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Pretty much everyone hates the Cardinals, right?

Oct 15, 2012, 11:00 AM EDT

St. Louis Cardinals slap hands after defeating the San Francisco Giants duringtheir MLB NLCS playoff baseball series in San Francisco

Will Leitch is probably the most notable Cardinals fan in the little corner of the Internet a lot of us call home. And something dawned on him over the weekend:

I have spent so much time watching the Cardinals, reveling in their victories and agonizing in their defeats, that I had forgotten that the rest of the world was watching them, too … And the rest of the world, to my astoundment, hates the Cardinals. The rest of the world was cheering for the young, likable, fiery Washington Nationals, with their superstar youngsters and their facial hair and their natty natitude. The Cardinals weren’t the heroes to them; they were the brutish villains, the Cobra Kai, the Empire, stomping on the dreams of the upstart rebellion.

“Hates” is probably too strong a word. I don’t think people truly hate them. If anything, they have become incrementally more likable now that Tony La Russa is gone and don’t have many personalities — apart from maybe Chris Carpenter — who tend to draw the ire of fans in any notable way.

But people are certainly tired of them. Tired of them in much the same way people are tied of the Yankees. If you’re not a fan of either of those teams you almost always want to see them lose. Not because there’s anything wrong with them in and of themselves, but simply because we’re tired of the stories about them told during the postseason. Tired of the late comebacks which, no matter how exciting they are in any given moment, have some dispiriting element to them for anyone who doesn’t cheer those teams on.

It’s probably because the Cardinals and the Yankees are the ultimate overdogs.  They have attained that status for very different reasons, of course. They have different financial structures and fan bases and press coverage and general attitude surrounding them. But they are both considered the gold standard of their respective leagues for whatever reason and they both can never, ever be counted out.

Folks don’t like that much. If their own team can’t be in it, they prefer that just about any other team move on before the Cardinals and the Yankees do.  They either want to root for underdogs or, if there are no underdogs around — remember, the Nationals won way more games than the Cards did — they at least want the new stories and faces on their TV screens in October.

All of which makes this postseason rather dreary.  We were a couple of random bounces, key hits and close calls away from the A’s, Orioles, Nationals and Reds playing in the ALCS and NLCS. That may have been ratings poison for Fox and TBS, but it would have been refreshing for people who were watching.  Now we have those two always-theres in the Yankees and the Cardinals.

And really, the other guys aren’t a ton better.  The Giants don’t have that same feeling as the Cardinals, but they did just win it all in 2010. Saving them, I reckon, is the fact that Brian Wilson can’t pitch this year, which goes a long way to combat the annoying familiarity.  The Tigers are no Yankees and are not even as ubiquitous and tired a story as the Rangers have been, but they do have the Cabrera-Verlander duo which have consumed an awful lot of media oxygen when it comes to MVP arguments and such in the past two years.

So, nope, we really don’t have any fresh faces or exciting new stories this postseason.  Those of us who aren’t Yankees and Cardinals fans are probably settling on rooting for the Tigers and Giants, but it’s not that satisfying.  I suppose the best we can root for is high-quality baseball over the next two weeks and change. Which, given how sloppy and ugly so much of this postseason has been, would be a refreshing storyline of its own.

Sigh.

141 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. imaduffer - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    I have a Cardinals bobble head doll from 1963. Sure is cute.Go Cards!!!

    • natslady - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:53 PM

      I know this isn’t about Nats fans, but most Nats fans don’t hate the Cardinals. We hate that we lost to them, a punch in the gut. But they didn’t do anything wrong or obnoxious, they played to the last man, the last strike, the last out. They didn’t invade our stadium with drunken hooligans as fans, or kick us when we were down, like the Fillies. I can’t watch the NLCS because it’s too painful. I want to give the Cards a good whallop when we see them in April, but that’s not hate, that’s revenge. I think the Nats could have beaten the Giants, but I’m not at all sure they could have beaten the Tigers. At any rate, I’ll take 100 wins and losing in the last inning of the NLDS to 100 losses and being irrelevant by June.

      • cardsfanandi - Oct 16, 2012 at 1:09 PM

        For whatever it’s worth, I really enjoyed watching the Cardinals play the Nats in the LDS. They’re an exciting team to watch, and I got a lot of crazy stares when I sat and cheered as Bryce Harper came up to bat that Sunday (my friend eventually told me I needed to cheer for him on the inside, haha). Can’t wait to see what they do with Strasburg healthy all year. It’s nice to see some competition from some new faces and from a team that’s given fans no reason to be hateful to each other :)

      • skane2005 - Oct 22, 2012 at 3:22 PM

        Hey Natslady…cry me a river. Don’t complain because Phillies fans buy 80% of the tickets in your usually empty stadium. Those fans essentially paid your right fielders inflated salary. Maybe you should focus on your GM’s decision making skills instead of complaining about another team’s fanbase.

