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Tuesday, July 07, 2009
Great Moments in headline writingHeadline: "St. Louis is perfect host for All-Star Game"
This is on MLB.com, 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.
Posted by Craig Calcaterra at 9:59am
Keith Law said...
Best fans in baseball, my ass.
Posted 07/07 at 10:25 AM
Greg Simons said...
As one of those Cardinal fans, I think we’re a pretty good bunch. I’m curious why you disagree, Keith.
Posted 07/07 at 10:36 AM
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?
Posted 07/07 at 10:41 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 10:48 AM
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?
Posted 07/07 at 10:49 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:00 AM
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”.
Posted 07/07 at 11:01 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:04 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:06 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:08 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:12 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:39 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:43 AM
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.
Posted 07/07 at 11:44 AM
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….
Posted 07/07 at 11:49 AM
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*
Posted 07/07 at 12:01 PM
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).
Posted 07/07 at 12:07 PM
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.”
Posted 07/07 at 12:12 PM
In reference to the Klaw remark, it might be due to previous chat(s) where he’s received comments like:
Josh (St. Louis MO)
Keith Law (1:22 PM)
Posted 07/07 at 12:14 PM
“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.
Posted 07/07 at 12:17 PM