Exultation knows no bounds in Kansas City this week, as the town basks in the victory of the Royals over the New York Mets. But they’re not the only ones cheering. In cities all over America, baseball fans can dispel some of the clouds of disappointment with this silver lining: at least the World Series champions are not the St. Louis Cardinals.
You see, according to a Reddit survey last summer, St. Louis is one of the most hated teams in major league baseball.
But what is it about the St. Louis Cardinals that piques the ire of so many spectators? After all, the squeaky-clean, wholesomely Midwest ball club has earned every right to be admired, if not adored. In June 2004, St. Louis fans gave Ken Griffey, Jr., a standing ovation when he hit his 500th home run off Cardinal pitcher Matt Morris. Griffey later said that if he couldn’t reach that milestone in his home town of Cincinnati, he’d hoped it would happen in St. Louis.
That was the same year Larry Walker joined the team and stuck out his first time at bat. Cardinals fans rewarded him with a standing ovation as well, as if to say, “Welcome to the team, Larry.”
A couple of months after that, Cardinals and Dodgers players shook up the sports world by shaking hands after the Cardinals won the playoff series, inspiring astonishment and almost universal commendation.
So why isn’t St. Louis feeling the love?