When did Cardinals Nation get so vile and vulgar?
When I started this website (and other small fan groups/sites along the way), it was because I had a lot of really intelligent baseball friends and we could talk baseball all day every day. Oh, we definitely had differences of opinion but that’s was what made our discussions even more fantastic. Thing is, we never called each other names, blocked them, ignored them, unfriended them and all kinds of other hateful things one sees in posts on Facebook, tweets on Twitter, comments on articles and messages in our inbox.
So much venom… and it doesn’t even make sense!
You see, we saved all that trash talking for the Cubs fans and then whichever other team wanted to call themselves our rivals because they had a good year or two. I can’t quite figure it out today. Is it the internet? Social media? People in general today?
Now when I go to the ball park, I still find those same intelligent fans, the ones who know good baseball when they see it, even appreciating the opposing team’s efforts and great plays.
In fact, I tried to think of the last time I had a good ribbing with a rival team’s fan… and I can’t even remember. Sure, there have been the occasional trolls that go looking for sites to post on because their team beat yours, but every time I find myself chatting with a Cubs or insert another rival team’s fan, it starts as trash talk and then turns into a good baseball discussion. Now if you want to find all that anger, discontent and trash talk, you just need to talk to another Cardinals fan.
Personally, I separate our fan base into two categories:
1. Cardinals fans.
They have been around for years. Baseball fans, critical or not. Intelligent. Passionate. Opinionated. They don’t refer to themselves as the ‘Best Fans in Baseball’. They know where that label came from and appreciate it, but don’t gloat about it and throw it around everywhere. The strangers you high-five at the game. The strangers you hug in the streets after the World Series. The people who give standing ovations to former and new players. Classy. Normal.
2. The BFIBs.
The elitists. The armchair GMs and Managers. The people who bash Mike Matheny and John Mozeliak’s every single move while they are being the best or one of the best teams in baseball. The people who demand a move and then complain about it without knowing how the move will turn out. The people who suggest video game trades (with force trading option enabled) while keeping a straight face. The people who call other fans names because they don’t agree with their opinion. People that wouldn’t be happy if team went 162-0. The people who think Matheny shouldn’t be the team’s manager despite how well he has done and how much he has developed. People that bash Mozeliak’s moves before seeing them play out.
Example I give when explaining the good part of our fan base is this: I once saw Bernard Gilkey lose a ball in the lights while playing left field. It hit his glove and he dropped it. He got a standing ovation his next time at the plate basically telling the young rookie to shake it off, we are glad you are here. While I was in San Diego for a school with the Navy, I used to catch a bunch of Padres games because they had sweet military deals that were so cheap. My favorite was the bleachers for $5 but they were regular seats and you could sit anywhere so I always chose the first row in right field. Anyways, I caught the home opener in 1996 (for $5!!) and they played the Florida Marlins, if I remember correctly. Rickey Henderson was now playing for the Padres. He had a very similar play happen to him that I saw happen to Gilkey, and many players complained about those old lights at Jack Murphy Stadium. He was booed. When he came to bat, he was booed again! I couldn’t believe it, this guy was going to be a Hall of Famer! That was my first experience of many games at other ballparks where I realized how much more I liked watching baseball back in St. Louis. Those were basically BFIBs!
Yes, I am a Mozeliak fan. Yes, I am a Matheny fan. Do I agree with every move? Of course not.
I also was a Walt Jocketty fan, but there weren’t many people back then who could even name a minor league prospect in the organization beyond one or two of them. He would usually trade one or both of them for an aged veteran star who would come in and win the hearts of the fans…but didn’t necessarily get the job done in the overall scheme of things.
I didn’t know much about Mozeliak when he took over the job, but I figured the Redbirds knew what they were doing. Now that there are more prospects in the organization, they draft way better. Sure, you can complain about “not making big splashes” and “throwing tons of money at players.” They have only done that once, offering a long term deal and a short term deal worth more annually. Both were turned down because the organization made it seem like business and not family. LOL but I’m not getting into that.
Not making those kind of deals are why long term extensions can be made with current players on the team and not via trades and big free agent signings. Not many clubs can realistically expect to reach the World Series year after year, like we feel is our divine right to every season. They usually have to move pieces in order to free up money and, as a result, teams get dismantled, locker rooms lose character guys, etc.
Mozeliak hasn’t made many bad trades and the ones you can think of were not so bad. When I try to think of misfires he has made, I think of Pedro Feliz and Justin Masterson. He learned from the Feliz trade and Masterson trade, I can’t even be mad at. At the same time, he brought John Lackey over. “Mo” was looking for inning eaters. Masterson was projected to be like another Jake Westbrook. It didn’t work out.
What did they give up for him? Do you remember the name? His name is James Ramsey. He was a 24-year-old AA outfielder in an organization already stockpiled with outfielders and now a 25-year-old outfielder playing AAA in the Indians organization. The Tribe gave him a chance to move up to AAA, where he might see big league action sooner than he would have here. A quick glance at his stats shows his average has dropped and he has more strikeouts in AAA this year than Mark Reynolds or Brandon Moss have in the majors this year.
