My mind will always connect the Cardinals to family. I spent my childhood in St. Louis for the Fourth of July and being taken grudgingly to baseball games. I hated baseball, and I hated being forced to spend the day sitting in the St. Louis summer heat at event I had less than zero interest in. I used to beg my parents to leave me at the hotel to swim. Obviously, they weren’t going to leave me unattended with a pool, so off to Busch Stadium I would go.
My opinion started to change when I got to high school and we weren’t going to St. Louis as often anymore. Our family vacations had started to bypass the city to head a little farther south to the Ozarks. I found that I missed the city, and most surprising to me, I missed the Cardinals games. Then in 2002, my dad and my uncle took two of my brothers to Game 3 of the NLDS, and I remember sitting at home watching it with my mom. I was so mad that I wasn’t there because I could feel how electric the atmosphere was in the stadium just from watching on my couch. I could only imagine how it felt to actually be there. I tried to make my dad feel guilty for not taking me, but all I got in response was that I didn’t care about baseball so there was no reason to spend the money for me to go.
After that I started following the team closer and really keeping tabs on how the season was progressing. I kept myself educated about the players, the team record and where they were at in playoff contention. In 2004, thanks to circumstances that seemed nearly impossible, my dad and I were at Game 6 of the NLCS when Edmonds hit his walk-off home run. It is something I will never forget, and my feelings toward baseball and the Cardinals only grew stronger.
Some of my clearest memories include Cardinals baseball. The frustration and utter disappointment of the 2004 World Series. Where I was when Albert hit his crowd-silencing shot off Brad Lidge to send the 2005 NLCS back to St. Louis for one final game in old Busch.Ã‚Â Shedding a tear (or more) when old Busch came down. Game 7 of the 2006 NLCS and Wainwright’s called strike three to send the Cardinals back to the World Series. Jumping up and down as they won that World Series. Being at Opening Day of 2007 watching the trophy being pulled around the stadium by the Clydesdales. The disbelief at the outcome of Game 2 in the 2009 NLDS. Sitting in Busch Stadium, colder than I’ve ever been, for Game 3 of that series knowing it would be the final game of the Cardinals season.
The roller-coaster emotions of loving this baseball team are much like the ups and downs we all go through with our family and closest friends. We don’t give up on them when times are tough. Sometimes it is easier not to care, but it it’s not nearly as fun.
Like most other Cardinals fans, I was raised to love this team. Being born in Missouri and spending almost my entire life living just 30 minutes away from Busch Stadium, it was considered natural to spend summer nights going to games or even just listening to Jack Buck on KMOX. I love this team, I love the history, I love the feeling I get when I watch my boys play, I love summer, I love the game. So, why exactly am I a Cardinals fan?
Easy: around here, itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s just what you do. It is almost impossible to avoid the rich history of this organization and when you have something like that so evidently present in your life almost every single day, it is hard to avoid it.
When I was a kid, I loved it because it was fun and exciting to go to games Ã¢â‚¬â€œ it was a privilege to go. As I got older, I began to learn more than just the game itself, I began to learn the history and understand more about those names and events of the past Ã¢â‚¬â€œ Stan Ã¢â‚¬Å“The ManÃ¢â‚¬Â Musial, Ozzie Smith, Dizzy Dean, Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Rogers Hornsby, Busch Stadium, SportsmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Park, the 10 World Series titles, the Cards-Cubs rivalry, the Gashouse Gang, the Ã¢â‚¬Å“lovely shade of CardinalÃ¢â‚¬Â quote from a female fan that gave the Perfectos their new name, Don Denkinger and the 1985 World Series with the Royals, Curt Flood and free agency, Whiteyball and so many other amazing moments in history.
