Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Sports column

October 27, 2013

Is there Cardinals fatigue?

BLUEFIELD — At least it wasn't considered breaking news, such as a few years ago when the Associated Press came out with a news break telling the media world that then-New York Mets catcher Mike Piazza had colored his hair.

That was simply bizarre. What I read a couple of nights ago simply dumbfounded me, and now I am writing this with hopes to getting it out of my system.

If I had known Duke would beat Virginia Tech, that would have been the subject of choice, but who would have thought that would happen. That will wait until next week some time when I don’t have a girlfriend waiting to head back home.

Oh well, back to the subject.  

Sitting at my desk and staying warm on Friday night while updating BDTBlitz and waiting for football games to end, I came across an AP article that had me shaking my head, and wishing I could call Cardinals fan and fellow scribe Larry Hypes and get his reaction.

Of course, he was at a football game of his own, but this article would have peaked his interest.

The headline blared out, 'For some fans, Cardinals Fatigue has set.'

Excuse me. This came from the same World Series that includes the Boston Red Sox, who are now the New York Yankees in terms of constant publicity for any numbers of reasons, from their beards to their reputations as misfits or anything else the national media can figure out to write about.

Write about Fenway Park, and then give it up. The place deserves the publicity, and going to a game there is still on my bucket list.

It really all started when the Red Sox snapped their 86-year World Series drought in 2004. The Red Sox, who beat the Cardinals in four games, were referred to as these dopey, crazy bunch of guys who simply believed they could win. All of a sudden, and they are still there, books were being written by Red Sox fans entitled, 'Now I can die in peace.'

This current group has largely been received the same way, and some of them have been on national magazine covers displaying the worst collection of beards since the beard-clad 'House of David' baseball team a century ago that used to tour the country playing baseball.

While the Cardinals go out and win year after year, the Red Sox have mostly done the same _ making the playoffs in seven of 11 seasons _ mercifully missing the previous three years _ winning two World Series and losing out on two other opportunities by twice falling in Game 7 of the American League Championship Series.

The difference in St. Louis is they just go out and win and at the end of the season, there they are, back in the postseason. As for the Red Sox, the entire sports world has to hear about them as they work their way through the season and even into the offseason since Boston is so close to the media mecca known as New York, and ESPN.

Yet, here is an article telling us that folks are tired of the ... Cardinals?

True, St. Louis has been in 10 of the last 14 postseasons, been in the National League Championship Series eight times, and in the World Series four times, but did not the Yankees have a similar run a few years ago, and the Red Sox, as has been shown above, have been much the same.

But, I have never seen an article about how fatigued we all are of the Yankees and Red Sox, and especially of that rivalry which most of the rest of us are simply sick of hearing about.

What is it about winning that sours others on particular teams? I admit it, I don’t like the Yankees, Red Sox, Lakers, Dallas Cowboys, Notre Dame, several teams that I simply get tired of hearing about.

Give me the Cardinals anytime. They simply go out and win, and we don’t have to hear about for 12 months a year.

Now I know there are numerous readers who feel much the same about the SEC, and especially about Alabama. Perhaps, if I wasn’t a fan of the Crimson Tide, I would feel the same, but I can’t get enough of them and can’t wait to go see them play at Mississippi State next month.

Call it an SEC thing. All the league has done is win seven straight national titles, and could be headed for an eighth, if they don't cannibalize themselves in the process.

 Folks across the country _ other than in the SEC and especially Alabama, which is where the last four national championships reside _ three in Tuscaloosa and one in Auburn _ are simply tired of the Tide and the rest of the league.

They want someone else, anyone, to knock off the SEC. You can hear it everywhere, with the Pac 12 and ACC and Big 10 boasting that they're catching up or even passing the best league in the game. Wait until the postseason, especially that final game, and we'll find out for sure.

Still, if it does happen, it won't take seven years for the SEC to get back on top.

Many must apparently feel the same about the Cardinals. I just haven’t sensed it, even if I don’t have the time to be as avid of a fan as I once was.

You could just feel like when the Cardinals were playing the Pirates and the Dodgers in the playoffs, the national media was almost begging them to win, but why? What did St. Louis ever do other than win?

There simply isn’t a better baseball city anywhere than St. Louis, and that goes for New York or Boston, which get more than their share of publicity.

So, is there really Cardinals fatigue out there or just a few folks with blogs or a little free time trying to generate some attention by attacking what might be the best fans baseball has to offer.

Now I am not a St. Louis fan, but while my favorite birds — the Blue Jays  — continue to reside in last place, my choice for this World Series is, of course, the Cardinals.

While the Red Sox are publicized as a bunch of guys — minus perhaps David Ortiz and Jon Lester — who have come together as this hairy group of misfits with just the right amount of chemistry, how many of these Cardinals are exactly household names.

 There is no Albert Pujols. Can you name the starting lineup — or even half of it — of the Cardinals, or even the Red Sox. I bet no unless you are an avid fan of those teams. I honestly had no idea who Matt Carpenter was or even Michael Wacha, but now they are growing into stars right before our eyes.  

There was a time when I could read off the lineups of every team, but with my schedule of working nights, my opportunity to actually watch sport events is limited. I barely even see my beloved Tide because I am sitting behind a desk, out at a game or spending time with the better half, and trying to find a score on the phone.

In fact, I currently don't even have TV at home, but I can keep up with sports online, even watching the gamecast of Alabama’s win over Tennessee on Saturday while sitting in the press box covering Virginia Tech’s shocking loss to Duke.

Baseball has long been my favorite sport, but the big leagues, admittedly, have lost their luster for me, at least until the postseason. I should have the chance to watch the next two games of the World Series at my girlfriend’s housed the next two nights, unless, of course, she has other plans.

 I will watch the Cardinals and Red Sox, and enjoy baseball once again.

 However, I won't be yearning for the Red Sox to take down the Cardinals.There is no getting tired of the Cardinals from me, it is quite the opposite.

Go Cardinals. Bring home a championship for baseball the way it was meant to be played.

By winning, and doing lots of it. Without those beards.

— Brian Woodson is the sports editor for the Daily Telegraph. He encourages feedback at bwoodson@bdtonline.com

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