Great Moments in headline writing

Headline: “St. Louis is perfect host for All-Star Game

This is on, of course, so it’s not like it was gonna say “St. Louis: frankly, we coulda done a bit better.”

Lots of great “St. Louis fans are the best in baseball” porn in that article if you’re into that sort of thing.

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  1. Greg Simons said...

    As one of those Cardinal fans, I think we’re a pretty good bunch.  I’m curious why you disagree, Keith.

  2. Sara K said...

    @ KL – That was something short of enlightening.

    I haven’t had the luxury of traveling to many other stadiums, so perhaps the more baseball-worldly among you could shed some light on this subject. What do you see as the basic criteria for rating a fanbase, and which groups best meet these criteria?

  3. Keith Law said...

    It was actually in reference to the vitriol being aimed at me now because I dared point out that Ryan Franklin is a pretty embarrassing pick for the All-Star team … just like the vitriol I got last year for saying the same about Ludwick. It’s not universal to the fan base, but I would say that the Cards’ lunatic fringe is worse than any other I’ve dealt with, including the New Yorks and Boston.

  4. Greg M said...

    The only thing more insufferable and useless than ranking baseball “best fans” is a Mets’ fan.  But for the sake of argument – here’s my criteria:  Do they buy tickets? 
    If yes – Do they attend the game? 
    If yes – Do they take their son onto the field to beat down an umpire? 
    If no – they are hereby listed among the greatest fans the world has ever known.  They have to buy their own trophy, however.

  5. Sara K said...

    Thanks for clarifying, KL.  I’m sure there are plenty of Cards fans who agree with you about fad picks like Ludwick (I’m one), but they aren’t as vocal as the homers.  Franklin is an odd pick for this years’ ASG, particularly given his PED history.

  6. Doug B said...

    How misleading.  I was hoping that this would be in the vain of a headline I saw a few years ago on FJM “Twins to get taste of Angel’s Colon”.

  7. Arva said...

    Keith, you sometimes wonder why people in St. Louis think your biased.  Its not because your hard on the team (you’re hard on most teams).  Its that you say things like “best fans in baseball my ass” and “their lunatic fringe is worse than…”  They think your biased against the Cardinals (team) because you sure seemed biased against St. Louis (city and people).  It makes me doubt anything you say about St. Louis and the Cardinals, which is a shame as you seem like someone otherwise worth listening too.  My two cents.

  8. Breaker said...

    I’ve always found the ‘best fans in baseball’ label to be an enigma. 

    For years, particularly during their dynasty of 1996 – 2000, Yankee fans were labeled ‘the best’.  I would argue it’s really easy to be a fan of a team that is expected to participate in the World Series annually.  And from my experiences, Yanks fans were typically uninformed about the actual baseball universe – you know, anything that happened outside of a Yankees game.  They were ‘the best’ simply because they were loud – though I’m not sure I agree with that description as meaning ‘the best’.

    I was fascinated by the amount of knowledge the fans in Atlanta had about everything – both leagues and all types of stats.  Cleveland also impressed me.  Boston struck me as pretty well informed, though incredibly focused on the Yanks-Red Sox rivalry, as though the other 28 teams are merely an irrelevant side show.

    Houston’s fans were great, and while attending the matchup of Clemens and Maddux (which at the time was the first meeting of two pitchers with 300 wins each in some ridiculous amount of time) I was barraged with interesting factiods about both pitchers and other historical greats.

    I’ve attended games at 17 stadiums, and it is always a very localized experience – as in, the 15 fans seated directly around you and a few other vocal fans in your vicinity really control your impression of the entire fan base.  But the sports bars around the stadium usually give a pretty good idea of what the locals know and how they view the game.

    As a Twins fan myself, our fanbase tends to parrot our tv announcers and local newspaper reporters with baseless addages and usually incorrect ‘facts’, though we are getting better.

  9. Greg Simons said...

    While I agree that Ryan Ludwick and Ryan Franklin aren’t All-Stars of the caliber of perennials such as Albert Pujols, Derek Jeter, etc., Ludwick had a strong first half last season, and Franklin has been terrific this year.

