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Monday, October 21, 2013

Bernie Miklasz: What it means to be a Cardinal

“Cardinal Way” isn’t the name of a city street near Busch Stadium, but it does represent a path that the 2013 team followed from the beginning of spring training. It was their gateway to a division title, the postseason triumphs, and the ultimate destination — the World Series.
The Cardinal Way is an organizational model for success. Scouting players, drafting players, developing players and shaping their personalities to fit into a winning environment. But the Cardinal Way is also an attitude. And more than anything, it is about people, and the bond that forges professional and personal relationships….

The Cardinal Way is about trusting each other, working together, and always pulling in the same direction. It is about subjugating your ego in the pursuit of a more noble cause: fulfilling the goals of an entire organization….

The Cardinals’ old-school persona and dedication to professionalism was mocked as being haughty and arrogant. By believing a team should compete in a way that respects the game, the Cardinals were said to be out of step with modern sports culture.

And that’s exactly what’s wrong with sports and our culture at large: The team that tries to do things the right way is somehow seen as abnormal. The team that plays hard but doesn’t try to embarrass opponents is portrayed as the bad guy.

The critics still haven’t figured it out — not even after the Cardinals clinched the franchise’s 19th NL pennant with Friday’s 9-0 victory over the showy, noisy, flamboyant Dodgers.

The Dodgers — with a $227 million payroll — were a collection of expensive individual parts. They weren’t a team; they were independent contractors. No wonder the Dodgers folded when the Cardinals opened a 4-0 lead in Game 6. The Los Angeles players were just 25 guys getting a lot of money to play ball. They weren’t playing for a cause.

It was dramatically different on the St. Louis side.

The players played to honor the Cardinal Way.

And if you want to be Cardinal, there is no other way.

Well, at least they don’t have an ego.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 12:11 PM | 57 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: best fans in baseball, cardinals, development

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   1. salvomania Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:17 PM (#4579624)
The media just keep feeding it.

Isn't there something better to write about on the eve of the World Series?

I've been enjoying some of the in-depth looks FanGraphs does every now and then after/before a game, focusing on some small component that can actually be ANALYZED, either by watching the GIFs or looking at the numbers, or both, and these things help me to better understand and appreciate the game I love.

Stuff like this is like having a bad smell in the hall.
   2. Depressoteric feels Royally blue these days Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:26 PM (#4579629)
What it means to be a Cardinal: Satanic rituals. Sacrificing babies to Ba'al. Burning crosses. Rank popery. Drunk driving. Cats and dogs living together. Evil given flesh. The end of all things.

That's what 'being a Cardinal' means to me.
   3. Srul Itza Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:27 PM (#4579631)
At this point, between the "high character" Red Sox and the "Cardinal Way", I will not be watching or paying attention to this Series at all, unless someone points out a way that both teams could lose.
   4. esseff Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:31 PM (#4579641)
Thanks, Bernie, for pinning the "kick me" sign to the backside of Cardinals fans.
   5. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: October 21, 2013 at 01:51 PM (#4579662)
See. They don't get the benefit of a few bounces. They're *better than everyone else.* Like their fans.

I have a couple of friends in Boston. As such, I really would prefer the meteor to impact in Busch Stadium.
   6. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:01 PM (#4579672)
The Cardinal Way molests collies.
   7. Guapo Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:10 PM (#4579684)
I liked it better a couple of years ago when that squirrel got all the credit for the Cardinals winning.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:11 PM (#4579686)
No wonder the Dodgers folded when the Cardinals opened a 4-0 lead in Game 6


So what happened when the Cardinals folded with 3-1 Series leads in 1968, 1985, 1996, and 2012?
   9. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:12 PM (#4579687)
What it means to be a Cardinal: Satanic rituals. Sacrificing babies to Ba'al. Burning crosses. Rank popery. Drunk driving. Cats and dogs living together. Evil given flesh. The end of all things.

That's what 'being a Cardinal' means to me.


Nonsense. Neither Chris Truby nor Albert Belle ever played for St. Louis.

