An interesting e-mail came into PH8 headquarters yesterday, one that I felt obligated to share with you loyal four readers.
Brandt, a self-described “baseball fan free agent” wrote in asking why he should root for the Cardinals. A novel concept, having someone else sell you on their favorite club. Obviously, this was a task completely appropriate for a blogger. The e-mail follows:
To whom it may concern,
My name is Brandt [last name redacted], and I have been an avid baseball fan for nearly a decade. I have flirted with a number of teams, initially the Red Sox and recently the Dodgers. However, I have always become disenchanted with the way those clubs so easily lose their identity in the greedy and expensive pursuit of success. Therefore, I have embarked on an investigation to find the perfect franchise to follow for the rest of my life…which is where you come in.
The Cardinals are one of the teams on my final shortlist, and I would like to give actual Redbird fans the chance to put together an argument why I should support the St Louis. I would greatly appreciate any insight you can give me into what it is like as a Cardinals fan, and any motivating factors to sway my allegiance towards St Louis.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks in advance,
Wow, what an honor. Seriously, Brandt, I’m not sure you’re fully aware of what you have unleashed. How much time do you have to read my list of reasons?
I don’t want to be too pedantic about this, but a numbered list seems most appropriate, and the first can easily address your concern about identity and greed.
- The Cardinals’ active roster contains 20 players of 25 that are homegrown. The Cardinals have a rich baseball tradition, an incredibly devoted fanbase that allows them to play financially far above their market status, but they will certainly not be playing in the $200mm payroll range any time soon. Owner Bill DeWitt and his assembled front office team have recently been lauded several times over for their “model franchise” – winning at the big league level while continuing to churn out great talent through the minor leagues (with much credit due their scouting department, advanced analytic tools, and general process) – and it doesn’t hurt when your club is currently winning at a seemingly unsustainable pace.
- Listen to the players. Many often rave about playing in St. Louis, the knowledgeable fans (save for this cat), and the community support for the team. The “Best Fans in Baseball” moniker has become something of a running joke in recent years, but there is still some basis to it, if players who routinely cite it as a reason for signing with the club (although I suspect that’s just a convenient addition to the “I would like to WIN” reason) are to be believed.
- Busch Stadium III is a wonderful place to watch a ball game.
- Yadier Molina.
- Do you like being able to root for a team in the World Series? The Cardinals have played in three of the last nine Fall Classics. They’ve won two.
- Stan Musial.
- Did I mention that the Cardinals currently have the best record in baseball and many believe they also currently have the best farm system? Sustained winning is not necessarily a goal in St. Louis, it’s kind of expected – both by fans and the club.
- The Cards don’t boast a national treasure in one of their media booths, like a Vin Scully – but Mike Shannon is damn close. He and John Rooney make an excellent team, and Dan McLaughlin on TV is a pretty talented play-by-play guy too. (Don’t buy the garbage you’ll hear about Danny Mac from other Cardinal fans, he’s good at what he does.)
- Because they’re not owned by Jeffrey Loria?
I’ve got plenty more reasons, but I’m certain the Conclave readers can further persuade you, Brandt. What say, good Cardinal fans, why should Brandt be a Cardinals fan? Leave your best reasons in the comments below…