF-RIGHTEOUS PRICKS ABOUT THEIR BASEBALL TEAM.

The only people I've ever heard anyone refer to Cardinals fans as the best fans in baseball are:

Opposing fans or media members saying so derisively;

Opposing media members saying so derisively?  Which planet are you on?  I suppose Cubs broadcasters/reporters might do that.  Media members for the other 28 teams in the league most assuredly do not.

Players on the field describing the experience of playing in St. Louis.

Every player on every team describes his team's fans as the best in baseball.

The last 24 hours have unleashed a torrent of disdain for the Cardinals and their fans, most notably from Drew Magary at Deadspin

Read that if you haven't, it's great.

who does this sort of thing better than anyone on earth. (Drew's Why Your Team Sucks series is a brilliant experiment in discovering which teams' fanbases are the most sensitive about their public image. The Cardinals rank undeniably high on that last; Drew says he received more "Hate Tweets" 

Also great, read that as well.

in response to that column than any other he's ever written. He got so many that I, who am briefly mentioned in the column, got some too, caught in the Hate Tweet crossfire.) All this disdain comes with the territory: When you win as many games as the Cardinals have, 

Ah, the last refuge of the asshole fan who wants to defend the assholism displayed by him and his kind: Y'ALL JUST JEALOUS!!!!!! 

and have broken the hearts of so many teams in the postseason over the last few years, as the Cardinals have, people are going to get sick of you and thus angry at you. Over the last eight years, the Cardinals have ended the postseason dreams of the Mets, Tigers, Phillies, Brewers, Rangers, Nationals and Pirates. That's a lot of fanbases spitting in your general direction.

Hey, idiot: people aren't sick of the Cardinals because they win so much.  They're sick of the Cardinals because they have won so much that it has turned their fans into a bunch of huge fuckheads.  Is anyone, outside of fans of these teams' rivals, sick of the Spurs or the Ravens the way lots of people are sick of the Cardinals?  What's the difference?  Oh yeah, there aren't that many Spurs fans, and Ravens fans aren't as insufferable as Cardinals fans.

So Cardinals fans don't think they're the best fanbase in baseball, or at least not any more than every fan thinks they're part of the best fanbase in baseball. 

/game show buzzer

But I feel obliged, as someone for whom his Cardinals fandom is central to my life, a critical aspect of my entire existence, 

You're a gigantic fucking loser and I hope you never reproduce.

to stick up for us. If you were to try to figure out the best fanbase in baseball, you could make a case for several teams. The Yankees. The Cubs. The Phillies. The Dodgers. The Giants. The Red Sox. The Tigers. And, yeah, the Cardinals.

That's just a list of the oldest and most popular teams in the league.  There's nothing notable about any of those fan bases other than the fact that there are a lot of people among each, for historical, geographical and/or bandwagony reasons.

Because Cardinals fans could probably use an antidote to all the bile yesterday, and because Game One of the NLCS kicks off at Busch Stadium tonight, this is how one might make that case.

Holy shit.  "Clearly, us Cardinals fans don't think we're special.  Now here are ten reasons why we're special."

10 Reasons Why Cardinals Fans Might Be The Best Fanbase In Baseball

Let's test my theory from above.  I'll be shocked if there are any of these that can't go into one of my two previously stated buckets: 1) not special or 2) not true.

1) They really do cheer opposing players when they make a great play. This actually happens. You'll even see it in the NLCS. If Hanley Ramirez makes a diving stop to throw a Cardinal out, or Clayton Kershaw loses a no-hitter in the eighth inning, Cardinals fans will give them standing ovations. Now, you can mock that if you want. You can call that "fake classiness." But you cannot deny that it happens, all the time.

