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We’ve reached a low point in the contrived St. Louis-Los Angeles culture war

Oct 18, 2013, 9:21 AM EDT

Image (1) Cardinals%20logo.jpg for post 4972

Are there differences between the Dodgers and the Cardinals? Sure. We’ve noted the little on-the-field dustups and have talked a lot about the whole “Best Fans in Baseball” thing.  It’s been an amusing aside.

But even if you’re critical of the Cardinals, you must admit that the notion that St. Louis represents some higher plane of dignified and respectful baseball (and that any reasonable people in St. Louis actually think this) is a silly caricature. Yes, there are examples of people who think that way, but they’re outliers I assume. It’s mostly a straw man used to beat up on Cardinals Nation. It’s not a different brand or class of baseball in St. Louis. It’s not a different brand or class of fan. They’re like everyone else.

But I’ll be damned if some people aren’t still trying to push that narrative. To the point of couching it as something akin to a culture war. As an example I give you today’s column from Bob Nightengale of USA Today. In which he talks to Stan Musial’s grandson and both of them seem to agree that St. Louis Cardinals baseball is all that separates dignified society from invading hordes:

This isn’t just about flying another pennant in their stadium – their fourth in 10 years – or having the opportunity to win their 12th World Series championship. It’s about the responsibility of upholding tradition. It’s for old-time baseball.

What follows is a bunch of quotes from Musial’s grandson about how the game ought to be played and was played back when men were men and all of that.  Stan Musial’s grandson is 32 years-old, by the way. What an expert on tradition and old-time baseball.

But what’s even sillier are the examples Nightengale trots out to cast Cardinals baseball in a more dignified light:

They’d like to know if everything, even the crowd noise, have to be fake in Southern California. Do fans really have to be instructed when to scream as if they’re a game-show audience? Can’t anything on the scoreboard be shown besides fans acting crazy, dance contests, and kiss cams?

Yeah, none of that in St. Louis:






I’ll grant that, I’m told anyway, that the Cardinals don’t do much of the “LET’S MAKE SOME NOISE!” stuff. Which is a good thing.  But they clearly are not different or above most other parks when it comes to fun stuff. It isn’t just stark videos of Bob Gibson threatening people to behave lest he put a pitch in their ear.

Again, none of this is to criticize Cardinals fans. They’re like anyone else. And like anyone else, they have some people in their ranks that make you want to roll your eyes.  But for the most part they’re just baseball fans.

But the media narrative of a Dodgers-Cardinals culture war is beyond played out by now, to the point where it is becoming both ridiculous and, with this column, totally counterfactual. Enough already.

114 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. cohnjusack - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:06 PM

    I’ve long come to the conclusion that sportswriter’s need a lightened workload. 98% of what they say is the most made up, douchey drivel that offers no insight into anything what so ever. Who has the best fans? I don’t care. They’re fans! They are a group of thousands of people who base their allegiance on nothing logical, merely geographic proximity and/or family tradition. There are PhD’s, rednecks, liberals, conservatives, single-moms, people missing both legs, latinos, firefighters, people who beat their kids, etc, etc etc who root for both teams. What does it matter to me?

    And here’s the thing. Yep, I hate it when Puig does that overly-celebratory crap. But if he did it on my team, I would love it! Against me, it’s showboating. For me, it’s passionate and being really into the game. Let’s all have some intellectually honestly here and realize the fun of baseball is getting really invested in something that, one every logical level, is really fucking stupid. You can be irrational about it, as long as you don’t confuse that irrationality with being real. The “Cardinal Way” is a narrative that constantly changes to fit whatever the current Cardinals are. Let’s not pretend it’s anything different.

    • stlouis1baseball - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:49 PM

      I agree with everything you said with the exception of this…
      “But if he did it on my team, I would love it! Against me, it’s showboating.”

      I don’t like it at all. Showboating is showboating. I couldn’t put a number on the amount of times I yelled…”run” every time A.P. Sammy Sosa’d his home runs.
      As a kid…I love The Wizards back flips. He’s still my all time favorite.
      As an Adult, I can now tell you I feel differently.
      Put good post nonetheless.

    • paperlions - Oct 18, 2013 at 5:50 PM

      Au contraire. The Cardinal was is in print. It isn’t some unwritten rule, it is a written….um…way.

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