All of my non-pitching matchup articles are related, so if you want to read my last article, here it is. Definitely not necessary to read it, but it will provide some insight and shed some light upon this article.
So what is it like to be a St. Louis sports fan in the month of October? I think most of the people reading this article will be very familiar with the sentiment — a lackluster football squad already toiling in the basement of the NFL, a hockey team that is through maybe 10 games, and a baseball team playing in the post-season. That’s how it’s always been. The Cardinals are just better than the other teams in St. Louis on a year-in, year-out basis, and as a result have taken over as the team in this city. There were a few years in which the Rams came into the forefront of our hearts, but as quickly as they came, they went.
And so here we are today, ten years later. The dearly beloved Redbirds are far and away the most prized team in this city, and you would be hard pressed to find anyone that would disagree. I think for every status on Facebook regarding David Backes scoring a post-season goal, there were 50 about David Freese’s walk-off homer in Game 6 of the World Series. The Cardinals capture the hearts of the city in the dog days of August, and have no trouble clutching on to them through the end of the season.
So what would happen if the Cardinals didn’t make the post-season? Speaking from personal experience, it just feels weird. When I think of St. Louis, I think of beer, baseball, a crisp fall, and a combination of the three. Remove one of the elements, and the city isn’t complete. It’d be like taking Jordan off of the Bulls in the mid-90’s — it’d still be a fine team, but nothing special. St. Louis in the fall is special. Just ask anyone that was around when the Cards made their run last year. I wasn’t even there, and I could feel the buzz emanating from the TV screen while taking in the games. St. Louis came to life.
The feeling of vacancy would be even further amplified if a missed postseason came the season after a World Championship. People who have never in their lives been anything more than the casual fan of baseball have been tuning in regularly to the raspy voice of Mike Shannon. A missed postseason would be debilitating and crippling to a somehow growing fan-base. They don’t need to repeat as champions, they just need to keep their city afloat during the fall.
I spoke last article about culture, and when questioned about it, I didn’t really have time to respond. The thing about the Cardinal Culture is that it stems from its fan base. St. Louis needs its baseball team, and as a result it propels the guys to go out and get the job done. It is almost impossible for a non-St. Louis resident to understand because they have never experienced how much a team can mean to an entire population.
Go to a golf course in October, and the starter will be wearing a Cardinals cap. Go to lunch at a restaurant, and your waitress will ask you if you saw the great catch Jon Jay made last night, or go to the movies and have the guy who gives you popcorn ask you why you aren’t at home watching the baseball. I was in Los Angeles during an LA Lakers playoff run not to mention an LA Kings run that very closely resembled the Cards’ run of the fall. Surely, everywhere I go, people will be talking Lakers and Kings, right? Wrong! I never saw, heard, or sniffed even the smallest trace of die-hard fans in this city.
St. Louis needs its October baseball, and John Mozeliak is the man responsible for giving it to them this year. With just two days before the trade deadline, what is he going to do? Will he just lay dormant and hope to pick up some free agent talent? A lot of fans of other teams wouldn’t be surprised if he did this, after all it is a reasonable thing to do. But I seriously doubt it. I think Mozeliak will make a splash on a pitcher, if not more, because making the postseason every year is of the utmost importance to this franchise. I anxiously await the next two days, and even more anxiously await the month of October.
For questions/comments, please email Jake Siwak at [email protected]