Is It Ever Okay to Root Against the Cardinals?

dating my sister.jpg
Pretend, for a moment, that the Cardinals are your sister...
So the Colby Rasmus trade has had a day to sink in now, and the opinions on both sides are rather strong. 

Side A: "Oh, for the love of god, I can't believe the Cards just gave away their talented young center fielder for peanuts because the manager doesn't like him! This...is...BULLSHIT!!!" 

Side B: "Oh, for the love of god, how can you idiots not see Colby Rasmus is a terrible player? Needs to get his head out of his ass and tell his daddy to shut up and plus he's a headcase and you guys just keep on making him out to be Joe Freaking DiMaggio! This...is...BULLSHIT!!!" 

I, of course, am on that first side.

I would like to point out to the second side that Colby's OPS+ this year -- which critics claim has been awful -- is still 111, meaning even after one of the most brutal two-month periods of time I can recall ever watching he's still been better than a league-average hitter. For free. Oh, well. I'm sure there's probably nothing I can say at this point to convince anyone of anything. (Though I was, I must admit, positively giddy with all the comments and arguing.) 

Yesterday over at Viva El Birdos there was, as I'm sure you can imagine, much discussion of the deal. Lots of stuff on both sides, but there was one particular exchange that got me thinking. I don't remember exactly where it was in all the chaos, and rather than dig through to find it, I'll just paraphrase. 

Someone -- I apologize to whoever it was, because I don't recall who -- made the comment they were almost actively rooting for the team to fail, because complete collapse is the only way they see the current management of this team ever going anywhere. Someone else responded they could never root against their team, as they are Cardinal fans. Rooting for laundry, and all that. Plenty more discussion followed, with some good points made both ways. So I got to thinking: how do I feel about this whole rooting against your own thing? And given I have this lovely public outlet to force you all to listen to my half-baked opinions, I thought I would share my thoughts with you this morning. 

Okay, so say you have a sister. 

"I have a sister." 

Alright, very funny, wiseguy. That's enough out of you. 

So say you have a sister, who means the world to you. You never want to see her get hurt. In fact, you've spent a large portion of your life trying to figure out all the best ways possible to make sure she doesn't get hurt. After all, this is your blood you're talking about, and trying to save the people you care about from pain is just what you do. 

But now, see, your sister has this boyfriend. Really kind of a dick. He's jealous. Possessive. Talks down to her in public. They fight constantly, and everyone knows he's got a little something on the side. 

Your sister, though, she doesn't see these things. The sun rises and sets in this dude's ass as far as she's concerned. Sure, they fight, but that's just because they're so passionate about their relationship. Well, yeah, he's a little controlling, but that's just because he loves her so much. And really, who else would know better what's good for her and for them than someone who cares about her so much? 

Her friends have tried talking to her, but she doesn't want to hear it. They push the issue, and she just stops talking to them. You've tried to intervene as well, but haven't had much more luck. She doesn't listen to you, either. So you talked to him, and he just blew up, made it clear you don't know what the hell you're talking about, and the only people allowed to have an opinion about their relationship is them. You even got a job with a local alt-journal and started writing columns about how your sister totally needs to dump her boyfriend, but that doesn't seem to have worked at all. 

So what do you do? Well, I'll tell you what you do. You root for the relationship to fail. You don't want to, but you do. You hope he gets caught running around behind her back. Or that one night he finally gets pissed enough to take a swipe at her so you can kick his ass and drag her out of there. It's going to hurt her, badly, when the relationship ends. But it's a bad job all around, and the longer it goes on the worse it's going to be. Is it better for her to be sad now, or five years down the road when they've got two kids running around and she finds out he's been cheating on her all along? Will she have any of those friends left when she hasn't spoken to them ever since they took her out to dinner one night and tried to tell her they didn't think her boyfriend -- let's call him Tony -- was good for her? 

You would do anything to keep from seeing your sister get hurt, but the situation just keeps getting worse. She won't get rid of him, there's nothing you can do to force the issue, and he certainly isn't the sort of leopard who's going to change his spots. So you wait, and you hope she gets hurt, and it kills you a little to do it. 

That's kind of where I find myself with this team. The Cardinals are in a dysfunctional relationship with their manager, and until something happens that will finally force the organisation to wake up and realize they have to make a change, things are just going to continue on this way. So I'm stuck, wanting to see the team I've loved since I was old enough to understand the game do well, but believing in my heart of hearts that they need to fail, that they need to hurt, before they'll ever make any positive changes. 

So what do I root for? Do I root for success that will be fun and enjoyable come October but keep the status quo in order and lead to more of this same? Or do I hope for collapse, for ugliness, for pain? Sure, it'll hurt if the Cards miss the playoffs, particularly after selling off such a big piece of their future for the moderate bump they might enjoy now. But no matter how miserable an October with no baseball in St. Louis would be (though come to think of it, we haven't seen too many Octobers with baseball around here lately, have we?), maybe failure is the only way we see this stuck-in-neutral franchise take a good, hard look at the future and realize the way things are going now is not the way to build any sort of lasting success. 

