Blog Entry

It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?

Posted on: May 12, 2011 6:00 pm
 
CHICAGO -- Jim Hendry tried.

So did the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

Hendry, the Cubs general manager, began this Cubs-Cardinals week by hugging free-agent-to-be Albert Pujols. The Post-Dispatch followed that up Thursday by putting Pujols on the cover of its sports section -- photo-shopped into a Cubs uniform.

This is Yankees-Red Sox stuff, without the hatred.

"There's probably more hate in the Northeast," Hendry said with a smile.

There's a little more intensity, too. For all the history, and despite the (small possibility) of some Pujols free-agent intrigue, Cubs-Cardinals isn't Yankees-Red Sox, and fans seem to notice.

Thursday afternoon's series finale, won by the Cards 9-1, didn't come close to filling Wrigley Field. The Cubs drew better for their midweek series against the Rockies two weeks back than they did for this week's meeting with the supposedly arch-rival Cardinals.

And as for hatred?

"The first night, standing in right field, I was like, 'Where is everybody?'" said Lance Berkman, going through Cubs-Cardinals for the first time since signing with the Cards as a free agent. "To be honest, our series between the Astros and the Cubs were more intense."

To be honest, Yankees-Red Sox isn't always the war it's made out to be, either.

Berkman and Kerry Wood, who spent the second half of the 2010 season with the Yankees, had heard all the Yankees-Red Sox buildup before they arrived.

"I don't want to make anyone mad, but I was underwhelmed," Berkman said. "I was expecting mayhem in the stands, and electricity."

It wasn't there, in large part because the Red Sox were hit by injuries and were going through a disappointing season. And all that means is that Yankees-Red Sox is more like baseball's other rivalries than anyone in either city would want to admit.

The same goes for Cubs-Cardinals, of course.

When the Cubs were battling the Cards for National League Central superiority a few years back, Cubs-Cardinals was a big deal. Dusty Baker would fire a few shots, and fans would get upset.

"This rivalry has kind of changed," Wood admitted. "Back in that time, for a few years in a row, it was the same group."

Rivalries are always better when some of the personalities stay constant (will Yankees-Red Sox be the same when Boston fans can't boo Derek Jeter?), and when both teams are winning.

Unlike the Yankees and the Red Sox, the Cubs and Cardinals have never met in a postseason series, and in recent years they haven't gone to the wire in any division race, either. This year, the Cards are in first place at 22-16, while the Cubs are 16-20.

Remember, when the Red Sox fell out of the race last year, Yankees-Red Sox didn't wow people, either.

"Honestly, I was expecting more," Wood said.

Maybe the Yankees and Red Sox provide more this weekend in the Bronx. The Cards and Cubs didn't provide more this week at Wrigley.


Category: MLB
Comments

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It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?

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It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?

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It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?

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It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?

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Since: Nov 19, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 12:58 pm
 

It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?




Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 3, 2011 8:45 am
 

It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?



Tomly
Since: Oct 21, 2011
Posted on: October 22, 2011 1:35 am
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Since: Aug 6, 2007
Posted on: May 13, 2011 1:39 am
 

It's Cards-Cubs -- where is everybody?

Of course the rivalry is underwhelming. Major League Baseball's schedule is watered down with 162 games in a season. The MLB made the regular season even more irrelevant to fans when it expanded the amount of teams that make the playoffs. What Berkman and Wood don't seem to realize is that this isn't like Real Madrid vs Barcelona, or Liverpool vs Manchester United who only play each other two times a year. This isn't like the Celtics and the Lakers who play each other in a rare regular season game or a 7 game series in the finals. These teams play on a regular basis and they play each other about 16 times a year. Can we really expect fans to be blood-thirsty during a mid-May game for a team(the Cubs) who haven't won a world series in over a century? Can we really expect with the rising cost of ticket prices, that the die-hard, middle-class working fan will be at every game supporting his team? No, and it's crazy for Berkman and Wood to expect it too. 


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