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Cardinals Need a Solid Storyline Feud

by Brian F. Logush

While not being a big supporter of Interleague play, one part of it I enjoy is counting on playing the Kansas City Royals six times a season, and that means an expected four, maybe five wins. And when the two teams get together, something you can always count on is fans jaw-jacking with each other. Royals fans love to shout "1985" at Cards fans whenever they can. Even when they're in the minority, like when the teams play at Kauffman. They fawn over George Brett and his pine-tar covered bat, brag about their barbecue, and how great The Plaza is. And Card fans are no different. We wax poetic about Stan Musial, brag about our barbecue, and tell everybody how awesome the Arch is.

But that's only the fans. At it's core, what is truly important, is the action on the field. The bottom line, and the only thing that matters, is wins. Fact is, the Cardinals have been the more successful franchise of the two for the past two decades. It isn't even close. Even though they only have one more World Series (2-1...actually it's more like 2.5-1.5 but I digress), the Cardinals have been perennial winners, and the Royals have been perennial doormats. OK, that's enough bad-mouthing. I should be more professional.

But that's the problem. For the past number of seasons, the Cardinals have been a consistent powerhouse, having both a dynamic line-up and, for the most part, a high-quality rotation. There have been times when the team has been down, and another NL Central team has risen to claim the #1 spot. But for the most part, the Cardinals have been perched at the top. There has been no team to consistently challenge them for the NL Central playoff spot. And people are sick of it.

Until I went to Mizzou, I never realized the hatred people had for the Cardinals. I can accept it from Cub fans, Astro fans, and Royal fans. But not from Twin fans, Tiger fans or Brave fans. I couldn't understand it. But once I started thinking about it, I got it. Most everything you hear from the media is how loyal and passionate the Cardinal fans, how knowledgeable they are, and how they aren't afraid to tell you about it. It seems that only Cardinal fans like the team, and everybody else hates them. I have thought about this, trying to put it in perspective, as to what or who the Cardinals are most like. And it finally hit me:

John Cena.

Yes, I am breaking news that the current WWE Champion, and IWC's (Internet Wrestling Community) most wanted, is the personification of the St. Louis Cardinals. They both are loved by their carefully selected demographic, they both wear red and both are ten-time World Champions. Spooky.

For the most part of his WWE career, John Cena has been the poster-boy of the WWE, and is a constant main-eventer. There have been several challengers to his titles, but he always seems to come out ahead. Women and children cheer him, most others boo him, waiting for him to finally lose. But he rarely does. Just like the Cardinals.

For every challenger John Cena has faced, whether it be Randy Orton, Edge, The Nexus, or The Miz, Cena comes out of a feud on top. As have the Cardinals. In the early 2000s, Chicago seemed to be reaching that next level with Wood and Prior, Aramis Ramirez, and the upstart Carlos Zambrano. Injuries and curses and and some dude with headphones derailed that train. The Astos rose up in the middle of the decade and seemed poised to break out, but a massive homer by Pujols off Lidge stalled their momentum, and the heart of the team soon disbanded. Most recently, the Reds have taken steps, and stand the best chance of those teams to constantly battle for that top spot.

The Reds could be the real deal. But with Chapman on the DL again, and a recent stumble against the Indians, it's hard to say if they are contenders or pretenders. But they could be the real heel the Cardinals need to bring out the best. They have raw potential, one of the best talkers in the game (Phillips), and in true heel fashion, a cheap-shot specialty (if he needs a name for it, I suggest the Cueto Karate Kick). I want to see the Reds succeed, if only because it would be entertaining as hell. This rivalry could make the division relevant again. The NL Central has been labeled as weak, a one-trick pony, the "Comedy Central". It lacks prestige, and a feud between these two clubs could make it interesting. The NL Central needs this, and it needs to last for several years. Teams have arrived and challenged, lost and crawled away. There needs to be consistency. That's what makes a good product. Without a challenger, you get bored at the top, and your fans get bored and want something new. That is what is happening with Cena. Still champion, and no real threat looms on the horizon.

The Cardinals cannot continue to be John Cena. Because before you know it, you'll see a Cena jersey at Busch Stadium and some grandmother knitting him a sweater. And that, my fellow Cardinal fans, is the real rapture.


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Cardinals Mix blog featured writers LS Murphy,Brian F. Logush
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