St. Louis Cardinals Fans: “We Want More!”
Being a St. Louis Cardinals fan for the past 42 years, I’ve seen some highs and lows. The highest obviously being World Series Championships in (1982, 2006 & 2011) and the lows, well… I’ve seen just 10 sub .500 seasons in that time.
Just looking at what the Cardinals have done from 2000-2022, they’ve made the playoffs 16 times in 23 seasons! It’s safe to say that we are spoiled, but even in the midst of successful baseball is it fair for us fans to want and expect more? I think so.
First off, there’s no guaranteed blueprint that works when it comes to hoisting championships at season’s end. Since 2000 there have been five teams that have won multiple titles. The Boston Red Sox with three (2004, 2007 & 2013), the San Francisco Giants with three (2010, 2012 & 2014) the Houston Astros (2017 & 2022), the New York Yankees (2000 & 2009) & the St. Louis Cardinals (2006 & 2011) each with two.
St. Louis is never going to spend like the large market teams, but when you consider the Cardinals have won a title since the Yankees, and that the Dodgers championship in 2020 (during the shortened Covid-season) was their first since 1988… it makes our championship drought easier to stomach.
What doesn’t make it easier, is seeing the team we root for, making the playoffs consistently but failing to do damage once getting in.
I always try to balance my fandom with the mindset that watching Cardinals baseball is entertainment. Much like going to the movies or a concert, you pay money for and give your time as an investment to be entertained. The difference is, in following this team passionately you are given 162+ games of at least 3 hours, per season.
Not every game will give you the outcome that you desire, but get to see your team (full of veterans & youngsters alike) giving it their all, every outing to try getting the W.
In saying that, we as fans spend our money to go to games or purchase TV packages to watch those games. We buy merchandise, set aside time to watch/listen, we go to meet & greets, we read news articles written about the team, tune in to pregame/postgame shows, listen to podcasts about the Cardinals, and more. Some of us are borderline crazy with how much time, money & energy we spend on being a fan. And not that it makes those of us that do all of this better than the next fan, but we feel a part of this.
So much so, that we don’t just manage during the game from our couches, but especially during the off-season where we play “armchair GM” & in our minds try to spend Bill DeWitt Jr.’s money in constructing what we see as a World Series championship team. Some of us realize that trades & such are a lot more complicated than just overriding a trade offer in a MLB The Show video game, but there are some fans that truly believe the Cardinals are cheap and ONLY make bad moves year in & year out. It’s asinine to really believe that, but alas here we are.
Being an admin for Cardinals Nation 24/7 (one the largest St. Louis Cardinals fan forums on social media), I can tell you I’ve encountered every type of fan. From the die-hard, never miss an inning fan to the casual fan who never seems to know what time or channel the game is on.
It’s amazing to me that things go so far beyond being able to have a reasonable discussion or debate when talking ball on social media platforms. I mean, we all fan differently and that’s some of what makes being a fan fun. But if you bring to the table the fact that the Cardinals are in the mix for the playoffs almost every season, you are quickly reminded by many that if it’s not ending in a championship, then what’s the point?
The point is that your team is playing meaningful games all season. They aren’t 20 games out by the All-Star break or in a constant rebuild. I truly think if the Cardinals had a few seasons like that, then it would register to those fans complaining constantly that maybe we don’t have it so bad. Can you imagine if there was social media back in the day when in Bob Gibson’s last season (1975) he went 3-10 with a 5.04 ERA? Some fans would’ve been blasting him constantly.
On the flip side, I do agree that we hold our team to a higher standard and that that’s a good thing. We don’t want to settle for just making the playoffs, but really want to see them make a strong push once making it. To do that, we’d like to see the organization go out of its comfort zone and land some players that get this team “over the hump.”
But again, as a fan it almost seems you have to be extreme on one side of the fence or the other.
If you point out that in hindsight, that trading Marcell Ozuna to the Miami Marlins cost us Sandy Alcantara & Zac Gallen and that trade will “haunt us forever”, or that we’ve had bust signings like Brett Cecil, Mike Leake or Greg Holland, or that we trade Randy Arozarena or Harrison Bader only to watch them shine in their postseason performances, then you are labeled a “hater.”
If you give credit to the front office by pointing out that we have arguably the best 1B & 3B duo (Paul Goldschmidt & Nolan Arenado) in baseball, that we have so many guys earning Gold Gloves, milestones set by future Hall or Famers and some real exciting prospects in all of MLB, then you get labeled a “Mozeliak-apologist” that wears rose colored glasses.
I’m not going to tell you that John Mozeliak is the greatest thing since sliced bread, but he’s been a better GM and President of Baseball Operations than many give him credit for. I think a lot of people don’t see him showing much personality and get turned off by the mundane approach when addressing things. And I also think many fail to realize that he works within Bill DeWitt Jr.‘s budget. I don’t know (just like all of you don’t know) that maybe Mozeliak goes up to him and says “We really need a Carlos Rodon. We really need a Xander Bogaerts” only to get shot down with “We aren’t spending that type of money”.
If that happens, is it Mo’s fault or DeWitt’s?
Isn’t there a way to see both sides of all of it? A way to be appreciative of witnessing great baseball, knowing we have a very high chance to be in the playoffs EVERY season, and have some guys on our team that will end up in Cooperstown one day.
Being able to be disappointed if the Cardinals don’t sign certain players that we’d like them to, but not immediately disregarding the talent that we do have?
To realize this front office has made both good and bad moves (like every other franchise), but not to keep revisiting the bad ones to a point you can’t credit when they make a good one? It’s like obsessing over an ex girlfriend/boyfriend for some of you. It’s weird.
But that doesn’t define the whole fanbase, just a loud portion of it.
There is also no reason for Cardinals fans to not voice frustration over certain things. Granted, Bill DeWitt Jr.’s money isn’t ours to spend (although we’d like for it to be), but we should be able to suggest areas we’d like to see this team improve and complain if we want to.
We might know that St. Louis isn’t going to spend like the New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets & others, but still want our front office to pony up and land that extra impact bat or ace type of pitcher to position this team to be better than just “good”.
We should be able to compliment & have faith in our team without being told we are content with not winning it all. We should be able to critique & criticize without being told we “aren’t a true fan” or that we are whining. There has to be that middle ground of fandom that exists somewhere, right?
Hell if I know, but I do know this… we are blessed to watch a good team year in and year out, with some pretty damn good players. We are always in the mix. But do we as fans want more? Yes. Is that a bad thing? No. … And as far as how this team is structured and wanting to see them do more than just make the playoffs, I’ll use a line that’s been said a time or two.
Prospects are cool. Parades are cooler.
We can be happy with the sustained success that the St. Louis Cardinals provide, but it’s more than fair for Cardinals Nation to say “We want more!”
Thanks for reading and Go Cards!