Plain and simple, the St. Louis Cardinals are not rivals with the Kansas City Royals.

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I happened to catch a commentator from Kansas City on a national program earlier today speaking of the animosity that St. Louis has towards KC–largely because of the 1985 World Series.

Yes, that still leaves a sick feeling in the stomach of many a Cardinals fan–if only there was instant replay then. But the focus of that frustration is primarily based on first base umpire Don Denkinger blowing the call and the team’s inability to rebound the next game. To his credit, Denkinger has admitted to the mistake and has even appeared side by side with Whitey Herzog at events.

But there was no ill will towards George Brett and the rest of his Royals teammates.

Last season, as Kansas City enjoyed a resurgence and deep run into the post-season many a Cardinals fan was cheering for their cross-state neighbors in the American League. That’s not a rivalry, no animosity.

If someday the Chicago Cubs reach a World Series, it’s hard to imagine the same good will would exist. That is a rivalry.

When the “pond-scum” Mets of 1986 were winning, there probably weren’t too many Cardinals fans that were cheering them on. That was animosity.

I posted some of the above feelings on Twitter and several folks were kind enough to respond. Some favorite. Many disagreed. One lady was kind enough to share a picture of a dead Cardinal bird as proof that there is a rivalry between the two teams. Another likened the “pity” being shown to how Kansas views Mizzou in their former rivalry.

Missouri and Kansas had border war issues stemming from the 1850s. The Cardinals and Royals have played just eight times the last two years and a total of 80 games against each other and only the ’85 World Series was of added importance than a regular season game.

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To a degree, I get it. St. Louis Blues fans have an animosity against the Detroit Red Wings and view Motown as a rival. Steve Yzerman’s goal past Jon Casey still brings nightmares.

Detroit has moved to the Eastern Conference, but fans there have never really viewed St. Louis as a rival.

But the difference is the Royals won in ’85.

So why are some drinking from the Hate-orade? Is it because there isn’t a hatred against the Royals? Is it an easy programming crutch?

Again, it’s easy to understand why MLB would like to hype the geographical match-ups around the league–and in some instances there are real divisional lines in a city. Yankees/Mets. Cubs/White Sox, Oakland/San Francisco.

But that isn’t the case here.

Manufactured hype and fallacies designed to bait a response aren’t necessary. Simply watching the two teams that have the best winning percentages in baseball is enough.


photo credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports


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