    The criteria for selecting All-Stars is quite obviously undefined and varies from person to person.  However, many people make their choices – rightly or wrongly – based on the first half of the season, and by that standard the two Redbird Ryans did quite well.

    I’m both surprised and not surprised by the Cardinals’ lunatic fringe of fans.  Every fanbase has their extremists, and I suppose combining that mentality with a belief that one is a member of the “greatest fans in baseball” club could make for some volatile outbursts.

    Sorry, Keith.  I’m sure you realize we’re not all psychotic.

  10. Craig Calcaterra said...

    I thought that whole “best fans in baseball” thing was kind of invented by Peter Gammons back when Jim Edmonds was traded to (or re-signed with, I can’t remember which) the Cardinals.  He’d talk about where Edmonds could go or why he was rejuvenated or something, and it was always accompanied by ” . . .with the chance of playing in front of the best fans in baseball every day.”  I think it was trotted out again when Gammons would report on rumors of Edmonds trying to convince other free agents to come to St. Louis.

    It’s mostly meaningless, I think.  Every team has a core of great fans. Every team has knuckleheads. I think Greg M gets it mostly right.  Does the team get support?  Do they understand who is to be cheered and who is to be booed without having to have a jackass columnist or a flashing scoreboard tell them?  If so, they’re pretty good fans.

  11. Nutlaw said...

    St. Louis fans are known for being very supportive of their players and respectful of the opposition. It’s a much friendlier atmosphere than in, say, New York, Boston, or Philly.

    I still remember seeing Larry Walker get a standing ovation during his first at-bat as a Cardinal. It seemingly went on forever and nearly brought the guy to tears. After he struck out in a terrible plate appearance, they went and gave him another standing ovation.

    As an East Coaster myself, I know how quickly fans turn on their players here.

  12. Alex K said...

    My problem with the “best fans in baseball” thing is that it seems a lot of Cardinals fans are more interested in whether or not the Cubs are losing, not if the Cards are winning.

  13. Nick C said...

    Keith – I agree with you that the Cardinals lunatic fringe is more vocal than most. Being that the Cardinals are like family in STL, many take personal offense to criticism leveled against the players. It is wrong of this group to attack you for making the argument against Franklin.

    That being said, a comment like “Best fans in baseball, my ass” is clearly meant to be antagonistic. You are sinking to the level of the lunatic fringe with a comment like that.

    There are many in the fan base who respect and value your opinion, especially regarding amateur players. You are insulting that fan base as a whole for the actions of a (vocal) minority of it.

  14. Richard in Dallas said...

    Having spent many years as a fan in New York, Atlanta, Cincinatti and Arlington, and having visited most ballparks in the country, I would tend to agree with the statement, adding to it that they are also the most knowledgeable and objective fans in the game….
    The love and respect their guys, but if Derek Jeter played in St. Louis, he wouldn’t be quite the god he is in NY.  He would be loved and respected as a very good, bordering on great shortstop, as opposed to the BEST EVER that many Yankees are treated as, even though they’re not.
    NY fans are just about as rabid, but STL fans get it, too.

  15. Sara K said...

    Nutlaw said: “St. Louis fans are known for being very supportive of their players and respectful of the opposition.” 

    The respect for the other team plays a big part in the mystique, I think.  I know that every time I’ve seen a game in StL, the fans cheer for a good play no matter who turns is. Perhaps this is commonplace…?

    And Craig, I’m pretty sure the “StL has the best fans” chant has been going on since at least the WhiteyBall era. The whole “play the game the right way” business.  *shrug*

  16. lar said...

    I actually like when the Cards come to Milwaukee to play the Brewers. They tend to bring a decent number of fans to the city & ballpark during the week, and I’ve always found them pleasant and knowledgable. Compared to the Cubs fans who come up to games, the Cards fans are saints.

    That is, until the Brewers stomped all over them late last year and had the gall to untuck their shirts in St Louis (and watch a game-winning home run for 1 or 2 seconds too long). Now, for some reason, the Brewers are the enemy and Ryan Braun is second only to the Cubs and Satan. Many of the fans are still pleasant (usually the older ones), but it’s amazing how quickly they seemed to change. (and, I’d say, any fanbase that worships Albert Pujols – for all his worthiness – has no right to complain about hitters watching their home runs).

