(BaseballStL) — The Brewers fired a shot toward Missouri Tuesday, making a bold declaration and taking a swipe at their division foe.
“Jonathan Lucroy is not only the best catcher in the National League, but most importantly, he’s not a St. Louis Cardinal.”
In a pitch to fans during the final stretch of All Star voting, the Milwaukee Brewers produced a video spot in the vein of political campaign ads supporting their 28-year-old backstop.
The video focuses on St. Louis, suggesting fans of other teams are tired of seeing so many members of the Gateway Gang in the July Classic.
“Do you want another St. Louis cardinal to star in an All Star game?” the ad asks, as the sound of a wailing baby is shown over footage of Yadier Molina.
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While obviously taken as a joke, it garnered a lot of attention since being released Tuesday, and before Wednesday’s finale with the Mets, Cardinal manager Mike Matheny responded.
“I get that a lot of it was tongue-in-cheek, but it caught me off guard a little bit,” he said. “It’s amazing that it was that directed at our organization. I think that part probably caught me off guard the most.”
The Cardinals have had six players in each of the last two All Star games, and Molina has made it five years running.
St. Louis’ recent success has led to an increase in visibility and discussion in the past few seasons. According to Matheny, that success coupled with the media’s lauding of the franchise’s culture has perhaps rubbed many the wrong way.
“I’m not saying it’s surprising. I think we’ve been through this the last couple years, especially the last year with this ‘Cardinal Way’ stuff being blown way out of proportion,” he said. “I think it put a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths.”
Still, it’s difficult to ignore the talent permeating the Redbird’s roster. Despite what may have been an over saturation in baseball’s pop culture of late, the club doesn’t feel All Star achievements should be diminished.
“That stuff isn’t just handed out,” Matheny said. “These guys worked hard for that and they’ve deserved it and they’ve earned it and I don’t think that’s anything for us to apologize for.”
The fan vote, instituted in 2002, has added a wrinkle to the proceedings that some purists have scoffed at. Matheny’s old school discipline has been touched on many times, but despite his sensibilities, he said he enjoys the spectators getting a say.
“This is a fan-based industry, fan-driven industry. That All Start game really is an acknowledgement to the players, yes, but it’s a group of players that the fans want to see on that particular day,” he said. “Whenever you start doing this sort of things and try to include the fans, you are going to get some creative minds who are going to try to maximize the impact.”
Lucroy is certainly having an All Star season. Hitting .340 with eight homers and 37 RBIs, he leads Molina in every offensive category. His 25 doubles are second best in baseball. None of this is lost on Matheny, who is managing the NL squad in the All Star Game this year.
“I understand the end game is trying to get him acknowledged,” he said. “He’s having a good year, he’s a good player. I actually like the way he goes about playing the game.”
Lucroy supporters have less than a month to make their voices heard. The rosters are set to be unveiled over the weekend of July 5-6.
Let us know what you think of the ad. Did they take it too far or is it all in good fun?
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