This is in both buckets.  First, obviously, every fanbase will cheer the opposing team's accomplishments under certain circumstances, like the no-hitter example used above.  Second, no, Cardinals fans will not do this during the playoffs.  You know how I know?  Barry Zito pitched masterfully in this game last October, and was removed mid-inning, giving those classy fans a great chance to class it up and show how classy they are by applauding his performance.  Hell, it wasn't even a backbreaker from the Cards as far as the series was going--after this game, they still held a 3 games to 2 advantage.  Did Zito get applause?  Hmmmm.  (That smattering of cheers you hear is from Giants fans behind the SF dugout.)

2) They love their players even when they leave. When Dodgers centerfielder Skip Schumaker or infielder Nick Punto are announced any time in this series, they will receive huge ovations as well, probably even if they get a base hit. Both were pivotal parts of the 2011 World Series team, and the Cardinals fans will never forget it. Eventually this is even going to happen to Albert Pujols.

First of all, 6 > 5 SO CLEVER FUCK YOU ALBERT.  Second of all, you're the dumbest sports fan on earth if you think this makes your fanbase unique.

3) Everyone just wants to be Stan Musial. Want to know where this whole notion of The Cardinal Way -- winning, and doing so with class, dignity and reserve -- came from? 

Nope, because The Cardinal Way doesn't exist!  (Unless getting DUIs, using steroids and doing all kinds of other shitty things that players on all 30 MLB team do are classy, dignified, reserved things to do.)  Thanks for offering though.  Stan Musial was great at baseball and a nice person.  There are lots of ex-players who fit that mold.  I know this is going to sound crazy, but every team has them.

4) The Winter Warm Up. Every year around MLK Day, the Cardinals have a big Winter Warm Up event at a hotel downtown. It's basically just a bunch of Cardinals signing autographs, but Cardinals fans attend this event like a dying man crawling through a desert being offered water. (You can actually buy tickets to this event three months in advance.) 

This person founded a major sports blog.  He also thinks that his team is the only team in the league that does a "FanFest"-style event.  That's incredible.

5) They always, always come out to the games. Busch Stadium is at the center of everything in St. Louis, and is always, always full. Season capacity this year was 94.6 percent, second-highest in baseball. Last year? 91.6 percent, fourth. Every person within 200 miles of Busch Stadium spent the last 48 hours -- since the end of the Pirates game -- desperately scrambling for tickets to the NLCS. (If you can help my dad, who's still searching, out, let me know.)

Someone call the NYT and WaPo and tell them to get a crack team of reporters on this story: team that won World Series in 2011/went to NLCS in 2012 sold lots of tickets in 2012/2013.

6) They travel as well as any fanbase in the country. If you've ever been to watch your team play the Cardinals in your home stadium, you know this. Cardinals fans have a way of turning whole sections of opposing stadiums bright red. It has become a tradition in September, when the Cardinals are often playing teams out of the pennant chase, that opposing stadiums because de facto home games. We sort of just cheerily invade.

They're not traveling.  They're a bunch of transplants who left Saint Louis because it's an awful city in an awful part of the country.  Some of them are bandwagoners with no ties to Saint Louis whatsoever.  They are there cheering for the Cardinals because the Cardinals are good.  If the Astros had 11 championships, there would be Astros fans all over the place too.  I'm doing my best to write this with a calm and reasonable tone, but honestly, I just want to meet Leitch in real life and punch him in the mouth.  "We just sort of cheerily invade!"  DIE.  You're the worst.

Players are family here, and they know it. In 2004, the Cardinals traded for Larry Walker late in the season. As he came to the plate for his first at-bat, he received a standing ovation. He struck out on three pitches. He then received another one. 

NO WAY.  Most fanbases would have booed him out of the stadium after one failed at bat.

There is a reason the Cardinals have been able to cultivate and keep players, have been able to trade for stars and keep them: They know it's different in St. Louis,

It's not.  

and they want to stay. 

