For the second time in 6 years, the St. Louis Cardinals are the World Series champions. And for the second time in 6 years, people are scratching their heads and wondering, “How the f*ck did the Cardinals win the World Series?” On August 25, the Redbirds were, of course, 10.5 games back in the Wild Card race. At that same time, the Milwaukee Brewers had also established an insurmountable lead in the NL Central, so it seemed like the Cardinals didn’t have a snowball’s chance. Then they simply did what everyone loves to hate them for – they played gritty and determined, and they took advantage of other teams’ misfortunes.
It has been building for a few years now, but the Cardinals have finally developed into that team that people love to hate for no other reason than, “I hate them.” It has spread beyond the usual divisional hatred into a full-blown National League contempt. Fans of the Philadelphia Phillies despise the Cardinals for ruining “their season.” Atlanta Braves fans hate the Cards because it’s their fault that the Braves fell into one of the biggest regular season collapses in league history. And as one Milwaukee Brewers fan put it to me at Game 3 of the NCLS, “You’re the Yankees of the National League.”
I could debate that rhetoric for days, but I don’t want to spoil the moment with nonsensical arguments. Instead, the Cardinals spent yesterday celebrating with their city of “baseball’s best fans,” a title that certainly fuels the growing fire of hatred. The Birds also stopped by Edward Jones Dome to give the St. Louis Rams a little luck in their defeat of the New Orleans Saints. And the attention has already mostly turned to Albert Pujols’ destiny, but we’ll get to that later. In the meantime, Cardinals fans rejoice, everyone else – haters to the left.
(Images via the AP and Getty.)
I had to start with this, because it’s by far the greatest photo of Tony LaRussa ever taken. Even better than the Lo-hawk during the playoffs.