My love for the Cardinals wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t really a Ã¢â‚¬Å“choice,Ã¢â‚¬Â but, given one, I think I would have chosen them anyway. Besides the history, I have always just had a love for the game of baseball. I think my passion has increased over the last 10 years for several reasons: Albert Pujols (I got to meet him in 2008), seven of the past 11 seasons in the playoffs, 2006 World Series Champions, Jim Edmonds, Adam Wainwright striking out Beltran with the bases loaded to win the Ã¢â‚¬â„¢06 NLCS and doing the same to Inge to win the WS, 2009 All Star Game, attending a Cards-Cubs series in Chicago every year since 2006, Ryan Ludwick, Chris Carpenter, Albert PujolsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ 3-run homer off Lidge that silenced the crowd in the 2005 NLCS to force a game 6, and countless other reasons.
This team is my passion. My friends know that if they want to find me between April and October, they will have to look for me at Busch Stadium, and they have to check the baseball schedule to find time to hang out with me. I canÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t exactly explain it to them, they just have to understand. It is hard to explain this passion to outsiders, but I do my best.
I love all sports, but there is just something about baseball that doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t compare. I love the Cardinals and I donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t know what I would do without this obsession. If you are truly interested in learning about more of my experiences as a Cardinals fan, you should check out the Cardinal Diamond Diaries blog (hereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s the link to my bio).
I became a Cardinals fan late in my life. Coming from a family that wasn’t into any sports made most sports not all that interesting to me. My love affair with baseball began in late 2004. The Cards had made it to the playoffs and the people I worked with at the time were huge fans, talked about it all of the time and that piqued my interest. So I kept track of the scores during the NLCS and actually watched the World Series.
After the excitement from the 2004 World Series wore off I pretty much forgot about baseball. It didn’t help that I didn’t understand the rules and thought that the long games and long seasons were boring. What finally brought me fully to the game was not the game, the team or the players, but the stadium. They were tearing down Busch Stadium at the end of the season and there were all kinds of specials on TV about it and, even though I’d only had a few experiences at the stadium, I began to be sentimental about all that I had missed. That made me want to make sure I went to at least one more game.
That game was in September, chilly and raining, and it was against the Astros. The Cards lost that game, but after that I became attached to the team and their stadium. I began watching games on TV and got so excited and interested within the month that I managed a ticket to the NLDS against San Diego and had even bought tickets to that World Series that the Astros went to instead of the Cards.
By then I was hooked. I couldn’t wait until the next season. As soon as tickets were available I managed to get some for four different games. I then even took off work early on the home opener so that I could go to a friend’s house and watch the first game at Busch 3. I got so tired of waiting to go to a game that I bought tickets to the first ever Cards/Cubs game at the new stadium, a few hours before game time, and got incredible seats. I sat on pins and needles as Waino closed out the NLCS. When Beltran struck out, I didn’t even realize that he had, I sat in my chair stunned, thinking they had just tied the game, until I saw Waino and Molina’s reaction. And the World Series win made me a fan for life. I love when underdogs win anything, and when my newly adopted Cardinals did it, I was thrilled.
Then in the 2009 season I figured out Twitter and with all of the friends I made there I have increased my knowledge of the game and its history. It has allowed me to enjoy baseball as a whole and not just the Cardinals. It has made my enjoyment of every game so much better, since I have people to talk to about what’s going on in the game.
My Grandma used to play Wiffle ball with me and my cousins when we were growing up and we had so much fun. My aunts went to a game in the 1940s and Aunt Gustie pulled a man’s straw hat down around his neck telling him “Now you can root against the Cardinals if you want, you @#$%^!!” That story was retold for generations in our family.
The biggest reason I am a fan is my Dad, Alton Wayne Bennett, was the biggest, best Cardinal fan I ever knew. He LOVED Stan Musial and Whitey Herzog. My earliest memories are of listening to Dad talk back to Jack Buck through the radio on KMOX. He would even turn down the TV broadcast to listen to Jack’s call of the game.
As a child, we went to at least one game a year. I will never live down that Dad missed the only exciting moments in one of our annual games while getting me a hot dog from the concession stand. I got to share the joy of the 1982 World Series and the bitter disappointment of 1985 with Dad. He died in 1988 and has the Cardinal cap he always wore engraved on his tombstone. My Mom and three sisters now carry on with our Cardinal love, in part, I think, because it makes us feel closer to him …