Neither did Steve Garvey

And Mike Crudale.
   10. Non-Youkilidian Geometry Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:23 PM (#4579696)
The Dodgers — with a $227 million payroll — were a collection of expensive individual parts. They weren’t a team; they were independent contractors. No wonder the Dodgers folded when the Cardinals opened a 4-0 lead in Game 6. The Los Angeles players were just 25 guys getting a lot of money to play ball. They weren’t playing for a cause.


When the Dodgers were on a roll in the summer and into September we were inundated with articles about their great team chemistry, with titles like "Dodgers sailing through chemistry class".

Of course, we now know better. Losing to the Cardinals in 6 games (including 2 1-run losses) was plainly caused by their lack of team chemistry. It had nothing at all to do with their best hitter suffering a broken rib, plain bad luck, or the fact that when two good teams play a series of games of baseball the rules require one of them to lose.
   11. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:25 PM (#4579698)
And that’s exactly what’s wrong with sports and our culture at large: The team that tries to do things the right way is somehow seen as abnormal. The team that plays hard but doesn’t try to embarrass opponents is portrayed as the bad guy.

What a crock of steaming hooey. There's a whole collection of gifs of the Cardinals trying to embarrass their opponents with the same celebrations their opponents were using.

It's one thing to say My Baseball Team is Better Than Yours. It's quite another to base it on bullsh*t moral grounds. Just when I thought the cardinals couldn't become more intolerably snide, this rolls around.
   12. salvomania Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:27 PM (#4579701)
Just when I thought the cardinals couldn't become more intolerably snide, this rolls around.


Almost completely media-driven
   13. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:31 PM (#4579706)
Yeah. Miklasz (rhymes with "lick-ass"?) isn't an employee of the organization, AFAIK.
   14. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:34 PM (#4579708)
Oh? So the Cardinals themselves don't ever try to project this image of the Way Baseball Is Supposed to Be? I think that's quite a stretch. Certainly the b*tching about the Dodgers' emotional outbursts points to that. LaRussa made a career out of doing that.
   15. KJOK Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:38 PM (#4579712)
And Mike Crudale.

and Mike Crudale was a Cardinal, even drafted by them....
   16. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:42 PM (#4579714)
I blame Peter Gammons.
   17. salvomania Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:44 PM (#4579720)
Certainly the b*tching about the Dodgers' emotional outbursts points to that.

I'm assuming this is getting back to the Wainwright comments, which actually had nothing to do with any emotional outbursts, which he said he had no problem with, as they reflected a pumped-up team trying to win in the postseason.

His "Mickey Mouse" comments had to do with Gonzalez's jabbering from second base while he was pitching, and were delivered in a light-hearted manner. It's not as if Wainwright---or any Cardinal in 2013---was up on a soapbox making a big deal about any of this. Instead, they're usually responding to a reporter's questions ("How do you feel about the bat-flipping and the chest thumping?") that have little to do with the game that was played and more to do with a lazy approach to fabricating a narrative, which gets amplified in the echo chamber that is the current mediaverse.

   18. salvomania Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:49 PM (#4579728)
And even this notion of "The Cardinal Way" is largely media driven: Sports Illustrated did a cover story titled just that, and then you get stuff like this piece from Miklasz. But it's not like it's the slogan on the front of the official media guide or on a giant sign over the scoreboard.

Now, IIRC, there is in actuality some sort of binder or notebook that the players get that is called something like "The Cardinal Way," but it has less to do with being morally superior and more to do with organization-wide approaches to fundamentals of the game.
   19. Smiling Joe Hesketh Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:51 PM (#4579730)
Yes, the media has been jumping on this them as eagerly as a hobo on a ham sandwich. But it's not all the media. Remember Beltran complaining about Puig as well.

And then there's the Cardinal Way, and the Best Fans in Baseball.
   20. Natty Fan Posted: October 21, 2013 at 02:53 PM (#4579734)
#12 - I mentioned this in another thread, but I've met plenty of DC-area Cardinals fans who were spouting this nonsense since at least 2006.

