The Life And Times Of A St. Louis Cardinals Fan – Game 7 EditionBaseball, The Cheap Seats — By Matt Whitener on October 23, 2012 at 9:52 am
This is The Sports Fan Journal, and at the heart of it all, that is exactly what we all are. So for a moment here, I’m going to step aside from analysis and presenting things as they are and be just that, a sports fan. I’m going to be a sports fan that’s in the grip of the absolute most crippling part of fanhood: the devastating loss. But not just so much for the gist of losing a season, but for everything that sports truly is for some of us. The all-encompassing, reality-gripping, life-is-on-the-line event that it can play out to be. Because really, it is never is just a game, especially if you’re not playing it.
Let me back up a step here and speak to the obvious first. I’m bit of a baseball lifer and from St. Louis, Missouri, so the obvious is what it is. The St. Louis Cardinals lost the National League Championship Series last night and simultaneously lost their grip on their title as World Champions as well. In some cases, that’s all it is: good game, they fought hard and things look good for next year. But it’s never just really that for me, because I was raised with the franchise being always there. As long back as I can remember, I had two things tacked on my wall: pennants from the 1985 and 1987 World Series, featuring the St. Louis Cardinals. I didn’t know about Don Denkinger in ’85 then or about the Twins holding down home field in ’87 then. I just knew baseball and the Cardinals. So they became synonymous for me.
I’m a generation removed from a five-kid family that grew up in the ’60s with a ton of other kids in the same neighborhood. They played baseball nonstop and handed the attention of it down to me. So it’s in my blood to say the least. The game is right there with everything else I’ve ever known, like shoes and Laffy Taffy. It’s a personal institution.
And for all of this, the guy I’ve got to pay all of this homage to is my father. I think the first toy I ever had was a big red baseball bat, and when he’d get off work he’d come outside and pitch to me, no matter how tired he probably was, as my life now makes clear to me daily by five or six o’clock. He took me to countless games over the years and really taught me what’s become my greatest passion. Times we spend at the ballpark have grown to become some of the greatest times of my life. He’s been a Cardinal fan for 49 years now, through nine Cardinal World Series trips, yet has not been to a World Series game yet.