10.14.05

Highlights From A Gushy, Displaced Cards Fan’s Writing Portfolio

Posted in Baseball, Will Leitch Sucks at 9:55 pm by

Will Leitch’s love letter to the St. Louis Cardinals in last October’s Wall Street Journal is a neat little piece of revisionist history.

Larry Walker has played major league baseball since 1989, hit 378 home runs and once even volunteered to play for the Canadian national team, which is insane even though he is, in fact, Canadian. Considered one of baseball’s most respected stars, he turned down countless trade requests from contenders wanting to get him out of Colorado, citing his no-trade clause and love for Denver. Until this year, when the St. Louis Cardinals came calling. Walker, a family man, extremely popular in Colorado, reconsidered immediately. “My wife had a lot to do with it,” he said. “I told her about it, and she started crying before I even said yes.” In his first at-bat, Walker received a standing ovation. He struck out. He then received another one. “It was amazing,” Walker said.

Indeed, what could be more heartwarming or classy than Walker, earning nearly $13 million at the time, accepting a trade from the last place Rockies to the first place Cardinals.

The fans support their Cardinals no matter how they’re playing. They are not fickle; just loyal. How long do you think a tortured soul like Rick Ankiel would have survived in New York or Boston? Five wild pitches in a postseason game? A complete meltdown on the grandest scale? They would have set him on fire — at best. In St. Louis, he was never booed or blasted on talk radio. Fans were actually worried about him. After a three-year sojourn in the minor-league and rehab wilderness, Ankiel returned in September of this season. Hard feelings? Of course not. He received a deafening standing ovation in his first game back, an ovation that took so long the umpires actually stopped the game.

Had the Cardinals given the enigmatic hurler another opportunity to hit the screen above the backstop in a crucial situation — as opposed to say, a meaningless appearance long after the division race had been decided, perhaps then we’d see how forgiving the saintly fans of St. Louis really are. Of course, as well all know, Ankiel has long since retired from pitching, so we’ll never find out.

The Cardinals are everything that is right about America: modest, professional (watch Rolen when he hits a home run; he just puts his head down and runs to first, just punching in, doing his job) and based in the fundamentals of hard work and rock-solid consistency. And not a single player on the team has hair that looks like a Simpsons character.

I don’t doubt that the good people of St. Louis — the same fans that packed the joint to watch the world class fraud Mark McGwire erase Roger Maris from the record books — are a slavish, unquestioning lot who love their team to death. But does Tony La Russa really represent “everything that is right about America” nearly as much as he exemplifies self importance and self interest? Does the filthy-capped Julian Tavares (recent career highlights have included breaking his own hand, Kevin Brown-style, and the attempted murder of Mike Piazza) represent modesty and professionalism, or does he possess the sort of emotional maturity that makes Ron Artest seem reasonable by comparison?

Finally, nowhere in Leitch’s nonsensical spiel does he try to explain how America’s so-called Greatest Fans can possibly tolerate this :

Or this :

I have no serious grudge against St. Louis. Were it not for the club’s strong midwestern values, the Mets would’ve never acquired Keith Hernandez for the mere price of Neil Allen. And despite the fact that Leitch has proven to be as objective as he is talented, I’m seriously thinking of taking up a collection to fly him to St. Louis so he can witness Mike Doskocil’s number being retired.

8 Responses to “Highlights From A Gushy, Displaced Cards Fan’s Writing Portfolio”

  1. ted barron says:

    ok gerard- “everything that is right about america” is a little hard to swallow. anyone who’s
    ever spent any time in st. louis (i grew up there) might be able to tell you that it posesses
    most of what is wrong with america. as much as i can’t stand my hometown, i love my baseball team. is there a better team in the majors ? i don’t think so. joe buck is tolerated because he’s jack buck’s son. fred bird? well, i don’t know. mike doskicil. leave him out of this. i hear he’s doing well. i had a party in high school and doskicil pissed in a bowl on the kitchen table. it was very uhh… punk rock. st. louis has been dying for about a hundred years, but the cardinals are a source of civic pride, even for those of us who have
    ditched st. louis.

  2. jennifer says:

    if schmaltzy unabashedly biased crap is what papers are looking for, then shit, i oughta get paid.

  3. CSTB says:

    Dear Ted,

    I come not to bury the city of St. Louis, and many of the Cards fans I’ve met over the years have proven to friendly, sensible-enough human beings. But the whole “best baseball town in America” tag is really worn out…and if someone had as flimsy an argument for Chicago, Boston, Cincy or NYC as Leitch has for St. Louis, I’d say as much.

    There’s nothing fucked up about loving the your team, but I reject the notion that the bond betweeen the Cards and their legion of fans is any closer than that of other teams whose rooters don’t know any better.

    Jennifer — if you’re gonna go pro, can you at least do it for a paper I already subscribe to? the WSJ isn’t cheap.

  4. Tommy Hoops says:

    I cant believe that CSTB is a haven for such anti-American junk.

    Love the Cardinals. Love America.

    TH

  5. GC says:

    Thank you, Garth. I did mention Will’s latest appearance in the Gray Lady earlier today…though I’ve got to say, short of an “It’s A Wonderful Life” marathon, I can’t think of another work that would have me bawling like a baby. St. Louis is great! The Cards are beautiful! American is beautiful! You’re beautiful!

    Truth be told, I think the only way to deal this awful disparity between a team’s record over the course of a season and possibility of some fluke-tastic underdog victory is staring us right in the face. It isn’t about adding teams to the playoffs or making wild-cards go through a tougher path.

    Since Will doesn’t have the guts to propose this, I will. Cancel the World Series. This season, next season and forever after. They already did it once in my lifetime, so it isn’t as though MLB doesn’t have some track record in this department.

    Truth be told, I think Will is far better suited to be a contemporary George Will/Dave Barry/Dave Thomas/Steve Van Wormer figure. My own take would’ve been far shorter and completely inappropriate for such rarified territory ;

    “Baseball’s kinda unpredictable. Especially when Todd Jones has to take a shower.”

  6. Garth Sears says:

    Finally, something we can agree about — excessive love of the Cardinals sucks.

    Vive le Don Denkinger.

  7. Zaf says:

    Is this “the” Mike Doskocil from Crestwood? My goodness, I knew him back when he was a 10-13 year old. I left St. Louis and haven’t seen him in over 30 years. He’s pissing in bowls now?

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