The boys of summer become the men of Rocktober here astride the Mississippi River at the Gateway to the West. Once again the Cardinals Baseball Team has invited out-of-towners to stop by and play ball. This week America celebrates its favorite pastime with our old pals the Boston Red Sox. As a good sport, I’m extending the hometown hospitality spirit shared by Card’s fans nine years ago when we enabled the Red Sox to break the Curse of the Bambino by swamping us 4-0. Welcome to St. Louis but be forwarned: St. Louis is a gutsy river town, not a touristy seacoast port. If you travel to Busch Stadium by boat, be sure to have a kill switch for the engine, a PFD for everyone on board, and a bunch of CDDs.
Let’s compare venues for the upcoming World Series. I’m concerned about the furry faced ballplayers from Bean Town who are used to tossing, hitting and catching balls close to predictable tidal waters and lazy brackish streams. The Red Sox are accustomed to muddy waters named after the heir of the British Throne (who’s mother has been alive since the shot heard ‘round the world). They’ve got a bridge that is the sole place on Earth where you can sail under a train that is under a car that is driving under a Southwest Airlines jet. Our sailors have only sunscreen between them and the sky. The Cardinal’s are river men who play ball in eyeshot of the world’s largest croquette wicket, a tribute to wanderlusts who left the east coast astern, crossed North America’s greatest drainage ditch, and founded the Cardinal’s Nation.
Smug Sox fans will slam into Busch Stadium, punch their fists in the air and yell, “We’ll get you, Carp!” Card’s fans will tail gate with Coleman’s chuck full of cold frosties and grin, “Oh, no you won’t.” It’s not that our leading second base man is invincible, it’s our smug security that the visiting team will not be protected by CDDs; Carp Deflecting Devices.
A bit of background for the few American’s not familiar with Major League Baseball. Matt Carpenter, affectionately known as “Carp, the Card’s go-to-guy”, can bat once and be a game changer. That impressive – but a select bawdy bunch of Card’s fans are Mississippi River Rats who make sport of Pacific rim immigrant fish – Asian Carp. When boaters such as the Smiths go cruising on their 26’ pontoon boat, The White Trash Palace their crew and guests wear life jackets, helmets, and other CDDs. They know the game and are ready on deck. A startled carp can launch its 50 pounds of scales and slime 10 feet airborne, knock a boater upside across the head and cause serious damage to the vessel. Undaunted and courageous to the core, River Rats fend off line drives with lawn chairs, trash can lids and snow shovels. Boats rather than Bass Pro fishing lines catch pop flies.
During coverage of the St. Louis games, newscasters are sure to note the sea of red blanketing the riverfront beneath the arch – Cardinal fans tailgating alongshore and dead carp splayed on docks. Watch yourselves Sox fans. You need a bigger boat. You’re from a provincial New England town where everyone knows your name. We’re hometown to the King of Beers whose brew will fill your mugs until the only name you’ll remember when you go home is Bud.