Heck, now that I remember, I might as well dig up this 60-second pieces from local radio legend/hack Chris Core, who's been on the air in Washington since the mid-70's. After Pujols signed with the Angels in December 2011, he suddenly outed himself as a life-long Cardinals fan and then chided Pujols for signing the deal because he would never be as loved or appreciated by the heathens in LA as he would by the fans in the "best baseball town in America." (http://www.wtop.com/200/2663010/Its-all-about-the-benjamins)

I'm not sure this is a media invention -- there seems to me to be plenty of Cardinals fans that are trying to glean some kind of existential truth about themselves now that their team is winning. I've had baseball discussions with many more fans of the Orioles, Yankees, Red Soxs, Phillies, Braves, Cubs, and Dodgers, and I've never run into this particular strain of self-righteousness. (Who knows, maybe a lot of Reds fans are the same way and I just haven't met them yet.)
   21. DLew On Roids Posted: October 21, 2013 at 03:18 PM (#4579765)
Bernie Miklasz was one of the media horde who piled on Steve Wilstein for having the temerity to report that Mark McGwire was using androstenedione in 1998:

"To be able to decipher the label on this andro bottle, you have to intentionally look, and look hard...And that's out of bounds."

I guess the Cardinal Way includes PEDs, and using media lapdogs to shame journalists into silence.
   22. Mark Armour Posted: October 21, 2013 at 03:44 PM (#4579785)
As a Red Sox fan, it feels odd when the other team is also stereotyped as having a ridiculous fan base. I wrote about this on the eve of the World Series in 2007, and this still applies likely to all baseball fans. Especially if your team has had some success of late.


Possibly relevant article from the past.
   23. Perry Posted: October 21, 2013 at 03:49 PM (#4579794)
Miklasz has some very nice things to say about the Red Sox as well.
   24. Canker Soriano Posted: October 21, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4579803)
At this point, between the "high character" Red Sox and the "Cardinal Way", I will not be watching or paying attention to this Series at all, unless someone points out a way that both teams could lose.

I kind of feel the same way - there were so many potentially good stories in the playoffs this year, it kind of sucks that we're stuck with Boston and St. Louis. This will probably end up being a series where I just catch the highlights unless/until we get to Game 6 and 7.
   25. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 21, 2013 at 04:02 PM (#4579804)
Miklasz has some very nice things to say about the Red Sox as well.


The rest of the baseball nation soon will grow tired of hearing about this,


Well he's got that right.
   26. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: October 21, 2013 at 04:07 PM (#4579810)
I don't mind the Cardinals organization. What's annoying are the sanctimonious jackasses that come out of the woodwork when the postseason starts.
   27. salvomania Posted: October 21, 2013 at 04:12 PM (#4579815)
Miklasz, in the above-referenced article:

that doesn't mean (the Cardinals') players are opposed to the idea of having fun while competing. If any media person suggests otherwise, they're guilty of trying to force a bogus angle.


From TFE above, here's Miklasz, if not suggesting otherwise, at least sort of implying it:

the Cardinals clinched the franchise’s 19th NL pennant with Friday’s 9-0 victory over the showy, noisy, flamboyant Dodgers.

   28. zonk Posted: October 21, 2013 at 04:20 PM (#4579822)
I hope Steve Garvey can find some way to join the Cardinals coaching staff so the bizarro apotheosis to pure evil will be complete.
   29. Ben V-L Posted: October 21, 2013 at 04:33 PM (#4579841)
Only the Cardinals could be so arrogant as to have their own Way to Play Baseball.
   30. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 21, 2013 at 04:52 PM (#4579856)
Why are the Red Sox not a good story? Bottoming out last season to best record in baseball and in the World Series isn't a good story?
   31. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 21, 2013 at 05:37 PM (#4579894)
Biff, The Red Sox are a good story and so are the Cardinals with their 9 rookies, awesome farm system and financial success in an irrelevant, decaying city.
   32. vivaelpujols Posted: October 21, 2013 at 05:44 PM (#4579899)
Wow this is the corniest #### I have ever read
   33. vivaelpujols Posted: October 21, 2013 at 05:50 PM (#4579905)
What it means to be a Cardinal: Satanic rituals. Sacrificing babies to Ba'al. Burning crosses. Rank popery. Drunk driving. Cats and dogs living together. Evil given flesh. The end of all things.


