The World Serious moves to St. Louis tonight. Rain is in the forecast for the next two days as the Cardinals hope to make a series out of it. They’ll have to start against Pedro Martinez. We are familiar with the character of Red Sox Nation, but what about those famous Cardinals fans who are often labled as “the best fans in the country”? I don’t know much about them outside of their reputation. I know my pal Will Carroll thinks they aren’t all that, but he’s a Cubs fan after all. I did run into a lot of Cards fans last year in the Bronx when I attended Roger Clemens’ 300th victory in the Bronx and they seemed like a good bunch. If anything, I was ashamed of the way that Yankee fans treated them that night, taunting and chanting at ’em as we exited the stadium.
Cardinals fans are what they are. They’re St. Louisans. Very provincial and proud of their own. They absolutely love their Cardinals. Except for Tony La Russa, the Cardinals can pretty much do no wrong. La Russa’s image suffers from his A) not living here in the offseason and B) not being Whitey Herzog.
The mistake people make, I think, is thinking Saint Louis is a great baseball town. It’s not a great baseball town. It’s a great Cardinals town. If it isn’t the Cardinals, no one cares. I think the great baseball towns are the ones that people move to. New York is one, San Francisco is another. Chicago, Los Angeles. You have fans of the home team but also fans of all the other teams. In St. Louis, baseball season ends the minute the Cards are eliminated. Sometimes it’s hard to find the LCS on the radio if the Cards aren’t still playing. You’ll never see a non-Cards playoff game on a TV in a bar if there’s a Rams or (except this year) Blues game going on. It’s very different from what I’m used to in California, with a migrant population, and fans of all different teams around, so that it’s baseball that everyone has in common, not just the local nine.