Mike Matheny thinks St. Louis Cardinals fans are a bunch of Bitter Berthas.
Well, not exactly. What he actually said is he thinks some St. Louis Cardinals fans are ruining their chances to enjoy the epic comeback that is surely in the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals’ future by being pessimistic about the team’s chances.
"“Just the general baseball fans, it’s a shame when they make up their mind and make strong statements about where our club’s going to go,” he said, “because they don’t get to be really an active part of when something really cool happens. I think about how many people must have done that in ’11. They’re just so bitter — this team, this, that or the other. And kind of had their mind set. So when everything started to go well, did they truly get to enjoy what happened from there on out? I think that’s part of the excitement of the entire season. Stick it out, ride it out. You never know what you’re going to see.”"
Predictably, fan reaction on Twitter has not been very positive.
I can’t imagine why Mike thinks we’re bitter.
The BFIB get a lot of heat from other fanbases. Some of it is probably deserved. We’ve been accused of being spoiled and entitled and perhaps we are. After all, Cubs fans went 108 years between World Series titles.
If you’re a St. Louis Cardinals fan over the age of seven, you’ve had the chance to watch your team win at least one. At the age of 42, I’ve seen my team win three and lose four.
The St. Louis Cardinals have certainly had their dry decades. There’s no arguing that the club has enjoyed tremendous success in the Wild Card era. The Cardinals have missed the playoffs just one time since they won the 2011 World Series. They have made 12 playoff runs since the 2000 season.
So yeah, Cardinals fans are probably a bit spoiled. However, I wouldn’t say the fanbase is bitter. I’d say we’re frustrated. Yes, we expect our team to compete for a playoff spot every year, but more than that, we expect our team to play good baseball.
The 2017 St. Louis Cardinals is not a good baseball team. Fans are going to get frustrated when their team doesn’t win, but I think what is more frustrating to Cardinals fans is watching their team play badly.
After listening to the front office preach fundamentals all off-season, St. Louis Cardinals fans have watched their beloved team botch routine play after routine play. They’ve watched them airmail throws into the stands and miss the cutoff man. They’ve watched them flat-out drop balls in the outfield. They’ve watched them fail to cover first base and then fail to cover first base again.
When the 2017 St. Louis Cardinals aren’t messing up on defense, they’re running into outs on the bases. When they’re not doing that, they’re blowing leads in the bullpen, or struggling to push even one run across the plate.
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For large chunks of the 2017 season, the St. Louis Cardinals have just not been a fun team to watch. Worse, they keep making the same mistakes over and over again.
Yet, Mike thinks the fanbase should be eternally optimistic like he is. His club just needs to keep grinding and eventually, it will all turn around.
Sorry, Mike, that’s not how this works. You see, even though this team is incredibly frustrating to watch, we keep watching because we love the team and the game and we have hope that the team will somehow turn things around. However, we also recognize that doesn’t happen simply by being optimistic.
Additionally, St. Louis Cardinals fans are savvy enough to know that the worst place to be is stuck in the middle. A team that really stinks can at least look forward to a high round draft pick that might help the team win in the future. A mediocre team can really only look forward to more mediocrity.
When John Mozeliak held his June 8 presser promising an organizational shakeup, the St. Louis Cardinals were 26-32 and 4.5 games out. With the trade deadline looming, the Cardinals are 52-53 and 4.5 games out.
The big organizational changes? John Mozeliak got a promotion. The third base coach got axed. The team swapped a minor league pitcher for a minor league outfielder.
None of those actions really inspire confidence that fans can expect anything but more of the same. Therefore, when we see you continue to make the same mistakes and then insisting everything is somehow just going to right itself, we get a little frustrated and maybe, yes even a little bitter. Or maybe we’re just cranky because we’re tired and need a day off.
Time has run out for the team to make a big move before the July 31st, trade deadline. If Mike Matheny and the St. Louis Cardinals front office wants fans to be optimistic, they need to give us something to be optimistic about.