If you cut the city of St. Louis open it would bleed red feathers. St. Louis loves baseball and loves the Cardinals. If you live there for long, and I did, you just can’t help but become a fan, and I am a St. Louis Cardinals fan. I was sneaking out of school and going to Busch stadium in the 70’s when they were terrible – didn’t matter. I was there when they won the series in ’85. Willie Mc Gee is my favorite baseball player of all time. I cried when Jack Buck died. I have their games dialed in on my I-Phone. I am a Cardinals fan.
One of the most joy producing things that can happen in the life of a Cardinals fan is to beat the Cubs. It’s just satisfying like a good cup of coffee or some toasted ravioli or an Imo’s pizza – you never get tired of it. Another really fun thing to do if you are a Cardinals fan is to go see a game at Wrigley field in Chicago. It’s the best place to watch a baseball game in the world and, if you are a Cards fan, there is a peculiar satisfaction that comes from sitting there in your red hat knowing you’ve won the World Series ten times in the last 85 years and the Cubs, well they’re the Cubs.
That’s what I was doing one night last week. I was sitting at Wrigley field in my Cards hat enjoying my genetic superiority and thinking derogatory Cub fan thoughts like, “If your Meth lab still works in wind chill of 55 below zero, you might be a Cubs fan.” I was enjoying myself because I knew that they knew, no matter what they said about my hat, we’ve got all the rings. It was good fun – for about six innings.
I don’t know if it was something I ate or if it was the poison of my self-satisfied crimson colored smugness that settled in my stomach. But, something ran through me like a heard of disappointed Cubs fans pouring out on to Addison Street. Wrigley field may be the best place to see a baseball game, but it is not the best place to find one’s self staggering around in the latrine, wearing a Cardinals hat, hoping against hope you can make it to one of the luxurious stalls before you disgrace not only yourself but all of Cardinals fandom. Not even Jesus characterized hell with images so startling and terrifying as are lived out in the latrine at Wrigley field in the seventh inning as the locals prepare themselves for last call. It was one of the few times in my life where what was going on outside me was almost identical to what was going on inside me. It was awful. It was the Cubbies revenge.
I think it was the Cubbies revenge. Of course it could have been one of those precious, in hindsight, moments when my spiritual garbage (pride, haughtiness, independence) shows up as physical garbage so I’ll finally notice. It could have been the gracious hand of God reminding me that I am utterly fragile and that a random micro organism can debilitate me. It could have been a reminder that I am utterly dependent on my brothers in Christ without whom I would have never made it out of Wrigley alive. It could have been a reminder to rejoice today because life is fickle and unfair and fun can change to sorrow in a split second. It could have been any or all those things. It could have just been the Cubbies revenge. I may never know.
Pride goes before destruction,and a haughty spirit before a fall. Proverbs 16:8