What it means to be a National/Mariner: dogshit at baseball.
   34. zenbitz Posted: October 21, 2013 at 05:51 PM (#4579907)
Cardinals vs. Red Sox is pretty much the definition of "Maximum Insufferablity" World Series. Ugh, and Joe Buck no less.

I guess that's better than pure Yankees / Dodgers evil. But not a lot.
   35. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: October 21, 2013 at 05:52 PM (#4579908)
Biff, The Red Sox are a good story and so are the Cardinals with their 9 rookies, awesome farm system and financial success in an irrelevant, decaying city.

Sure. The typical reaction here seems to be along these lines: people hate the Cardinals and Red Sox, therefore there are no good storylines and this World Series sucks. Or something.
   36. vivaelpujols Posted: October 21, 2013 at 06:08 PM (#4579919)
Best teams in baseball this year by 3rd order wins (estimate wins based on offense, defense and strength of schedule):

Tigers - 104.5 (!)
Red Sox - 99
Rays - 95.6
Reds - 94
Cardinals/Athletics - 93.6
Braves/Pirates - 91.9
Dodgers - 91.5

I'm not sure what this is supposed to show besides the fact that the AL was a powerhouse this year. Cardinals are arguably the best team in the NL, Red Sox are the second best team in the AL.

Tigers should have made it - their numbers are off the charts this year. Anyone saying there is some fatal flaw with that team (due to fatness or whatever) has no idea what they are talking about. But the Red Sox were certainly no slouches.

Tigers/Dodgers probably would have been more exciting cause of the pitching matchups, but Sox and Cards are two of the best offensive teams in baseball and are two of baseballs most historical franchises. Furthermore, it's a matchup between the 11th and 4th highest payrolls, which doesn't seem that egregious. The Dodgers making it on account of a 230 million dollar payroll would be much more infuriating than the Cardinals 115 million dollar payroll.



   37. Eric J can SABER all he wants to Posted: October 21, 2013 at 06:10 PM (#4579921)
Why are the Red Sox not a good story? Bottoming out last season to best record in baseball and in the World Series isn't a good story?

The Sox are probably seen as a little less interesting than your standard worst-to-first team because it was the bad year that came out of nowhere moreso than the good one did; they've had a long and sustained run of success that hit an admittedly large pothole, but we're not exactly talking about the '91 Braves here, or the '08 Rays (or insert your own preferred worst-to-first team from the past).
   38. Bob T Posted: October 21, 2013 at 06:11 PM (#4579925)
Can't teams just be good because they have good players and are assembled by a competent front office?
   39. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 21, 2013 at 06:40 PM (#4579949)
So what happened when the Cardinals folded with 3-1 Series leads in 1968, 1985, 1996, and 2012?


Well that was the Cardinal way, now it's 2013 and they have a new way.
   40. Publius Publicola Posted: October 21, 2013 at 06:42 PM (#4579952)
Wow. An awful lot of whiny sour grapes from the fans of teams that didn't make it. I thought this place was better than that.

Especially Yankee fans. You are now allowed to whine. Your team has the highest payroll every ####### year. If fans from other teams woof a little at your expense, you're just going to have to take it.
   41. Rob_Wood Posted: October 21, 2013 at 06:59 PM (#4579966)
does anybody here want to hear about the "giants way" (winner of two of the previous three world series)?
   42. greenback calls it soccer Posted: October 21, 2013 at 07:27 PM (#4579982)
I hope RoyalsRetro recognizes this will add another ten years onto Denkinger's curse.
   43. Rowland Office Supplies Posted: October 21, 2013 at 07:52 PM (#4579988)
It's a Merchant-Ivory World Series. I feel like I should probably watch...but I dread it.
   44. Tippecanoe Posted: October 21, 2013 at 08:14 PM (#4579994)
Miklasz is usually insufferable.
   45. Tippecanoe Posted: October 21, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4579995)
Didn't the media used to talk about a "Dodger Way?" Back in the Alston/Lasorda/Garvey era, I mean.
   46. kojakcolumbo Posted: October 21, 2013 at 08:15 PM (#4579996)
The Cardinal Way -- drill the other team's best player to nullify any impact he may have in a playoff series.
   47. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 21, 2013 at 08:50 PM (#4580013)
Ya I'd have liked to see Hanley and Kemp in the Dodger lineup and Craig in the Cards lineup
   48. Bob T Posted: October 21, 2013 at 09:36 PM (#4580033)
   49. cardsfanboy Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:40 PM (#4580057)
Miklasz is usually insufferable.