So, BFIBs, are you still mad about that trade? The trade wasn’t detrimental to either the team or the organization. You aren’t missing what they gave up, you probably forgot his name (Psst, Ramsey!) and, in hindsight, the poor guy would have been getting verbally trashed every day here by our own “fans” since it seems that all they look at is average and strikeouts.
Were you mad about giving up fan favorite Joe Kelly and Allen Craig for Lackey? Boston is in last place in the AL East, Craig is in Pawtucket and Kelly recently returned but is about to lose his spot in the rotation after losing both starts since being recalled. Monday, he gave up seven hits and five runs in just 3 1/3 innings.
Conversely, Lackey is making the league minimum and currently putting up ace numbers in the Cardinals rotation.
One can’t complain about moves before seeing them in action and watching them pan out. Can’t complain about who is traded away because you have to trade talent in order to get talent.
I like Rob Kaminsky, I am friends with him on Facebook. He is a great guy. Very talented player. Truth is, the Cardinals know how to find pitching and they stock up on it. They will find more. I hope Kaminsky does well and I hope the Indians organization is in better shape when it’s his time to shine there. I will continue to follow his career because I can be a fan of players that aren’t on the Cardinals. Maybe in a few years (he is projected to be MLB ready in 2018), we will see him pitching like Waino and be disappointed that he wasn’t still a Cardinal or he can be pitching like Masterson and we can say “hey, that worked out!” You just never know. Mo attempted to fill a need they have now and gave up talent to get it. Tim Cooney, Marco Gonzales, Jack Flaherty, Alex Reyes, and Luke Weaver are on their way too.
We see it on paper, Mo and his staff’s job is to analyze the heck out of things and see things that we don’t see. Used to call that kind of thing Duncan’s Magic when it came to the Redbirds picking up hurlers that had you scratching your head because the pitching coach would tell the GM that he could fix that guy. Now it’s Mozeliak’s Magic, or the “Cardinals’ Devil Magic” as it is called by some.
I am not going to break down the trade for Moss, plenty of other people have done that or are now doing that. Now, if you know me personally, you know that I also follow the Oakland A’s. I was born there and they have been ‘My AL Team.’ You think Cardinals fans are spoiled now? I had the A’s to tide me over during part of the Cardinals’ down years. I had two organizations that I was being spoiled with and when they basically merged in the mid-90s, I thought I had died and went to heaven. Tony LaRussa is like the uncle I never had, the guy has definitely been in my life more than some of my family!
Moss and Donaldson were like a reincarnation of the Bash Brothers. Like 101 ESPN’s Randy Karraker mentioned earlier, Oakland is the sixth hardest stadium to hit home runs in, and Moss hit 76 there over three seasons. I think a change of scenery from Cleveland will definitely do him some good. In addition, he plays better away from Progressive Field. He had a .241/.300/.511 slash line with a 124 wRC+ and .349 wOBA away from Progressive Field.
If you wanted Adam Lind over him, the rumors I heard were that the brain trust wanted Alex Reyes or Marco Gonzales. Now, would you rather lose Kaminsky for Moss or one of those guys for Lind? Marco Gonzales is MLB ready and Alex Reyes is another coming of Carlos Martinez, but with more swing and miss stuff. Either option is most likely only going to be playing here over the next few months. Lind has an option and Moss has arbitration.
Both options were probably enticing to Mozeliak because they can be flipped in the off-season for something in return. They could also be good backup plans at first base if Matt Adams can’t come back, to Holliday since both can play outfield or if the Cards don’t re-sign Heyward. What if Moss gets here and hits 10-12 home runs in the remainder of the season?
So many what if’s. Just wait it out. They need some help right now from a first baseman more than they do a young single A pitcher.
You want to call me a Mozeliak apologist? That’s fine with me. Am I saying he is perfect and can’t make a mistake? Of course not, but his track record shows he is way more successful than not. When you think he isn’t doing anything but sitting on his hands, he is most likely exploring options as he always is… and turning down ones that don’t make sense now and for the future.
Saw this quote as I was finishing up this long rant that made me smile:
“I certainly understand where people might say we overpaid on this deal, but I would also position it as we had a need,” Mozeliak explained. “It’s funny because when we don’t make deals, we get killed. And when we do, we’re [said to be] overpaying. It’s hard to just please everybody. But ultimately, when you make decisions and you’re overseeing a club, the thing you have to do is what you feel is best for your team. And overall, I felt this was going to help us.”
Even though the BFIBs think Mozeliak does nothing but sit on his hands, I always picture him looking at the organization in a much bigger picture and always thinking of ways to improve the team like a huge chess game. I see him with the grin in the picture above on his face like he gets this weird enjoyment out of it. He loves the pressure and thrives on it.
Keep calm, Cardinals fans…and for you BFIBs, logout and go get some sun.