It's a blessing and a curse to be a Major League Baseball fan in the Internet era.
On one hand, it's awesome that I can listen to spring training games on an app on my phone and, in many cases, see games that are happening more than 1,000 miles away in south Florida on my tablet.
On the other hand, one of the things I like best about spring training is that there are no stakes. The games don't count in the standings, so I can enjoy watching baseball for the beauty of the game and not worry what the Chicago Cubs or Milwaukee Brewers did today. But in a world where social media is one of the ways to stay connected to the game I love, I find it tremendously depressing to witness St. Louis Cardinals fans bickering with each other one week into the Grapefruit League Season.
Someone notes that a certain Redbirds player didn't have a very good day on the pitcher's mound. Then about 50 people chime in to lecture them in the most sarcastic way possible that the games and statistics don't count, implying that the original poster is so ignorant that he doesn't understand the fundamental concept of an exhibition game.
It's interesting that a person, in the process of trying to embarrass someone for overreacting, uses hyperbole to try point out the exceedingly obvious? But the fact is that there is enough room on the Internet for Cardinals fans of all stripes and spots. If someone has something to say that doesn't interest you, does it really make your day to drop what your doing to make time to try to ruin someone else?
It's not the comments I disagree with that bother me. It's the people who go out of their way to be rude and indignant to others that get under my skin. I find that life works a lot better when I mind my own business than it does when I look for reasons to get into an argument with every person that I encounter walking down the street. But that's just my opinion.
Another thing that strikes me as odd is that people often take others to task because something bothers them about baseball. Somehow, they're a bad fan if they don't nod their head in disagreement with everything the Cardinals front office does. Why watch baseball at all if you're just not going to care how things go, one way or another? Can you be happy when your team wins and not be at least a little disappointed when it loses? People think it offends the ownership of the Redbirds when you question what manager Mike Matheny or President of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak does. Not true. What would bother them is if you stopped talking about it. If you're talking about them — good or bad — you obviously still care.
Before I continue, I want to point out that this is not about me. It's about things I see in the interactions between others on Facebook Cardinals groups — some of which recently had to expel members for being so disrespectful and rude to others that it spoiled the experience for everyone. I wasn't a participant, merely a bewildered witness.
I always tried to view this blog as a written conversation like I'd have with another fan as I sat in the bleachers at Busch Stadium. It's not a lecture, it's a dialogue. So I love to hear other the opinions of others and I have rarely had problems with commenters — with the exception of one a couple of years ago who didn't like that I responded to a nasty email with a photo of a handgun that claimed he knew where I live.
Fortunately, it's rare to find someone who gets that unhinged about a game. Still, if someone sits next to me and tells me I'm stupid and my dog is ugly the whole game, I'm much less interested in what they have to say than if they say "You know, I have to disagree with you about that and this is why."
Bottom line: Can't we all just get along and have a good time? It's not worth it to waste your life being a jerk to others.