St. Louis Cardinals: A Rivalry Renews In A Season Opener

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Oct 9, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) attempts a double play as Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber (12) slides into the bag in game one of the NLDS at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Oct 9, 2015; St. Louis, MO, USA; St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong (16) attempts a double play as Chicago Cubs outfielder Kyle Schwarber (12) slides into the bag in game one of the NLDS at Busch Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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A schedule change has been announced that will make the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs renew their rivalry on Sunday April 2nd.  The game will be held at Busch Stadium, and will be broadcasted by ESPN.

When the St. Louis Cardinals play the Cubs it is always a big draw for television.  Now with the World Series added into the mix, the ratings are sure to sky rocket.  That is why ESPN wanted this game to be moved to become their Sunday Night Opener.

This one game will begin the season with one of the most storied rivalries in all of sports.  Even though the Cubs have just three World Series titles, as compared to the eleven that the Cardinals have won, the rivalry still remains one of the best ever.

This past season, the St. Louis Cardinals had a record of 9-10 against the Cubs, bringing the total record for the series to 1,207–1,156; advantage Cubs.

Part of what makes this rivalry so great is that both fan bases see themselves as the best in baseball. Before the 2016 bandwagon, Cubs fans were resilient.  They never won, but they never gave up hope.  Cardinal fans have never really had their loyalty tested.  But one thing is for sure, the respect and knowledge for the game makes Cardinal fans the best in baseball in my humble and biased opinion.

There is one thing that can be said for sure though, when these two teams play each other, fans travel better than any other rivalry.  No fan is weary of the 300 miles it takes between cities and the showing for both teams is amazing regardless of venue.  Not even Yankees vs. Red Sox have the same cross-town support and those cities are closer.

One of the more iconic moments of the rivalry was the home run race of the 1998 season.  Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa were in a tight battle to see who would come out on top as the home run king that year.  Entering the last month of the season, the were tied at fifty-five home runs each. By the end of September, McGwire came out on top, hitting seventy homers, which bested Sosa’s sixty-six.

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Even though McGwire ultimately won, the race took a larger-than-life persona in September when the Cardinals and Cubs squared off.  McGwire ended up hitting two homers in the series, Sosa hit none.  But when the two met, sparks were set to fly.

Perhaps my favorite moment of this historic rivalry happened in 1964.  The Cubs made a trade that is widely regarded as one of the worst in baseball history.  They sent Lou Brock to the Cardinals for several players headlined by Ernie Brogolio.

Brogolio was a pitcher who the Cubs felt would put them over the top in 1964 and bring them back a World Series ring.  Little did they know they just traded a Hall Of Fame outfielder who would play until he was 40, finishing with 3,023 career hits and 938 steals.  Brock retired as the steal king, breaking Ty Cobb’s record in 1977, among many other feats.

These teams have always had a great rivalry.  For every Ozzie Smith, Stan Musial, and Albert Pujols, there is a Ryne Sandberg, Ernie Banks, and Ron Santo.  Now with Theo Epstein at the helm in Chicago, they have bolstered their farm system which means for years to come this rivalry will continue to be competitive.

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The youth on the World Series team means the Cubs are poised for another run, but history argues and suggests that once the Cardinals reach the postseason again they will have success. This rivalry is truly a tale of two seasons, Cubs win the regular season, Cardinals take the post season.  On April 2nd, it reignites for the 2017 season.  I can’t wait.

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