“I was born a Cardinal fan” video proclaims the latest magical mystery tour as the St Louis team pursues another World Series championship against the Texas Rangers. What we are witnessing is the greatest sports organisation in American history. The St Louis Cardinals are like no other. Decade after decade of greatness. I have been to Cooperstown and saw all those Cardinal greats from Musial to Brock to Gibson. My father was occasionally the physician for the Cardinals when Dr I. C.(Ikky) Middleman was on holiday or otherwise unavailable. Once I was taken to their dugout and training area before a game and saw many of these players as they were preparing for a game. I have pictures of me as a little boy with mother in the backyard in University City. I am wearing a St Louis Cardinal’s t-shirt and was about six or seven tops.
I was born a Cardinal fan and St Louis is not considered a complete big league city by some: no NBA basketball for starters. Yet at least in baseball it has the greatest sports fans in the nation: baseball fans who are generally polite, knowledgable, well-behaved and always respectful of the other team. Not like Cub fans who boo their own players and Phillie fans who belong in the pre-Selma south.
Generation after generation of Cardinal fans have brought honour to themselves and the glory of the greatest organisation in professional sport. Except for Mark McGwire who cheated the game in his home-run bid for immortality and is repulsive to look at in their dugout with a sacred Cardinal uniform on. I still believe despite this lout, the quality of play, the humility of their players and those fans represent a polite, exuberance rarely seen in the profit, win at any cost, nationalistic fervour of sport.
hat tip: Dr Aitchbee Bernard