It’s a shame that some people who claim to be St. Louis Cardinals fans polluted the internet with hateful comments after new Redbirds outfielder Dexter Fowler mentioned on social media that his family was negatively affected by the recent executive order banning entry into the United States for people from seven Middle Eastern countries.
It’s also a shame that some members of the national media decided to use the example of a handful of jerks to attempt to define the whole of Cardinals fandom as backward hatemongers. But, as is to be expected, this outburst gave Redbirds haters the opportunity to wonder if spewing venom at a player who hasn’t yet worn the Birds on the Bat in a game that counts is the Cardinal’s Way and to type “stay classy, St. Louis” on their keyboards?
Is it really a surprise anymore when several people out of ANY group choose to spout off with ignorance in reaction to ANY post that appears on the internet. I don’t care if it’s a story about someone who gives their life savings to a stranger because that disabled stranger’s service dog needs a life-saving operation. Someone is going to say something ridiculously negative such as “You must really hate humans because you chose to donate to a dog when so many PEOPLE need operations.”
I can’t believe that anyone who is truly interested in St. Louis baseball would go out of their way to threaten and belittle a member of the home team over such a remark. Fowler’s comments weren’t negative toward one political party or the other. He simply commented that the travel ban caused problems for his family, which is obviously the case because his wife’s family is from Iran, one of the countries on the restricted list.
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Most of the remarks were of the “shut up and play baseball” variety, as if Fowler’s profession prevents him from having feelings, a family or an opinion. That’s a popular catch-all refrain that translates roughly to “I don’t like what you have to say so I refuse to respect the fact that you have a right to have an opinion, too.”
If those folks really just don’t want politics to foul their enjoyment of their favorite sport, it would have been much better if they just let Fowler’s benign comments fade into the atmosphere and forgot about them instead of making them national news by whining about them. But I have some news for them, this certainly isn’t the first time Cardinals baseball and politics have been intermingled.
Bill DeWitt Jr. was a major fundraiser for the Republican Party when George W. Bush twice ran for president and he offered Bush a forum of throwing out the first pitch on opening day at Busch Stadium. The great Stan Musial was a supporter of Democrat candidates, especially President John F. Kennedy. Musial went on a campaign tour during the 1960 campaign, stumping for JFK. I wonder if anyone then told Stan the Man to shut up and just play ball. Throughout history, tons of Cardinals players, executives and broadcasters have publicly endorsed candidates.
The only difference between then and now is that people didn’t have the anonymity of hiding behind their computer screen as they say things that if they uttered to the face of their target probably would earn them a knuckle sandwich.
I totally get that folks want their entertainment to be an escape from the everyday world. But that’s not what we’re talking about here. If a player goes on television every night and rips politicians on one side and praises those on the other, I’ll be rolling my eyes as I watch. But this Fowler situation was nothing of the sort. It’s simply a case of people looking for something to complain about and THEY’RE the ones who are soiling the game, not Fowler.
Being a Cardinals fan is like being a part of a family. Members of a family don’t always get along 100 percent of the time. But they should always pull for each other and work toward a common goal. So can we stop looking for reasons to argue and start thinking about the common cause, beating the Cubs and taking back the National League Central?