I have often heard it said that St. Louis Cardinal fans are the greatest fans in baseball. It is an honor that they (or shall I say 'we') have earned through our commitment, faithfulness, and loyalty to our team and it's members. It's an honor earned through our respect and grace demonstrated to other teams and their fans, and I'd like to believe it is an honor earned due to a deep love, respect, and understanding of the great game of baseball.
Just a short time ago Cardinal Nation bid a congratulatory farewell to outstanding manager, Tony LaRussa. He has walked the team through an amazing, successful time in it's history.
Just days ago, we as Cardinal Nation found that we must bid farewell also to our beloved first baseman, power-hitter, and team leader, Albert Pujols.
It is my hope as Cardinal Nation, as the greatest fans in baseball, as those who often boasted in the humility and grace of a player who was dedicated to the esteem of his team and his city more than himself, that we would bid farewell with such grace.
We must believe and rest assured that the same grace and humility that Albert showed faithfully in 11 seasons of baseball, he has carried into his decision of furthering his career with the Anaheim Angels.
It is my short experience as a member of Cardinal nation, to see a stadium full of devout fans stand and applaud for those whom at one time bore the Cardinal uniform. It is my experience to watch fans show great respect to a player, even after they have departed.
My hope is that we, as a devout fan-base, will know that the label we bear as 'the greatest fans in baseball' is not earned only from our loyalty to the Cardinals, but for our deep love for the game, and that we will continue in our support and encouragement to Albert as he continues to break records, win mvp's, and one day enters the Hall of Fame. He has changed the game of baseball forever in St. Louis, and I, for one, am grateful for the privilege and opportunity to watch him display, not only great baseball, but outstanding character.
The Angels need to know, with their $250 million they have not only landed one of the greatest players of our time (and possibly the greatest ever in their franchise), they have also inherited a great many of us deemed 'the greatest fans in baseball,' not to support their Angels, but to support our Albert, as he furthers his career. We will remain loyal, and unless he is batting against those who wear our beloved Bird, we may even do so outwardly.