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Wednesday, March 05, 2014

McClellan: No more ‘Cardinal Way,’ please

Bernie bicker staff at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch?

I picked up the paper the other day, and turned, as I usually do, to the Sports section. Ah, good. There was a column by my friend and colleague, Bernie Miklasz. Here was the headline: “Shortstop Peralta adjusting quickly to Cardinal Way.”

I was hoping we were done with that. I don’t remember hearing much about the Cardinal Way until last postseason. The series against the Los Angeles Dodgers was framed as a morality play. The Dodgers were the bad guys, the show-offs. The Cardinals were the good guys who believed in the Cardinal Way.

...It’s like that “Best Fans in Baseball” stuff. When I arrived here in 1980, St. Louisans weren’t calling themselves the best fans in baseball. They seemed to consider themselves good fans, very good fans, the equal to any fans in the country. As good as fans in Detroit. As good as fans in Chicago. As good as fans in Pittsburgh. Better than fans in Philadelphia. (They boo too much.) But not the best fans.

Of course, St. Louis was a Midwestern city back then. Midwesterners are understated. Over the years, Missouri has slid down the map and taken St. Louis with it. We’re Southerners now. Southerners aren’t understated.

After disposing of the Dodgers, the Cardinals played Boston in the World Series. What an insufferable World Series that was. The Cardinal Way versus Boston Strong. Oh, how I longed for the days when baseball games weren’t so fraught with meaning. If you liked team-oriented, moral, holistic people, you had to root for the Cardinal Way. But if you wanted to stand with the heroic people who persevered through the terrorist bombing of the Boston Marathon, you had to root for Boston Strong.

With the World Series long behind us, I was hoping this would be a new season. More baseball, less moralizing. There was reason to be optimistic. The Cardinals made a big splash in the offseason by signing Jhonny Peralta to a megabucks contract despite the fact that he was caught up in the Biogenesis scandal a year ago and suspended for 50 games.

Repoz Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:17 AM | 26 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: cardinals

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   1. bjhanke Posted: March 05, 2014 at 08:14 AM (#4666598)
I read TFA in the newspaper about an hour ago. Bill McClellan is a good writer, and a good human interest columnist, but he's a bit adventurous, so he sometimes writes about things he doesn't know much about. He's also a lifelong Cubs fan, and probably doesn't remember anything about STL sports earlier than a decade or so ago. And so, he is unaware that the concept of a "Cardinal Way", which is not always called that, dates back into at least the late 1940s, where it meant "doing things like Branch Rickey would have done them." To some extent, that is still the foundation of the concept. What Bill is TRYING to say is that you shouldn't make a display of how clean-living and upstanding all your players are, and how any new players are buying in to the Cardinal Way, if you just signed a shortstop who just served a PED suspension. From the ballclub's perspective, promoting the Cardinal Way is a way to get your players all pointed in the same direction. It has its elements of being true - Cardinal players really do call free agents the Cards are looking at and tell them that it really is great to play in a town where the fans are always behind you, the press is pretty forgiving and usually positive, and the organization regularly pumps out enough players for the team to contend without breaking the bank. In the late 1980s, for example, both Jack Clark and Ozzie Smith, who have personalities every bit as strong as Bob Gibson's, accumulated what amounted to cliques of players who regarded one superstar or the other as a mentor and role model. The team did not collapse into a faction fight, though, because 1) Whitey Herzog has a stronger personality than anyone, and 2) it's not the Cardinal Way to have faction fights in the clubhouse. So nobody in the press outed the clubhouse for having factions, and the team kept itself focused and won a couple of pennants. A completely different experience from playing for a New York team. Less transparent, which has been a problem in the past, but MUCH less stressful. Bill just doesn't know enough about STL baseball to know this. He probably should be forgiven. He does make an attempt to look at both sides of an issue. But I thought that people ought to know that the guy who wrote TFA is not a STL sportswriter; he's a human interest columnist. - Brock Hanke
   2. Publius Publicola Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:32 AM (#4666610)
Oh great. Another Civil War thread.
   3. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4666611)
Wasn't Cardinal Way involved in one of those tawdry sex scandals?
   4. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:46 AM (#4666613)
Of course, St. Louis was a Midwestern city back then. Midwesterners are understated. Over the years, Missouri has slid down the map and taken St. Louis with it. We’re Southerners now. Southerners aren’t understated.

So jumping on a cheesy marketing bandwagon represents Southern values? Wow, someone ought to alert Randy Levine.
   5. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4666614)
Well, the Dodgers and Orioles unofficially had "ways" for years, but it never seemed to be so much about morality as style of play: the Dodgers were pitching and defense; the Orioles were pitching and the three-run homer.

The problem with saying that there's a "Cardinals Way" (or any other team's "way") that has anything to do with character is that you're going to violate it every single season, especially if you're trying to win -- which the Cardinals almost always are. If "Cardinals Way" means having really good PR, a productive farm system and a genius pitching coach, then sure. But it's no more than that.
   6. Lassus Posted: March 05, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4666617)
The Mets way: GET IN THE DAMNED TRUNK BEFORE I SHOOT YOUR KNEECAP OFF.
   7. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4666619)
   8. GregD Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:20 AM (#4666624)
Of course, St. Louis was a Midwestern city back then. Midwesterners are understated. Over the years, Missouri has slid down the map and taken St. Louis with it. We’re Southerners now. Southerners aren’t understated.

Tell it to Bill Anderson
   9. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4666625)
Over the years, Missouri has slid down the map and taken St. Louis with it. We’re Southerners now. Southerners aren’t understated.


