It wasn't a surprise to hear card-carrying Cardinal Lovers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver lavishing praise on the St. Louis fans during the All Star festivities. But I had to giggle when they started discussing the respect the Cardinal faithful show to the opposition.
The hypocrisy was in full effect during the All-Star Game introductions, as evidenced with hilarity by this clip from a Chicago Sun-Times article on the All-Star proceedings:
Coming homeAmong the American League All-Stars, White Sox left-hander Mark Buehrle got the loudest ovation from the crowd at Busch Stadium during pregame introductions. Buehrle said he didn't know what to expect, but doubted he would get booed.
Buehrle -- a lifelong Cardinals fan -- knows St. Louis baseball fans consider him one of their own.
''I remember when I was a kid, you come here and the Cardinals could lose 1-0 and they give the other pitcher a standing ovation if he pitched a good game,'' said Buehrle, who grew up 25 minutes away in St. Charles, Mo. ''They enjoyed seeing good baseball. If someone hit three home runs or had a great game offensively, they were applauding the other team instead of booing them like most stadiums where they boo the opposing teams.''
Boos for LillySt. Louis fans have their limits and they showed that by booing Lilly -- the Cubs' lone representative. Lilly took it in stride, smiling as he tipped his cap.
I'm going to let you in on a secret: I agree that Cardinal fans are good fans. They follow their team, they wear the silly Cardinal gear, and they actually pay attention to the game. They do all the things fans are supposed to do . . . including booing the opposition. But I hate it when commentators like Buck and McCarver promote the ridiculous positive stereotype that all (or even most) Cardinal fans are prim, proper, dignified saints transported straight out of Victorian England. They can be just as rude, vulgar, vindictive, and disrespectful as the next fan.
And, like their White-Sox cheering counterparts, St. Louis fans are often consumed with anti-Cub obsession. Yes, despite the fact that both sets of fans have enjoyed multiple World Series championships since the Cubs last sniffed World Series glory, they are still preoccupied with hating on the Cubs. Why?
The answer is pretty simple. Cardinal fans are jealous. Jealous of the losing? No. Jealous of the drunken idiots populating Wrigley in ever-increasing numbers? Not so much. They're simply jealous of the national adoration poured on a team they find undeserving of praise. Cardinal (and White Sox) fans who spontaneously spew insults at the Cubs and their fans are like People magazine readers who don't understand why Julia Roberts keeps showing up in the "50 Most Beautiful People" issue. They just don't get the fascination, and they hate us for it.
Okay, maybe they hate the drunken idiots and the loudmouths and the hypnotized drones who fail to recognize the success of other teams, too. But most of all, I think Cards fans resent the Cubs for being the default fan favorite of people who don't really know or care about baseball.
If you're a fan of the Cardinals and/or the Sox, I understand the sentiment. I understand why you don't like the Cubs and their fans. But when you go out of your way to bash them, it just cheapens your image and your love of your teams. If it's any consolation, a lot of us hate you, too. But most of us have the self-respect to avoid talking about you unless it's absolutely necessary. This is one of those times.
Moving on . . .