Let me begin with a huge disclaimer, because I like disclaimers a lot. The Reds are presently constructed a lot like I would like to see the Cardinals put together right now. They have a lot of speed and power in the right places, defend well, and they appear to have just enough pitching to compete in the NL Central. I respect the way the organization has put the pieces in place to compete for a 3-4 year timeframe. That said, I think that their fatal flaw is that they simply don’t have enough top shelf pitching talent to fight all the way through the playoffs to win a World Series. While I may not like them, I do respect them as an opponent, and I don’t underestimate them.
With that out of the way, it’s time to get down to business. This is for the Cardinals. Take the gloves off, gentlemen. None of you are named Gandhi, have the title of “Pope”, or have been exiled from Tibet. If you get hit with a pitch, don’t hesitate to express your displeasure. If you keep your mouth shut, you’ll just get hit again. Don’t anybody out there try to tell me that the pitch from Cordero to Pujols was harmless, either. Reds fans may call this whining. Fine. Maybe they haven’t seen their starting third baseman go down as the result of a HBP in a while. Cordero’s pitch was a dangerous one, and that’s not whining, either. Just ask David Freese. Besides, it’s not like Cordero looked all that concerned about the potential damaged he might have caused. Great sportsmanship on display. Even if he didn’t intend to hit Pujols, he sure didn’t seem to upset about his WHIP going up, did he?
Maybe Gerald Laird said something that got under Cordero’s skin. Maybe. Maybe Cordero just wanted to make a scene in front of a bunch of empty seats masquerading as Reds fans. That tends to happen when your team is 12th out of 16 teams in paid attendance in the NL. I’d bash Cincy fans for that, but it really wouldn’t be fair. They have a lot of economic reasons why they don’t have higher attendance numbers. For example, some ticket prices are as high as $1, it’s expensive to travel across the state by pack mule, and the cost of canned chili has gone way up recently. Still, Cordero could have really played it cool and walked off the mound like he’d been there prior to yesterday. He had a golden opportunity to act like he expected to get the job done and walk off to the dugout. Instead, he acted like a punk. Maybe it’s just an inferiority complex or something. Maybe the Reds and their fans just want respect. Well, they sure aren’t going to get it by ending games and yelling into the opposing team’s dugout. Their fans aren’t going to get it by posting anonymously on websites and calling Cardinal fans “whiny bi*^#es”, either. If anything, they are going to just lose what respect they do have.
I keep going back to one incontrovertible fact. Cueto ended Jason LaRue‘s career, and a lot of Reds fans act like that is no big deal. If a Cardinal player had done the same thing to someone like Jay Bruce, how do you think the Reds fans would have reacted? How many of those fans have even considered turning the tables in that manner and thought about how they would react? Based on the signal-to-noise ratio for the feedback I get in my Twitter timeline, I’m guessing that the number isn’t all the high. As a matter of fact, it’s probably low enough for even Cueto to count without using Rolen’s fingers and toes.
As a fan, I just can’t watch the Cardinals allow themselves to be bullied. As a blogger, I can’t defend their inaction on the issue at all. I’m not advocating that they go out headhunting, because I think that’s just plain wrong. I do believe that retribution in the form of a fastball off the thigh is perfectly fine. Warnings are then issued, and everything is back to square one, because that’s how it’s always been in baseball. It’s kind of like a mafia rule. You hit my guy. I hit your guy. We’re even. It’s just understood, and it’s one of the few unwritten rules in baseball that everybody gets. Not this time. This time it’s more like “you hit my guy, and then you hit my guy, and you can keep pushing my guy as well”. It’s time to push back.
TIDBIT: If there are any Reds fans out there reading this, I do have a hypothetical scenario for you to contemplate. Let’s say that there is another brawl. Let’s say that a Cardinal player kicks Votto in the back and ends his career? Would you be satisfied with a 5 game suspension or something along those lines? I bet not. Tough luck, though. A precedent has already been set. Stew on that one for a bit.
MORE BITS OF TID: I think that most of the Reds fans I’ve encountered understand something that the few obnoxious ones do not. Cardinal fans already respect the Reds organization and history. In my case, I just don’t respect all the current players, and I certainly don’t respect obnoxious fans of any team (including obnoxious Cardinal fans).
I’m gr33nazn, and I approve this message.