Back at Mizzou, a professor there helped me understand this as the Letter to the Editor factor. It takes time to pull out a sheet of paper and a pen, write out some thoughts, maybe edit a bit, and then get a stamp and then an envelope to send a letter in to the editor. If someone is satisfied, are they going to expend that time and energy and money to do that? Or are they satisfied and likely to move on to something else? Anger is a great motivator. Dissatisfaction prompts action.
We've made it easier than ever to be critical and complain and to criticize, but that truism really hasn't changed. If anything it's accelerated. Each day I can find dozens of comments fired at me on Twitter or on email that are ready, fire, aim. They chocked with anger, toxic phrases -- and if the Cardinals have lost in the previous 72 hours ... colorful vulgar language.
It's the Letter to the Editor Factor -- unchecked and adrenalized by anonymity.
And it came up the other day at the ballpark as Shildt talked about the mental health of athletes, and the death threats recently reportedly sent to the family of a young Cleveland pitcher. Have you seen somethings people say to each other on social media? I recently wrote back to someone who emailed me with this question: "Is this how you talk to someone in person too? Or only at a distance?" It can be crushing -- as longtime readers of this chat may pick up on.
But take heart.
That's not the majority. It's the loudest cul de sac spinning in its own circle at times, and maybe it captures some of the feelings of the fan base at large and just uses charged language. But it's not the whole fan base, and it's impossible to know if it's even 50 percent. Because ratings suggest otherwise. Ticket sales, while softened this year and noteworthy as some apathy creeps in, still suggest otherwise. The readership of this chat and the PD's coverage of the Cardinals suggests otherwise. Your question, in a way, suggests otherwise as do dozens of others in this chat. Fans want more from the Cardinals, for sure. But while questions are pointed -- and should be -- not all pitchforks are.