Hey there, corn nuts, Joe “I can’t stand the friggin’ Cardinals” Schlombowski here to remind you that we start a 3 game series against the Redbirds tonight. I bring this to your attention cuz if we broom these cupcakes we claim the Division title for the first time since 2008. I’d call that pretty sweet … but doin’ it against the Cards? Well, that’s more like cotton candy pancakes smothered in whip cream covered Snickers-infused molten chocolate syrup. With an Old Style.
Clinchin’ in St Louis has a much higher calorie count cuz of the long history of discontent between the Cubs and the Cards. It’s like the Hatfield’s and McCoy’s, Ali and Frasier, Wile E. Coyote and the Roadrunner. Takin’ the title on the Cards’ home turf would have the added benefit of rubbin’ their noses in somethin’. I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Anyhoo … this reminded me of Sosa and McGwire — two guys that, back in 1998, became a microcosm of this long standing rivalry. That was before they became a microcosm of the cheatin’, roided-up jaggoffs who crapped all over the game of baseball. That aside, their chase for the single season dinger record seemed other-worldly at the time, and it probably did a lot to help bring the national pastime back out from the shadow of the players’ strike, which cancelled the 1994 World Series and part of the next season as well. Assholes.
Seriously. How the hell do you strike when every guy in your industry is makin’ mad money for playin’ a game?! That drives me friggin’ bat guano. Of course the owners pretty much brought it on themselves, and much of that can be laid at the feet of Captain Lame with Lame sauce. Uhh, that would be Bug Selig.
I digress. Point is, Sosa and McGwire spent the ’98 season makin’ like NASA with all the crap they put into orbit. It was mind-boggling. All you had to do was look at either one of ’em to know they weren’t do it the way Maris did, but baseball let it go cuz it was puttin’ butts in seats and makin’ players rich beyond Barry Bonds’s wildest dreams. Anyway, they’re still at it in September when McGwire swats number 62 off Steve Trachsel in the fourth inning of a 6-3 Cubs loss. And what does Sammy do? He makes his way in from right field to embrace his home run rival like a couple of horny grizzly bears. Full disclosure: he wasn’t alone. Hell, half the Cubs lineup practically tried to get his autograph as he was trottin’ around the bases like Secretariat. Which brings me back to the Cubs-Cards rivalry. Or in this particular case, love fest. I’m sorry … I totally get what sportsmanship is all about, but puttin’ your arms around a Cardinal oughta get you fined, my friend. Say somethin’ nice at the press conference, send him a bottle of scotch, maybe. Whatever. But a public display of affection for the arch enemy?! Are you friggin’ kidding me? That’s like Montgomery givin’ Romel a big wet kiss after getting his ass kicked in North Africa. I’m talkin’ oil and water here, my friend. No Cubs player should ever betray the rivalry by doin’ anything that could be construed as “fraternizing” with a Cardinals player.
Fraternization is a term defined as “to become like brothers” and undermines the goals and objectives of war, or in this case a ball game. Providing covert aid or even extending cordiality to the enemy is an offense typically prohibited by military codes of conduct. When it comes to the Cubs-Cards rivalry, I think we’re talkin’ about a similar code, and breaking it oughta be subject to some sort of harsh military-like punitive measures. Like pickin’ up all the sun flower seeds in the dugout between innings, or couple weeks of cleanin’ up Wrigley after each game. I’m just sayin’.
McGwire finished the year with 70 round-trippers, while Sosa had 66. In spite of Mac’s juiced performance, the Cards went nowhere. Chicago finished 90–73, earning us a wild card berth, but we were swept by the Braves in the first round. Typical. So, in the end, all that cheatin’ didn’t do a damn thing for either club.
The animosity between us remains intact, though. Should we respect the Cards? Absolutely. They’ve won a helluva lot more Championships than the Cubs have, so they kinda deserve it. Of course that’s just one more reason to hate ’em.