Being Vanilla Is No Laughing Matter

Guess what? Everyone hates the Cardinals.

…That didn’t take long.

It’s no secret that the Redbirds are pretty much the bane of baseball’s existence everywhere but St. Louis. Every season something comes up that gives national writers and opposing teams all the fodder they need to continue feeding the deep-seated distaste. I get it. If I was a fan of another team, I’d dislike the Cardinals, too. But I’m always amused when the pot is stirred based on the angle of an article, or the supposed “narrative” being perpetuated.

In 2015, we’re getting the party started early, thanks to Bob NightengaleVanilla_Cocoa_Sauce

Full disclosure: I’m generally not impressed by what he has to say. So, when I pulled up the article last night about the Cardinals, I wasn’t expecting much. I had no idea, though, that it would create such an uproar.

The Cardinals are boring. That’s the premise. They win in relative quiet, content to blend in rather than stand out. That’s the angle. It’s not original, or particularly earth shattering, but he did get insiders to actually comment on the concept.

Now, those comments — given most likely because they were asked about being boring — are making people inexplicably angry.

The thing is, I read every single quote as being just as tongue-in-cheek as most everything else Adam Wainwright and John Mozeliak ever say. That’s how they deal with the media in general. So, the “vanilla colored sprinkles” comment? I can just see the sly grin and hear the buried chuckle in Mo’s voice as he said it.

The “If I could remember anything bad, I wouldn’t bring it up anyway” line is just dripping with Waino’s typical sarcasm.

And if anyone took the “I don’t need another T-shirt” bit seriously? Come on, I know you’re sharper than that.

I don’t expect all of America to know the personalities of these guys or the relationships they have with the media, but as someone who hears them speak often, I read this article and laughed. Not at them, but with them.

As for the other players who said they loved being in St. Louis? That’s not new. It’s also not abnormal for any player speaking about their new team and fan base. The Cardinals may be — and likely are — genuinely good guys, but let’s not pretend they’re the only good guys anyone ever writes about. (And Cardinals fans, don’t perpetuate this by suggesting that the Cardinals’ version of “good” is really great compared to everyone else. Okay?)

The idea that the Cardinals believing in their system means they think they’re better than everyone else is as old and tired as the line of questioning that leads to this kind of story. Why villainize the players for simply answering the questions they’re asked? Sure, I suppose they could argue against the “stodgy but successful” tag, but why? So they have to spill more about the inside workings of what appears to be a fairly private organization? Not going to happen.

Want a different story? Ask different questions. Until then, this is what they’re going to give. Like Craig Calcaterra says here, why would they offer up anything else?

Truthfully? I don’t care if they’re vanilla or rainbow swirl. They give me great pleasure on the field and off, no matter what the rest of the baseball world says. Don’t like them because they’re not entertaining enough for you? Fine. No skin off my nose. They’re a good team with good players, and a pretty exceptional last decade or so of baseball. If no one can squeeze any greater interest than that out of these guys, I’ll be okay.

The outcry has me a little confused, but I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by that. Actually, I’m kind of annoyed that I’m even giving it this much thought, but besides Carlos Martinez being predictably stellar in his first Spring Training start, there’s really nothing else to dwell on. So, here we are.

But, guys, baseball just started. Can’t we enjoy that reality for at least a couple of days before having to hate each other again?

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