Fredbird has been an understated issue for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2023.
The St. Louis Cardinals have no shortage of problems in 2023. The offense has not lived up to its potential, and the defense has been at a questionable level. The rotation, although better of late, has also been shaky. But fans are glossing over one major red flag — or, rather, red feather.
Much as Tyler O'Neill has tantalized fans from his elite 2021, Fredbird, the Cardinals' mascot, is living off of his reputation from 2020. Who can forget Fredbird's antics as the sole sign of life in the stadium? With no fans to distract him, Fredbird was brilliant. He ironed. He bathed. He painted. And in one memorable moment, Harrison Bader hit a home run that smacked the piece of art Fredbird had worked so hard on.
But as fans gradually began returning to the stadium in 2021, Fredbird's visibility took a nosedive. Gone were his days of beautiful artwork and basic bird hygiene; he was back to frolicking around the stadium and interacting with fans. That's all fine, but after such an illustrious peak, this slide back to adequacy is a major disappointment.
Fredbird seems to be more focused on his television career these days, playing himself on "Cardinals Kids." While this educational programming is important in getting young fans interested in baseball, Fredbird can't afford to neglect his responsibilities on the field. It appears that Brad Thompson does most of the heavy lifting on this show anyway, with Fredbird tagging along as the eye candy and comic relief.
Fredbird needs to get right, and that may require a trip to Memphis. Currently on the 40-man roster under the name "Jose Fermin," Fredbird should still have a long leash in the organization given the lack of minor league options used to this point. Still, a change in the nest may be necessary if he can't help the Cardinals produce upon his return.
Cardinals fans, I understand your ire toward the front office, the manager, the coaches, and the players, but let's not allow this aloof avian to get off scot-free.