St. Louis Cardinals: What Type Of Fan Are You?
St. Louis Cardinals: What Type of Fan Are You?
I’m sure every team’s fanbase gets emotionally invested in their team. Whether it’s old school fans who have a deep appreciation of the team, players, franchise & tradition, or whether it’s the new age fans who expect winning at all costs, no excuses, with social media being their platform to complain more than praise.
I am not the fan police. I also don’t believe it’s my place or anyone else’s to tell people how to fan. Ultimately, there will always be a blend of people (much like in everyday life) that view things differently, and have the right to do so.
I do however question the mindset of some. By questioning, I mean the thought process (not the fandom).
The ownership’s job is to hire & supervise coaches, staff and player production, as well as recruit, trade or dismiss players in an effort to put a winning product on the field. The overall goal being to put the team in the best position to win a championship, but to also budget team expenses & revenue in the process.
In the case of Major League Baseball, the minor leagues are also a point of focus.
While I have been vocal in the past that fans remember big league championships over minor league championships, it is still a necessary priority for owners to be grooming the future of the franchise with the top priority being the major league team.
Bill DeWitt, John Mozeliak & Michael Girsch get more than their fair share of backlash by fans, who rightfully so want to see that winning product. Missing the playoffs is not a destination that Cardinal fans want to end up, yet again.
But it’s mind-boggling that when fans see a team winning, the only praise heard (if any) is the play on the field and not the guys in charge who constructed this team. Yet when the team struggles, some fans immediately call for the heads of those players and pile on with the old reliable gripe at the front office.
Are GM’s the only one’s responsible for when a team wins? Of course not! The coaching staff should get credit. The players performing should get credit. It has and always will be, a group effort in a team sport, of accumulating individual performances & the way they mesh together as one force. But a lot of fans don’t view it from a wider perspective than the heat of the moment.
Yet year after year, when things get tough, some fans look for the scapegoats. While it does seemingly start at the top, there’s always going to be players underperforming, unexpected injuries, and circumstances that just couldn’t otherwise be predicted.
Did the Cardinals front office overpay for guys like Dexter Fowler, Brett Cecil, Greg Holland and others? I could agree with that. But, let’s say Fowler was hitting .300, Cecil was thriving, and Holland ended up being a successful closer for this team. Would some of the fans who criticize Mo & company be praising or crediting said moves? That answer is no.
Does seeing these young players from the 2018 season, step up and salvage it to a point they are in a late-season playoff push excite you? Harrison Bader, Jack Flaherty, Jordan Hicks, Tyler O’Neill, Austin Gomber and others have all exceeded anyone’s expectations on big league production this season. But does ownership get any props for drafting/acquiring these guys? (*crickets)
What about moves that seemed lackluster, yet worked to our advantage? Yes, Bud Norris has fallen off a bit, but he did better than expected for a good chunk of the season. Tyson Ross, a late season acquisition has done a decent job for this team. What about a guy named Miles Mikolas? A guy that I know for a fact was a laughing stock at Mozeliak’s expense this offseason by many and yet lo and behold has been the St. Louis Cardinals’ ace in 2018.
On the flip side, I can see the point that the Cardinals may not have went after a lot of big name players. Could they have chosen to pursue a Christian Yelich over a Marcell Ozuna? Sure! But, there’s no guarantee that Yelich’s numbers in Milwaukee would’ve translated being in this Cardinals lineup. I admit, I wouldn’t have minded finding out. However, the team did in fact offer to take on one Giancarlo Stanton’s massive contact and can at least be credited for attempts at others. We as fans, don’t know the ins and outs of deals aside from media articles, yet many of us play ‘armchair GM’, constructing fantasy teams in our minds and expect things to be as simple as an offer & acceptance.
What about a decision to replace Mike Matheny? A suggestion and a want from many fans that finally came to fruition? Whether or not you were one of those fans, the ownership went against their norm and replaced Matheny mid-season in an effort to go a different direction for the betterment of this team.
Again, some fans that bashed ownership for not doing this sooner, couldn’t give any credit to the decision. But you can bet your ass had they not chose to do it, would still be typing their fingers off on a keyboard behind a screen, mouthing about how “worthless” of a manager he was and how bad Mozeliak was for ‘not’ doing it.
I, myself, was not a fan of Mike Matheny the manager, but was a fan of the man himself. So while I can understand wanting him replaced, I never understood why such name calling of “garbage” & “worthless” were the words some fans would choose. Much like a Brett Cecil. Where the player has extremely underperformed, is detrimental to put on the mound and probably should be released. However it’s not like the guy has tried to pitch horribly. It just hasn’t worked out. Why does that make him a “piece of ****” to so many?
Not every St. Louis Cardinal fan expresses themselves in this manner. I believe every team’s fan base has these types of fans and that unfortunately their voices seem louder (especially on social media platforms) than others.
Do I still believe St. Louis has a plethora of knowledgeable, passionate & respectful fans who pride themselves with having class? Definitely! Do I think the fans that go the route of player/ownership bashing lack passion? Not at all. But would I want to sit next to the latter at a ballgame and claim them as one of our own? ... probably not.
I have my preferences, as do you. It’s what makes the world go round. I do not claim to be a smarter or better fan than anyone who fans differently. It would be a boring sports world if everyone had the same thoughts & opinions. I just question the mindset of some at times, of why it is so much easier to complain than to praise, and to find things to enjoy about a team that you follow and get emotionally invested into.
With that being said, how would you describe your Cardinals fandom? Feel free to comment with your thoughts, opinions & feedback on this article.
Thanks for reading.