Matt Holliday, a star traded for and then resigned, would have left in a heartbeat for another team during the 2009 offseason if anyone else had needed a LF and offered him the money the Cardinals eventually offered.  Fortunately for them, no other big spending team needed a LF that year.  Fortunately for Holliday, the Cardinals eventually caved and gave him a market value (or perhaps larger) deal.  But if not for a very unusual free agent market that year, he would have been gone.  Not even the magical wondrous mystical powers of Saint Louis, a town where fans cheer for new players, could have kept him there.

Scott Rolen, who gleefully re-upped with the Cardinals shortly after they traded for him, said, "Baseball is so special to them that as an organization, you have a lot to live up to. You feel like you owe it to the fans to put your best foot forward. They adopt you as their own. You become part of their lives." Ask any player which stadiums they love playing at: Busch Stadium is always near the top of the list. Ask them which franchise they'd love to play for: The Cardinals are always near the top of the list. The reason is not the facilities: It's the fans. We can all get online and have fights about "real" fans, but the players, they live it, they know. They know what's special about St. Louis.

This whole article seems like it could be trolling, but that last sentence especially.  I'm afraid to criticize it too sharply in case it really is trolling.  Nothing worse than getting a fast one pulled on you by someone as emptyheaded as Leitch.

The last home game of the season, when everybody sings the National Anthem. It's a tradition: The team doesn't have an anthem singer for the final home game. The whole crowd does it, and it's deeply moving, every year. Here's the last one at the old Busch Stadium.

Who gives a flying fuck?

The fans are the reason the Cardinals can compete. The Cardinals don't have a wealthy owner willing to spend billions on whatever player he wants. 

Come the fuck on.  This article is old, but the ownership structure hasn't changed significantly since it was written.  Bill DeWitt is worth a shitload of money.  That's how he can afford to field a team with the 11th highest payroll in the league in 2013.  Does he spend like George Steinbrenner did near the end of his life?  No.  Is he rich as fuck?  Yes.

They don't have a massive cable contract. 

Their current deal is awful, and doesn't expire until 2017.  At that point, they will get a new deal, and it will be comically huge.  I like how all of this is written like the Cardinals are a non-profit financed by $20 donations from generous fans.

They don't even have that sweetheart of a stadium deal. 

The owners paid for most of the stadium, this is true.  They also got a wide-reaching set of tax breaks that helps offset some of that money that they paid up front.

What they do have is a fanbase that will support them no matter what … and is willing to be patient. The Cardinals have one of the strongest farm systems in baseball, and one of the reasons they do is because they've been allowed to be smart about keeping talent around. There aren't angry calls to trade unknown prospects for veterans at the deadline, moves for the sake of making moves. The Cardinals fans, in a way that's not always healthy, trust their team. There aren't moves made to placate the fanbase because the fanbase is always placated. This is an enormous competitive advantage: The Cardinals front office can make decisions based entirely on whether or not they're good ones, rather than how it will "play" with the fanbase. 

Holy shit, what in the fucking shitfuck are you fucking talking about?  Do you have any idea how anything works?  How have you lived to this age?  Who feeds you and changes your clothes every day?

The greatest example of this, of course, is what happened with Albert Pujols. This was a man who had been compared to The Man, who seemed destined to play his entire career with the Cardinals. But when he wanted more money than was wise for the Cardinals to pay, the team walked away, in large part because it knew the fanbase would understand. And it did! There was little ill will toward the team or toward Pujols. 


Ok, I can't even finish.  You get the idea.  Will Leitch is atrocious.  Oh wait, one last thing: remember the first few paragraphs of this article?  All that stuff about how Cardinals fans don't actually think they're the best in baseball?

But this idea that there isn't anything special about Cardinals fans, that this has all just been made up as some sort of self-aggrandizing exercise, is ludicrous. The Cardinals have a loyal, devoted fanbase, and it is one that has had a direct effect in the success of their team. 



(Snarky response from Jarrett, who is a non-atrocious Cardinals fan, sure to appear in the comments below)


Venezuelan Beaver Cheese said...

