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Rage, Rage Against the Dying of the Light

Posted on January 8, 2009 at 9:33 AM
Filed Under: Cardinal Nation | St. Louis Cardinals
The rage is everywhere.  Can you feel it?  Anger coursing through Cardinal Nation's veins?

That's at least Bernie Mikalsz's opinion.  And, truth be told, some of the questioners in Joe Strauss's chat yesterday backed him up.

From Bernie's column:

The fan base seems angry. On the talk shows and in the blogosphere, where the rage bubbles into a rapid boil, there's chatter of a boycott, of customers giving up their season tickets. They question the commitment to winning. They are tired of excuses. They won't spend another dollar until things change.
Like Pip from Fungoes said last night in the UCB Radio Hour chat room, can someone find me an angry blog?  I'd like to say I'm fairly versed in the Cardinal blogosphere and I couldn't name you one.  A couple may have expressed some discontent from time to time, but I'm not sure any of them would have risen to the level of anger, especially not on a consistant basis.  (As a side note, you must read Pip's latest entry.  It's a much better discussion of the topic of management than I could ever come up with.)

"Blogosphere", however, seems to be used as a general catch-all phrase encompassing all Internet-related commentary, whether on a blog or on a message board.  And as we all know, posting on a message board is pretty easy to do.  There are definitely some fans that are taking their frustrations out on ownership.  I wouldn't dare suggest that Cardinal Nation is a unifed front.

That said, I look at the forums at CardsClubhouse and realize that for every malcontent, who thinks ownership should be spending more no matter who it is on and believes that Bill DeWitt is greedy, manipulative, untruthful and probably secretly a Cub fan, there are five that are patient, that understand the offseason isn't actually over yet, that the Cardinals have a significant payroll, and that ownership is trying to be practical and competitive at the same time.

So I reject the idea that Cardinal Nation is this seething mass that is ready to storm the gates of Busch Stadium and force the checkbook away from Bill DeWitt.  A minority should not be used to define the majority.

Shakespeare said, "Oppose not rage while rage is in its force, but give it way a while and let it waste."  So let's leave that for a while and hope that it wears itself out.  Besides, as a wise being once said, "Fear leads to anger.  Anger leads to hate.  Hate leads to suffering."  And I really don't want anyone suffering while they read this, at least any more than a normal reading creates for you.

Switching gears, last night's UCB Radio Hour was a great kickoff to the year.  If you missed it, you can listen to it on the player in the upper right or you can download it from iTunes.  As you know, Matthew Leach was a guest at the beginning of the show and really brought a lot to the table.

One of the things he pointed out, something that we on the outside really do tend to overlook, is that "we're not playing with Strat-o-Matic cards".  In other words, the decisions that get made will take into account, for lack of a better word, a political component as well as an actual talent component.

Matthew's point related to Skip Schumaker.  Without a trade, it could be difficult for the team to tell Skip, "Look, you had a good season last year, but we are bumping you for a rookie."  Which is understandable.  I think outsiders like myself tend to underrate the chemistry aspect of things, looking at the stats and the logic of the situation. 

He also said that a trade made too much sense not to happen, but that this front office didn't let things leak out.  So they could be working on moves and no one would really know.  It sounds like it may be a situation where they wait to see what the outfielders do in spring training before trading one off.

I think the strongest point he made was that Tony LaRussa never said that Chris Carpenter was seriously being considered as a closer for next year.  What he was saying was that if Carp wasn't healthy enough to start but was healthy enough to close, they'd do that.  However, it's unlikely that situation comes to pass.  He's most likely going to be either healthy enough to start or sitting on the DL.

A good day to you all and please try to keep your rage in check, OK?

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5 Comments | Leave a comment

Last night's show was awesome! (I wanted to listen live, but it wasn't meant to be, so I listened this morning.) It was fun to hear Matthew's take on the different "situations" and, like you said, it helped that there was news to talk about. :)(I'm also glad that there was time for my question!)

"We're not playing with Strat-o-Matic cards" basically summed up my feelings toward, well, everything. I love that he said that. These guys aren't just the contracts they play for, they're people, too.

And on the rage thing, I wanted to thank you and the other bloggers for keeping my anger in check and helping me to stay rational. If it weren't for you guys, I might just fly right off the handle. :)

And we'd not want to see that. Baseball women on a rampage is just not something society can deal with!

I think most reasonable fans who have a grasp of logical rationale understand that the Cardinals are trying to move in a certain direction and will give them the benefit of the doubt (at least for the time being) since the franchise has thrived since this ownership group took over in 1995.

Given the economic climate and the fact that the "newness" of Busch III has worn off I would most certainly expect that ticket sales will go down this year for the Cardinals (and nearly every other MLB team for that matter). The Cardinals do have the advantage of hosting the All-Star Game this season which may have gotten a handful of people to retain their season tickets that normally would have not renewed, but I feel that is probably a small percentage. That said, you know that the few "angry" fans will attribute any decline in ticket sales to the fact that the fan base has finally had enough, even though there may be almost no correlation.

I spoke with the VP of ticket sales late last season and he said the club was fully aware that from 2005-2007 that the team encountered "the perfect storm" in terms of ticket sales. In 2005 you had the last year at Busch II so people were saying "goodbye", in 2006 you had the opening of Busch III so fans were saying "hello", and in 2007 the team was celebrating and defending (albeit a poor defense) their 10th World Series championship. The club realizes that, in terms of tickets sales, their is pretty much an unavoidable decline that will take place. That is why I know that the ticket sales group for the Cardinals are constantly trying to come up with good ideas and promotions to get fans to the stadium.

You are right, it was natural that things would start to slow down ticket-wise anyway. Besides your three years, you also have people buying for '08 so they'll be able to get ASG tickets in '09 and renewing in '09 for the same reason. A dropoff in '10 would be expected, even with a better economy.

I was surprised to at Bernie's column too... where in the heck is this horde of angry bloggers?

Discontent, disappointed, anxious, ... sure... but angry???

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