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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. Jonny5 - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:37 AM

    Well, according to the fans of the Phillies, as well as the Phillies players themselves….. We are the best fans in the world!!!! We not only give positive reinforcement like St Louis fans, but we’ll also scold you if you milk out running full force to first, If you look at a fast ball up the belly of the plate, Or if you’ve been slumping as of late. What other encouragement do you need other than fearing being beat up by a huge crowd to make you better? huh? what’s that??? Thought so punks!!!! Phills fans rock!!!! And don’t you dare try telling us otherwise, or else!!! ;>P

  2. John from Concord - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:53 AM

    It’s funny… there’s one team in the ML whose fans are EVERYWHERE, in huge numbers, and on balance far more intensely passionate and knowledgeable than those of most any other team anywhere, but nobody ever refers to Red Sox fans as The Greatest anything (except maybe “Pains in the Ass”.) Can’t imagine why.

  3. bk23 - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    Yeah, the same Phillies fans that used a laser pointer in the faces of Cardinals players. Don’t deny it, we all saw it on tv. The same Phillies fans that ran over two Cardinal fans killing a teacher from St. Louis. Those rough and rowdy Phillies fans are something to be proud of, right? Be afraid, be very afraid to play in Philly…….or else!!!

  4. Jonny5 - Feb 2, 2010 at 8:58 AM

    What are you saying John??? What was that? You want a kick to the dome to show you the error of your ways???

  5. Jonny5 - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:07 AM

    Phillies “fans” ? yes, you are correct. It was a concerted effort by all Phillies fans to shine a laser pointer and to get so drunk we forget where the brake pedal is when Cardinal fans walk in front of them. it was/is a conspiracy……..Don’t ever come here!!!!

  6. Kyle - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:12 AM

    Despite the lowest per capita income, and one of the smallest population bases, the St. Louis market manages to roll out a big budget team year in and out due to their die hard support.

  7. YankeesfanLen - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    Another great aspect of being a Universe fan is that it is only nine miles to find someone to deride.
    BTW, still have my Cards cap from ’04.

  8. JasonC23 - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:20 AM

    This is such a sad comedown for my favorite childhood robot.

  9. pepe - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:30 AM

    Thanks Craig for the holler out about Tigers fans. Detroit’s got the longest consecutive yearly streak of drawing a million fans to the ballpark…yes, longer than the Yankees or Red Sox. I don’t deny the Red Sox have many great fans—most of the obnoxious ones are transients who adopted the team while they were in college. I lived in Boston in the 1980s and I could always buy great tickets at Fenway on the day of the game. I must have gone to ten games the first half of the ’86 season and the park was always about one-third empty. Right after that, like the Cubs in Chicago, the Sox became the trendy ticket in town. Boston is kind of a strange place. I never got all the local hate for Wade Boggs, Clemens, Ted Williams, Rice, Yaz, etc. Many black players have felt uncomfortable playing there, but that’s another story.

  10. Jonny5 - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:35 AM

    Shhh, don’t tell anyone, but I’m just trying to ensure a robot with tank tracks can still get good seating at a reasonable rate…. Do you know what we have to deal with trying to get tickets???

  11. Charles Gates - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    Case in point why it’s painful to live in northern Delaware…and it’s worse during football season with all that ‘Go Iggles’ nonsense.

  12. Jonny5 - Feb 2, 2010 at 9:46 AM

    Why do you think it’s sooooo cheap to live in Deleware? You don’t think you get a 1000% discount from us on property taxes for nuthin’ do ya? Besides being down river from all of Jersey’s And Pennsylvania’s Landfills and sewage runoff???

  13. ralphdibny - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:02 AM

    I think this is right. St. Louis and Detroit have seen their populations fall off a cliff in the past 50 years, yet both towns still turn out for their teams. Why STL and not DET, though? Well, there’s always the racial biases of the media to consider. But STL also gets credit for the generally higher quality of their teams, which has little to do with the fans. (But shhhhh. Don’t tell them. Fans get really cranky when you remind them that they have little effect on the team, absent complete abandonment.)

  14. Figgins - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:11 AM

    Craig – always respected your opinion on just about everything, but Brewers fans?!? I say this because I just wrapped up 4 years of college up there, and can tell you that while they like to go to games and get drunker than a poet on payday, they are some of the most uninformed fans I’ve come across. Most don’t know that they were in the AL until recently. Most don’t know that the Brewers have never won a WS. And that “Roll Out the Barrel” song… ugh.

  15. Joey B - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:18 AM

    Even as a RS fan, my tip of the hat goes to StL. Most teams do better when they’re winning and worse when they’re losing. I remember times at Yankee Stadium where I could’ve counted the number of fans in the stands. Likewise with Boston. StL will also go and down, but I have never seen the fans abandon them in droves like I’ve seen elsewhere.

  16. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:37 AM

    Who cares about Steroids, that is old news that is stirred up daily when a writer has nothing better to write on.Frig taxes too!!
    All baseball fans are great, I’m a Yankee fan and I like when the Mets win too, I root for NEW YORK.The best part about rooting for your team is Spring Traing and everyone has hope because everyone
    has the same record, get ya popcorn ready people Spring is in the air.Good luck!!

