Once a year, the Royals come to St. Louis. And, inevitably, I’m doing something the weekend they’re here. This year, I wasn’t. So Gatermann and I went Saturday night. He rooted for his team, and I rooted for mine.
The Cards won that one. I shouldn’t have been surprised. Starting pitcher Darrell May is a flyball pitcher, and Busch Stadium isn’t nearly as imposing to power hitters as it was 20 years ago. Now the Cards are loaded up with people like Albert Pujols and Jim Edmonds, and, well, May got rocked. Then the Royals’ weak bullpen got rocked.
The big surprise was the number of Royals fans there–it wasn’t quite like the number of Cubs fans at a Cards-Cubs game, but it was significant–and, well, they were loud. As the first inning started, the Royals fans in the $11 seats above my section started chanting, “Let’s go Roy-als” and clapping and stomping. They had more energy than Royals fans in Kansas City. I thought it was hilarious.
I was wishing I’d worn my Royals shirt. Fans dressed in enemy colors didn’t used to do well at Busch Stadium, but Gatermann told me that’s very different today. Everyone sitting around me was good-natured and polite and had a sense of humor about my allegiance.
As we walked out, one guy complained about being harrassed for being a Royals fan, but I couldn’t tell how serious he was.
And I have to say I was very impressed with the play of Cardinals’ rookie second baseman Bo Hart. He’s already a fan favorite, but when you come up and get multiple hits in your first three games in the big leagues, you’re bound to become a fan favorite. He seems to be a scrappy player with a lot of guts and a lot of heart, along the lines of former St. Louis fan favorite Joe McEwing, or Anaheim’s David Eckhart, or former Met and Royal Keith Miller. I found myself cheering for the guy, even though I was rooting for the other team. You don’t see a lot of players like him.
The encouraging thing to me was that the Royals won the other two games of the series. I know the Cards aren’t having their best season, but they’re a strong team with two superstars who are of at least equal cailber to the Royals’ two superstars, and position by position, they’re the stronger team anywhere but first base.
I still don’t think my Royals will win the World Series. But this is going to be a fun year.