A Simple Kind of Fan. My Hate Thesis– 8.9.11
While the St. Louis Cardinals may think that their undying respect for the game and holier than thou attitude is to be admired, it has done nothing but infuriate people all over baseball and has turned my genuine dislike of the Redbirds into a seething, unbridled hate. Their self serving antics and cry baby tactics have driven a usually rational fan into an irrational position of hate. I don’t like to hate, yet here we are. I hate the St. Louis Cardinals.
Until last week, there were only four sports entities I truly hated. The New York Yankees, The Chicago Bears, The Minnesota Vikings, and The Ohio State University. I thought for many years, these would remain the sole teams of my outward vitriol. However, in the last few years I have noticed a new team that seems to have one of the characteristics I despise in a baseball team: arrogance. Not only by the fans of this team, but an outright arrogance and entitled attitude from the team itself. Incredibly, this attitude seems to have permeated the organization from the top down. Yes, the St. Louis Cardinals have joined the ranks of Art Schlichter, Jay Cutler, post 2008 Bert Favre, and a lipstick wearing ARod. Congratulations for your seat at the table, you’ve earned it.
But you don’t have to ask me. Go ahead and ask around the league. Let’s start with what Brandon Phillips of the Cincinnati Reds has to say. After a dust up in August of 2010 he said:
“I hate the Cardinals. All they do is bitch and moan about everything, all of them, they’re little bitches, all of ‘em.”
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa fired back saying, “We win the right way and we lose the right way. We’ve received a lot of compliments over the years that when we lose we tip our caps and when we win we keep our mouths shut, that’s my comment.”
Phillips is right. I don’t respect the Cardinals because they don’t win the right way. They certainly don’t lose the right way. When you lose, you don’t complain about ribbon lights being too bright. Of course, if you don’t want to take Phillips at his word, perhaps you will listen to the folks in Colorado. TLR was the self- appointed grounds crew foreman for a day in 2009. In truth, you even don’t have to ask opponents. Just ask Cardinals outfielder Lance Berkman, who said after Tuesday’s controversy:
“There seems to be a running theme here,” said Berkman, a newcomer to the feuds. “Because it’s Cardinals-Brewers, Cardinals-Reds, Cardinals-Astros, Cardinals-Cubs. The Cardinals seem to be the common thread in all of these things I think that kind of emotion and energy is helpful.”
In fact, Yost, Macha, and now Roenicke have all had problems with the Cardinals. One common thread to all of these conflicts is LaRussa. Perhaps his shingles and sunglasses are making him suffer from bouts of delusional behavior? It’s either that, or the pint of moonshine he downs before he drives to the park to fill out his super secret, and highly strategically advanced, lineup. I just think he is losing perception on what respect truly means.
When you talk about St. Louis Cardinals that are jerks, the first player that comes to mind is ‘His Highness’, Lord Albert Pujols. I don’t respect the player because of obvious allegations of PEDs and his constant hypocrisy of respect and appropriate behavior. I don’t respect the man because he is not a good guy. You could ask writer Jeff Pearlman about Lord Albert. He watched Albert one day and said after:
“To watch Pujols interact with the St. Louis diehards is to watch a prototypical spoiled, arrogant 21st century sports star at his absolute worst.”
Pearlman went on to write that it didn’t seem to make any difference whether it was an 8-year-old boy or a 70-year-old grandmother who wanted Pujols’ autograph – he treated both of them with disdain, never made eye contact, never looked up or said hello or thank you.
We all know Lord Albert likes to lecture about having respect for the game, but that obviously doesn’t apply to his propensity to admire his own home runs a little too long combined with the slowest, and ugliest, home run trot in the league. Do I believe he’s clean? No. The fact that McGwire is on his bench as his hitting coach doesn’t help either. Combine LaRussa, McGwire, and Pujols and you have a hate festering cocktail that would inspire a drunken rage out of any sober Milwaukee Brewers fan.
It seems as if the Cardinals always have a complaint when they fail to win. In fact, they do this so often, and are vehemently insistent each time, that they are like a criminal defense lawyer defending a murder suspect. They are arguing based on principle, even if they don’t wholeheartedly believe they are correct. I think this says a great deal about the psyche of the Cardinals and of Tony LaRussa. In a year littered with injuries, they are making sure they leave no stone unturned and no corner uncut as they attempt to patch together enough wins to steal yet another division title.
In conclusion, I don’t see how I had another choice. The Cardinals continue to complain and act bitterly in a way that makes them huge hypocrites. Their propensity to preach about how to do things the right way makes the Cardinals particularly grating on reasonable fans across the league. After years of enduring involuntary lessons of dignity from LaRussa and Pujols, I have had enough. I will no longer sit idly by and watch two of the more classless figures in baseball disgrace my team, my fellow fans, or my city. Over the course of the last week, my extreme disgust has congealed in a full blown hatred of the Cardinals. As the Brewers head to St. Louis today to start a mammoth series with the Cardinals, I will be with my new co-pilot of hate and cheering on the Brewers with an intensified fervor.
Random Excerpts from the Book of Unwritten Rules
You will often hear announcers talk about the Baseball Book of Unwritten Rules. These folks are talking about an imaginary set of checks and balances put in place by baseball to ensure behavior is gentlemanly and that the game is played the right way, in a civil manner. These rules are often fuzzy and can lead to confusion, as well as distortion. The objective of this feature is to review some of these unwritten rules and explain them clearly for all Simple Kind of Fans to understand. Once these rules are understood, only then may an appreciation for what a classless idiot Tony LaRussa has become can be revealed.
“If you hit one of our guys, we are going to hit one of your guys.”
The rule is put in place as a way to prevent some teams from predominantly pitching inside without consequence. A great example of this philosophy happened the other night against St. Louis. Pujols was hit in the wrist with a pitch that tailed up and in from the reliever Saito. Between innings, speculation was rampant on Twitter that Braun or Fielder would get hit in retaliation. Of course, the St. Louis pitcher came right after Braun to start the inning. After missing his first chance at retaliation, Motte was successful in attempt #2 to dot Braun in the ribs with a 95 MPH fastball. Both benches were then warned and the game continued without incident. This is a textbook example of how teams police themselves during a ballgame and thus managed to avoid any further ugly incidents.
However, I do have some issues with how the Major League Umpires handled this situation. In fact, last Wednesday night was also a great example of MLB and their umpires going too far and becoming part of the problem, not part of the solution. Ever since MLB decided to have the umpires police these situations, it has been littered with inconsistencies and a lack of sound judgment. For example, everyone in Miller Park knew that Jason Motte was going to hit Braun. It was a given and even the absolute dimmest of umpires knew it was coming. Once Motte threw inside to Braun and missed, the incident should have been taken over by the umpires right then and there. However, they bumbled the situation and let him throw a second time before warning the benches. This was a serious, serious error in judgment. Now we have a situation where one team accidentally hit a player once, yet the other team has now thrown intentionally TWICE at Milwaukee’s best overall player.
Remember when Shawn Estes was forced to throw at Roger Clemens back during the Yankees vs. Mets rivalry days? He got one shot to hit Clemens, missed, and then the benches were warned. Why did he only get one chance? Having a consistent policy is the right way to go and eliminates incorrect interpretations from the umpires. No team should get two chances to throw in retaliation, period. Having a policy that allows an umpire to let a team throw intentionally TWICE at another player is simply wrong. I have a feeling the home plate umpire just didn’t want to listen to Tony LaRussa bitch and cry about respect, so he let him have one there. This is why major league umpires and dinosaurs will soon have something in common.
This unwritten rule was put in place to reduce incidents of hit batsmen without repercussions. If I was a middle of the lineup hitter, and was getting busted inside or was hit, I would demand my pitcher do the same to their star player. One thing that many people who follow baseball fail to realize is that baseball is a game built on mutual respect. Violate that respect and there will be consequences to pay. As with any rule, there are exceptions and certainly there are times when teams take an incident too far. A good example of this would be Don Zimmer charging Pedro Martinez, and the White Sox/ Brewers rivalry back in the 80’s when they were clearing the benches every other game. Bench clearing brawls are an unfortunate side effect of this policing, and while barbaric, are a necessity when taking into account the proper way to play the game. They also tend to galvanize a locker room and turn a team of 24 guys with 24 cabs into one cohesive unit. In my opinion, the system of check and balances established by the unwritten rules of baseball are more than sufficient without MLB legislating and allowing umpires to become involved in the entire convoluted system.
In Case You Missed It
The first trading deadline passed on July 31st. However, teams are still allowed to make trades. I thought it would make sense to go over this deadline and highlight the differences between all of the dates. When it comes to the MLB trading deadline, there are essentially three key dates to remember: July 31st, August 31st, and September 1st.
July 31st. This date is also known as the non- waiver trade deadline. This trading deadline signifies the end of when teams can freely trade with one another. Once this date has passed trades can still be made, but they must go through some qualifiers before the trade can be finalized.
August 31st. This date is also known as the waiver trade deadline. Between August 1st and August 31st trades are still allowed to be made. The difference is that now all players in a trade must pass through waivers before the trade is consummated. Teams can place a waiver claim on any player in reverse order, based on overall record. If a team makes a claim on a player, they would then have a right to negotiate with the original team that put the player on waivers. For instance, Milwaukee could still make a trade for a left handed reliever. That reliever would hopefully pass through waivers and allow Milwaukee to enact a trade. Of course, in recent years, ‘gamesmanship’ has led to many claims being used only as a block for a potential trade made by a competitor.
September 1st. Players may still be acquired after August 31st. However, they must still pass through waivers. In addition, any player acquired after this date will also be deemed ineligible for post season play. You may recall that in 2008, the Brewers acquired Mike Lamb in September during the playoff push. Some teams will do anything to shed cash at the end of a long, losing season and sometimes these deals can have an impact.
Dates Appearing Closer n the Horizon
August 22, 2011. The Brewers are in Pittsburgh for four games in three days. Need I say more?
August 31, 2011. The real trade deadline.
Shameless Self Promotion
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Are you traveling or will you miss an upcoming Brewers game because of a MLB black- out? No worries, the PocketDoppler is here for you. Brian has you covered with a nightly ‘250 words or less’ summary of what happened for the Brewers. It is a quick and convenient way to stay on top of the team when the social calendar fills up in the summer.