Why all this bad blood all of a sudden?

This afternoon I was doing my daily trips around the internet reading articles on the Cardinals. I’ve wondered over the last week as I’ve read many places that the Cardinals might now be the most hated MLB franchise. I just have to ask how? I can think of a handful of teams right off that bat more deserving of generic fan hate than the Cardinals. Is it jealousy? Is it the fact that the Cardinals are always in the mix?

Bernie Miklasz of the Post-Dispatch had an interesting note about something Brewers’ catcher Jonathan Lucroy said before the game last night to a Milwaukee radio station. I felt compelled to put my two cents in. Here’s the quote from Lucroy that Bernie writes in his article.

“There’s always something when we play the Cardinals. I know that as a player we’re all kind of tired of LaRussa’s antics. This is what he does. He does that to try and play mind games with you. And he wants to get you all mad and angry and get distracted. That’s just what he does. That’s how he plays the game. Same thing with the scoreboard thing. He is just doing it to try and get any advantage he can. And for us, we’re all just kind of tired of it. He intentionally hit Braun after we unintentionally hit Pujols. So take that as whatever you think it means. That’s just the way he is. We’re not really worried about it. We don’t really care.”

In case you were unaware, during the Cardinals’ series last weekend in Milwaukee, there were a couple issues that created some interesting storylines.

The first being that the Cardinals issued a complaint about the lighting behind home plate at Miller Park. What was the problem? The Cardinals felt that the advertising screen that runs around the second deck at Miller Park was brighter during the Brewers’ turn at the plate than during the Cardinals’.

Maybe that was intentional or not, who knows. However, combine that information with what I’ve read from many places that Miller Park is one of the darkest stadiums in the MLB anyway and you have a potential concern. If your team is being placed at a disadvantage, wouldn’t you want your team to speak up about it and get it rectified? Instead, Brewers fans turned on the Cardinals, calling them sore losers.

The next took place on the field as Takashi Saito lost a pitch up and in on the Cardinals’ first baseman Albert Pujols. Obviously unintentional and pitching up and in is a critical part of the game against a top level hitter like Pujols. However, the Cardinals retaliated and hit one of Milwaukee’s stars, Ryan Braun, at the start of the next inning.

Now, Tony LaRussa has claimed that they were not intentionally trying to hit Ryan Braun, and I’m not sure I believe it. However, it should be the obvious response by the Cardinals. By throwing back at Braun, the Cardinals are basically saying, “Hey, if you want to roll the dice of potentially injuring one of our star players, you’re going to roll the dice that one of yours will end up injured too.” Ask David Freese how being hit by a pitch can go bad. The idea is that next time, Milwaukee or another team paying attention, is going to be a little more careful about how and where they throw inside to Albert Pujols. Which, from what I understand, Milwaukee changed up last night.

I’ve long wondered how some people complain about things and get the benefit of the doubt, meanwhile some complain about things and are labeled “whiners” and “cry babies.” Isn’t a manager or player’s job to get the biggest advantage they can within the confines of the rules? If that takes playing some mind games with your opponent, why is that a problem? As an opposing player, you either succumb or you don’t.

I question any fan who would want their team to just let a darker stadium for their at bats or their star player being hit go without an issue. Your opponent is just going to keep pushing and pushing. Until you push back.