St. Louis is “Baseball Heaven”
Know what it feels like to be a baseball fan in St. Louis.
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As someone who has played and been a lifelong fan of the game of baseball, I feel like Joe Jackson rising out of the corn fields of Iowa when I ask, “Is this baseball heaven?” I’ve spent many years searching the east and west coasts denying the very existence of such a thing, but today I think I have found it. Yes, that River Town/ Gateway to the West known as St. Louis is “baseball heaven”. It’s heaven for the fans and heaven for the players.
As for the fans, Cardinal baseball truly is life. This Midwestern town doesn’t have Time Square, Hollywood, or it own CSI. What it does have is fans that love, live, and die with their boys in Red. This team is the source of pride for a city that has become synonymous with Budweiser beer and the Bowling Hall of Fame. As for the
players, they know that once they put on the Red and White with Birds on a Bat that they are one of us forever. Once they walk out of that clubhouse they have entered “baseball heaven”.
In 2006, the St. Louis Cardinals ranked 4th in attendance. Where else can a .500 team in the 18th largest market attract so many fans? The answer: Only in “baseball heaven”. Win or lose St. Louisans are true to their team. Most of all Cardinal fans are knowledgeable. I once heard a young lady with beer in hand and cap worn backwards say this about the insertion of Braden Looper late in the game, “Tony! What are ya doing? Lefties are hitting .379 against this guy and he won’t quit opening up his left shoulder!” This was a baseball man’s fantasy to say the least. Not only are the fans knowledgeable but they are mired in history and tradition. At any given game the likelihood of striking up a conversation about the Gas House Gang or Whitey’s boys are about the same. From young to old these fans know the game and love their team.
It wasn’t until October 2006 that I knew I was there, “Baseball Heaven” that is. As I sat in a sea of red with my son and “the greatest fans in baseball” eagerly awaiting our heroes, led by the clippoty-clop of the Budweiser Clydesdales and the Anheuser Busch theme song, it all came together. This city, these fans, this team, and “David” Eckstein our MVP had conquered our Goliath. When everyone said it couldn’t be done, we did it. Our love for our team and their love for us had triumphed over all. Go Cards!