While the Rangers and Cardinals might look a lot alike on the field -- two clubs with potent offenses, string bullpens and intriguing starting pitching -- their fans couldn't be from two more different planets.
With three World Series in town over the last eight years and 18 over the life of the franchise, St. Louis fans seem to have the post season partying down to a science. Rangers fans, on the other hand, seem to think Cardinals fans are mildly insane. And, while they're confident in their club's chances, they seem to be carrying a lot of weight on their shoulders to get the monkey off their back and when a first World Series title.
In Texas, football is king. And what attention there is left over for other sports is attracted to the Dallas Mavericks, who just won an NBA crown, and the typically successful Dallas Stars. While they aren't as conspicuous as fans from Milwaukee, Cincinnati or Philadelphia, several dozen hardcore Rangers fans are milling around Busch Stadium as the gates open for game one of the 2011 World Series, hoping their wait for a crown will soon be over.
Many Rangers fans I have talked to said they have family members who are Cardinals fans because of the reach of KMOX radio. Prior to 1971 Dallas didn't have its own team and the Houston Astros weren't around much longer than that. Before Texas was a major league state, Houston served as home for many years to St. Louis' top minor league affiliate. So the bonds between the Redbirds and Texas go way back.
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While their background may be different, at least the Rangers fans seem willing to get along with the Cardinals faithful. And that's a relief after contentious playoff series against Philadelphia and Milwaukee. I am hoping for a clean, respectful and hard-fought World Series.