I wrote my third column for the Mercury last weekend, and since I don’t have an idea for a post, I’m re-purposing it for my blog. It’s about growing up as a Cardinals fan in Cubs territory.
I’ve never been in a war, or on a top-secret mission for that matter, but for 18 years of my life I lived behind enemy lines. I grew up as a St. Louis Cardinals fan in the northwest suburbs of Chicago.
Most people find my choice in baseball fandom strange, while others find it borderline perverse. Still, others find it just plain confusing. New acquaintances often ask me, “How is that even possible?” Well, dear readers, I’ll tell you.
My mom is a native Chicagoan, however; my dad is from a small town called Beardstown. It’s located in central Illinois on the bank of the Illinois River. And in a time before hundreds of channels and before the Internet—way before the Internet—it was a place where my dad listened to St. Louis radio stations, and read the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Being an athlete and sports fan in general, my dad started following the Cardinals. He told me about how he sat in his room, with a transistor radio, listening to broadcast legends Jack Buck and Harry Caray (before he moved over to the dark side) call Redbirds games. He even saw them play at Sportsman’s Park, the predecessor to the original Busch Stadium, a couple times. One of those times he saw the late, great Roberto Clemente hit a homerun so far and so hard it dented the scoreboard. And Clemente didn’t need steroids to do it either.