Five Reasons Why the Chicago Cubs Despise the St. Louis Cardinals
The 2015 Major League Baseball (MLB) season kicks off tonight when the Chicago Cubs host the St. Louis Cardinals. Tune in for a Jon Lester-Adam Wainwright pitching duel! This will be the first of 19 games these two teams will play against each other this spring, summer, and fall. The two teams have been playing each other in some form since 1885. All kinds of rational and irrational reasons contribute to the fire of sports rivalries, but here are a few reasons why the Chicago Cubs (and their fans!) hate their neighbors to the west:
5. Geography. From Wrigley Field to Busch Stadium is about a five-hour drive. There are certainly teams out there that are closer to each other, but the distance is short enough for a day or weekend trip, and fans from both teams take that trip somewhat routinely. Since there are plenty of people who reside in-between the two stadiums, that means the two franchises even battle each other for fan allegiance.
4. The two teams both play in the National League Central Division. They play each other a lot and often the stakes are high. This year will be no exception. Since 2000, the Cardinals have won the division eight times to the Cubs’ three.
3. Mark McGwire. Yes, by now we know the whole thing was kind of a sham, but let’s be real, at the time, we baseball fans were captivated by the home run chase between McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Both players ultimately passed Roger Maris’s season home run record of 61, but of course it was the damn Cardinals’ player who ultimately won the race by finishing that season with 70 home runs. Apparently, the Cardinals are even better at cheating than the Cubs are.
2. Tony LaRussa. Say it with me now: I’m so glad that guy isn’t a part of this rivalry anymore. The man doesn’t even manage anymore, but his presence still looms large over Busch Stadium and the entire Cardinals’ organization. Don’t get me wrong, LaRussa is a brilliant baseball mind, and you should all go out and read Buzz Bissinger’s book, Three Nights in August: Strategy, Hearbtreak, and Joy Inside the Mind of a Manager, which chronicles LaRussa’s thinking and moves in a three-game series against the Cubs. But seriously, is there anything worse for a Cubs’ fan than someone who managed both the Chicago White Sox and the Cardinals?
1. In recent seasons, the Cards have beaten the Cubs more than the Cubs have beaten the Cards. Last season, the series was close (the Cards won ten to the Cubs nine), but it has been since 2008 that the Cubs were last any good and even then they get swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the first round of the MLB playoffs. During that same time frame, what have the Cardinals done? How about five playoff appearances, four National League Championship Series appearances, two World Series appearances, and a World Series championship in 2011. It seems like the case that a lot of those successful Cardinals’ teams aren’t overwhelmingly spectacular; they just play sound, disciplined baseball, especially late in the season.
Would it surprise you to know that it’s the Cubs who have won more games against the Cardinals historically? According to Baseball-Reference.com, going into tonight’s game, the Cubs have beaten the Cards 1,189 times and lost 1,136 times. But for whatever reasons, the Cards are just better at winning the ones that matter. So yeah, from this Cubs’ fan, maybe there’s a little jealousy wrapped up in my resentment.