An organization that once flew under the radar has now — because of their success — become the most hated team in baseball — at least that's what many writers want you to think.
The St. Louis Cardinals are battling the Los Angeles Dodgers for the right to go the World Series. It is the Cardinals' eighth NLCS since 2000 and their third in a row. If they win the series, it will be their fourth World Series appearance in 10 years.
The Cardinals don't spend as much money as the Yankees (1st), Red Sox (4th) or Dodgers (2nd); in fact, the Dodgers hold nearly double the amount of payroll St. Louis (11th) divies out.
The Cardinals don't even have any boisterous personalities tied to PEDs like the Yankees with "A-Roid" or the Brewers with "Ryan Fraud."
So why is there a substantial uprising building against the Cardinals?
Success. But not just because of winning games, but who they've beaten in the process.
If you think about it, the Cardinals have ruined dreams for many fans in recent years. Following the 2004 World Series disaster that was the Red Sox sweep, the Cardinals have been one of the most clutch teams in any North American sport.
Against the Tigers in the 2006 World Series? Win.
Against the 2011 Phillies, Brewers and Rangers (who lost the World Series when down to their last strike twice)? All wins.
Against the 2012 Nationals, who were riding an unprecedented run to the playoffs only to lose to the Cardinals on a 9th inning rally in the NLDS? Win.
Against the 2013 Pirates, who were in the playoffs for the first time in 21 years? Winning.
Of course you could argue any team that's made many championship runs have had to defeat a number of teams to get there. But the Cardinals have taken out Cinderella at the eleven o'clock hour one too many times. Heck, the Cards are 8-1 in elimination games in their last nine playoff contests. Absolutely unheard of.
The Cardinals have had their share of losses and heartbreak though as well -- just look at the way they lost the 2012 NLCS to the Giants after being up 3-1. However, you beat enough teams and their fan bases year in and year out, eventually they're going to resent you.
Deadspin has taken notice to the backlash and have literally wrote a column promoting the Cardinal hate nearly every day since the end of the Pirates series.
Friday Oct. 18 - This Terrible Column Is Why People Hate The Cardinals
Friday, Oct. 18 - Oh, For F***s Sake
Thursday, Oct. 17 - St. Louis vs. Los Angeles, According To A Moron:
Thursday, Oct. 17 - How Long Can You Listen To This Cardinals Fan's Terrible Song?
Wednesday, Oct. 16 - A facetious piece: St. Louis Cardinals' March To World Series Crown Delayed Somewhat
Tuesday, Oct. 15 - Why Don't The St. Louis Cardinals Respect The Game?
Tuesday, Oct. 15 - Cardinals Complain About Dodgers' "Mickey Mouse" Celebrations.
Thursday, Oct. 10 - Why Your Cardinals Suck.
And of course, Buzzfeed got in on the action Thursday with a "23 Reasons It's Perfectly OK To Despise The St. Louis Cardinals." It's pretty funny, especially when they start stating the Cardinals should give their World Series ring from their 83-win 2006 season to the '93 Giants. Does this logic also incur that the Cardinals should get a separate ring following the Don Denkinger debacle that lost them the 1985 World Series?
Some are arguing the hate is exuding so rapidly because of the ridiculousness that is St. Louis being called home to "baseball's best fans." However, St. Louis was anointed "America's Best Baseball City" over a decade ago. Why now?
Have the Cardinals become the Yankees? They sure don't spend like them.
Have the Cardinals become the "Duke" of baseball? The Cardinals get just as many draft picks as everyone else and aren't allowed to "recruit."
While I understand the resentment towards a dominant team, I must give St. Louis some credit. It is obvious it could be the most baseball-loving city in the country.
The fans in St. Louis rarely "boo," and never their own player. Looking at you Philly.
The fans in St. Louis have the best attendance in baseball. L.A. -- we all know you arrive in the third inning and leave in the seventh to "beat traffic."
And lord knows -- knock on wood -- the Cardinals and Busch Stadium aren't a magnet for gang culture.
This video is from July when MLB produced a player's poll, asking "who has the best fans in baseball?" Nearly 50 percent of MLB players stated St. Louis.
Below are articles praising St. Louis as the best in baseball.
2009 - USA TODAY
2011 - Sporting News.
2012 - Denver Post.
One article even serves as a reminder that St. Louis was declared to donning the best uniforms in all of sports.
Are Cardinals fans better than everyone else? Of course not. But as a whole it is a fair argument to say the fan base is more courteous and loyal. That has to count for something.
Are Cardinals players more humble and less likely to show emotion during on-field celebration following a big play? Nope. But you need to remember that it is the media asking the locker room questions that evoke this kind of response in the first place.
Has the hate gone too far with the Cardinals? Probably. But the media needs to stop trying to make it a culture war. The Dodgers are a great team with entertaining players who are playing hard for their first World Series in 25 years. The Cardinals are a team filled with rookies and led by a few incredibly classy veterans. No one should care how high Yasiel Puig flips his bat or how powerful Adam Wainwright tosses his fist in the air after completing a strikeout. We have two traditional baseball franchises unlocking traditional ace-heavy baseball. Let's try to have as much fun watching this series as the players are competing in it.
Cardinals fans -- the longer your team keeps winning the higher the hatred will peak against you. Take it as a compliment and accept the hate with grace. It's the only way you will continue to be labeled the "best in baseball."
Oh, and Deadspin, you're welcome for the linkage.
Photo Credit: Getty