I remember my first temper tantrum.
The St. Louis Cardinals beat the Pittsburgh Pirates last night, because the Cardinals don't like it when another team like the Pirates or Nationals dares to threaten their self-appointed status as America's Baseball Sweethearts. They'll move on to face the GLORY BOY Dodgers in the NLCS, and somehow the Cardinals and their fans will brand themselves lovable underdogs to LA despite boasting a top-10 payroll. As Twitter user @Texasbound3 said, I wish the Dodgers could sweep them in one game, so that the world can move on from Cardinals Nation's unending love affair with itself.
[Update, Oct. 11: Cardinals fans respond.]
The Cardinals are fucking awful. They are Tim Tebow in baseball organization form. They are a church casserole made out of cream of mushroom soup and Minute Rice. They are a horrible family staring at a Norman Rockwell painting of itself. It's no coincidence that sabermetric punching bag David Eckstein spent a few years playing for the Cardinals, because no team in any sport puffs up its grittiness credentials quite like this one.
I don't trust any fanbase that brands itself as being the Best Fans In Baseball, nor do I trust any organization that has a Way named after it. I love the founder of Deadspin, Will Leitch. He's a good friend and usually a reasonable human being. But every fucking October, he morphs into an eight-year-old wearing a propeller beanie and shooting marbles on the living room floor. GOLLY GEE GUYS ISN'T CARDINALS BASEBALL JUST THE BESTEST?!
And the worst part is that, whenever you tell Leitch to GO TO HELL, he acts like you're the asshole! "Aw, jeepers, why would you say bad things about my beloved Cardinals? We're just a group of cute little puppies with bows on our heads (bats eyelashes)!" It's just unfathomable to them that you would dislike them. They do things the right way! How could you not appreciate that? BARF.
The Cardinals are a giant sucking red hole of good old-fashioned Midwestern piousness, with a fanbase that does "classy" things specifically so that it can humblebrag about doing classy things. Look at this horrible head-patting from Post-Dispatch writer Bernie Milaskrzyzewski:
It was all too much for the Pirates, who are talented, tenacious and endearing. They are poised to stalk the Cardinals as a worthy rival for the foreseeable future, but most teams need postseason scar tissue — the kind that forms in the pain of defeat — to evolve into champions. This experience will only make the Pirates stronger going forward.
"Thanks for the good series, you played your little hearts out!" FUCK YOU. I think Yankees fans are horrible people: selfish, arrogant, profane, and miserable all at once. But at least they don't attempt to hide their repulsiveness. At least there isn't this deliberate, "Oh, we're not like those OTHER fans" fakeness that OOZES from the Cardinals and their acolytes. Wanna know who you really are, Cardinals fans? You are this. You are poorly disguised Yankees fans in ugly Christmas sweaters carrying a Jell-O mold to your neighbor's door. And your constant attempts to turn every October into an extended production of Our Town makes me want to hang myself with a extension cord.
St. Louis, the town, is a fucking dump. It's not some magical heartland paradise filled with talking Teddy Ruxpin dolls and a five-and-dime on every corner. It's a shithole. It's just as troubled and uncivilized as the rest of the country. The Cardinals are a desperate attempt to polish that turd for all it's worth, and I've seen enough of them for this lifetime and the next. LOSE. LOSE BADLY.