Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Why I Am Rooting for the Cardinals



I was born in St. Louis. This information might get me kicked out of Astros County, but its true. We moved to Houston in 1990. As a result, for my first 8 years I was a Cardinals fan. Ozzie Smith was my favorite player. His homerun in the 1985 NLCS  was one of my earliest memories. When Jack Buck said “Go crazy, folks, go crazy,” I did, along with my Dad.

I am not a Cardinals fan now. It did not take long for Biggio, Bagwell, Caminiti, etc. to steal my heart from the Cardinals.  The Astros were on every night in my house, and they were good. Ozzie Smith was replaced by Jeff Bagwell. My Dad adopted the Astros as his own too. He cheered for them, and was heartbroken for them, and we watched them together.

For a while it was easy to still like the Cardinals. Especially when they weren't very good in the late 90’s and the Astros were winning the division nearly every year. Then they started to become rivals. The division started to go through them. Then 2004 happened. That was a fantastic series and I lived and died with every pitch. And my formerly beloved Cardinals broke my heart in game 7.  A year later, one strike away, a Cardinal ripped my heart out. That story had a happy ending. When the Astros made their first World Series, I called my Dad. We celebrated for our new team.

My feeling towards the Cardinals had shifted. It started happening earlier, but in 2004 and 2005, there was a clean break. The Cardinals were no longer my other team, the team I held on to for Ozzie’s sake. They were the enemy. I actively rooted against them, and began lumping them into the same category as the Yankees.   

Thing is, my Dad was also born in St. Louis. Only he didn't leave when he was 8. His favorite player was also Ozzie Smith, but before that it was Lou Brock, and before that Bob Gibson, and before that Stan Musial. That’s a lot of history. When the Cardinals began their improbable (impossible?) runs in 2006, 2011 and now 2012, I greeted it with frustration. My Dad, however, is still a fan. He cheered. When the Cardinals pulled out that ridiculous comeback against the Nationals last Friday, I got a text message the next day from my Dad saying “How about those Redbirds.” I did not share his enthusiasm.

My Dad is sick. We found out this weekend, just a couple days after the Cardinal's comeback. We don’t know how sick, but the news is not good. Baseball is so unimportant right now. There are so many more important things that bind us together. Our faith. Our family. But, baseball still means something. My Dad and I have enjoyed so many baseball moments together. Baseball comes up in nearly every one of our conversations. I can’t root against the Cardinals right now. If my Dad is rooting for the Cardinals right now, so am I. I hope you can forgive me. I am not really rooting for the Cardinals. I am rooting for my Dad.

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Forgiven! Prayers for you, your father and your family.

Anonymous said...

Cheer your heart out! Enjoy this run for everything it is worth.

RyanScott81 said...

Thanks for sharing this. I wish you, your dad and family all the best. As for the Cardinals, i root for them too. Not because I'm from there, or because of an intimate reason like you. I'm tired of the NL central being considered weak. Sure we had the Astros and Cubs but we also had the Reds and Cards. I hope the Cards go all the way and lay a hefty whipping on whatever AL team they're against. So let your dad know that some Astro fans are rooting for him and his Cardinals.

JEXAS said...

I'll let it slide this time. :)
I'm rooting for your dad.

Anonymous said...

Rooting for you and yours.

Hal Jordan said...

I rooted for the Cards against the Nats. I'm not rooting for them at the moment, but if they advance to the World Series I'll be rooting for them vs the Tigers(hopefully). And obviously I'll root for the Cards over the Yankees if NY manages to overcome their 3-0 deficit.

Sherri said...

Not a baseball fan, but I'm rooting for your dad. Praying for him and your family.

Doug said...

Baseball kept me and my dad connected too, even though we were 2,000 miles apart. He was a Big Red Machine guy, then when Denver got the Rockies, a Colorado fan. He loved everything about the game...except umpires. Rooting for your dad rooting for the Cardinals for a good long time.

Reuben said...

Great story. Best wishes to you and your dad.

Anonymous said...

My dad was also a cardinals fan. Stan Musial and Dizzy Dean so I have a fond spot in my heart for those red birds. Best wishes to you and your dad. Nance

Anonymous said...

I pray that things turn out well for your Dad, and that you and your Dad are able to one day see an Astros-Cards World Series. In the meantime, keep rooting for those Cards. I've been an Astros fan since 1971, and even though the Cards have probably been our strongest rivals, I find myself rooting for them in the absence of the Astros in the playoffs. I think it has to do with respect for the Cardinals organization. All the best.

Anonymous said...

Best wishes for you and your family.

duptag said...

Well said.