Friday, June 25, 2010

Are the Royals and Cardinals even rivals anymore?

I went to the first I-70 Series back in 1997. The first time the Royals and Cardinals had played since 1985. Kauffman Stadium was electric. Johnny Damon charged the mound after being hit by a Tim Belcher pitch in Game 2. The Royals kicked the crap out of the Cardinals in game 2, 16-5, while losing close games in the first and third games of the series. I remember the crowd being 70-30 in favor of Royals fans. Boy that was a fun time...

Now, 13 years and five managers later, the Royals still haven't made the playoffs or fielded a legitimate contender. Meanwhile, 250 miles down the road, the Cardinals have made two World Series appearances while winning/stealing one in 2006 against young and error-prone Detroit Tigers team.

So it goes. Every June, Kauffman Stadium looks like Arrowhead Stadium. Red clad Cardinal fans board the "Best Fans in Baseball"tm train and storm Kauffman Stadium, like that pathetic uncle from out of town who comes to visit every summer. They drink, they yell, they tell everyone that Budweiser is the best beer in the world and how toasted ravioli was invented in St. Louis. They claim you can't find a decent slice of pizza anywhere outside of the 636 or 314 area codes. Cool.

"The Best Fans in Baseball"tm might as well be the "Most Annoying Fans in Baseball", screaming anytime Albert Pujols hits a flyball. They boo when Albert Pujols gets intentionally walked, even though they have "fan favorite" Matt Holliday protecting him in the order. But I guess that's why you pay him $16 million dollars, so you can boo teams walking the best player of our generation in their own stadium.

They come like a swarm of locusts, spending their money at hotels and bars (Hey, thanks for paying for Sprint Center!). They talk about how the Cubs/Cardinals rivalry is the best in baseball, screw Red Sox/Yankees and Mets/Phillies. The whole weekend is like them showing off to the whole city of Chicago. Claiming, "Hey! Look at us! We run this you do when the Cubs come to play at Busch..."

Here's my point. Cardinals fans don't consider this a rivalry anymore. I know a lot of Cardinals fans, some of my best friends are from Eastern Missouri and Western Illinois, although none of them actually live in the St. Louis city limits. They would have to be crazy to do that...

They laughed at me when I said the Royals biggest rival were the Cardinals.

Well, Sam Mellinger made an interesting point today. This rivalry is stale. It's like a broken record. Cardinals come into town. They bring 20,000 fans. The fans annoy us. We take it because our team sucks. They beat us. Life goes on.

There's hope on the farm, but it won't be here for a couple of years. It's time to take a break. Most Royals fans have what's left of their pride bashed to smithereens this time of year. I hate this series. It is my least favorite series of the year. It is an awful reminder of how far this once proud franchise has fallen. So I'm asking the Cardinals, Major League Baseball and Royals ownership to give us a couple of years to pick up the pieces. Keep the series in St. Louis. Sure this series is the biggest draw outside of opening day, but at what cost? Each year, the number of kids in this town wearing Albert Pujols jerseys grows.

We need some time, St. Louis. We owe it to this "rivalry" to take a break. Forget about us until October, then laugh at us when you look across at the AL Central standings to see we barely won 70 games. We'll be back. I don't know when, but we will be. And when we come back, hold on to your f**king hats, we'll be ready to take our stadium back.

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