Fan Profile Friday: Joel Schrock
By Editorial Staff
Joel Schrock is from Freeport, Illinois, right in the heart of Cubbies nation. His first baseball experience was at Wrigley Field to see the Cubs take on the Expos in 1992. He was 6-years-old at the time, and you would think he would have fallen for those lovable losers from Chicago. But Joel wasn’t quick to jump into a love affair with the hometown team quite yet. Instead, he waited. Then, in 1996, he went to his first Cardinals game. He liked what he saw.
“I was listening to the games on the radio at that point, but I became a big Cardinals fan after that,” Schrock said.
He had some help making his decision too.
“My mom’s side of the family is all from Cardinals country,” he said. “I had plenty of good influences growing up.”
Joel has been a huge Cardinals fan ever since. He has some great memories surrounding the team over the last 15 or so years. A true fan that considered Kerry Robinson his favorite player during his three-year stay in St. Louis. “I realize he wasn’t the greatest player ever, but he was fun to watch,” Schrock said of Robinson. It’s hard to find too many fans rooting for a little role player, but St. Louis fans see every player’s importance. Currently, Adam Wainwright is his favorite, and he wonders what it would have been like to see the fierce Bob Gibson on the mound.
Schrock also enjoyed the classic summer of ’98 when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa captivated a nation. Joel saw the race up close and personal at Wrigley Field. In that chapter of the rivalry matchup, something special happened. McGwire hit his 48th and 49th homer runs of the season. Sammy smashed No. 48 to keep pace. And Joel watched it all from the Wrigley bleachers. “The excitement surrounding that game (and the fact that the Cards won in extra innings) made it one of my favorites,” he said.
His favorite moment is one all Cards fans can agree on: the 2006 World Series. A championship is certainly unforgettable when your team comes through.
Joel’s proximity to Wrigley Field has its draws for a Cards fan too. Besides the McGwire-Sosa battle, the rivalry is always a good time. Especially for Cardinals fans, who love to remind Chicago that its team is still waiting. Joel described a funny scene that often takes place at Wrigley.
“Cardinals fans do a pretty good job congregating around the Steve Bartman seat at Wrigley Field to take pictures,” he said.
We’ll leave it at that for the sake of all those Freeport Cubs fans out there.
Though Cards fans have some fun poking fun at the enemy, they are often thought to be the best in baseball. Joel thinks it comes down to three simple things: passion, baseball intelligence, and respect for the game.
“There are a lot of stadiums — I won’t be specific — that lack most of those things, but Busch is always a fun place to see a game,” Schrock.
With the 2010 season rapidly approaching, Joel says health will be a key as it is every year. He likes the lineup and the rotation with the 1-2 punch at the top and solid guys filling in below. Schrock’s main concern: the bullpen.
“I am in the camp that thinks Franklin was a mirage at the beginning of last year, and I would have liked to see the back end of the bullpen addressed in the offseason.”
He sees this Cardinals team reaching 90 wins again and challenging for the National League title. After that, though, the American League – specifically those darned Yankees – worry him.
Schrock is excited for another season of Redbird baseball as he works on his graduate degree in New York. Summer can’t come fast enough.