Being born in central Illinois, I grew up a die hard Cardinals fan. My
high school mascot was the Cardinal, Ozzie Smith was doing flips at the
same time I began my tee ball career and the sweet sounds of Jack Buck
calling games really brought me in as a fan for life.
“initial” following of the Cardinals I have seen the Red Birds win 2
World Series rings and multiple Division Championships, but it is now
that I have this crazy feeling…that “are these guys really
guys?” Fresh off their 10th title after a crazy post season run filled
with late inning drama, role players, and a pint size MVP, the
Cardinals are looking more like their in state rival Royals than the
While injuries are a part of the game and were very much a part of last
years team, it seems that this year the bumps and scrapes are becoming
more of who’s next rather than when’s he coming back? Tony LaRussa,
one of the greatest out of the box baseball thinkers, was found asleep
at the wheel, drunk before the season started and the tragically, the
Cardinals lost another pitcher when Josh Hancock,29, died earlier this
season. This almost too much to take. The Cardinals are 5 1/2 games
back of the young Brewers and have looked at times like they are ready
to roll over and just let the year pass them by. So I ask, “is it time
to give up on the Cards?” Is it time to think about what draws all
them Chicago faithful to Wrigley day in and day out, even though they
haven’t had anything to brag about since 1908? When do you jump off
your soap box of your team and jump on the bandwagon of another? How
does one team make you go out and buy tshirts, mouse pads, clocks and
mini bats with their logo plastered all over them instead of another?
Why can’t I just root for the best team in the division, whoever that
may be at the time? What about just rooting for the strongest mascot?
(Could Tigers take Giants?) How about just going with the Yankees, I’m
pretty sure that they’re going to just go out and get all of my
favorite players anyways.
It’s at this moment that I think about Ozzies walkoff in the ’85 NLCS
and Jack Buck shouting “Go crazy, folks! Go crazy!” and I say to you
all, its not the record that makes you a fan, its the relationship you
have with yourself and your team that draws you to the tv, radio or
stadium. It’s that memory of you and your dad at the ball park when
you almost caught that foul ball and that infant jersey you know you’re
gonna buy for your not born yet son. As for me….I’ll be there
tommorrow and the next day, to see Albert and company try and claw their
way back into the standings, and maybe into October.