Thursday, May 15, 2008

I Vote Silence

The Cardinals-Cubs long-standing and testy relationship takes another turn. Jim Edmonds, regarded as the greatest of Cardinals center-fielders, in an effort to revive his slipping career, puts on the outfit of the North Side Bears. Ooohhhh...there's something smarmy about the whole notion. Seeing Cardinals' past glory besmirched by such a ghastly idea is a real kick in the gut. But Hollywood is entitled to keep playing if he so chooses. Cardinals fans, this one included, are probably more sickened and saddened than infuriated. It's hard to see a hero flounder in his declining age and ability...especially in enemy garb.

Cardinals die-hards are already girding for the tiny Bears to come to town for an Independence Day series. (Friday-Sunday 7/4,5,6) Not only would that series be extra-special on its own, but with the addition of Edmonds to the Cubs roster, baseball hearts all over the midwest will be a-fluttering. Of course, it remains to be seen if the center-field divemaster will be healthy enough to play by then.

But the question is already being asked..."What kind of reception will Edmonds get the first time he walks up to the plate in St. Louis in a Cubs outfit?" Think about it. He was a heroic figure wearing the birds-on-the-bat for many years. He's been the provider of dozens of highlight-reel catches that most outfielders can only dream about. No true Cardinals fan could ever forget his dramatic home run to win NLCS Game 6 vs. Houston in '04. His persona was a large part of the Cardinals team chemistry for the "championship years" of the late 90's and early 00's. It's hard to imagine just because the guy wants to keep playing that St. Louis fans would boo him for donning the Cub suit. But a goodly portion in attendance at that first game with Jimmy in Mr. Piniella's lineup undoubtedly would. It's also hard to picture most of Busch on it's feet applauding and cheering wildly for the guy in his first Cubbie at-bat. So what would be proper?

I'm suggesting that, in this very rare circumstance, Cardinals fans should stand and be silent. They should honor Edmonds' contributions to Redbird history with a moment of though it were the passing of a legend. Because, in effect, it is. When a player of that importance to the legacy of Cardinals baseball, for whatever reason, chooses to side with the ultimate enemy, he might as well be dead. So I suggest he be treated with the respect of a fallen least for one at bat.

The big problem with that whole premise is that BS3 will likely be populated heavily with Cubs fans that night too. They likely will be happy to rub Cardinals' fans noses in it by cheering wildly for their new matter what contribution he has made to their cause. Cubs faithful will know that Edmonds being adorned in blue and white will be the source of much discomfort. They will delight in rubbing salt. So, asking Cardinals Nation to stand in silent tribute would be tantamount to handing the stage and microphone over to Sanjaya for a turn at karaoke.

But, I still think it would be a very memorable and fitting way to greet ol' Jim in his return to the place of his glory. Let's start passing the idea around. A moment of Jimmy Ballgame Silence on the Fourth of July.

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