Monday, March 15, 2010
Concerning the game at Chicago on Tuesday the Times says:"The Chicago audiences heretofore have been remarkable for their courteous treatment of visiting clubs, as they confined their demonstrations to a perfectly natural exultation over the success of their club, and have been willing always to acknowledge the fine playing of rial nines with applause. On yesterday, however, they conducted themselves in a reprehensible manner. The unfortunate and disagreeable manner in which the Monday's game at St. Louis terminated seemed to have aroused among them a very bitter feeling toward the St. Louis Club was hailed with the cry of 'Kickers,' other uncomplimentary remarks and jeers were hurled at them, and their bad plays were received with shouts of satisfaction. There is some bitterness existing between the two cities in base ball matters, to be sure, but it certainly does not warrant such rudeness. The question as to which city has the best club should be settled by the playing of the clubs themselves; it should not be interfered with by the conduct of the audiences."In the face of this Meacham continues his dirty work, as the following, from the Tribune, will show:"About 4,000 persons were present at the game, and while it was too much to expect that they would remain silent throughout after the beastly abuse their club had received in St. Louis, yet it is much to the credit of the city and the management that no one could hear either profanity, threats or obscenity loudly mouthed, as is the custom in St. Louis. There was some noise and cheering, but not a foul word nor an angry one."
-St. Louis Globe-Democrat, August 24, 1876
Enough about the wonderful, courteous Chicago baseball fans. If I hear any more of that stuff, I'll be forced to link to a couple of posts that might embarrass them. And remind me, one day, to write up a few thousand words on the St. Louis/Chicago baseball rivalry. I have a few things to say about that.
One point about the rivalry and I'll shut up about it, before the anger and bitterness overwhelms me. While I appreciate the numerous championships that the Cardinals have won and I've enjoyed celebrating the two World Series championships, six pennants and countless division titles the Cards have won in my lifetime, I define a successful baseball season in one simple way: winning the season series against the Cubs. That's it. Win the season series against the Cubs and everything else is gravy. Win the Series but finish with a losing record against the Cubs and the championship is tainted.
The irony, of course, is that the season series was the way that championships were decided prior to 1870. We've lost our appreciation of the season series and now focus on October baseball to define success and failure. Don't get me wrong. I love October baseball but the old ways are usually the best ways. We need to reinvigorate our appreciation of the regular season and the season series.
Of course, this may just be old age talking. I think the gray hair is starting to impede the thinking process.
I should also mention, before senility sets in, that "Meacham" is Lewis Meacham, who covered baseball for the Chicago Tribune from 1875 until his untimely death in 1878. Bill has all kinds of information about him in his sports writers threat at BBF. The Meacham stuff is on page sixteen.