Why I’m a Cardinal Fan

Every once in a while, someone will ask me why I’m a Cardinal fan. “Did you grow up in St. Louis?”, they’ll ask. Nope. My devotion to the Redbirds has little to do with geography. I’m a card-carrying member of Cardinal Nation for several reasons:

First and foremost, I owe my love of the Cardinals to my childhood baseball card collection. I can’t remember when I started collecting cards. But at one point, as I was showing off my collection to someone, I was asked which team was my favorite. I didn’t really have an answer. So I set out to select my favorite team with the scientific rigor of Galileo: I would count my cards out by team and the team with the most cards would be my new favorite club. Good thing I didn’t have a lot of Cubs, eh?

Later that year, I saved my money and purchased a Nintendo Entertainment System. I quickly tired with Mario and Duck Hunt, so I promptly put a copy of RBI Baseball on layaway at the local Wal-Mart. Each week I’d trudge down to Wally World and deposited my allowance towards the balance of the game. After a few weeks, I brought home the greatest video game of all-time. Real lineups! With actual MLB players! I could play as the 1987 Cardinals, my favorite team EVER. Their team speed is unreal (Vince Coleman, Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee…need I say more). I’ve still never been beaten when I play as the Cards. This great game further cemented my Redbird fidelity.

About this time, my father also bought me my first baseball bat. It was a wooden Louisville Slugger and I would spend hours in the backyard, throwing the ball up in the air and swinging away with my new bat (trademark facing me, naturally!). Lo and behold, the autograph on this particular bat belonged to Jack Clark, the St. Louis Cardinals power-hitting first baseman. Coincidence? I think not.

Finally, in 1988, I had the chance to see my first big league game. Cards / Giants in St. Louis on a Friday night in June. We took some great pictures before the game. My favorite was a picture my brother-in-law took of Ozzie Smith, my favorite player, in warm ups. When we got home, we had the picture blown up to poster size. It hung in my bedroom for years; now it’s in Joshua’s room. The Cards trailed the whole game against the Giants. In the ninth inning, with the Cards down by one and a runner on first, my hero, the Cards shortstop, stepped to the plate and drilled an opposite field, game-winning, two run homer off Scott Garrelts, the Giants closer. I went Jack Buck. Every kid should see his sports hero hit a walk-off homer. My all-time sports memory. If there was ever any doubt, that night I became a Cards fan for life.

Viva El Birdos!

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9 Responses to Why I’m a Cardinal Fan

  1. jon says:

    you should write a book, it would turn out somewhat like the Sandlot.

  2. jon says:

    I know I wear glass but I can swear that the game scene you have pasted in the post is between the Cards and Tigers…coincedence…I think not. Also in the game scene is Stacy’s favorite player Alan Trammel.

  3. jon says:

    correction Tigers vs. Twinsoops now I’ve jinxed the red birds.Go CARDS!!!

  4. Anonymous says:

    So really, it’s as though the Cardinals chose you…-Lucy P.

  5. Jason says:

    Lucy,The Cardinals did choose me. I was destined to be a Cards fan.

  6. Jason says:

    Jon,You’re right….Tigers vs. Twins. The Twins won the Series that year (against my Cards), but Trammell was the MVP. I have a Trammell rookie card. It’s a crime he’s not in the Hall. Before shortstops were juicing up and hitting 50+ homers a year, he was one of the better offensive shortstops of his era. Both he and Whitaker are Hall-worthy.

  7. Jason says:

    And yes, GO CARDS indeed. If I could trade Tennessee not winning another game all season long if the Cards could win a championship.I’d trade the Titans top draft pick for the next 10 years if the Cards could win it all. I might even give up a portion of my salary if it meant the Cards winning it all. OK, maybe I wouldn’t do that last one, but I’d be pretty stoked if they won.

  8. jakebennett says:

    I do seem to recall one instance in which you were almost defeated at the hands of Allan Jarratt. The stakes: a 100 on the Bible test for everyone in class AND cupcakes… Jarrett somehow lost on a fluke wild throw to home in which the ball rolled right next to the catcher and he wouldn’t move… it was quite a game. Definately one of the best in Bible RBI Baseball history.And, by the way, this is totally random, but do you remember the first time you and I really “hung out”? You and I were the creative geniuses behind a paperwad throwing game after class one day that caught on like wildfire… I just kind of wind-up pitched one at the trash can from across the room and missed and you told me to try again. And then you tried to do it. And it went on for about 5 minutes before I said I had to leave and you told me to stay and that you would write me a note until one of us made it… ah, the good ole days…

  9. Jason says:

    Of course I remember. Who do you take me for?My entire class was jammed into that closet of an office I had, watching as Jarratt and I duked it out, inning after inning. I really got lucky on that one, but there was no way I could lose in front of the whole class like that. And the paperwad game was a stroke of genius. We created a whole point system of sorts, especially once we started using the lion / cookie jar as a target. If you were really good, you got to put your name on the board.

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