As I said yesterday, I know a diverse group of dedicated Cardinals fans on Twitter and asked some of the females to share their stories about why they are fans. Today brings part 2 of the stories. (If you missed part 1, find it here.) Thanks to these girls for sharing their stories!
I was about 7 that first summer we took the trip up Interstate 55 to St. Louis. It was June 1988 and the Dodgers were in town. This was just before John Tudor had been traded to the eventual World Series winners. Tudor was one of my favorite players along with Vince, Willie and Ozzie. I was excited to see them all.
It was one of the Kodak-sponsored take-pictures-on-the-field games. When my Dad and I walked out on to the field of old Busch Stadium it was about 5ish. Busch still had Astro-Turf and it was incredibly hot. I still remember that heat. It was unreal! But, I didn’t really care! I wanted to see those players I had grown up watching with my Dad. He had his old film camera loaded up ready to take tons of pictures. And he did! I got to see Tudor, Ozzie, Vince, Willie and countless other Cardinals.
I can’t tell you who won the game either.
I was just at the ball park, watching baseball and some fireworks.
We got to see a couple of more games that weekend. And would make that trek up I-55 for several years to come. Even during my brief stage of teenage rebellion when I became a Giants fan for a couple of years.
I still haven’t figured out why I did this. All I remember is that I enjoyed Will Clark’s playing style. Imagine my joy when he became a Cardinal at the end of his career! My family had gone to the park earlier that summer, just before Clark joined the team. He didn’t play the next season, so I unfortunately never saw him in person in a Cardinal uniform. My father and I were both pretty upset that we didn’t get to see him live with the Birds on the Bat uniform! I got to see him on TV. And if you had your radio going with the TV muted, it was almost as good as being at the park…
After my father’s bypass surgery last summer we got to watch a lot of Cardinal baseball games on the television.
I am certain several girls in the South and Midwest have similar memories of watching games on the television …
Any game you can catch on TV, next to your Daddy, is a game worth catching!
An Albert Pujols bomb is the only way it can get any better.
Why do I love the St. Louis Cardinals so much? I don’t really have a quick response for that question. All I can say is that loving, living and cheering for the St. Louis Cardinals is a lifestyle that I have chosen for myself and will continue to follow for … well … ever. My obsession is known among my friends and, from the end of the season until opening day, there is a definite change in my attitude that they all notice.
A majority of my childhood/early teen years involve memories having to do with the Cardinals and watching baseball, which always made me happy. Why shouldn’t I enjoy and invest a majority of my time into something that makes me a happy person? I can’t ever explain to people why baseball is such a big part of my life — if just is. I can’t tell you why I started crying like a baby when Yadier Molina threw me the warm-up ball during the 2009 season (and again in 2010!) — it just happened.
I know it may seem silly to some people to get so overly emotional about “a game” but I always know that I’m not the only one. My sister is a huge part of why I love the Cardinals. We are very close and it’s nice to have someone to be able to go to games with and chat about all that goes on during the season (and after). She was the first one I called when we won the World Series in 2006, and she is always there when I get frustrated with baseball chatter in the news and other places. I always have “visions” of us in the future sitting out in the bleachers continuing to cheer on our boys of summer. 🙂 Cardinals’ players and seasons may come and go, but sharing in the excitement of Cardinals baseball with my sister will never change.
Being a girl and being a fan of baseball has always been a struggle. I can’t express how excited I am about the continued rise of credibility to women who love baseball and sports in general. Yes, I enjoy looking at a baseball guy with a cute smile as much as the next girl, but I also thoroughly enjoy the game. I take pride in the fact that I actually understand the game and could stand next to anyone and feel confident in what I know. I continue to learn and I’m now pleased to learn from other women who know and love the sport as much as I do!
G9 Sports Blues Writer — You’re My Boys, Blues
I honestly can’t remember ever NOT being a Cardinals fan. Neither of my parents were big baseball fans, but my mom is from a HUGE family, and all of her brothers are Cardinals fans. When I was young, baseball kind of made me go “meh,” but I would always cheer for the Cardinals with my uncles. They were a bit fanatical, always playing Strat-o-matic baseball and arguing over who got the 1982 Ozzie card.
