Straubinger: Does Cardinal Nation need a villain?

BY foxsports • July 30, 2013

By Brad Straubinger

The Redbirds have been sailing along through the 2013 season with just enough pitching, timely hitting, and for most of the time the best record in the sport.  And that seems to be boring the best fans in baseball. Where’s the manager versus another manager feud?  Where's the us versus the rest of the world feel?  Is the current manager just not into building drama for the 6 month grind?

Whatever it is, there's no doubt Cardinal fans are spoiled.  The 2011 run still has this city on a World Series hangover.  Catching our collective breaths from that furious run through September and unbelievable October may have taken all of us some time to process what happened.  The excitement continued last season as the Cards again had to fight and scrape their way into the playoffs, then win the debut contest of the Wildcard one game playoff while debris and Atlanta fans were set to riot. Then they had to overcome another obnoxious bunch with a rally so mind blowing that most franchises would play the tape over and over again before first pitch - except we saw it the year before. Have we seen too much drama? Is our reality tv mindset in need for a dust up with Clint Hurdle, or a another episode to add to the Brandon Phillips and Dusty drama? Do we have to be challenged to be engaged with our local batsmen?

For a team with more World Championships than any other in their league, there's no doubt it was fun to be the underdogs.  Maybe it’s a St. Louis thing. The small town fans need to feel like it’s us versus the rest of the world to enjoy the team?  Maybe Tony was perfect as the mayor of mayhem. A nice easy run to postseason is too boring. The Cardinals need some conflict. The funny thing is, as we sit here under the arch wondering why the Red Sox and Yankees get all the attention all the time, every National League city the Cardinals descend upon, they are absolutely not the underdogs.  Think of what Cubs fans see when the team with the Birds on the Bat arrive...or the cheeseheads when they had their one big shot at their first World Series since their last one (ummm, won by a powder blue bunch). How about the other Red clad team in the division? Their "leaders" have pretty much said it: they hate the Cardinals. Why? Because they have never beaten them when it mattered during this run.

The Cardinals are not the underdogs in 2013. At least not yet. Conflict will only make this fan base rise to attention, and rally around this business like bunch that each night pretty much gives us a ho hum performance with a push button bullpen and no chances at drama.  But is that what we want?


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