(Image: Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch)
Sports can be an outlet for powerful emotions, not all of them positive. In some ways, one beneficial aspect of sports fandom is that it provides a way to channel negativity that is much less harmful than it would be expressed in other areas of life. Feelings like anger, hate, and spitefulness can be compartmentalized and purged without anyone getting hurt. In that spirit, this fan of a team that finished 23 games behind the Cardinals in the NL Central took a few moments this morning to read the St. Louis media break down the Cardinals’ World Series loss, hoping for a cathartic experience.
By and large, mainstream Cardinals pundits are thoughtful and professional – which is a total buzzkill you’re a jackass like me looking to gloat. Luckily, St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bernie Miklasz saved me from having to be an adult about this whole thing. For those of us outside of Cardinal Nation, Miklasz is an easy target since he jumped on the insufferable “we’re the best fans in baseball” bandwagon at the start of the 2013 season. With that in mind, his post-elimination column about the Cardinals is particularly gratifying. Here are some highlights:
The Cardinals were finished early because their bats went missing over the final three games of the World Series, the same way they inexplicably vanished during their staggering collapse over the final three games of the 2012 NL championship series.
The Cardinals were finished because they had an early chance to break through on Red Sox starter John Lackey, but let him grind his way to safer ground by taking some of the worst, most feeble at-bats you’ll ever see in such an important setting. […]
For the second consecutive season, the Cardinals became unglued with a championship on the line, and it’s confounding and frustrating. It’s inexcusable, really. There’s no justification for this. […]
Last year the Cardinals batted .190 and scored one run — total — in losing three consecutive games to the Giants to cough away the NLCS.
In this World Series, the Cardinals fur-balled a 2-1 series lead by scoring only four total runs and batting .194 over three consecutive feckless defeats.
Oh, c’mon. I can’t stand the Cardinals, but it’s not like they weren’t trying. In baseball it just looks like losing teams are not trying because it’s a hard sport in which luck plays a substantial role. Miklasz seems to be proving a point he made in his “best fans” column when he said, “Let’s face it: we’re baseball snobs.” You said it, brother.
Even if we stipulate that on some level it’s silly and childish to take joy in the misfortunes of others, it is hard to deny that feeling of joy is crazy delicious. Thank goodness Miklasz was willing to let those of us who are not the best fans in baseball indulge.
Of course, there’s also the Baseball’s Best Fans Twitter feed, but that’s so good for a schadenfreude fix it’s probably unhealthy.