And so yeah, I'm stuck. Cardinal baseball is in my blood, and yet here I am, hoping they fail. It's a miserable situation, but I'm just not sure what else to hope for. 

How about you? 

Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
12 comments
Susan McMurray
Susan McMurray

I can't root against the Cardinals but my enthusiasm has left. I'm not rooting for them either and I have been a die hard fan all my life. I'm rooting for TLR to leave.

GDM
GDM

i'll go one further than you. i don't care how it happens, it just has to happen. DeWitt & Co, Mo & TLR all have to go, not just TLR. all 3 have proven they are incapable of running a competent team, all 3 are too stubborn to admit they are wrong & all 3 are dragging this once great & proud franchise down with them. i can't watch this happen anymore. i just can't

Salti C
Salti C

Aaron,Its sad, but I completely agree with you. This team lacks direction. I have no idea what they are trying to do as a franchise and I just cannot get on board with this sinking ship. I loved your LaRussa/asshole analogy which is what the Cardinals are turning into. Is it possible that every other writer, scout, GM, etc. is wrong? Or could it be that the Cardinals are not as infallible as the STL front office, STL media, STL fans, etc seem to think they are?

Big_Larr
Big_Larr

Colby Rasmus will not succeed until his father relinquishes control.  He won't succeed in Toronto or anywhere else until this happens.  I wish the best for Colby, but he has been nothing but mediocre here in St. Louis.  Tony LaRussa, while frustrating at times, is a consistent winner.  He is far more important to the Cardinals than Rasmus or even Pujols.  Who would you replace him with?  How would you feel if LaRussa left and we were saddled with a manager that couldn't get this club to the postseason for several consecutive years?  Rooting for the failure of this club is ridiculous.  If viewership or attendance falters, what does that do for revenue?  Could ownership make big moves and sign marquee players if there was no cash flow?  I suggest instead of rooting for failure, start watching Blue Jays games and root for your boy Colby. 

Trillfearless
Trillfearless

You said the Colby trade was asinine, well I think it's pretty asinine to root against the team you've supported your whole life. If you MUST root against something or someone, root for Colby to crash and burn in Toronto. Either stick by your team or acknowledge that you're a fair weather fan.

ncmc
ncmc

Your argument would make sense if the Cardinals were mediocre, but look at the record of the last decade, including two world series appearances, only one losing season and two 100-win seasons. I believe the only other teams with two appearances in the last 10 seasons are the Yankees, Red Sox, Giants and Phillies. 

Michael
Michael

Just because management makes a bad deal doesn't motivate me to give up on the team. The Cards are more than Mo, Tony and Colby. So they made a crappy deal... Get over it and bring on the playoffs.

Aaron
Aaron

Thank you. It takes courage to stand up and go against the prevailing wisdom, but at some point in time it isn't everyone else in the world who's the problem. It's you. 

Aaron
Aaron

I would disagree with your characterisation of Colby as mediocre, but I would not quibble with your point about him needing to figure out a different way of handling his relationship with his father. Until Colby can figure out how to be his own man, he'll probably always be a player who falls just short of what his talent says he should be. 

However, to claim Tony La Russa is somehow more important than the players is just foolishness. Managers don't win games. Players do. Give me the best team, and a shit manager, and I'll beat the hell out of your brilliantly coached but talentless team all day. Managers contribute virtually nothing positive under the best of circumstances, and absolutely nothing positive when they've decided to turn the clubhouse into their own private ego trip. 

Aaron
Aaron

Whoops, too quick on the trigger there. Sigh. Story of my life. 

Anyhow, I'm a little puzzled as to why I would want to root against Colby. He's done nothing to me, and nothing to hurt the team. Don't get me wrong, I don't hole him blameless in this mess by any means. Guy has plenty of growing up to do in lots of ways. But I don't think he's hurt the Cards by any thing he's done. 

As for being fair weather, I would argue against that characterisation. I believe this team is being actively hurt by the current management group, and I'm unhappy with that fact. So what should I hope for? That the team somehow lucks into doing well, and the underlying problems remain unsolved? The sooner this organisation makes some real changes in the structure and makeup of their leadership the sooner we'll see things start to move in a genuinely positive direction, rather than this dysfunctional nonsense. I believe the only way we'll see those changes made is if things go badly. If the team continues to hang around the top-ish neighbourhood of this very mediocre division, then what hope do we have to see some honest change? Ownership has made it clear La Russa has carte blanche to stick around as long as he wants, so how else other than glaring failure are we ever going to see DeWitt and Company decide they need to fix the underlying issues? 

Aaron
Aaron

That's completely true. The last decade was brilliant for the Cards. But look at the last five years. One playoff appearance. A three-game sweep, no less. A continuous black hole in the middle infield. And a manager who year after year ever since his biggest ally in the organisation was shown the door has feuded with one player after another, has gone to the media and blasted players, called out the front office, and just generally made a toxic situation for all involved whenever he finds a chance to make mischief. Once upon a time, Tony La Russa was a great manager. Now, though, he's just a pissed off bitter old guy who goes out of his way to cause problems. 

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...