I apologize for not writing yesterday but, I had a long honey-do list that needed my attention and, I think we can all agree that I’d rather draw the ire of internet baseball fans than the ire of the Mrs.
But, I took my girls to the ballgame and concert on Sunday and was struck by the huge number of Cardinal fans in the ballpark. A solid 26,819 took in Sunday’s contest and, I’d guess at least 1/3 to 1/2 were red bird fans. This matches my memory of St. Louis’ last trip to the Trop which also drew out a lot of the St. Louis faithful.
It’d be easy to attribute the huge interest in the Cardinals to midwestern migration to the west coast of Florida. But, I think that explanation is too simplistic.
After all, the Cardinals trained a few short blocks from the Trop for 55 years (1938 to 1942 and 1946 to 1997). A lot of the Cardinals long-time personnel live in St. Petersburg. And, a lot of local residents adopted the Cardinals as their team due to the long-term affiliation. (Heck, the Cardinals’ manager is even a native, although I am pretty sure that is unrelated…).
Does this “prove” anything? Probably not. But it does seem to fit into my argument against moving the Rays.
I didn’t survey the crowd while I was in the yard, I just played with my daughters and tried to teach them the game (side note, my 3-year-old was crushed…CRUSHED…that Longo had the day off, I take this as a sign that I am doing something right as a father). But, as I looked around, the Cardinal fans I saw were not tourists. They were not sunburned or carrying Disney souvenirs. They were locals.
That tells me that at least some of them (maybe a lot of them) grew up here rooting for the Cardinals because they love baseball and because the Cardinals were the closest thing they had to a home team. (when I was a kid, we went to Al Lang to see the St. Pete Cardinals if we wanted live baseball). That is the same thing their kids are doing right now with the Rays. So, sometime in the near future, those kids will be buying tickets to see their Rays just as their parents bought tickets to see the Cards.
This is a baseball town. Stu, stay the course, trust me.