This month’s United Cardinal Bloggers project gave us the chance to get to know not one, but two fellow Cardinals writers via an interview format. Every fan has their own story about falling in love with the game, and every writer has a story about … well, pretty much anything!
So, without further ado, let us introduce you to Mark and Dathan.
Mark Sherrard of Cardinals Fan in Cubs Land
1. When did you first become a Cardinals fan? Was your family into baseball?
I became a Cardinals fan as a result of my dad, who grew up as a Cardinals fan as well. He lived in Clayton, MO for a time when he was growing up and once saw Dizzy Dean pitch against Carl Hubbell. Each summer, our family would make a trip down to St. Louis to catch a game or two (as we got older, we expanded it to a weekend series). Although my dad has passed away and my brother and sister never shared my passion for baseball, its something that my mom and I still share.
2. When did you attend your first game at Busch Stadium? What do you remember most about that game?
I cannot remember if it was my first game, but the first game I remember was a game I saw back in 1979. I was a huge fan of Lou Brock and was sad to hear that he was retiring after the season. So, it was extra special moment for me that he lead off that game with a single, promptly stole second base and received a standing ovation from the crowd.
3. Who was your first favorite Cardinal and why?
Lou Brock was my first favorite, but I didn’t get to see him for long as he retired a few years after I became a fan. My other favorite at that time was Bob Forsch. I was playing little league around that time and loved to pitch. Forsch was the guy I identified the most with at the time. He wasn’t overpowering, but knew how to get guys out.
4. Who is your favorite Cardinal today?
I don’t know if I really have a favorite today, but if I had to choose, I would say Adam Wainwright.
5. What’s your favorite Cardinal moment?
My favorite Cardinals moment would have to be watching the 7th game of the 1982 World Series with my father and brother in our living room and seeing Bruce Sutter strike out Gorman Thomas to end the game. I sat in stunned silence for a moment, while my brother and dad celebrate, before joining in.
6. Given the name of your blog, you obviously don’t live in the St. Louis area. Are you able to get to many Cardinals games?
Unfortunately no. The last game I was able to see in person was a Cubs/Cardinals game back in 2004 with my mom, sister and my girlfriend at the time (who happens to now be my wife). However, now that my kids are getting old enough, I hope to start bringing them to games.
7. Also, given that you’re not in St. Louis, are you able to watch games on MLB-TV or some other service?
I catch the Cardinals on TV when I can. However, the kids keep me busy and I rarely get to see a whole game from start to finish.
8. Why did you decide to start Cardinals Fan in Cub Land? Have you blogged previously?
I have always loved baseball and had an interest in writing (I dabbled in writing short stories for a time, albeit unsuccessfully). Thus, I answered an adding seeking bloggers for a new sports network (Fanball.com). Although I originally thought I would get the Cardinals blog, they decided to give that blog to one of their editors, so I was stuck with the Cubs (mainly due to my proximity to them).
I blogged for Fanball for a year and a half, before they folded, and then continued writing the Cubs blog (under another name) for another year and a half, as I liked criticizing the Cubs moves. However, I grew tired of it and figured that, if I was going to blog about a team, I might as well write about the team I love.
So, after ending the Cubs blog last July, I took some time off to regroup and started CFCL in January of this year.
9. What do you do outside of blogging — tell me about your family, work (if you’d like), etc.
My “other” job is as a corporate accounting manager for a large, multinational distribution company. Other than that, most of my time is taken up by my three kids (one girl, two boys) and, of course, fantasy baseball.
10. What’s your prediction on where this year’s Cardinals will finish?
I’m going to stick with my preseason prediction and say that the Cardinals will win the division. Beyond that its anybody’s guess as to what happens. The Cardinals have certainly played better as of late, but there are questions surrounding their pitching and whether they can keep up their torrid pace of hitting with RISP.
11. Biggest surprise so far about this season? Biggest disappointment?
The biggest surprise for me has been Edward Mujica. He has stepped up as the Cardinals closer after others have failed and has put up some pretty incredible numbers, including a 43/3 K/BB ratio.
Along those lines, the biggest disappointment has to be Mitchell Boggs who went from one of the best setup men in the NL last year to being traded for basically nothing.
12. Who’s your choice for Cardinals MVP so far this season?
For me, there is only one logical candidate for the Cardinals’ MVP, Yadier Molina. Not only has he put up some really nice offensive numbers, hitting .335 and battling for the batting title, but he has been invaluable in the success the Cardinals have had with all their rookie pitchers, essentially being another coach on the field.
Dathan Brooks of Go Crazy, Big Boy
1. What made you a Cardinals fan?
Just to be clear, I’m not technically a “Cardinals fan” so much as I’m a “baseball fan” with a favorite team. Though to some it might seem like the same thing, I believe the distinction is worth noting. I’m a baseball fan because of my dad, and a baseball coach I had for a number of years, starting in my age 10 season. Before that point, I liked baseball, but the summer I was 10 changed everything. I fell in love with the game, and we’re currently living happily ever after.
