Opening day is here again, and at the time I am writing this the birds are up 5-1 on the Reds in the top of the 8th. The weather is wet and cool, but opening day is a beautiful thing in St. Louis no matter what Mother Nature brings us.
It is a day in St. Louis when even if you are not an avid baseball fan you still cannot help but take notice of the pageantry and charge in the air on the first home Cards' game of the season. The great Bernie Miklasz put it best in his obligatory opening day column by saying that "the sentimental feelings can churn for any number of reasons. Closing your eyes to remember the scenes of the eternally radiant Stan Musial waving to the crowd. Taking that first bite of a ballpark hot dog. Dancing through the streets after David Freese hit the home run. It may be the comfort of slipping on a favorite baseball shirt or replica jersey that can only be worn during the season. It’s the thousand flashbacks of the good times with friends, loved ones and the souls of the departed."
I agree with all of this. I will never forget that I was sitting four feet from where I am as I type this when David Freese clocked the homer against the Rangers in 2011. In the past couple of years I have lost a grandfather, aunt, and my girlfriend's dad, and a glaring memory that comes to mind when thinking about all three of them is how we used to talk about the Cardinals regularly when we were together. There are times when I find myself talking to them even after they are gone when something exciting or frustrating happens with the team, and I will just bet that they are somewhere watching. My late grandpa Dick was one that helped turn me onto the team at a young age, my Aunt Vickie took me to several games before I could drive myself, and I could always count on a good conversation with my girlfriend's late father Ronnie about the latest with the team. I am sure there are several guys that have been brought home to the dad of their girlfriend or future wife that have found a common ground discussing the Redbirds.
Bernie Miklasz is a local idol of mine and he wrote a beautiful column/blowjob in print about how opening day in St. Louis is a very special occasion. (I use the term "blowjob in print" as a term of endearment.) I grew up a Cards' fan so I know there is something special about it.
I was always brought up not to care about what other people think of me (I once had blue hair), but that does not mean that a highly suspected view of St. Louis baseball hubris around the country does not bother me. It bothers me because I can see it firsthand at times.
Opening day is a special day all over the country. Opening day was even a special day in Montreal when the Expos were still a team. Grandpas bonded with their grand kids over Gary Carter just like they did over Ozzie and Willie. I do not mean to suggest that all Cardinals fans have become too full of themselves, but there is a faction that has. We are a great baseball town, but lets not forget what makes us so.
What has made us a great baseball town is the fact that a majority of our fanbase are educated fans that understand the game and cheer on the other team too when they deserve it.
What makes us a a great baseball town is that we do not get too cocky for our own good and for the most part are able to pass credit along to a rival when it is truly due to them. What makes us a great baseball team is that we are a down-to-earth group.
some of the most despised fan-bases in the country are those that have been on the winning end so long that they expect to be so every year and become pains in the nutsack when they are not. The Cardinals are a team that we expect to win every year, but lets not become what we have hated in the past because of it.
I am here to tell you that even though we know we have it well in the baseball department we are not the center of the universe. I can also tell you though being around a lot of them over the years that believe it or not, Chicago sports fans do have souls. True.
PS: As of press time the Cardinals just laid the smack down on the Reds' candy-asses, 5-3.