The Rivalry That Isn’t

I guess the Cardinals and the Reds have a rivalry.  The media keeps saying they do, often harking back to the infamous fight of 2010 as evidence of it.  I hate losing to the Reds, but no more so than I hate losing to the Pirates, the Brewers, or the Cubs (maybe even less than).  If it is a rivalry it is one that I personally don’t think much about.

The Reds appear to me to take this so-called rivalry way more seriously than the Cardinals do.  The Reds apparently have a dish that it is served at the ballpark called “Smoked Cardinal”.  I don’t know what it is exactly, but obviously it is not actually a Cardinal bird.  If the Reds have dishes named after any other team in the NL Central I haven’t heard of it.  There are no foods at Busch Stadium named after the Reds that I am aware of.

Reds fans that I know talk of every upcoming series against the Cardinals like it is the playoffs.  They have specific Cardinals players, both past and present that they constantly refer to with sarcastic quips on Twitter.  Yadier Molina seems to be the one they love to hate the most.  His part in the “fight” no doubt is the genesis of those feelings.  They still boo Molina at Great American Ballpark.  Cardinals fans still boo Brandon Phillips as well, but it seems like those boos get less and less every season.  I have never booed Phillips; I frankly don’t see the point, it is only giving him the attention he wants but doesn’t deserve.

The other Cardinal many Reds fans fixate on is Chris Carpenter.  Of course Carpenter is no longer with the team as a player, having retired at the end of 2013.  Reds fans have this saying about Carpenter that I see repeated again and again on Twitter.  It is something to the effect of “What will Chris Carpenter tell his son?”  To this day I haven’t the slightest idea what that means.

Old grudges are constantly dredged up.  The “slick balls” controversy, the smoke from the fireworks that caused Chris Carpenter to leave the mound (told to do so by an umpire, not his choice).  There is the fight of course, and the nickname that Reds fans have for the Cardinals that came from that—“whiny little bitches” (or WLB for short).  I always find that somewhat ironic coming from a fanbase that whines about perceived slights to them and their players on a regular basis (are they still crying about Johnny Cueto not making the All Star team?).

I find all of these things more amusing than annoying.  I just don’t get that worked up about the Reds or Reds fans.  I get more agitated at losing to the Cubs than I ever have losing to the Reds.  To my way of thinking the Cardinals/Cubs is the rivalry.  Most Cardinals fans spend way more time making fun of the Cubs with Twitter hashtags (#cubssuck) and sarcastic jokes about the Cubs not winning a World Series in over 100 years.  They even play a game between innings at Springfield Cardinals games (the Cardinals AA affiliate) called “Are you smarter than a Cubs fan?”.  Now that’s a rivalry.

The only Reds player that I truly have a distaste for is Johnny Cueto.  His cowardly actions of kicking at Chris Carpenter and Jason LaRue with his cleats during the 2010 fight has never been completely avenged by the Karmic Universe.  Jason LaRue’s life and career was forever changed by that act.  Johnny Cueto’s life and career has not been similarly affected.  Alas, an eye for an eye is a nice concept, but it rarely plays out that way in the real world.  I’m still waiting to feel better about all of that but I suspect I will be always disappointed.

No, the Reds just don’t push my buttons the way the Cardinals appear to do to the Reds and their fans.  The Cardinals lost to the Reds on Friday night in the first game of a three game series and like any other loss, I didn’t like it.  It was game number 48 and there are 114 more to get through is the way I look at it.  Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes it rains.

So the Cardinals and the Reds have a rivalry.  You couldn’t prove it by me.



Thank you for reading.





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