  17. moreflagsmorefun - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:39 AM

    Who cares about Steroids, that is old news that is stirred up daily when a writer has nothing better to write on.Frig taxes too!!
    All baseball fans are great, I’m a Yankee fan and I like when the Mets win too, I root for NEW YORK.The best part about rooting for your team is Spring Traing and everyone has hope because everyone
    has the same record, get ya popcorn ready people Spring is in the air.Good luck!!

  18. salvo - Feb 2, 2010 at 10:56 AM

    For such supposed “great fans,” Cardinal crowds are about the quietest bunch in-game that I’ve ever experienced, given the volume of fannies in the seats.
    Part of that might be because it’s hard to cheer when you’re balancing a Super Nachos with chili on one knee and onion rings on the other while holding a 16 oz. beer. Cardinal fans sure know how to feed, I’ll give them that.
    But watch a Cardinal game on TV (or at the park), and listen to the crowd when (a) there’s “nothing happening,” and (b) when something subtle is happening, like a 3-2 count with two outs in the 6th when you have a 1-run lead and the other team’s big bopper is on deck, and your pitcher is battling against the opposing hitter who fouls off a couple more pitches before finally striking out. In (a) you can hear crickets in Busch Stadium, and in (b) you’ll get the polite “third out of the inning” applause.
    Then experience (a) and (b) in, say, Fenway Park. In Fenway Park, there is a game-long constant fan-generated BUZZ, at ALL TIMES. It’s really incredible the difference between just sitting at a game in Fenway and a game at Busch. Then, in a situation like (b), the fans will be ratcheting up the volume with each pitch, and then explode in a frenzy of spirited relief upon getting that last out in the 6th inning. They are INTO it in a way that you simply don’t see in St. Louis.
    Maybe it’s a East Coast/Midwest thing, where the cultural characteristics are the difference, I don’t know. But I spent 30-some years living in the Midwest, I’ve seen a couple hundred games, give or take, in St. Louis, I’m a lifelong Cardinal fan, and I just wish more of those “Best Fans in Baseball” would stop stuffing their faces and get off their fat asses and make some noise for something other than the obvious: a run-scoring hit, a spectacular play, or the last out of the game.

  19. Fast Eddy - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:03 AM

    When you start with a a falsehood, then your whole arguement falls short. The MOST recognized fans/team in the country, and in this world are Yankees. Get over it in Beantown. You are not nearly as great as the Yankees. This is from a Reds fan.

  20. Fast Eddy - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:09 AM

    What are you talking about? The per capita income in your city is not the lowest, even in the Major league cities. And if you want to speak about a small population base, go to MIl, KC, or Pgh. Or come here to Cinti. St. Louis has us all beat. You have at least a mid sized market. We have small markets.

  21. lar @ wezen-ball - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:10 AM

    I dunno… I’ve lived here for five years now after growing up in California, and I feel like there are some pretty great fans here. Now, I have no idea what the fans were like in, say, 2004, but I like what I see now. And I liked what I saw back in 2005 and 2006, when the team wasn’t what it is now (no Braun, a very, very young Prince and Rickie and JJ), and those nightly crowds of 20-24,000 were great.
    Of course, there are a ton of drunk idiots (mostly college-aged) who view Miller Park as a big bar. And, yes, those are the idiots you’re describing. And, if you’re sitting in the wrong part of the ballpark (ie, bleachers, Fridays, the outfield sections of the upper deck), then that’s all you see. But that type of crowd is hardly limited to Milwaukee, and shouldn’t be used as a fair basis for judgment. I’d say the real fans easily outweigh those “fans” – you just gotta stay out of certain “idiot zones”…

  22. Jared - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    The Greatest Fans in Baseball? Just wait five seconds, and a Cardinals fan will tell you all about it…
    Not sure about greatest, but the Cardinals fans are definitely The Most Conceded Fans in Baseball.

  23. Shely - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:16 AM

    You have no ideas of which you speak. I lived in Boston for over 10 years (The Yas days). The reason your park is so loud is that it is so small. I have been in both parks (three games in 4 years in St. Louis). Boston is a different park, with different kinds of activity. In St. Louis (and somewhat in my town) the fans make noise when they need to and are quiet and watching the action at other times. I never got over the nonsense in Boston of booing your own team when they are struggling. IZs that positive reinforcement to get them to produce? Take a ride over Mass ave. to Harvard, and ask some Psych. Proff if you would treat anyone like this if you wisdh to see him improve. I think I know the answer. Please don’t comment on things unless YOU HAVE BEEN THERE. And that doesn’t mean T-V

  24. Fast Eddy - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:26 AM

    Hey, Hey what are you talking about? We have the most conceited fans in Cincinnati. Don’t give that one to St. Louis. We were the firszt pro team in baseball. And don’t you forget it.

  25. salvo - Feb 2, 2010 at 11:35 AM

    Shely, read my comment, Fenway isn’t my park, I’m a Cardinals fan, I’ve been to maybe 200+ games in St. Louis, and I’ve been to a dozen MLB ballparks. I used Fenway as an example because of the contrast in game experience between there and St. Louis.

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