You know, we usually wait until October here to dump on the Cardinals and have the entire city of St. Louis send us polite death threats. But Bob Nightengale … oh, Bob Nightengale … you forced my hand early, you abominable fucking hack. I guarantee, right now, that there won't be a worse piece of sportswriting this season. You locked up the title early, Bob. Good on you. Look at this shit:
The St. Louis Cardinals are the team the tabloids and shock-jock shows love to hate.
You looking for a juicy quote? Maybe stir up a little controversy? Sorry, wrong camp.
You lookin' for news? You lookin' for anyone with a personality? You lookin' for a pulse that will register on an EKG? You lookin' for fellas what them there listen to the hop hip and spend all day twoodling on the xStation? SORRY, GANG. NO GLORY BOYS HERE.
You looking for pizzas, a little flair, or at least someone to brag about themselves? Keep on steppin'.
Goddamn right. NO FUCKING PIZZAS HERE, GANG. Roger Goodell smiles upon the Cardinals' strict "Pizza is for showboats!" policy.
I wonder if Nightengale meant to write "pizzazz" here. That makes more sense, right? I hope this wasn't a typo. I hope this man truly believes that eating pizza is somehow a moral defect. WHOA HEY, LOOGIT MR. ATTENTION WHORE ASKING FOR PEPPERONI. In a way, this lack of pizza is probably for the best, because St. Louis-style pizza is a war crime.
[UPDATE: It was a typo. It now says pizzazz. But I still think Nightengale's silent war against pizza is a reality.]
You expect these guys to all drive a Ford Taurus to work…
Official car of the humble man!
…buy flannel shirts and jeans off the rack at Walmart…
Fuck yeah! NONE OF THOSE QUEER BOY SKINNY CLOTHES FOR OUR TEAM.
…and eat spaghetti and meatballs every night at Olive Garden.
(stands with hand on heart toward flag)
(eats free breadstick)
"We are boring,'' Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak says.
"Vanilla are our colored sprinkles.''
What the fuck does that even mean? How is this something to brag about? Why are you using the word "colored"? Is this Pleasantville? Are rainbow sprinkles DANGEROUS to you? I don't think vanilla sprinkles even exist. You get chocolate or rainbow, and even that's playing it on the safe side. A real man puts crushed Butterfingers in there, but I guess that's a fucking gateway drug to heroin for you.
They are dull, dreary and monotonous.
Brother, you can say that again. Fuck this team.
All they know how to do is win.
Except last year, when the Giants waxed their boring, Joe Flacco asses.
"People say we're boring,'' Cardinals ace Adam Wainwright says. "That's fine.
You know what, Adam? People don't say you're boring. YOU say you're boring. Like here:
"But it's kind of like the San Antonio Spurs, right? They just show up every year, play well, and act professionally.
See? That's you making that analogy to flatter yourself. I didn't do that for you. You haven't invented a straw man to jack off your boring mayonnaise dick.
"That's who we are."
You're an arrogant dickhole, that's what you are. LOOGIT HOW BORING I AM EVERYONE!
(jumps into hot air balloon)
(fires flare gun into the sky to spell out the words WAINO IS A HONORABLE DULLARD)
"We want to make news because we're winning, not because we're the loudest or act a certain way.''
Again, I see that the Cards have wasted no time becoming insufferable this year. I didn't even get a full calendar year of ignoring baseball in between for this to happen. They have clearly come to enjoy being the most annoying team in sports, and wear the title like a goddamn sash across their jerseys.
The Cardinals have been the most consistent team in baseball since 2011… Yet, they may be the most anonymous team in baseball, with not a single player featured in a national endorsement, let alone selling sandwiches or hair products on the air.
Yeah, man! PIZZA AND SANDWICHES ARE FOR FUCKING COMMIES. Nothing less American than eating a pizza and having a sandwich. That ain't what America is all about. Nothing but vanilla sprinkles and dirt cones for us!
Come on, go ahead and bang your head against the wall to shake those brain cells, can you remember a single controversial quote by any Cardinals player in recent time?
Well, that was that recent racist thing you said about sprinkles.
Anything that trended on Twitter, lit up Facebook, or created national headlines?
Oh, you mean like when one of their pitchers favorited a shitload of porn on Twitter?
"Even if I could think of one,'' Wainwright says, "I wouldn't bring it back up. That would go against the curve, right?''
God, you are the WORST. You really are. Hey everyone, look at me not remembering stuff!
Sure, there was last year's All-Star Game when Wainwright said he grooved a fastball to Derek Jeter…
There you go. LIT UP THE TWATOSPHERE.
