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Blues, Cardinals, Success, Schadenfreude, And You

Gloating because the team that gets more attention is out of the playoffs makes you look petty.

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

I'm going to start off by saying this: be a fan of any sport, or any team that you want. Don't be a fan of any sport, or any team that you want. Hate whoever you want. Don't hate whoever you want. Sports are weird, and they breed weird loyalties, they breed weird contempt. I irrationally hate the Atlanta Braves with every fiber of my being, because they are a wonderful place to project my resentment at moving down here as a child (and the fact that I inexplicably remain). My hatred of Chipper Jones and Bobby Cox is deep and will be accompanied by mentions of what assholes they are.

I don't care that friends and coworkers like the Braves and think that Chipper is the greatest third baseman in the history of baseball (and I can even admit that he was excellent in his prime). I can't begrudge someone because they like a team that I don't. I have friends and students who are Cubs and Blackhawks fans. More power to them!

But when you're a fan of a team that plays second fiddle, be it in your city or in that professional league, openly whining about it makes you seem petulant. There is a difference between whining and going "I really wish that more people would pay attention to ______."  I freely admit that I'm disappointed that the Cardinals always have, and probably always will, get top billing over the Blues under any circumstance, but I'm also aware that there is a reason for that.

Baseball has been this city's thing since 1875. Sure, St. Louis stole the Ottawa Senators and made them the St. Louis Eagles for a whole year in 1934-1935. I realize that the St. Louis Braves were the Blackhawks' farm team for a while before the Blues arrived. But honest to goodness, it's hard to compete with 140 years of baseball madness. It is also difficult to compete with a team that has won 11 league championships to none, and who has shown playoff success (this year notwithstanding) over the past decade-ish versus a one and done approach nearly every year.

The Blues will always be second fiddle to the Cardinals thanks to history, unless someone either A) re-writes it or B) decides to win a few Stanley Cups. This doesn't mean that just because you're a Blues fan you should resent the Cardinals, or because you're a Cardinals fan that you should look down your nose at the Blues. It doesn't mean that if you're a fan of either that you should look down your nose at the Rams. Like or dislike whatever you want, but man, try not to make a fanbase look holier-than-thou or petulant in the process.

The Riverfront Times' Arts and Culture Editor, Paul Friswold, really hates the Cardinals. Good for him. He also pulls the "as a Blues fan" card, which is assumptive. He doesn't speak for all, or probably even most, Blues fans, yet manages to make them look like people with the coping skills of a three year old child.

Hey, yes, the Cards get a lot of play. They also team up with the Blues and get them a shit-ton of press. All three teams in St. Louis do co-marketing and actually seem invested in a cohesion of the fanbases. It's a positive for the city. You want fractured fanbases? Here. Let's return to my original discussion of Atlanta.

"Oh, why do people like the Falcons so much! The Braves have been here longer!"

"Yeah, well the Braves have a terrible team!"

"You play in the worst division in football!"

"You play in the worst division in baseball!"

"Hi, we're the Hawks. and we had a good season and made it to the conference finals..."

"Shut up, you're not UGA/GT/Out of state college football team. You're irrelevant."

"Remember when Atlanta had a hockey team?"

"What's a hockey?"

There. That's a city where fans of similar interests openly mock other teams to make their team sound better. It's a fun place. Sometimes it's hard to hear the piped in crowd noise at Falcons games over all of the sanctimonious "LIKE MY SPORT MORE" yelling.

Not everyone here is like that, of course, and not everyone puts a good deal of effort into putting down local teams that they dislike/don't care about. But when it gets bad - and to be honest, it can when the local teams are crap, or when one exceeds the others - it's distracting.

Would I like more love for the Blues? Of course, but not at the expense of another hometown team. I don't want the Rams to relocate so attendance goes up at Sunday Blues games, and I don't want the Cardinals to suck so the Blues' preseason games get priority on KMOX.

I honestly think that St. Louis' best interests are served by three successful professional sports franchises - and if they wait long enough, perhaps the city can even get the Hawks back. After all, them relocating is the only thing that will make people pay attention to the Braves again.

That's how it works, right?