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A defense of the Cardinals for the team outbreak

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Because someone has to do it, right?

MLB: JUL 25 Pirates at Cardinals

It is not particularly hard to be a Cardinals fan. While the playoffs are hardly an annual trip for them, they win more than they lose and they typically win enough to compete for a playoff spot at the least. Most fans would take this deal. And it’s not even like we get to accept playoffs sometimes at the expense of a championship. No, the Cards have won two championships in the past 15 years. 2011 feels like a long time ago for reasons mostly unrelated to baseball, but that is not a long time since your last championship for the vast majority of MLB.

And yet, it’s very annoying to be a Cardinals fan right now. They are currently the poster child of irresponsibility, taking the mantle from the Marlins, and honestly they’ve had enough games postponed that the next team that has the outbreak probably won’t take the mantle from the Cardinals. It’s hard to say whether this is fair or not. Without knowing the details, we have no idea how the Cardinals contracted the disease.

Something that seems to be lost among the many fans of other teams who are gleefully reveling in the Cardinals being the team of the moment though is that it takes just one player or staff member to get it and then it is remarkably easy to spread to everyone else. Once someone gets it, as we’ve seen, it’s very easy to spread to the rest of the team since you’re traveling together, in a clubhouse together, and playing together.

It’s also important to note: we actually have no idea how this started. There was an absolutely asinine rumor that was taken as fact that Cardinals were in a casino prior to getting COVID, a rumor that is not supported by literally anything. As far as I can tell, it started because a few Cardinals went to a concert at the Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, an action so hidden that both Harrison Bader and Dexter Fowler posted pictures of it online. And just for good measure, it was three weeks before the team outbreak. In an age where stupidity is rampant, even this level of stupidity is hard to fathom. I almost want to give the people who started this rumor credit and say they were woefully malignant in spreading this, but I’m pretty sure they’re just stupid.

Nobody has been able to confirm any rumor that I’ve seen. And until someone does, they’re just that: rumors. My friend caught COVID and he is pretty sure he caught it while he was at the gas station because someone got too close to him. He didn’t go to bars, he didn’t do anything risky, he just went to the gas station.

Is it likely the person/persons who started this outbreak did something they probably shouldn’t have done? Absolutely. I’ve seen the picture of John Gant and Miles Mikolas without masks, although ironically neither of them actually got it, so it isn’t from that picture everyone likes to post to make the Cardinals look dumb either. Hence: we have no idea how they got it.

And as far as the rest of the team getting it, I really don’t think that’s indicative of irresponsibility so much as a function of this virus. In everyday life, if it spreads to one person in the home, it usually spreads to the rest of the home. And for all intents and purposes, for the next few months, the clubhouse is essentially their home. I highly doubt all 28 other teams feature different actions within the clubhouse than the Cardinals, the Cardinals just so happened to have it come into that clubhouse, while the other teams so far haven’t.

Just look at the slow reveal of names who have tested positive. At first, it was one player, three staff members. A few days later, it was six players and seven staff members. And then a few days later, a couple more players and another staff member. The latest is that Lane Thomas got it. It started somewhere obviously, but it seems the majority of the cases had nothing to do with how it started, they got it after the virus was already running through the clubhouse. Masks help a lot and you should absolutely wear a mask, but if you’re in close proximity with people who have the disease, you can still get the disease with a mask.

Just expect the discourse about the Cardinals to be about as intelligent as a teenager trying to drunkenly explain how he’s actually sober to his parents. For instance, you got to love Jon Heyman baselessly spreading the casino rumor, and then without ever retracting that “source,” he then blames both the Cardinals and Marlins for not socially distancing. Which may very well be true, but I have never been more certain of something than I am that Jon Heyman is also pulling that out of his... imagination. There is no way Jon Heyman has any idea what either the Marlins or Cardinals did with regards to social distancing.

I’m mostly just ranting. It’s very annoying to be a fan of a team who has gotten hit by the coronavirus and people of all other fanbases think that the virus isn’t incredibly easy to get and that it has to mean the Cardinals went to a casino or something similarly dumb. If it was that easy to avoid, we wouldn’t be in this situation! This a pandemic for a reason.

I’m pretty sure me avoiding coronavirus so far is lucky, because nobody I have ever actually been in contact with has gotten it. My actual job is the type of job where it feels inevitable that someone working there will get. Without revealing the job, it’s a customer service job where we all come into contact with mask-less people all the time. We wear masks. Nobody who I work with has gotten it yet. Even though precautions are being taken, this has to feel a little bit like dumb luck. I mean yeah it helps when I wear a mask and socially distance, but it also helps a lot if people who I actually interact with don’t have it either!

In any case, we don’t actually know how the disease spread to the Cards and we do know it spreads incredibly easy. So taking those two facts together, I’d be uncomfortable assuming more than “the person who first got it may have been irresponsible” and that’s about it. I realize that it really cuts down on the ability for people to make fun of a team they hate if they want to have my mindset, which is mostly why people won’t. But we don’t know anything except that the some players and some staff members got it.

Much as other teams are using their distaste for the Cardinals to jump on them for this, I am using my fandom for the Cardinals to naturally want to defend my team. So I’m obviously coming at this from a biased perspective. But since most of the hate for the Cards has been based on the rumor of a casino trip, I am very, very sick of it. And since I have nothing new about baseball to write about, I thought I’d vent my feelings here. Here’s to hoping the Cardinals play by the time I have to write about something next week. Or not. I don’t care anymore.