Daily Egyptian

SIU: Fans of Chicago or St. Louis?

By Aaron Graff, @Aarongraff_DE | Brent Meske

With many SIU students being fans of Chicago or St. Louis teams, the Daily Egyptian wanted to settle the debate of which city has more fans in Carbondale once and for all.

Two reporters kept track of how many people they saw wearing Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Blackhawks or St. Louis Blues apparel from April 5 to 11. It included an hour from 2:15 p.m. to 3:15 p.m. Thursday, mostly in the Student Center, where both reporters were together.

Cubs vs. Cardinals | Aaron Graff

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Not as many people wore gear as last year. Perhaps that is because the two teams opened the season against each other on a Sunday and had an off day when every other team had their first games.

While the two teams split the opening series 1-1, for now, as one game was postponed, the Cardinals came away with more fans wearing their colors in town.

I counted 13 Cardinal fans to seven Cub fans in the week. 

During the experimental hour, six Cardinals fans wore their gear. No Cubs fans sported their team’s gear. There was one wearing a Chicago White Sox hat however.

“It hasn’t really been much of a rivalry because [the Cubs] have been stumped for as long as I can remember,” said Cardinals fan Trent McKay, a freshman from Nashville studying business management.

The Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. The Cardinals have won 11 championships in that time frame.

Chicago has not won the National League Central Division title since 2008. St. Louis has won three since then, including the last two.

The Cubs have more all-time wins with 10,513 to the Cardinals 10,473, but St. Louis has a better winning percentage at .519 to Chicago’s .511.

However, Cubs fans do have some bragging rights. The Cubs have a better all-time head-to-head record against the Cardinals at 1,190-1,137.

Matthew Szkodyn, a senior from Libertyville studying finance, said he gets more grief for being a Cubs fan outside of campus than on campus. He said the rivalry is more tense during important games.

“When they’re playing each other and it means something, it definitely can get quite heated,” he said. “But it’s just playful fun back-and-forth, joking around.”

Szkodyn grew up where the dominant rivalry was the Cubs and White Sox.

“You get south of Peoria and it changes immediately,” he said.

He said the Cardinals are a good organization and he has mutual respect for Cardinal fans, even though the success has been in favor of the rival in the past five years. However, he said the best of the Cubs is yet to come, and the rivalry should heat up.

“[The Cubs] may not win the whole thing, but it’s going to be a fun five to six years here,” Szkodyn said.

Cardinals fan Cortez Rohr, a senior from Effingham studying zoology, said he has higher hopes for the Cubs this year than recent years as well.

“I think they’ll finish in second place right behind St. Louis,” Rohr said. “I think it’ll be within five games.”

Rohr said he has been a St. Louis fan his whole life, and it is a part of his family.

Since coming to Carbondale, he has become friends with more people from Chicago and he gives and takes grief with Cubs fans.

“It’s a good healthy rivalry,” he said. “It’s really healthy for baseball. I’m definitely not a Chicago fan for any sport, certainly not the Cubs. I almost hate to say this, but it wouldn’t hurt for them to win once.”

The Cubs and Cardinals play each other again in a three-game series starting at 7:10 p.m. May 4 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.

Blackhawks vs. Blues | Brent Meske

The Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues rivalry started on Nov. 12, 1967. Since then the teams have met 338 times. 

I counted 15 Blackhawks fans to four Blues fans wearing apparel. The Blackhawks hold the all-time series lead 168-128-42. 

During our experimental hour, I counted seven Blackhawks fans and one Blues fan. 

This season, the Blues hold the series lead after winning 3 of 5 games, but were outscored 12-10. 

Blackhawks fan Eric Smith, a senior from Round Lake studying mechanical engineering, said the rivalry is all about intensity and it will elevate in the playoffs, which start Wednesday.

“[In the past] it got nasty down here between everyone,” he said. “Playoffs will make it worse.”  

In 2013 the Blues attempted a “keep the red out” campaign to keep the well-traveled Blackhawks faithfully out of the Scottrade Center in St. Louis.

To do so, the Blues did not offer single-game tickets against the Blackhawks unless it was part of a larger ticket package. Fans would have to buy full-season tickets, half-season tickets, a 12-game or 3-game plan to order Blues versus Blackhawks tickets. 

Thomas Becker, a junior from McLeansboro studying business economics and marketing, said as a Blues fan he does not agree with keeping opposing fans out.

“Being a home game, hopefully there’s more blue out there,” he said. “That makes it more intense, and having more other fans makes it better.”

The Blackhawks (48-28-6) finished third in the Central Division, seven points behind the Blues (51-24-7), who won the division.

The Blackhawks seek their sixth Stanley Cup, while the Blues chase their first. 

The teams will not meet in the first round of the playoffs, but there is an opportunity for the teams to play in the quarterfinals. This would be the second year in a row after the Blackhawks eliminated the Blues in the quarterfinals last season.

Blackhawks fan Ian Elzinga, a freshman from Long Grove studying radio and television, said the rivalry will intensify in Carbondale.

“It’s going to be a war,” he said. “It’s going to be a good game no matter what.”

By winning the division, the Blues face the Minnesota Wild (46-28-8), who finished as the top wild card team in the Western Conference. The Blackhawks face the Nashville Predators (47-25-10), who finished second in the division.

Becker said the passion of hockey makes the rivalry the best among St. Louis and Chicago teams.

“It’s such a high-energy sport that it transitions to the fans,” he said. “When it’s [St. Louis Cardinals] and [Chicago] Cubs, it’s not as intense.”

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 256.

Brent Meske can be reached at [email protected] or 536-3311 ext. 269.

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