Dunno. I'm old-school. Missouri was, is & will always be a border state, dammit.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:34 AM (#4666630)
I've been to St. Louis many times, and there is absolutely nothing southern about it. It is a very East Coast-facing city.
   11. Steve Parris, Je t'aime Posted: March 05, 2014 at 10:40 AM (#4666632)
Hasn't Missouri always had a reputation for outspokenness? Show-me-state and all?
   12. Edmundo got dem ol' Kozma blues again mama Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:14 AM (#4666655)
11, Show Me is about scepticism, not outspokenness.

EDIT: IMO
   13. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:17 AM (#4666659)
11, Show Me is about scepticism, not outspokenness.


Or voyeurism, perhaps.
   14. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:38 AM (#4666677)
McClellan: "We cannot start the season with 25 players on the roster. We will need at least 40 players. All of our opponents have 50 players, it is a miracle that we haven't been destroyed by them. I am a genius."
   15. donlock Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:39 AM (#4666681)
Brock,

Please write in paragraphs.
   16. Lassus Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4666683)
Brock can write however the hell he wants as far as I'm concerned, his posts are that good.
   17. Knock on any Iorg Posted: March 05, 2014 at 11:51 AM (#4666686)
Please write in paragraphs.

At least he used the period key!!
   18. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4666703)
Brock,

Please write in paragraphs.


Stop with your insane demands!
   19. bjhanke Posted: March 05, 2014 at 12:42 PM (#4666712)
I'm guilty as charged, although I DO like Lassus' comment. I'm keeping that handle in mind, and I promise Lassus that I will make every effort to write clearer comments. This one got done just before I went to bed, and has some elements of stream of conscious, because I was sleepy. It does ramble. It isn't really all in the right sequence, either. There are certainly a few sentences that don't really belong with the ones before and after. Sorry about that. I just thought it important that, when people started reading this post, they would know that the author was not a baseball writer, although he has interests in the game. I still think that was important, but I can also put in more time making sure that what I write makes some sense. - Brock
   20. cardsfanboy Posted: March 05, 2014 at 12:51 PM (#4666716)
The problem with saying that there's a "Cardinals Way" (or any other team's "way") that has anything to do with character is that you're going to violate it every single season, especially if you're trying to win -- which the Cardinals almost always are. If "Cardinals Way" means having really good PR, a productive farm system and a genius pitching coach, then sure. But it's no more than that.


I've always took the "Cardinal way" to be more about "Professionalism" than anything moral. Practice hard, play hard, try to avoid doing "clown" stuff. Understand your role to the community. Grasp some history of the team, and appreciate the fans. Pass the attitude to the next generation. To me, it's not a style of play, but a level of exhibiting maturity/professionalism. Obviously nobody is perfect in regards to maintaining these standards, but it's similar to how the military tries to inspire pride in it's soldiers for stuff that they had no hand in. You have a long line of tradition to fall back on and point to, and a standard to live up to.

   21. zonk Posted: March 05, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4666725)
At press time, McClellan's request for asylum in Chicago is under consideration. Sources close the appeal said the status of the request hinges on whether he or any of his children or entourage can play CF.
   22. cardsfanboy Posted: March 05, 2014 at 01:14 PM (#4666733)
McClellan is a fine writer/observer, he has some anti-St Louis opinions that seeps out anytime he talks about sports, but it's not really his job to talk about sports and he doesn't talk about sports in regards to winning or losing etc, but in regards to how it affects or plays out in the city.

The fact that he wasn't aware of "the Cardinal" way until last year, pretty much shows his awareness on Cardinal baseball. And the fact that he is attaching a moral component to it, is a pretty clear indication that he missed what it is.
   23. donlock Posted: March 05, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4666883)
I'm guilty as charged, although I DO like Lassus' comment. I'm keeping that handle in mind, and I promise Lassus that I will make every effort to write clearer comments. This one got done just before I went to bed, and has some elements of stream of conscious, because I was sleepy. It does ramble. It isn't really all in the right sequence, either. There are certainly a few sentences that don't really belong with the ones before and after. Sorry about that. I just thought it important that, when people started reading this post, they would know that the author was not a baseball writer, although he has interests in the game. I still think that was important, but I can also put in more time making sure that what I write makes some sense. - Brock


So you are saying, No?
   24. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:09 PM (#4666923)
I'm guilty as charged, although I DO like Lassus' comment. I'm keeping that handle in mind, and I promise Lassus that I will make every effort to write clearer comments. This one got done just before I went to bed, and has some elements of stream of conscious, because I was sleepy. It does ramble. It isn't really all in the right sequence, either. There are certainly a few sentences that don't really belong with the ones before and after. Sorry about that. I just thought it important that, when people started reading this post, they would know that the author was not a baseball writer, although he has interests in the game. I still think that was important, but I can also put in more time making sure that what I write makes some sense. - Brock

Just curious, Brock: Do you sign your name even when leaving a one-word reply? [tosses softball in his direction]
   25. Pokey Reese's Pieces Posted: March 05, 2014 at 06:43 PM (#4666946)
Show Me is about scepticism, not outspokenness.


I thought the term originally derided the intelligence of Missourians ("you have to show them how to do everything"), and the people made it their own and spun it into a positive.
   26. bjhanke Posted: March 06, 2014 at 03:04 AM (#4667079)
JE - Yes. I make a point of that. I don't like reading unsigned material. I always wonder whether the writer thinks his stuff might be bad, and is trying to avoid taking blame for it. Also, I like to get to know regular writers, so I can put whatever piece of theirs that I am reading right now into some kind of context. Well, if I'm going to think that about other writers' work, then I ought to sign all my own work, don't you think? Thanks for the "softball", but this is a serious point for me. It's the "Hanke Way." Please feel free to laugh at that all you want. Not everybody thinks like me, and the world would be a weird place if they did. - Brock Hanke

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