Every year, I bring up the rear when it comes to our regular United Cardinal Bloggers roundtable. Which does make it difficult, since there are always a ton of great questions that come before me by these talented writers. This time, I decided to leverage the calendar into my question: Thanksgiving is coming. As a Cardinal fan, what makes your list of thanksgiving? What are you the most thankful for as part of your fandom?
The responses were, of course, wonderful. That’s what happens when you put this group to a task.
Bill Ivie (I70 Baseball):
I’m thankful to be the fan of a team with such a rich history.
I’m thankful to have seen Ozzie’s backflip in person.
I’m thankful for the soundtrack of my life including “Pardon me while I stand and applaud”, “Go Crazy Folks!”, “These Cardinals just won’t. go. away.” and “We will see you tomorrow night”.
I’m thankful that my favorite team is often the standard and leader of the game.
I’m thankful that this team, this game, have brought me some of the most important people in my life. From the UCB, to the best man and a groomsman at my wedding, to my wife…all connected by this team.
I’m thankful for the connection this team gave to me and my father. No matter how far apart, we always had something to talk about.
I’m thankful that I have a team I still enjoy talking about in November.
Most of all, I’m thankful that as good as this team is, I have far more to be thankful for in my life. It simply provides a great backdrop behind some of the greatest memories I have.
Tom Knuppel (CardinalsGM):
I am thankful the team has ownership and administration that wants to win which makes the team relevant on a yearly basis.
Doug Vollet (Baseball Geek In Galveston):
I too am thankful for being a fan of a team with a rich history.
I’m thankful for our leadership duo of Bill DeWitt and John Mozeliak. They keep this team competitive and in the playoff hunt every year.
I’m thankful for you, Daniel. You helped open the door for me. Without you, I wouldn’t have gotten my blog out there to the large Cardinals Community.I also wouldn’t have met all the other bloggers, several of whom who have become good friends.
I’m thankful for Adam Wainwright, who combines competitiveness with a fun personality.
I’m thankful for Yadi. He’s the rock of our our team.
I’m thankful for Pat Neshek. He may have only been a Card for a year, but he’s made a fan for life. I’ll follow hom no matter where he ends up.
I’m thankful for the chance (I hope) to come home to St. Louis this year during a Cards home stretch and catch a game.
I’m thankful for all of you UCB guys. You’ve helped make blogging fun.
Ben Chambers (The View From Here):
I’m thankful that the Cardinals are what seems to be constantly near the top of the league every year. Although that brings hate from so many people that are fans of other teams, I certainly count that a blessing every year.
I’m also thankful for such a great fan base to chat about the team year-round with. Both in UCB members and in the other fans because there is a great fan base. Yes, there are always going to be that “crazy uncle” both in real life and in any group of people, and that it true in Cardinal Nation, but the majority of fans are wonderful people to interact with.
Marilyn Green (Red Cleat Diaries):
Hmmm. This is an interesting question for me, as I am in a crossroads of sorts in my Cardinals fandom. If I had been asked this question a year ago, it would have been easier to answer. But after this past season, my views are changing.
I am severely disappointed in the performance of Mike Matheny. I saw some very disturbing things in 2014 out of Matheny that has caused me some consternation. I am not going to spend this response on those issues as this question was meant to elicit a positive response. So eliminating the Matheny issues I can say the following:
• I am thankful for being a fan of a smart and winning organization with a rich history.
• I am thankful we have a GM who is smart and savvy. I am still waiting to see what else he does this offseason before I jump full throttle on the bandwagon, but so far I am pleased. When I think we could have someone like Ruben Amaro Jr., I have to count my blessings.
• I am thankful for the friends I have made as a result of being a member of Cardinal Nation.
• I am thankful for the character of the players who make up the team. Considering some of the less than acceptable behavior displayed by many professional athletes, the fact that there has been no significant controversy surrounding the Cardinals is something to be thankful for.
• I am thankful for the enjoyment being a Cardinals fan has brought me and the distraction from personal troubles baseball has provided me.
There are probably a few more things I could mention, but I will stop here.