The older I got, the more I started paying attention and the more I found that it’s not just a boring game, that there’s strategy and athleticism and team spirit involved. I started falling in love. I remember going out to Old Busch when we still had JD Drew and getting the WORST SUNBURN on my legs ever. But the Stadium … oh, that stadium … it was intoxicating. The smell of the peanuts and nachos and stale beer, the crack of the bat on the ball, the feel of the entire crowd, rising as one to their feet whenever a line drive would shoot out past the left fielder.
In 1998, I was so caught up in the Mark McGwire/Sammy Sosa home run race. I remember being SUPER excited when the record broke, but at the same time really sad for Roger Maris. I learned the most about baseball the summers after my junior and senior years of high school as I was dating a guy who played in our home town. I would sit behind the dugout with his dad, who sat there and explained, in great detail, the intricacies of the game.
After the game, we would always head back to their house, and while the boyfriend was getting cleaned up, his dad and I would sit there and watch Cardinals games, him explaining to me things I didn’t understand, like balks and why sacrifice bunts are good things.
That relationship didn’t last, but my relationship with the Cardinals started taking off. In college I was an RA, and I remember VIVIDLY sitting in my room during the 2005 NLCS. I had my door and windows open, and as soon as that home run came off of Albert’s bat, I started jumping up and down on my bed, screaming even though it was after quiet hours. It sounded like our building exploded. Cheers from every window could be heard, as well as from the Greek houses across the street. I ran out into my hall and was met with over half of my floor of 40 girls, where we had an impromptu dance party in celebration.
The next spring, I decorated my floor entirely in red and white, huge Cardinals banners hanging throughout the hall, even drawn out jerseys, one for at least every position, hanging on the walls. Within 24 hours of the decorations going up, I had every single decoration spoken for once they had to come down.
And then October 2006. Oh, those games. The first game of the series I spent in St Louis. I didn’t live here at the time, but called into work for three days straight in order to be in the atmosphere. And then game five. I was out for a friend’s 21st birthday, standing in my favorite bar all dressed up (stilettos included). That pitch by Adam Wainwright, the absolutely BEAUTIFUL curve … my hands went up at the same time as Waino’s, and there was much screaming and jumping (probably not smart in the stilettos) and cheering and high fives. It was one of the best moments ever.
When I moved to St Louis in 2007, I worried that it wouldn’t be the same, what with new Busch Stadium having been opened just a year and a half prior. Yes, we had won the World Series in the new stadium, giving more nostalgia to the place than anyone expected in its first year. I felt like there was no way that it could possibly come close to the feeling that those 96 arches at the top of old Busch could give. I doubted it could live up to the last game I spent there in 2005, the first time Renteria had come back after defecting to the Red Sox after that unfortunate 2004 World Series. Oh, how wrong I was. The stadium is gorgeous, this is true, but it was more than that. Being in STL, going to games there, being with the fans there, it became MY stadium.
That’s where I chose to go to see my favorite team, where I, as an adult, could learn and bond with my uncles and grandfather. Disney World has nothing on Busch Stadium, which is MY happiest place on earth. I will always have a smile on my face as I walk in there.
For me, being a Cardinals fan is more than just a passing interest. It is a way of life. They are MY team. When they’re doing well, WE’RE doing well. When they aren’t, WE’RE in a slump. It is the way I bond with my grandfather and my uncles, listening to stories about seeing Stan the Man’s last game ever, or about a 9-year-old promise to Ozzie in 1985 to pay him $75 if he hit a home run, respectively. My uncle swears that if he ever meets Ozzie, he will go ahead and give him that $75, because a promise is a promise. I spend my summers watching games, my winters waiting for Spring Training to start again. The Cardinals have given me something to be attached to my entire life.
They’ve given me the opportunity to learn about one of the greatest baseball players of all time (Stan), and about his most perfect statistic in all of baseball (3630 hits, half on the road, half at home). They are more than 70 percent of my wardrobe. They are what I talk about the first time I meet people. They are how my coworkers introduce me to people (… and this is Ann, our resident Cardinals fanatic). Most of my conversations over the last few months have been about whether the Berkman signing will be a good thing, or about what the middle infield is going to look like with Theriot and without Ryan, or whether the front office will make all of our hopes a reality and finally sign Albert. I have the opportunity, for at least the next season, to watch the BEST PLAYER IN BASEBALL 82 times, in MY stadium, in MY city.
I will never not be a Cardinals fan. Period. St Louis Cardinals fan FOR LIFE.