Column: St. Louis versus Chicago

As an out-of-state freshman coming to Mizzou, I really had no idea what to expect when I got here seven months ago.

I didn’t know anything about the people I would meet, the experiences I would have or what this community would have to offer.

But before I learned about any of that, I learned about the heated St. Louis-Chicago rivalry on this campus.

Now, if you’ve ever talked to anyone at Mizzou, then it’s a pretty safe bet that you’ve met a few Chicagoans and St. Louisans. There’s seemingly a 98 percent chance that anyone you meet on or near campus is a native of one of the two.

Columbia might as well be Chicago South or St. Louis West with so many diehard fans transplanted here. And at this time of year, CoMo provides the perfect setting to fuel two fiery, explosive rivalries.

Opening Day for Major League Baseball provided the Cardinals and Cubs the opportunity to christen the new season with the nation’s undivided attention. Meanwhile, the start of the NHL Playoffs this week set the Blackhawks and Blues on a collision course in the battle for the Stanley Cup.

If only St. Louis had a basketball team, then the two Midwest metropolises would have a trio of fierce rivalries. Unfortunately, the Spirits of St. Louis died off long ago, as did the Derrick Rose that was awarded MVP and led the Bulls to a No. 1 seed.

But that’s a discussion for another day.

Watching games with a house full of Cardinals and Cubs fans for the past two weeks has taught me two things. Number one, every Cardinals fan thinks his or her team is the best there’s ever been and that they’re far and away baseball’s best fans. Number two, Cubs fans will take any sign of progress as a future World Series title.

Well, it’s true that the Cardinals have won 11 World Series in franchise history. But it seems more than a little unfair to claim the title of “best fans in baseball” when you only root for a perennially successful team. Maybe spend a year in the cellar of the NL Central and we’ll take a second look at those attendance numbers.

On the other hand, the Cubs are two games above .500 for the first time since 2009 and if you didn’t know any better, you’d think the team just won back-to-back World Series. But the reality is the Cubs haven’t won the series in 107 years. Steve Bartman made sure of that.

You might point out that the White Sox won a title in 2005, but as the fifth-most popular Chicago sports team, that seems a bit irrelevant.

And now we turn our attention to the Blues and Blackhawks on the ice. Now, I come from a part of the country where hockey isn’t such a big sport, and if you’re anything like me, then coming to Mizzou was your first time being exposed to hockey.

My first hockey experience here at Mizzou was listening to a plethora of stories of the Blues-Blackhawks’ heated playoff series last spring. And after watching the two teams play each other in the company of St. Louis and Chicago fans, I can attest that it’s one of the NHL’s best rivalries.

Blues fans seem to think they’re destined for the Stanley Cup just about every year, but it’s a little difficult to keep making those claims if your team keeps getting bounced in the first round of the playoffs. Furthermore, it looks even worse when the team that manhandles you in the first round is your archrival.

Meanwhile, Blackhawks fans are still lauding last year’s playoff victory over the Blues and their two recent Stanley Cup titles. But even though the Blackhawks have a championship, unlike their St. Louis counterparts, they aren’t without their struggles. But let’s not forget that Blues have dominated the regular season series between the two for the past few seasons, not to mention that Chicago also suffered an untimely playoff exit in 2014.

So what’s the conclusion here? Who’s better: St. Louis or Chicago?

We’ll just go ahead and give the Cardinals and Blackhawks the edge and call it a draw. St. Louis and Chicago fans might not like that answer, but on behalf of all the other fans at Mizzou, we don’t like the Cardinals or the Cubs or the Blackhawks or the Blues.

So remember the next time you Chicagoans and St. Louisans start arguing about your rivalry –– not everyone wants to hear it.

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