I was born and raised in Phoenix Arizona and I am a diehard St. Louis Cardinals fan. When most people hear this they wonder why I am not an Arizona Diamondbacks fan. The reason for that is I left Arizona after 28 years to live in Los Angeles in 1998. That was the year the Diamondbacks started.
So why the Cardinals? The reason for that is my grandparents lived in St. Louis and also I spent the summer of 1980 there as a 10-year-old. So, with no team in Phoenix, it was the closest thing I had to something I could connect with. My grandparents were not sports fans but I watched games on television for 3 months when I was there. At one point I had convinced them to take my brothers and me to a game at Busch Stadium. Unfortunately, a freak accident to a neighbor prevented us from attending.
But, I continued to follow the Cardinals from Phoenix as they would make the playoffs and win the World Series in 1982. But also as they heartbreakingly lost the World Series in 1985 and 1987. My grandparents were amazing enough to have the St. Louis Post-Dispatch sent to me in Phoenix during the playoff weeks in ’85 and ’87. An amazing gesture that I will never forget.
And here lies my dilemma. I have many more reasons I should be a Dodger fan rather than a Cardinal fan. So let me present the evidence.
Geography (Part 1): Living in Phoenix I was closer to Los Angeles (375 miles) than St. Louis (1,500 miles). Add to that, Phoenix was actually the tv and radio market for the Dodgers. I listened to many Vin Scully broadcasts of Dodgers games on radio and watched the Saturday Game Of The Week on NBC that was hosted by Vin and the late Joe Garagiola. I have said many times that Vin Scully really enhanced my love of baseball and I affectionately call him ‘My Favorite Dodger Of All Time’. Advantage: Dodgers
Geography (Part 2): I have now lived in Los Angeles for 18 years. I have lived in St. Louis for 0 years. Advantage: Dodgers
Dodger Stadium vs. Both Busch Stadiums: I have attended 40 Dodger games at Dodger Stadium since in 1999. Also, I have seen the World Baseball Classic Final between Korea & Japan in 2009, professional Cricket in 2015 and College Baseball this year at Dodger Stadium. Alternately, I have seen 4 Cardinal games at Old Busch Stadium and 5 games at New Busch Stadium. Advantage: Dodgers
Fun facts: I was at the record-setting Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Dodgers exhibition game at the Los Angeles Coliseum on March 31, 2008. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar threw out the first pitch and botched it…but immediately saved himself by “sky-hooking” the baseball to the catcher. In St. Louis last year Kimbo Slice was to throw out the first pitch of the Minnesota Twins game I attended. For some reason, it never happened. Sigh. Advantage: Dodgers
More fun facts: I was in Fenway Park on June 18, 2010, when Manny Ramirez made his return to Boston as a Los Angeles Dodger. As coincidence would have it, the Lakers beat the Celtics for the NBA Championship the night before. Alternately, the ‘Spirits of St. Louis’ played 2 seasons in the ABA in the middle ’70’s, but did not survive the ABA/NBA merger. Advantage: Dodgers
Arizona baseball connections: Growing up in Phoenix meant I was close to Arizona State University. I had a friend in high school whom I would regularly attend Sun Devil games with at Packard Field in Tempe, AZ. Many Dodger talents came up through Arizona State such as Hubie Brooks, Mike Devereaux, Andre Ethier, Paul Lo Duca, Ken Landreaux and Rick Monday. The Cardinals had Bob Horner and Fernando Viña. Advantage: Dodgers
Watching the Dodgers & Cardinals live: Being in California I am lucky enough to have San Diego, San Francisco, Anaheim, Los Angeles and Oakland as MLB venues. But also Arizona, Colorado, and Houston are relatively easy plane flights to see Major League baseball. I have seen the Cardinals play live 71 times (43 wins – 28 losses / .606 win pct.)* and I have seen the Dodgers 41 times (18 wins – 23 losses / .439 win pct.)*. Advantage: Cardinals
World Series Championships in my lifetime: Since 1970 the Cardinals have won 3 World Series Championships (1982, 2006 and 2011)* and lost 2 (1985 and 1987)*. The Dodgers have won 2 World Series Championships (1981 and 1988)* and lost 3 (1974, 1977, 1978)*. Advantage: Cardinals
Breweries: Los Angeles has 50 unique breweries**. Add to that the many surrounding breweries in Orange County and the Inland Empire. Not to mention San Diego and San Francisco and…well, you get it. St. Louis, long known for its beer brewing, surprisingly only has 21 breweries.*** Advantage: Dodgers
Conclusion: As any real baseball fan will tell you, you have to keep your allegiances and loyalties. So the Cardinals win out. But now that I write this blog my goal is to celebrate baseball and craft beer all over the United States. So my new policy is whenever I am at a baseball park (when the Cardinals are not playing) I will root, root, root for the home team. That even includes the Dodgers. Advantage: Me
Thank you for reading and I’d love to hear your comments.