I disagree, I have had my problems with Bernie over the years, but among mainstream writers he's in the top 30%... that doesn't forgive this article, which was clear pandering to the Cardinal fans, but generally he's pretty even handed except when he's on his personal soapbox (anti-Edmonds, anti-TLR, followed by pro-TLR, anti-Brewers, anti-Reds and anti-Braves---but all right thinking Americans are anti-Braves.... ) Get him out of those areas and he's quite a reasonable writer most of the time. He does a nice mix of advanced stats and old fashioned thinking, he's not afraid to learn etc...
   50. salvomania Posted: October 21, 2013 at 10:51 PM (#4580065)
The Cardinal Way -- drill the other team's best player to nullify any impact he may have in a playoff series.

Oh please. Hanley woulda been injured one way or another by Game 4 regardless.
   51. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 22, 2013 at 01:18 AM (#4580111)
does anybody here want to hear about the "giants way"


As long time fan of the Red Sox(I'm nearly 50), I can confirm for you that they kept losing their way.

However in 2004 they found a new way, so now I am happy with this current Red Sox way.

Maybe this is the Royals problem? They need their own "way"
   52. base ball chick Posted: October 22, 2013 at 01:22 AM (#4580112)
this post season is terrible because there is no Grit
and no Underdog

also, my mama is tellin me how she knew her Cards would win back in ST - ex-astros fans are the very worst, dontchu know
   53. The elusive Robert Denby Posted: October 22, 2013 at 08:51 AM (#4580156)
Maybe this is the Royals problem? They need their own "way"

The Royals have The Process. And it's just like winning the World Series.
   54. Ivan Grushenko of Hong Kong Posted: October 22, 2013 at 09:20 AM (#4580170)
but generally he's pretty even handed except when he's on his personal soapbox (anti-Edmonds, anti-TLR, followed by pro-TLR, anti-Brewers, anti-Reds and anti-Braves

So he's even handed except when he's not....which is a whole bunch of the time?
   55. Booey Posted: October 22, 2013 at 12:11 PM (#4580257)
Based on all the teams people have complained about over the years, which team that made the playoffs would people here have complained the LEAST about if they'd won the World Series? Maybe the A's?

The Pirates seemed like sentimental favorites, but they were a Wild Card team, and people always complain when Wild Cards win. So that eliminates the other lovable, small market scrappers like the Rays, Reds, and Indians too.

So a worthwhile champ has to be a division winner...but only if they won enough games to deserve it and didn't just get lucky by playing in an awful divsion like the 1987 Twins or 2006 Cards. And they can't have a ridiculous payroll that just buys all the best talent like the Yankees and Dodgers types.

A good champ also can't be a flukey, one year wonder Marlin type of team since people complain regularly about the randomness of the playoffs and how the best teams never seem to win. But when the opposite happens and the same teams DO start to win a little too often (Cardinals, Red Sox, current Tigers, former Yankees), people complain about that too.

So that leaves the A's (and the Braves, but there's a lot of animosity towards them around here too). They won their division, won a lot of regular season games, have a low payroll, and haven't won so often that people are sick of them, right?
   56. Booey Posted: October 22, 2013 at 12:17 PM (#4580263)
The Cards and Red Sox were my two last choices I wanted to see in the World Series too. You've got The Most Sanctimonious Fans in Baseball (at least if you buy into all the crap the media has been publishing) vs the cast of Duck Dynasty. But it's still gonna be great baseball, played between two evenly matched, legit championship caliber teams. And I'm excited for it.

I guess I'll go for the Cards, mainly cuz of Beltran.
   57. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 22, 2013 at 12:49 PM (#4580281)
The Cards and Red Sox were my two last choices I wanted to see in the World Series too.


Same here.

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