MLB 35-Day Warning: How Can You Not Love These Cardinals? (OK, OK! Don’t Answer That.)Getty Images
What’s that? You were wondering exactly how many days remain until the start of the MLB season? Well, you’re in luck! We at the Triangle are set to spend the next several weeks giving you a daily reason to get excited about baseball’s return.
Look, first of all, let me just say that I’m sorry about this. I am! I know you’re completely sick of people like me. I know this because all the other Grantland editors are already completely sick of me, and the season hasn’t even started yet. (Guys, please accept my pre-apology for the playoffs, if that becomes a thing.) I mean, I get it; I totally see how this whole situation might seem like some hot garbage. But I can’t change who I am, so here’s the deal: I’m from a tiny town deep in southern Illinois, the kind of place where you can count all the stoplights on one Sunday drive and school’s canceled on the first day of deer-hunting season. My Midwestern background means two things: (1) I’m a courteous, charming, delight of a human, and (2) on a related note, I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan.
Oh god. I made you do that, didn’t I? That’s your face right now, isn’t it? It’s cool! I expected this. But stick with me. Ready? We all here?
OK, good …
AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH GO CRAZY FOLKS, because I’m so excited our dudes are back. Who was your favorite Cardinal when you were a kid? Mine was “all of them.” That answer still stands for today’s team, by the way. I’m the resident hockey fan in Grantland’s L.A. office; I totally love that sport, and it sets my mind on fire. But baseball, specifically the St. Louis Cardinals, had my heart first.
In the summer months, there’s no sound better than (possibly drunk) Mike Shannon calling a game. I could watch YouTube clips of Ozzie Smith for days; it never gets old. In fact, let’s watch one right now:
I even have love for the Dashboard Confessional jam session that is a Lance Lynn start. This “Cardinal Way” business that everyone else mocks? I totally dig it. Ditto for our warm and devoted fan base, which everyone seems to have turned on for reasons I still don’t completely understand. (Just kidding, I definitely understand it. Sorry! We can’t turn off Midwestern.)
Were you guys mad St. Louis lost in the World Series last year? I was not, because I had such great hope for the future, and such great love for those players. I can never, ever be mad at a team that gives me baseball in late October. So, no, I wasn’t angry when St. Louis fell to Boston in six. I was only sad I didn’t get to see that team anymore. I was only sad because it was such a joy to watch the 2013 Cardinals work.
Looking ahead to this year’s team, I’m most excited about … everything? Can I say everything? Because I’m truly excited about everything. Just look at how the past few months have gone! Shelby Miller made the New York Times wedding section. Joe Kelly is now a two-sport athlete. We loved David Freese so much that we let him go. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO SEE HERE, Matt Carpenter and Allen Craig are where they belong, and all is Wainwright with the world. Our fearless leader, Mike Matheny, is focusing on the positives, so things are looking solid there. And we haven’t even talked about Michael Wacha. (Because I can’t discuss him without taking a 45-minute break for a straight-up, euphoric fit of the giggles. Sorry, Michael.)
So, welcome back, Cardinals! I cannot wait to see you on Opening Day. Hey! Maybe you’ll go to the World Series again! Maybe not. It’s cool, guys. Try not to sweat the expectations. We’ll love you regardless in the Midwest, because that’s what we do. That, and take deer day off school.