Since 2010, the Reds/Cardinals rivalry has been the most intense in baseball. Even though old boring people who care about “history” and Dodgers/Giants fans, Phillies/Mets fans and (ugh) Yankees/Red Sox fans want to make you think otherwise, for the past three seasons, St. Louis and Cincinnati have been boiling with a very healthy sports hate for each other.
I love sports hate; it’s one of the reasons why sports are so great. You get to feel strong emotions and scream and seethe and be elated and relieved and talk trash to your friend who is a fan of the other team while you’re sharing a bowl of chips with him. And then after the games are over you have dinner with your family and sit out on your deck and think about how you can expand your deck maybe in a few months and nothing has changed, really, no matter if your team won or lost.
But I digress. People around baseball need to recognize that Cardinals/Reds is where it’s at, rivalry-wise. Two contending teams, two beautiful Midwestern cities full of passionate, sunburnt, beer and pork sloshing fans. There’s nothing not to love. Here are the top defining moments in the rivalry from a completely biased Reds fan.
Brandon Phillips August 2010 Quote
"I'd play against these guys with one leg. We have to beat these guys. I hate the Cardinals… Let me make this clear - I hate the Cardinals."
Unequivocal and to the point. Dat Dude plays on emotion and I, for one, love that. And of course a day after saying these words, this happened:
This is where it went too far of course. People got hurt and that should never happen. No matter who started it, there was fault all around. I can admit that. I don’t root for actual fights, I DO root for ballplayers protecting their teammates by any means necessary, and that’s what this was on both sides.
Tony LaRussa’s All-Star Picks
Last season LaRussa left Cy Young favorite (that’s right, FAVORITE) Johnny Cueto and Brandon Phillips off the roster. This got Cincinnati mad. Don’t like LaRussa. Which leads me to my next point:
Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker
There’s something extra special about how two old men who have decades and decades of baseball excellence and achievement under their belt can still get so heated about each other. Of course, LaRussa isn’t in the dugout this year, but when I picture the Cardinals dugout (in my nightmares), he’s still sitting there. With his haircut.
The Cardinals in the Postseason
This is the one that hurts the most and, until the Reds change things, it will define this rivalry. No matter what happens in the regular season series, Cardinals fans can always point to the Postseason in the last decade and show off two World Series rings and the Reds only have two Postseason appearances since 1995 and last won an October series in 1990. It sucks, and it hurts and I hope it changes.
I love the Cardinals and their fans because I can hate them so much. Let’s all share a virtual bowl of chips on Twitter this season and enjoy hating and loving something so much TOGETHER.