2. What has KEPT you a Cardinals fan?
I think it’s because of two things, actually. First, and foremost, the Cardinals teams I’ve watched over the years have played the game the right way…for the most part. There were exceptions to that in the 1990’s. But by & large, the Cardinals play baseball the way it’s supposed to be played. Matthew Kory from Sports On Earth recently wrote a piece about whose jersey a fan should buy, broken down by team. What has kept me a Cardinals fan is touched on with what he said about Matt Carpenter, “There are better players. Yadier Molina is perhaps the best catcher since Ivan Rodriguez in his prime. Matt Holliday is on the downside of his career but he’s been a superstar and chose to go to St. Louis. Adam Wainwright is a perennial Cy Young candidate. So, Wait, Why again: Carpenter is everything that makes the Cardinals one of the top organizations in baseball. He’s a guy nobody thought much of until he got into the Cardinals system. There he transformed into a guy who contributes in every way possible on the field. He literally does everything well. He’s not the best player on the team and may never be, but he is the epitome of why the Cardinals are great and why they’ll remain great for the foreseeable future.” The other reason is because they win. A lot. Lets face it, it’s pretty easy to be a Cardinals fan. I like good baseball & exciting moments–this team has provided me with plenty of both over the years. Give current ownership a lot of well-deserved credit.
3. If you could pick ONE thing (yes, one thing!) to change/fix/improve/add to the team today, what would it be?
A healthy Chris Carpenter. Think about all of the ways that could help this club.
4. What are most impressed with this season?
Cardinals-related? The race in the NL Central. For a division that’s been heckled at times in recent years as the “comedy Central”, it looks like three of the five teams from the NLC are headed for October baseball. The Cards held the best record in baseball for a stretch earlier this season, and the Bucs & Reds were right there with them. The level of competition in this division this season is one few could’ve predicted, and I, for one, am very impressed with it.
5. Your favorite spot at Busch?
Any place I’m lucky enough to get cell coverage! Kidding-they’ve actually made some real improvements with that in the past couple of years. As many have said, there’s not a bad seat in the house. I’ve got more than one area that I really like, though. In some ways, the all-inclusive areas have it made–how do you compete with free food & drinks, amirite? You can’t go wrong in the LF bleachers (everybody knows RF sucks…except for Andy), the bowtie bar is a nice place to get a beverage when it’s too late to get one any other place in the building, and I’m a big fan of 350 as well. That said, just being there is usually good enough for me.
6. Fondest Cardinals-related memory?
So many from which to choose. Winning the ’11 WS has to be it, though, since I was there.
7. Favorite baseball play?
When a runner tries to score from first on a hit. It’s a plays that’s almost immediately recognizable (as likely or unlikely to unfold) off the bat, but takes long enough to develop that the excitement builds, often culminating in a play at the plate. I love it. The “closer & later”, the better.
8. Once and for all, Red hats or blue hats?
Interesting choice of words, “once and for all”. Initially I didn’t like the idea of red on the road, but it has very much grown on me this year. I like the “red, except on the road against other ‘red’ teams” approach the team has taken. Strangely enough, red or blue are neither used “once” or “for all”. I’m also a fan of the new alternate uniforms, FWIW.
9.What yet-unseen rookie are you most excited about?
I’m not much of a prospect/rookie guy, and I don’t pretend to be. I’ll be absent from next month’s project largely for that reason. It pretty much has to be Tavares, given that.
11. Why blogging? What were your expectations for it?
I did some blogging a number of years ago as therapy, to sort of get some “life stuff” out there, and help cope with some personal things that were going on in September and October of 2006. As a part of my daily life, I’d include my blogged thoughts on what the Cardinals were doing at that point. The game the night before, or the upcoming series would come up from time to time in that non-baseball blog. Some days baseball was more prominent in those posts, other times it took a backseat to some of the real stuff that was going on at the time. Once that particular storm passed, I stopped writing. (I never was really one to write much of anything outside of assigned school work, or business reports for work or for clients.) One day in ’09 or so, I picked it back up for fun–not even really expecting anyone to read it. Bob saw a couple of posts, and told me I should reach out to Daniel. And here we are four years later. I think the years & math are right on that, anyway.
12. Best part of the blogging experience?
The experience to get to be treated so well by the organization, specifically on “Blogger Day” with BD3, Mo…etc is only eclipsed by some of the great people I’ve met because of it. Just kidding. Most of the people get on my nerves, and I really really like getting to be around Mo & Bill DeWitt.
13. Biggest blogging pet peeve?
I guess it’d be that I’m supposed to follow rules (to a degree), and it’s “wrong” to say things like “We need bullpen help”, when it’s actually The St. Louis Cardinals that need bullpen help, independent of anything going on in my world.
14. Best thing that’s happened because of writing about the Cardinals?
I’d repeat my sentiments about the “best part of the blogging experience”. I mean, I do enjoy writing most of the time, but I sort of see “blogger day” as the annual reward for the efforts throughout the rest of the year.
Thanks again to Mark and Dathan!