St. Louis Cardinals: Dear Dexter Fowler
Updated: Dec 17, 2018
Dear Dexter Fowler,
On December 9, 2016, the St. Louis Cardinals signed you to a 5-year, $82.5M contract to be our team’s centerfielder.
Our fan base was a wreck at that time, having witnessed and still feeling the emotions of the rival Chicago Cubs finally hoisting a World Series Championship that many of us thought & hoped we would never see.
You were a contributor to that championship. And, while you fit a direct need of something our team needed, there were some of our fans that weren’t as welcoming to you becoming a Cardinal only because of your being a Chicago Cub World Series Champion.
You had probably heard stories, about our fan base being referenced as “The Best Fans in Baseball”, how our rich history of tradition and success also trickled down to Cardinals fans being some of the most knowledgeable and passionate of any team. Sadly, while I admit there is truth to that, there are also a loud number of fans who don’t necessarily carry their fandom in that regard (many of which lurk on social media to express said fandom).
You had a great first season as a St. Louis Cardinal with career highs in HRs and RBIs. Your .264 avg. wasn’t far off from the season before, yet some fans voiced frustrations as if those numbers were unacceptable. Some even believing that the contract the Cardinals gave you was not warranted in length or dollars.
The same fans that held against you your Chicago Cub ties, cringed when you were awarded your World Series ring with former teammates and for whatever reason took it personally that you had friendships with guys like Anthony Rizzo.
In their mind, you were a Cub at heart, with no real desire to embrace being a Cardinal.
2018, we know all to well. You struggled as a player, dealt with issues involving Mike Matheny, injuries and depression. It was a season that seemingly fell apart without a chance to overcome it from the field. The team missed the playoffs for the third straight season and fans here were more miserable than they were even a season or two ago.
You got a chance to see a new manager Mike Shildt have a different approach towards you than the previous manager, that showed belief in you, and despite the biggest name outfield free agent Bryce Harper being available this off-season, the Cardinals front office expressed publicly of their faith in you and giving you the chance to bounce back from a lackluster 2018.
The same fan base that you heard great things about, seem in abundance on social media platforms in their displeasure over this.
Personally, I don’t know how closely players pay attention to it, but I’m sure it isn’t ignored.
Whether it was voicing they’d rather see a stud in Harper signed, or their willingness to see the Cardinals just give up on you altogether, some fans were/are ready to move on.
But Dex, they don’t speak for all of us.
You are a St. Louis Cardinal. There are a ton of our fans that pull for any player that wears the Birds on the Bat, and that don’t feel the need to bash and personally attack our own.
Many of us, love the game and have an open mind that sometimes this game is one of struggles and obstacles, that some players overcome and some do not. It is a game that we as fans invest our time, money and passion into, yet some believe gives them the right to be judgmental of things beyond just performance.
The Cardinals Nation fanbase, is one that fills the stadium, cheers our guys, and wants to see our team succeed. We are a spoiled fanbase due to the history of success here, but a lot of fans go to the extreme with expectations and do not use humanity or compassion in the way they choose to fan.
No matter the things that you may read or hear or things you may witness at times first hand, just know that not all of us see you in the same light as the naysayers.
We all fan differently, but there is a good number of those knowledgeable and passionate St. Louis Cardinals fans that still support you and hope to see you succeed as one of our own.
I can’t personally speak for everyone, but would like to apologize for the amount of fans that haven’t embraced you the way players would like to be from a class act organization and fan base.
Keep your head up, Mr. Fowler and keep smiling. Here’s to hoping 2019 is a personal & professional bounce back capped with another World Series Championship for you... (this time, on the “right” side of the rivalry).
Thanks for Reading.