Cubs, Cardinals fans getting used to new normal for rivalry

ST. LOUIS (AP) Jeff Moran and Patti Carnahan dressed in their Chicago Cubs gear for opening day on Sunday. The twins even convinced their sister, Cathy Ferguson, a White Sox fan, to wear a Cubs shirt for their night game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

Moran, Carnahan and Ferguson, three of seven siblings from a family of baseball fans, were sitting on a bench outside Busch Stadium when a couple of Cardinals fans extended their congratulations on the Cubs' World Series title.

''They've been very cool,'' said Moran, 54, a graphic designer. ''All Cardinal fans have been very hospitable to us.''

Welcome to a new day for one of baseball's best rivalries. Fans of the Cubs had very little to say for decades as the Cardinals enjoyed postseason success while ''Wait until next year'' became the unofficial motto of the North Side of Chicago.

But this opening day was different. The Cubs are coming off their first World Series title since 1908, while the Cardinals failed to make the playoffs last season for the first time since 2010.

''For the past quite a few years, it's been `Well, here's another shot to turn it around,''' said Jim McQueeny, a Cubs fan who works at a St. Louis marketing firm. ''But it's kind of nice this year, as the World Series champs, just getting to sit back, and hopefully we can do it again.''

McQueeny, 24, and his roommate and co-worker, Nick Sengheiser, a 25-year-old Cardinals fan, sipped on a couple of beers as they took in the scene near the front of the stadium on a sunny, beautiful day in St. Louis. A line of fans patiently waited to get into the team shop behind them.

''I mean, look at it,'' Sengheiser said before St. Louis' 4-3 victory. ''Everybody's out here just having a good time. Cubs and Cards fans alike. It's a good time.''

Sengheiser said the Cubs' title also had changed the rivalry for Cardinals fans.

''The trash talk is pretty consistent, but I mean now that they have one you know you've got to respect it,'' he said. I mean, we're just looking to make a run this year.''

''It makes it more exciting,'' McQueeny added. ''It adds a new dynamic. Sitting back, like, we're going to lose two-thirds of our games to the Cards every year. Now having a legitimate, objective `We're better than them,' it's a fun new addition to the rivalry.''

Of course, some Cardinals fans are dealing with the Cubs' title better than others.

Ted Summers, a machinist from Manchester, Missouri, and Katie Moll, a medical assistant from Manchester, walked hand in hand along the concourse a couple hours before the opener. Summers, wearing a Cubs shirt, and Moll, dressed in a Yadier Molina shirsey, stopped at a stand to check out some Cardinals souvenirs.

Asked about watching the Cubs win it all, Moll said it was ''weird.''

''I don't know how to explain it. It was just, hard to believe, I guess,'' she said. ''Never going to happen again. It'll take another 108 years.''

''I get that all the time,'' Summers cracked.

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More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

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Jay Cohen can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/jcohenap

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