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The Cardinal fans' response to McGwire

Feb 2, 2010, 8:30 AM EDT

There’s an interesting story in the New York Times today about how The Greatest Fans in the World* are taking to the McGwire stuff.  As you might expect, there are some people who care a lot and some who kind of don’t.  I found the quote from a long time Cardinals fan that kicks the article off to be one that most accurately captures my feelings about it all:

“It’s like when you find out your favorite grandfather didn’t turn in
his income taxes. You didn’t like him any less, but you squint at him and
look at him a little funny because you wish he wouldn’t have done that.”

Since I’m not a Cardinals fan I’ll switch out “favorite grandfather” for, I dunno, “admired second cousin,” but otherwise that kind of captures it for me.

*Have we ever figured out who started that thing about Cardinals fans? I mean, yeah, St. Louis is a great baseball town, but there are a lot of others too.  Tigers fans are pretty awesome. I’ve been really impressed with Brewers fans too. St. Louis may have a better per capita rate of great fans than most places, but once you weed out the insufferable ones there are way, way more great Yankees fans than Cardinals fans in terms of sheer volume. I guess what I’m saying is that someone should give me a grant so I can study this scientifically and have us left with taking Cardinals fans’ word for it.

  1. GimmeSomeSteel - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:57 AM

    I live about 7 miles from the Great American Small Park, and Fast Eddy is right–No team’s fans live as much in the past as the Reds (with the possible exception of the Yankees when their team has a “dry” spell). Kind of applies to Cincinnati in general, a city that can’t get over the fact that it was so prominent in the 19th century and isn’t now. They even drive here like they’re too busy looking in the rear-view mirror to look forward.
    As for market size, yes, Cincinnati is smaller than St. Louis, but what Reds fans ignore is that there are five cities of decent to considerable size (Columbus, Dayton, Indianapolis, Louisville, and Lexington) within a two-hour drive, while St. Louis has–none.

  2. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 2, 2010 at 1:19 PM

    Yankee fans live in the past because:
    1)They WON in the past, they WIN in the present(2009)
    and will WIN in the future.
    2)They have a GREAT history NO team can match!!!
    3)27 TITLES, MOST HALL OF FAMERS.
    This is part of the Yankee tradition and why they live in the PAST.
    Now if you were the Marlins and D-backs, their world series wins are special because they beat the Yankees, what does tha tell you.
    Show some RESPECT whne you talk about Sport Royalty.

  3. YankfanDean - Feb 2, 2010 at 1:30 PM

    Even though I now live out here in Central Calif.,I was born and raised in Conn.That being said,we Yankee fans are #1,bar none!!!#2,I hate to admit,would be those fans of the Red Sox.I’m not discounting fans of any of the other teams but as they say,”there’s strength in numbers”….

  4. Rich - Feb 2, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    I’ve lived in STL my entire life. Best fans in baseball? What a crock. That’s a self promoting myth fostered by the local media to keep their ratings up. There hasn’t been honest coverage of the Deadbirds in over 30 years. To “Cardinal Nation” (gag) baseball doesn’t even exist beyond the I-270-I-255 loop. I’ve forgotten more baseball than 95% of the lemmings that pass through the turnstiles at BS III.

  5. steve from st louis - Feb 2, 2010 at 3:22 PM

    there are great baseball fans everywhere; idiots everywhere. baseball is more important to Cardinal fans than it is to Cub fans or Dodger fans or Red Sox fans or Yankee fans. they have other sports which compete for their heartstrings–Bears, Lakers, Celtics, Bruins, Rangers, Giants, etc. St. Louisans could care less about the Rams or Blues, except a small group of Bluesuers.

  6. AJ - Feb 2, 2010 at 3:23 PM

    Hey Rich, youre obviously not a die hard cardinal fan like EVERYONE else i know here in st. louis. We live, eat and sleep cards baseball (at least my friends and family). WTF are u talking about theres no cardinal life outside of 270? u must be living in some hole WAAAY outside of town buddy and do the rest of the cardinal fans a favor and keep youre opinions between you and ur mom!!last thing to rich what has happened in the last 30 years of coverage to make you think that? To measure the best fans of baseball has to many variables to consider to even make this a fair argument, IMO we are the best fans in baseball but there are other great fans as well.. And last but not least CUBS SUCK!!!

  7. AJ - Feb 2, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    good point steve from stl, u hit it right on the money!!

  8. YANKEES1996 - Feb 2, 2010 at 3:38 PM

    steve from st louis – I am not looking to aggravate you but I will tell you this, I am a Yankees fan born and bred and I do not care about the other NY teams at all when the Yanks are playing or are in the news. I would not take a free ticket and walk across the street to see the Giants play and lest we even discuss the Knicks. The Rangers are interesting but between them and the Yankees it is no contest! I have and always will bleed Yankees pinstripes, I truly do not care about the other sports. My brother is the same way only about the Mets (ughh!)