Dan Buffa (Cardinals Nerve Center):
I am thankful for you UCB members and fans across the league and Twitter that make every game of every season interesting and a learning experience. Through this membership, I have learned more about the inner dynamics of the game than I ever knew before my time on social media and this group. I am also thankful to the Cardinals for putting together a roster that doesn’t compete every single season but one that reaches for the top prize every October.
However, the game wouldn’t be as fun, winning franchise or not, if the fans and fellow bloggers didn’t interact like we do. It’s fun, invigorating, challenging and all together, worth the blood, sweat and tears.
Bob Netherton (On The Outside Corner):
I am most thankful for the community that I have found through Twitter and the members here at the UCB. There is no question that you all have rekindled an interest in baseball that had somewhat diminished over the years. Most of you know that my time as a fan goes back to the construction of the Arch and what we now call Busch II. Over the years, the team has gone though good and bad times, but my enthusiasm for watching the team play is higher than I think it has ever been. That is not a coincidence, it is because there is a fantastic group of people to share stories and conversations with. I thank each and every one of you for that.
I am also truly thankful for some of the wonderful people from these communities that I have had the privilege of meeting in real life, and look forward to the opportunity to meet more of you in the future.
In addition to the technology which hooks up all of us distant fans, I also appreciate that we have the ability to not only watch each baseball game in glorious high definition, but now we can enjoy a significant portion of the minor league games. This adds to the interest beyond just the 25 active players on the big league club.
On a personal note, I am also thankful to have nearly half a century of memories of Cardinals history and that my faculties are still in good enough order to keep them relatively straight 🙂 Not everything has been as good as it is now, but even in those “dark” years, there was always something or somebody to root for. OK, it might have been wondering which body part Geronimo Pena was going to injure next or which unlikely pitching was going to throw a no hitter. But there was always something if you were willing to watch.
Cole Claybourn (High Sock Sunday):
When I think about what I’m thankful for in terms of being a Cardinal fan, a lot of things come to mind. The first thing is the memories I can pass down to my kids. I’ll never forget where I was at for McGwire’s 62nd home run or for David Freese‘s walk-off, and the countless other memories in between. Being a Cardinal fan is truly something special and the bond that fans feel with the team is unmatched across sports.
The other thing is the friendships you develop through being a fan. In just this year alone I’ve made so many new friends through blogging and Twitter. I honestly could make the trip from Evansville to St. Louis alone and feel like I’ve got at least 10 people I could call up to go to a game with. It’s truly like being a part of a big family. And in tough times like Oscar Taveras‘ death, you need that family.
This is truly something that will always be a part of me, and I’d argue would even define me to some extend. And I’m more than okay with that.
Daniel Solzman (Redbird Rants):
There’s a lot to be thankful for. Being able to watch STL win two World Series championships in my lifetime including an unforgettable Game 6 is something that nobody can ever take away from me.
Look at the UCB and that’s not something that you really see with fans of other teams be it baseball or other sports. I’m thankful for belonging to such a group even if we disagree on things when it comes to armchair managing.
The advent of social media has changed the way we follow games and that’s for the better.
Mark Tomasik (RetroSimba):
Thankful for the connections made with fellow Cardinals fans through our United Cardinals Bloggers group. It’s fun to share with others the passion for Cardinals baseball.
As for me? Well, the bloggers above touched on most of them. I’m quite fond of this community we are involved in and I love that we can get together in person occasionally but interact all year long.
I’m thankful that this team competes on a high level and doesn’t make too many missteps along the way. Folks may poke fun at “the best fans in baseball” and “the Cardinal Way”, but I think it’s a wonderful thing that these fans and this organization are held to such a high standard.
I’m thankful that we have players like Wainwright, Matt Holliday, Michael Wacha, Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter, superb players on the field and great people off of it. Not every team has the luxury of genuinely admiring their stars as players and men.
And I’m thankful that, day after day, folks keep coming by here to read what ramblings I might have. I appreciate every one of you and I hope you’ll keep coming back throughout the winter and into the next season!