…but that was cleared up in a matter of minutes, when Wainwright clarified that he simply wanted to challenge him without trying to be tricky.
In other words, he fucking served up a meatball. Oh, but it was a thoughtful meatball because it came from a Cardinal. I'm glad Bob Nightengale is here to throw a wool blanket on that controversy and smother it. Really challenging profile you're doing here, Bob. "Adam, tell me more about how awesome and non-controversial you are."
"The expectations of these players are very high,'' Mozeliak says.
"We expect you to let that ice cream truck roll right past."
"Everybody will tell you the same, talk is cheap."
OMG I'VE NEVER HEARD AN ATHLETE OR COACH SAY THAT YOU MUST BE SOME KIND OF FUCKING REVOLUTIONARY.
"Fortunately, we have a lot of players here that get it. Besides, I don't need any more T-shirts.''
Yeah! T-shirts and pizza and colors and internet usage are for fucking ASSHOLES.
Well, unless it happens to read 2015 World Series champs.
BOOM. Behold the advent of the #futurebrag. "We're just a bunch of humble boys who are already lording our future alternate dimension title over you."
"That's been our M.O. since I've been here,'' says Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter. "We just go about our business, and let the work speak for itself. That's just the way the culture has been established here.
"That's not a knock on other teams, it's just the way this organization is run.''
No. That's a clear knock on other teams. There are mothers in my kid's nursery school pickup line who are less passive aggressive. "We just go about our business, real humble-like. That's no knock on other, sadder, loser teams that eat flavored potato chips and what not."
While the Cardinals don't get the headlines…
Every team gets headlines. Literally. By being a pro sports organization, you inherently get daily coverage, which includes headlines, like the one atop this horrible, horrible column, which I pray is a troll job.
…and aren't splashed on your nightly sports shows, their way of life has become a utopia in baseball.
So true. They never draw attention to themselves. Except when the team talks all sorts of shit on the Los Angeles Dodgers, or Tony LaRussa drives while shitfaced, or fans chant racial taunts at Ferguson protestors, or a top prospect gets drunk and dies in a horrific car accident that also kills his girlfriend. Yep, life is just peachy here in the BEST BASEBALL SHITHOLE ON EARTH.
(grabs fishin' pole)
(walks barefoot in overalls to the river)
(gets shot by a cop along the way)
It's become a tradition that when you're traded to the Cardinals, or sign as a free agent, you can expect at least three text messages welcoming you to the organization. There will be texts from veterans Matt Holliday, Yadier Molina and Carpenter. No matter who you are.
Whoa, a text? You sure that's not too controversial? I mean, we're talking about written communication via mobile device here. Getting a little CRAZY.
"I didn't even know those guys,'' says veteran first baseman Mark Reynolds, who signed a one-year, $2 million deal, "and I'm getting messages from these guys. Right away, I knew this would be the place to play.
Jesus, how easy is it to impress a baseball player? Next time I see a Cardinal, I'm gonna pat him on the head and say "Good job," and he'll be blown the fuck away.
It's called trust. Manager Mike Matheny leans on his veterans to police the clubhouse. If someone doesn't fit in, Matheny will hear about it.
Awww, so sweet how they rat on each other! Really warms the heart. Good to know that the guy who texted me hello is actually a mole who wants to know if I'm gonna play salsa music too loud in the clubhouse.
That guidance was present last year with rookie Oscar Taveras, in whom veteran players saw abundant talent, and wanted him to realize it. But Taveras, just 22, was killed in an October car accident in the Dominican Republic.
If only he had learned the Cardinal Way of driving in time. Ford Taurus. 55 miles an hour. Hands at 10 o'clock and 2 o'clock. No pizza in the backseat. They could have saved Oscar from himself.
The Cardinals, ever so quietly, believe they'll be even better than a year ago.
YEAH REAL FUCKING QUIET. They won't shut the fuck up about how quiet they are.
"There's a whole lot of tradition here,'' (Jason) Heyward says. "They expect excellence. It's just a great mix of veteran guys and young and polished players. Everybody is hungry to win.''
The man is fitting right in.
Oh, so he's a complete dick. Got it.
I hope the Cardinals lose a THOUSAND games this year. I hope they lose and I hope one of their players gets caught on camera eating rainbow sprinkles, hogging pizza, and diddling a horse. It's what they deserve. They are the embodiment of America's stupidest, most arrogant citizens, and they deserve to fail in the loudest way possible.
Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty