Thinking rationally

Posted by Steve

I consider myself a rational baseball fan. I try not to get too up and down. While that can be difficult at times, once I’m out of the moment of a game, I’m able to keep things in perspective. Baseball is a looong season. Losing one game is not a big deal. A hitting slump for a good hitter is not a big deal; it’s a long season and he’ll snap out of it before long. Performance of a team or player must be judged over large periods of time, because small sample sizes allow for luck and random variation to skew results.

All right, so I’m sure you’re getting the point. I’m not the most knee-jerk fan. What’s the point?

My point is my rational thought–any sense of logical reasoning whatsoever–goes out the window when the St. Louis Cardinals are involved.

I absolutely do NOT want to see the Cardinals make the playoffs. I do not care that it ensures the Brewers will not play the Phillies in the first round–I’d rather take my chances trying to hold off Arizona. This is for a few reasons. The most obvious (and logical) reason is the Cardinals are playing the best baseball of any team in the National League at the moment. That is not my reason, however.

My reason is that I can not even begin to imagine how utterly miserable it would be for the Brewers to lose a playoff series to the freaking Cardinals. The possibility of knocking them out of the playoffs, no matter how absurdly satisfying it would be, is not enough to want the Cardinals in. I’ll be thrilled if the Brewers make the World Series by beating anyone–it certainly doesn’t need to be the Cardinals for me to be happy. Yet the mere thought of being eliminated by St. Louis makes me sick to my stomach.

I liken it to the Packers and Bears in the NFC Championship game last year. The thought of losing to the Bears was nauseating. This is even worse, though. First of all, I’m a bigger Brewer fan than Packer fan, so I care even more. Secondly, I hate the Bears just because I’m a Packer fan and I’m supposed to. On the flip side, I hate the Cardinals because they’re pompous whiners who feel entitled to rewrite the Unwritten Book of Baseball Etiquette as they see fit. I despise their manager and his bush league theatrics. A faction of their fan base has a serious superiority complex. There is almost nothing as satisfying as the Brewers beating the Cardinals while having fun–whether it be untucking shirts, going in to Beast Mode, or whatever they decide to do.

Last night, as the Cardinals won yet another game to pull just 1.5 games behind the free-falling Braves, a simple conversation about the Cardinals turned into a gradually escalating rant of disgust at the thought of the Cardinals even making the playoffs. They were dead in the water a couple weeks ago! This shouldn’t even be happening!

You want to know how irrational the Cardinals make me? If they won the wildcard, I just know I’d find myself rooting for the Phillies in their series. And that is COMPLETELY irrational. The Phillies are the much better team; the Brewers’ chances of reaching the World Series go way up if they don’t have to face them.

None of that matters. I just want the Cardinals out; after that, let the chips fall as they may. You can bet I was sitting in front of my computer following online as the Cardinals gave up six runs in the ninth and blew the game. I’m sure many Brewer fans were primarily excited because it dropped the magic number to a mere two, but not me. I’m excited because the Cardinals were just dealt a serious blow to their wildcard chances.

I guess my rational, even-keeled fandom ends with the regular season.



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