This week two St. Louis Post Dispatch writers questioned the St. Louis Cardinals and Chicago Cubs more than one century-old rivalry. Apparently, the Cubs are not good enough. One columnist compared it to another rivalry in a far away part of the country.
It is unfair it is to kick dirt on such a glorious tradition that is still one of the best contests in the wide world of sports. No hooligans or extra security is needed.
The comparison to the Yankees Red Sox rivalry has been made too many times, and it never works. Yes, they are all historic baseball organizations. Sure, there are pinstripes involved, and most noticeably, the championships between the foes are uneven and involve(d) curses.
However, they are extremely different regions that have contrasting cultures. Our pronunciation of the word ‘fork’ completely differs, and we call large sandwiches by different names.
Anyone who has seen the ugliness that often shows itself at Fenway and in the Bronx knows the dissimilarities Anyone who has experienced the nastiness between Dodgers and Giants followers understands the differences as well.
Fans in the Midwest drink more than they curse (not Milwaukee) or fight. So what! That does not make it any less of a rivalry. It is true that he Cards and Cubs haven’t played in the playoffs recently, but they will.
I cherish the memories of watching my first Cards Cubs game at Wrigley Field with my friend Joey and his mom. We were fortunate to meet Harry Caray during that sunny afternoon game. The former KMOX announcer was incredibly grandfather like and fun. I remember us watching Jose Oquendo, who had a ball tied to a string, throw it on the top of the visitors dugout and pull it down to trick young Cubs fans. After a while, the Redbirds second basemen playfully threw the ball to a lucky kid.
As we were leaving the friendly confines wearing our Suns jerseys, only hours before game 7 of the Bulls Suns NBA Finals, grown-up Cubs fanatics yelled at us.
Even when the Cubs are awful, they still evoke emotion, and Baby Bears supporters despise the small town team that has rings. To them, this is their world series, and to us we don’t want to lose to the loathsome Cubbies.
With 14 more games to play between St. Louis and Chicago, there will be be some meaningful games, especially as the Cardinals look to push their way back to the post-season. Loses like tonight sting much more given the lengthy history and expectations of the clash.
All it takes is a single play to bring back the heat from a decade or a century ago. Perhaps when it is 1,200-1,200 (wins) the world will see the light.