Rivalries make otherwise routine matchups a bit more interesting. They breed adrenaline. They invite ingenuity. They spark passion, no matter how dormant.
But, as we witnessed earlier this year in the case of San Francisco Giants fan Bryan Stow, baseball rivalries have also been known to get out of hand.
Admittedly, there was a time when I allowed my flippancy towards Chicago Cubs fans to reach a critical point. In the summer of 2007, fresh off a World Series crowning but at a time when my Cardinals weren’t playing too well, a few too many Old Styles found their way in my system and what started out as simple boasts of pride for my interlocking “STL” and redbirds-on-the-bat garb soon turned into a verbal shouting match with a gang of pinstriped kids from DePaul. Throughout the game, my taunting parried with their rage (they too weren’t quite sober) and it escalated when I found myself surrounded by them in a Wrigley field restroom.
Instead of shutting up, I just got louder.
And before I knew it, I was at the bottom of a pile of angry, angry feet.
I learned my lesson that day: sports aren’t any fun when you’re literally getting your @$$ beat.
So I don’t do that sort of thing anymore. I smile. I nod. I tip my cap to good plays and keep my nose buried in my scorecard (or beer).
And that’s how I’m going to enjoy my Redbirds coming to town on Tuesday.
Also, I’m taking my pal, Johanna Mahmud — Cubs fan extraordinaire. He’s scary looking… good for keeping the riff-raff at bay.
Hate me ‘cuz you can, just don’t hate me ‘cuz I’m right.