I'm glad the blinders are finally coming off. I used to feel like the only person in the world who really couldn't stand the Cardinals and their self-righteous back-patting. Nowadays, it seems like everyone is sick and tired of their act.

They remind me a lot of how it used to be with the New England Patriots before 2007. The media always fawned over them and how they did things "the right way," and how their system produced consistent winners by focusing on the team first and showing class, etc. Meanwhile on the internet, Patriot fans were by far the biggest smack-talking trolls, and if you said anything bad about their team they'd act like "aw, come on, we've got the best organization in the NFL and we've been waiting a long time to enjoy success like this! How can you hate us?" Then Spygate happened and pretty much everyone realized that any pretense of "class" they had was a crock.

All the garbage people say about Cardinal fans respecting their opponents is demonstrably false by a trip to any message board or comment section. These fans flat-out hate their opponents and trash-talk them endlessly. If anything, they're worse than most fans in that regard. That doesn't stop them from buying their own hype though, because they think Cardinal fandom bestows some sort of magical status on them that prevents any action they take from being crass or boorish.

Ugh...I really hate the Cardinals, but when you throw their fans into the equation, they may be the most hate-worthy team in baseball. I never thought I'd hate them more than the Yankees or Red Sox, but I do.

dan-bob said...

The essential logic of this article:

We don't do X, because X is bad. But since everyone accuses us of doing X, I might as well do X.

Good lord, the hypocrisy. I knew Cards fanbase was bad, but this is another level.

Anonymous said...

Unless the entire column (particlarly the last line) is satire, Leitch (whom I liked at Deadspin and on Costas Now!) needs to be put out to pasture. #4 is particularly galling -- how can he POSSIBLY think the Cardinals are somehow unique in this repect? That really does seem impossible.

Bengoodfella said...

I like how he points that Cardinals players want to stay in St. Louis to play while also pointing out ex-Cardinals that left after winning the 2011 World Series who got standing ovations upon coming back. I guess they didn't want to stay badly enough.

Also, Albert Pujols exists and I'd love to know why he didn't want to stay in St. Louis since players want to stay. I am sure revisionist history would say the Cardinals didn't want Pujols back, but Pujols definitely wanted to come long as the Cardinals offered him the most money of course.

Players stay because the Cards offer them the most money. Otherwise they leave.

jacktotherack said...

The fans are the reason the Cardinals can compete. The Cardinals don't have a wealthy owner willing to spend billions on whatever player he wants.

I almost puked when I read that sentence. I live right on the border of Cubs/Cards fans in Central Illinois so I get exposed to a great deal of Cards fans. And while I know a few buy all this "best fans in baseball" bullshit, I can't think of one I know who would actually attribute the Cards success to the fanbase. They are successful because they scout, draft, and develop talent better than any team in baseball. Not because of their fuckhead fans.

I also love how he talks about how "patient" Cards fans are. That's fucking hilarious. They have been in the WS 4 times in the last decade and the NLCS a few other years. How much fucking patience does it take to root for a consistent winner? Being a Cubs fan, I just want to kick this fucker in the nuts for saying that.

I know a guy who played high school baseball with Leitch. From what he says Leitch is exactly how you would expect him to be in person.

Larry B said...

Wait, Leitch played high school baseball? GTFO. Not buying it.

jacktotherack said...

I'm dead serious. I don't know how much he played but he was on the team. The Mattoon Green Wave.

Anonymous said...

My G*d - do you all state ONE IOTA of truth in your nonsensical HATRED of Cardinals' fans?!?!?!

What a surprise the leader of this retort was from a Red Sox fan - EASILY THE MOST OBNOXIOUS in all of Baseball....haven't been to a game yet that involved them without one of their visiting fans wanting to get in an ACTUAL PHYSICAL CONFRONTATION with the home team's FANS!!!!

And based on the above ILLOGICAL and often over the top F-Bomb retorts - sounds like one of those very individuals spewing this shit!