  17. Bob Timmermann said...

    The oldest Gammons reference to the Cardinals fans as “the best fans in baseball” was in 1993 (sometime in August, I don’t have an exact date because he’s quoted by a different paper.)

    “August A. Busch III is something. He has the best fans in baseball, loyal people who are living through a (flood) nightmare, and instead of helping them with the diversion of a pennant race, he refused to allow GM Dal Maxvill to pick up any salaried pitcher. Not only that, but Maxvill is shopping their best pitcher, Bob Tewksbury, because Busch doesn’t want to pay him $3 million next year. This is far worse than Tom Werner’s razing of the Padres.”

  18. MJ said...

    In reference to the Klaw remark, it might be due to previous chat(s) where he’s received comments like:

    Josh (St. Louis MO)
    You’re a putz. You said the cardinals players this year have no star potential and very little every day potential. If they were on the Yankees or Red Sox you would be jumping up and down and proclaiming their induction to the hall of fame already. You ESPN guys are all a bunch of Schlubs.

    Keith Law (1:22 PM)
    Greatest fans in the universe, everyone. With the reading comprehension skills of a hamster.

  19. Arun said...

    “I still remember seeing Larry Walker get a standing ovation during his first at-bat as a Cardinal. It seemingly went on forever and nearly brought the guy to tears. After he struck out in a terrible plate appearance, they went and gave him another standing ovation.”

    I think that’s the porn that Craig is talking about. A standing ovation for Larry freaking Walker in his first at-bat…after striking out? Keith, you couldn’t have said it better.

  20. Rorgg said...

    I’ve always said “The Cardinals have the best fans in baseball—just ask any of them, and they’ll tell you so.”

    I’m sure they’re good and fine and all that, but the horn-blowing gets to be a bit much.

  21. smsetnor said...

    I’ve never been threatened in any park because I’m Cubs fan other than Busch.  And the only person I’ve ever had threaten me with violence due to a non-Cards hat did so by pointing to his Cards tattoo and saying, “You see this? This is more than a tattoo.  This is a way of life.”

    I thought he was the best.

    And I agree with Alex K, many times Cards fans are more worried about if the Cubs have won or not.

  22. Greg Simons said...

    Where else other than Busch would a Cub fan get grief for wearing a Cubs hat?  I’m sure Cardinal fans catch a lot of flack when they wear their Redbird gear to Wrigley, same as Yankees & Red Sox fans in their opponents’ parks.  Of course, it’s idiotic for anyone to threaten violence at another person because of their sports team loyalty.  Can’t we all just get along?  It’s a baseball game, after all.  It really shouldn’t be a way of life.  Those for whom it is need to get a life.

    And I’m a Cards fan who only cares if the Cubs lose if they’re battling the Cards for the division lead.  Otherwise, I’m ambivalent.  I will say I was happy to see them rough up the Brew Crew recently, since it helped out St. Louis in the standings.

  23. smsetnor said...

    Oh.  I don’t mind catching grief. No worries there… But I was requested to join the young man in fisticuffs… which I politely declined shortly before he was tossed from the game.

    But we’ll keep beating up on Chicago North for you.

  24. MJ said...

    Good friends of mine were kicked out of fenway for cheering for the yanks.  Granted, I’m sure it was more for their safety as they mentioned that Will Hunting and 30 of his drunkest friends were starting to get rowdy and throw beers but I digress.

    And regardless of all these squabbles, at least you are highly unlikely to get killed, unlike being in some South American soccer stadiums (structural collapses) or being in the wrong cheering section of a Celtic/Rangers game.

  25. Nutlaw said...

    So there’s something wrong with being appreciative of a player even if he’s not having a good day? There’s something wrong with taking a longer term view towards a player’s worth and not kicking him every time he strikes out?

    I guess that we could turn on our best player every time he doesn’t win the game for us like the Yanks fans do with A-Rod, but I don’t see that as doing anything productive for the player or the team.

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