I posted briefly about opening day on Monday. I didn't really do a big baseball post, and that feels wrong. So today I want to visit another area of my baseball conscious. Will Braden be a Cardinals fan like his Dad or not? I am almost certain that he will but let's examine the topic anyway.
For true fanatics sports loyalties are passed along like any other genes. You acquire your team from your Dad or Mom just like you acquire their last name. It comes with the territory. It doesn't work for casual fans. In those cases the child is left to find a team or even a different sport to follow. I became a Cardinal fan because my Dad was a Cardinal fan. My grandparents are also Cardinal fans. You may recall that I live in Arkansas. Why is a guy from Arkansas such a big Cardinal fan? It is the MLB team of choice for a majority of Arkansans. We don't have a team of our own, and St. Louis is one of the closest options. The Rangers are closer for some but they have no history which brings me to my next point.
Before the Dodgers and Giants moved to California the Cardinals were further west than any other team. Teamed up with the powerful KMOX radio station the Cardinals were broadcast all over the midwest and beyond. Our grandparents generation growing up anywhere west of the Mississippi had a great opportunity to become Cardinals fans. Many of them did. Several western states have their own teams now, but throughout the midwest the Cardinals are still king. They are regularly in the top 5 in attendance in a relatively small market like St. Louis. They can accomplish that because people come from Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and elsewhere to watch the Redbirds. I am proud to be a part of that large following.
Back to the subject of Braden joining our throng. He is off to a good start in Cardinals fandom. My brother gave him an Ozzie Smith autographed baseball that he had signed at a local Wal-Mart. Ozzie was my favorite player growing up. I remember my Dad telling me about "The Wizard" when we first watched games together. I played short stop and wanted to be just like Ozzie. Now Braden has this Hall of Famer's autograph. It will be a great time when I get to explain to him who signed his ball.
I know there is no guarantee that Braden will like the Cardinals. There's not even a guarantee that he will like sports in general. My Grandpa watches Cardinals baseball every day. He never misses a game and his son hates sports. I mean he hates them with a passion. So I don't have to look far for an example of what could happen. Still I am certain that Braden and I will share many summer nights watching the Cardinals play on TV. I plan on taking him to games in St. Louis as soon as possible. Doing those things should create memories that will last a lifetime. That is the truly great thing about sharing this interest. The time spent with Braden will be priceless.