  9. Michael - Feb 2, 2010 at 4:04 PM

    The definition of the greatest fans:
    The ones who come out when your team isn’t getting anywhere and your ballpark ain’t so hot either.
    That’s pretty much Cards fans. If they could keep filling the concrete, mostly astroturfed Busch when their teams were finishing 5th and 6th (some of their attendance records were set in their worst seasons!), I have to tip my hat to them.
    Although now that I go back and look, the Cards never really stunk the way almost every other team has. They’ve never had a protracted string of low finishes since the early 1950s.

  10. Rich - Feb 2, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    AJ – I was a die hard fan years ago. Gibson, Brock, Cepeda, these were the names I grew up with. I became soured on the club during the Whitey Herzog years. Excuse me, the Whiney Herzog years. Shoulda won 1981 split season, Vince Coleman Tarp incident, Don Denkinger, unfair homefield advantage with the Homer Dome in ’87, yada, yada, yada. Whitey did one positive thing when he was in STL and was to win one more WS for Old Man Busch before he died. And today’s leadership isn’t much better. TLR was at ground zero of the steroid era in Oakland and didn’t know it? He’s either a liar or a fool. You were probably one of those chuckleheads at the Winter Warm-up cheering McGwired and booing Jack Clark. Some fan.

  11. Wind - Feb 2, 2010 at 4:43 PM

    The StL fans are the best not just because of the general knowledge of the game, or continued support of the team, but because of the respect we give to former Cardinals who played the game hard in a Cardinal uniform. IE when Damon went from the RS to The Yanks his name was “Mud” in Boston. When Edmonds left the Cards and found himself in a Cubs uniform he got a standing ovation on his return to StL. the difference is respect….

  12. Fast Eddy - Feb 2, 2010 at 5:41 PM

    That is a good point, and we did the same in Cinti. with all the former Reds. I can name several, but the latest is Lopez. He was a favorite here, and when he gets back, he gets an ovation. By the way, from what I know of the parks and fans, methinks Rich is a Cubs fan.

  13. Bearcats83 - Feb 2, 2010 at 5:51 PM

    Santa Claus says that there are no “GOOD” fans in Philly. Only bad little boys and girls with potty mouths! Of course, he was booed heartily and capped in the shins by an Eagles fan immediately after making that statement…
    When you are winning, the best fans in the world are Cincinnati fans. The best bandwagon fans in the land! They are not bad fans when you are losing, they are just non-existent!

  14. Fast Eddy - Feb 2, 2010 at 6:45 PM

    Careful Steel. It is true that we have fans in several cities. Howver, with the growing population of Cols., many are not Indians fans, as they are moving So,. from Cleveland.

  15. InnocentBystander - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:30 PM

    Back to Craig’s original question, I would bet that part of the Cardinal fan’s claim as the best goes back to pre-1958 baseball era when St. Louis was the West. It was the symbol of baseball for half of the country geographically. I’m sure that counts for something in the equation.

  16. Nick Whitman - Feb 3, 2010 at 2:16 AM

    Aaaand… THAT is why everyone hates Yankee fans.

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  22. A.jay - Feb 3, 2010 at 4:32 PM

    I have a lot of respect for Cardinal Nation. But the reality is that the Cardinals have had a lot of success historically and that makes it much easier to be a fan. It would be interesting to see how the Cardinals fans would be if they had to endure what Pirates fans are going through right now. I could be wrong, but I don’t think Cardinals fans have ever had endure any extended periods of losing. I do have to give major credit to Brewers fans. They have no winning tradition, not much history, no previous championships, they rarely make the postseason, and they play in the smallest market in baseball. Yet, their fans support the Brewers with huge attendance and more importantly with real passion for their team. And yes, I am biased because I am a Brewers fan, but I have had numerous visiting fans tell me how amazed they are by the fan support and enthusiasm for the Brewers in Wisconsin. . . and this is despite a baseball economics system that is unfair and is constantly kicking Brewers fans in the gut.

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  24. pdxviastl - Mar 2, 2010 at 1:01 AM

    St.Louis is situated in a place where there is a lot of open land and not many teams around. Missouri touches eight states. A lot of those states don’t have basball (and one has the cubs, so that’s kind of like not having baseball). The Cardinal sphere of influence reaches, Tn, ky, Ar, parts of Ks (i mean c’mon, are you going to be a royals fan or cardinals fan?), Ia, southern Il, In, Ok and Ne, etc. People come from all around the midwest to watch cardinal games. If you come to Bush you’ll see license plates from all over. Cardinal fans know the game, are positive towards their team (sometimes a little too positive) and pack the house in good times and bad. They are not obnoxious (like Cubs, Red Sox, Yankee and Philly fans). They cheer for good lays made by their players as well as by the other team. They are a storied franchise (second most WS champions behind the money whore Yankees). They are a small/mid market team ( http://www.baseball-almanac.com/articles/baseball_markets.shtml)
    and bring it every year. Cardinal fans might not be the best but, nevermind, they’re the best. period

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