Cubs fan blasts ‘Cardinal Way’

Is Michael Wacha exhibiting the "Cardinal Way" as he holds up the NLCS MVP trophy?

Jeff Curry

Just what is a "fill-in-the-team name way" and why has it become such a common a term?

Cubs fan and Cardinals writer Bill McClellan wants to know just that and goes one step further in pleading for its retirement.

He attributes the rise of the phrase to last season’s NLCS against the Dodgers, which painted Los Angeles as a bunch of bad guys and St. Louis as "good guys who believed in the Cardinal Way."

Reds fans already aren’t fond of the Cardinals, a division rival. But more and more fans of other teams are too turning against the Redbirds. Is it because they’re winning or manufacturing a mantra?

"When I was a kid, many people disliked the Yankees. That’s because they won so much. That certainly explained the resentment that some people felt toward the Cardinals. But I suspect some of it had to do with the Cardinal Way," McClellan writes.

He further elaborates on what he calls an "insufferable World Series" matchup between the Cardinals and Red Sox.

"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."

St. Louis isn’t the first team to adopt this phrase. How many times has "Patriot Way" been uttered in the Bill Belichick era? McClellan cites an article with the headline "Shortstop Peralta adjusting quickly to Cardinal Way."

Peralta was suspended for 50 games last season as a result of the Biogenesis scandal. But after his initiation into the "Cardinal Way" we must view him as a new, transformed person — or something like that.

That’s far from the only example of the "Cardinal Way." Paul White coins it as unlikely stars emerging from the team’s farm system. He must not have seen or read "Moneyball."

Tony Calandro has another definition for it:

"Ask any person in St. Louis to define "the Cardinal Way," and they will tell you that it’s a style of play that both pays homage to and respects the fundamentals of the game dating back to when the team began playing baseball in this city in 1882. The style of play is described in phrases like "old school" and "respect for the game."

"A tradition unlike any other" logic — The Masters is coming up.

But really, as McClellan describes, the "______ way" is just an overused way of painting a picture of a given team as all that much more virtuous than any other. In reality, whatever this supposed "Cardinal Way" encompasses probably is not much different than a hypothetical "Reds Way" or "Indians Way."

McClellan punctuates his argument with a short but sweet request: "I am imploring the Best Fans in Baseball: Please, stop."