Scholastic Journalism Week: The best fans in baseball?

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Scholastic Journalism Week: The best fans in baseball?

Fowler rounds the bases after he hits a home run against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium Sept. 13, 2016.

Fowler rounds the bases after he hits a home run against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium Sept. 13, 2016.

photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Fowler rounds the bases after he hits a home run against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium Sept. 13, 2016.

photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

photo courtesy of Tribune News Service

Fowler rounds the bases after he hits a home run against the Cardinals at Busch Stadium Sept. 13, 2016.

I’ve often considered myself to be the luckiest man on the face of the Earth. Born from blasts by McGwire and raised on roundtrippers by Pujols, I know nothing else than to worship the Birds on the Bat and everything they stand for.

Talent isn’t everything.

It’s not over until it’s over.

An 83-78 team can win the World Series.

Who wouldn’t feel fortunate to know all that?

But this past Saturday, the “Cardinal Way” was ripped to shreds by its own self-proclaimed “best fans in baseball.”

It all started when Dexter Fowler, outfielder for the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs, signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal with the Cards last December. A student of the game, Fowler scored 84 runs in his 2016 All-Star campaign, finishing the season with a career-high 4.2 wins above replacement (WAR).

While celebrating his recent World Series victory, he tweeted this:

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He implies he wouldn't mind visiting President Trump if the Cardinals won the World Series. In fact, he can't wait for it. However, Fowler’s wife Aliya is from Iran, and the couple feels unsafe visiting family there, considering Trump’s temporary travel policy banned immigrants from seven predominantly Muslim countries, including Iran.

“It’s huge,” Fowler told ESPN Saturday, Feb. 18. “Especially any time you’re not able to see your family, it’s unfortunate.”

Later that day, the St. Louis Cardinals True Fans Facebook page posted a link to a story titled “Cardinals Outfielder Expresses Discontent With President Trump” by 12up.com. This incorrectly headlined news article pushed the “best fans in baseball” to show their true colors. By Tuesday night, the post had 668 comments, ranging from the common scornful rant to the rare encouraging praise.

It’s huge, especially any time you’re not able to see your family, it’s unfortunate”

— Dexter Fowler, Cardinals outfielder, on President Trump's temporary travel ban

After scrolling through the entire comment section, I realized a horrible truth. Cardinal Nation is the prime example of a fanbase with members so ignorant it can be tough to identify with. But because so many of “the best fans in baseball” claim to love the game so much, here’s what they’d say to some of baseball’s greatest men.

Jackie Robinson: No, he can’t do that! Keep him and everyone like him out of baseball, it’s a white man’s sport!

Curt Flood: All players are the properties of their organizations, and they should know their places. Who does this guy think he is?

Roberto Clemente: It’s sad that this happened, but as baseball fans, we’re only here to observe his time on the field. He should’ve kept his charity work to himself.

Ted Williams: Great job, you did what millions of other men did too. Now get back on the field and try to win a World Series why don’t ya?

Joe DiMaggio: You’re clearly doing this as a publicity stunt, and nobody’s buying it. You may be retired, but we still look to you as a ballplayer, not a washed up celebrity.

Yogi Berra: Don’t tell me to take that fork in the road, or how much nickels and dimes are worth. I have no idea what the hell that means. Go back to Italy, you greaser.

Lou Gehrig: We’re sorry you have to go through this, but because you can no longer play baseball, we ask that you remove yourself from the field. The baseball diamond is for baseball only, and frankly we don’t care about your personal life anyway.

Baseball wouldn’t be what it is today without these men, and the comments of these ignorant fans adjusted to some of the game’s greats just seem plain stupid. As a diehard, lifelong Cardinal fan, it’s hard for me to read the comments some “fans” directed toward our new star outfielder. However, I recognize these fans have every right to say whatever they wish, just as Fowler has every right to voice his own opinion.

So, Dexter, speak your mind. Tell everything you have to tell, and the day nobody tears you down for it, I may once again feel like the luckiest man on the face of the Earth.