  2. jason9696 - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:14 PM

    I don’t dislike the Cardinals at all. The Yankees are another story.

    • stumblebum76 - Oct 16, 2012 at 4:31 PM

      I’d rather see the Yankees win than the St. Louis Whiners.

      • bmh9500 - Oct 18, 2012 at 12:50 PM

        That’s a funny way of spelling “Winners”.

  3. perryt200 - Oct 15, 2012 at 4:43 PM

    Is the Cardinal hate gonna be worse next year? Cards probably won’t have Lohse, Berkman is retiring, Furcal might not be back. There will be a host of no-name people that come and go, who the fans won’t even remember.

    And most likely they will still be competitive come October.

    • biasedhomer - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:28 PM

      They lost Pujols and Jackson last year, and they make the playoffs once again. They are like the NY Giants, winning it all, but never getting the respect. For expample, Craig here thought the Cards stood no chance against his vastly superior Braves. Look which team has ended up with an early exit once again and which one looks to be making the WS once again.

  4. cardsrepeat2012 - Oct 15, 2012 at 5:30 PM

    Pretty much everyone hates Craig Calcaterra, right?

  5. ihcone - Oct 15, 2012 at 6:16 PM

    NY Mets fan here, rooting for the Cards.

  6. flavas - Oct 15, 2012 at 6:31 PM

    As a Cub fan who suffered 8 long years in the Gateway city, I have an extreme dislike for Cardinal fans–not the team, the fans. They can be rude, self-righteous, ignorant, and to tell you the truth, they all tell the same 3 Cubs jokes over and over again.
    They get my vote for ‘least creative fans in baseball.’

    • stlsteelerfan - Oct 15, 2012 at 8:04 PM

      Sounds like sour grapes. BTW: Congrats to the Cubs on having over 100 losses! I can see why you’re bitter.

    • cardsrepeat2012 - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM

      I attended one Cards/Cubs game at Wrigley. Upon leaving the game, some Cubs fans, spying my Cardinals hat tried to pour beer on me from a higher deck. Of course, like their pitchers they failed to hit their location and missed badly. Nevertheless, I think they proved that Cards fans don’t have a monopoly on “rude” and “self righteous”. Anyway, I hope you have fun during the postseason or, as it’s known in Chicago, charity-golf-tournament season.

  7. deadrabbit79 - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:08 PM

    As a Yankee fan i love the Cards…they remind me of the Yankees of the late 90’s early 2000’s. they have no high priced over paid “superstars”, they play the game right with pitching and defense and situational hitting. Nothing wrong with that. Oh and Motte was my college teammate, that helps a little bit.

  8. gwest40 - Oct 15, 2012 at 7:14 PM

    I don’t hate the Cardinals, I hate the Cardinal fans! Cardinal fans are just a bunch of rednecks!

  9. ez0682 - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:16 PM

    Haha who would care about stl just a state that dont mean shhh useless state to us now d.c. Diffrent topic cus its actually means or is an important place of the worl gs…sorry but is true go back to ur farms in stl lol

    • kicksave1980 - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:24 PM

      Glad you don’t care about the “state” of St. Louis. How are the schools in the “state” of D.C.?

      • ez0682 - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:57 PM

        Good actually 5 great univ. An lots of people working for great companys. We r d.c. We run shh go back to ur farms lol sad but true

      • alannakdybus - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM

        clearly, the education system failed ez0682 … had this person ever been to St Louis, he or she would realize that it isn’t all farms… and if he traveled 45 min – 1 hour away from DC, he/she would realize that there is farmland there too! what a concept.. but i guess you aren’t concerned about farms when you’re shoving your face with cheetos & kraft cheese “product”

    • cardsrepeat2012 - Oct 15, 2012 at 10:34 PM

      You’re embarrassing yourself.

  10. rcali - Oct 15, 2012 at 9:25 PM

    I think it’s awesome that they told Pujols to take a walk and they’re back in the post season.

  11. rbickel6 - Oct 16, 2012 at 11:31 AM

    I don’t hate the Cardinals, but I am SICK TO DEATH of them. I hate the Yankees, but at least it’s fun to hate them. Cards just make me yawn.

    I am a die hard Tigers fan. It will be fun if we beat the Skanks and fun to get to the Series. But I swear I will enjoy it even more if the GIants finally shut that team down.

  12. dfrebert - Oct 19, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    I’m a Yankee fan and I realize we are America’s most loved and hated team.

    But I dislike the Cards because they treat the regular season like it’s the NBA or NHL – –
    do the minimum to make the Playoffs and then try to get hot in the playoffs.
    They had the least wins the last two years of any Playoff team with 88 and 90
    wins. They play in the weakest division in baseball and still only get in as a
    wild-card or 2nd wild card team this year. I hate to see them get hot for a week
    and take the World Series title. It’s like Giants going 9-7 and winning the Super Bowl.
    I can’t respect them as any kind of real “championship” caliber team.

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