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  • Cubs aren't so lovable after all

    Joe Posnanski's SI.com debut

    There are certain things you learn when you move to the Midwest. For instance, there doesn't have to be a technical reason (like, say, construction or an accident) for a long traffic jam. No matter how hot it may get -- and a Heartland July can melt Volkswagens -- people will still wonder if it's hot enough for you. Slow-moving tractors are always looking for a spot in front of you on two-lane highways.

    And lots of people hate the Chicago Cubs.

    Having lived in the Northeast and South for all my life, this came as an utter shock to me. I had assumed everyone loved the Cubs, at least a little bit. In fact, that was their name, right? The Lovable Cubbies. The Cubs meant shirtless beer guts in the sun. The Cubs meant 15-13 games when the wind was blowing out. The Cubs meant "Let's Play Two." The Cubs meant delightful Shawon Dunston scooping routine grounders and rifling 97-mph throws into the 19th row. The Cubs meant losing and heartbreak and 1908. The Cubs meant all the bluster and joy of the late announcer Harry Caray, whether he was blatantly rooting on the Cubbies or making one of his beautifully cynical statements, such as "Manny Trillo is coming in to pinch run. You know, for a lot of teams, you would pinch run for Manny Trillo."

    Seriously, how could you not love the Chicago Cubs?

    Well, as it turns out, there are a lot of ways. You could grow up on the Southside of Chicago, where Cubs fans are viewed as a whole tribe of spoiled Ferris Buellers. You could be a St. Louis Cardinals fan raised to believe the Cubs are only cute and cuddly to the people who see them from afar. You could be from the greater Milwaukee area, only two hours north of Chicago, where maybe you have had the whole lovable Cubs thing rammed down your throat all your life to the point of bursting.

    The shocking thing isn't that these people don't love the Cubs -- it is that their hatred can border on pathological. I have in completely random ways met three people -- THREE -- who still feel frightening hostility toward Ryne Sandberg. I mean, seriously, Ryne Sandberg. The guy retired more than 10 years ago and, from afar, he never seemed like an especially disagreeable or threatening player. But one friend from St. Louis told me she doesn't believe in the devil, "except, of course, Ryne Sandberg."

    This is all relevant right now because something unusual is happening in baseball. There's a chance that for the first time since Bill Clinton told military personnel not to ask and not to tell, we might have a postseason without the usual villains. Yes, times are tough these days in Boston and New York. The Yankees and Red Sox are playing their final series ever at beloved Yankee Stadium*, and all that is at stake is a place closer to the exhaust of the Tampa Bay Rays and a little better standing in the wildcard battle with the Minnesota Twins. The Bronx bursts with excitement.

    *Officially declared "beloved" when New Yorkers realized how much tickets would cost at the new place next year.

    Yes, after all these years of having Yankees and Red Sox interrupt our regularly scheduled programming and jam our car radios and stock our bookstores and overwhelm our Octobers with talk of the guts of Jeter and the quirky charms of MannyBManny, it looks like we finally might get a break. The Yankees are beat up and not much good. The Red Sox seem oddly disinterested. One or both could still make it. But one or both might not.

    Put it this way: For the middle game of their final Yankee Stadium series, New York sends out longtime pinstripe favorite Sidney Ponson to defend the honor of Ruth, Mantle and Reggie. Red Sox Nation counters with Boston icon Paul Byrd. Times are tough in Metropolis and Beantown.

    That means this postseason should be all about the Chicago Cubs. Oh, sure, if the Rays make it to the playoffs, everyone will be curious, at least for a little while. There could be some moderate interest in trying to figure out the magic card trick the California Angels* keep pulling off -- they can't hit, and they keep winning. The Milwaukee Brewers have a 260-pound slugger and a 250-pound pitching ace (or at least that's how Prince Fielder and CC Sabathia are listed), which makes them an inspiration for those of us on the South Beach Diet dying for one ice cream sundae. The New York Mets could be interesting if they don't fold in September again.

    *I went with the Angels, regretfully, when they became the Anaheim Angels. I didn't want to, but, yeah, I went along. When they became the Los Angeles Angels at Anaheim, no, that's when they lost me. I'll accept one name change, but not two. They're back to being the California Angels.

    But, no, the baseball postseason needs a center, a soul, someone to root for, someone to root against, or else the whole thing just descends into one of those boring and never ending mini-series that lead inevitably to champagne pouring over Florida Marlins.

    The team at the heart of this thing probably will be the Chicago Cubs. They have won nine regular-season series in a row for the first time since 1907, which you probably noticed is one year before 1908. They've got the ferocious manager Lou Piniella, they've got the National League's highest scoring offense, they've got the National League's best ERA. They've got their former closer Ryan Dempster pitching like an ace, and they've got their former ace Kerry Wood dominating as a closer. They've got a moody Carlos Zambrano pitching great as usual, and they've got the wildly underrated Aramis Ramirez putting up his usual terrific numbers, and they've got the unhittable Rich Harden striking out sides and racing against the arm injury that every good and counting-to-doomsday Cubs fan knows is coming.

    This looks to be their postseason, for good or bad, for joy or for curses. If they win, after exactly 100 years of comedy and errors, there will be a celebration, not only in Chicago but, you have to figure, on both coasts and throughout the South and in all those places where the Lovable Cubbies have penetrated people's hearts.

    But that's not everywhere. I asked one friend, a lifelong Cardinals fan, a lifelong Cubs hater, a sensitive soul who admits bawling like a baby during Brian's Song, if maybe he could feel glad if the Cubs finally win. After all, it has been a 100 years. He looked at me as if I had asked him if he felt any sympathy at all for Attila the Hun. "I hope they lose for another 100 years," he said. "At least by then, I'll be dead."

    "Can't buy what I want because it's free...
    Can't buy what I want because it's free..."
    -- Pearl Jam, from the single Corduroy

  • #2
    This looks to be their postseason


    When will people fucking learn?
    *Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq

    Comment


    • #3
      "I hope they lose for another 100 years," he said. "At least by then, I'll be dead."


      I agree 100%......
      I agree with Davhaf.....Kaiser March 9,2004

      Official Lounge co-sponsor of Jason Motte.

      Mick Jagger is in better shape than far too many NBA players. It's up in the air whether the same can be said of Keith Richards.

      Bill Walton

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      • #4
        i don't want them to win in 100 years or ever for that matter.

        i fucking hate the Cubs with the white hot intensity of a exploding supernova.
        Official Lounge Sponsor of Cardinals Stirrups

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by davhaf View Post
          "I hope they lose for another 100 years," he said. "At least by then, I'll be dead."


          I agree 100%......
          200 years, I don't even want my great grandchildren to go through crap like that.

          Give the Cubs one championship, and their fans will be declaring them "Americas Team".
          "There is an old saying that goes 'no matter how good you are, there is always someone better.' That someone is me." - Chiun

          I require the lubrication to successfully handle some of them. *sigh*- Sunuvanun

          Matrem tuam pedicavi

          "I kinda dig Johnson" -Triggercut

          Comment


          • #6
            It's pretty sad when Joe Posnanski's best work is about the Cardinals. Yeah, I know this was technically about the Cubs, but nobody hates the Cubs like Cardinals fans.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by blue zone View Post
              200 years, I don't even want my great grandchildren to go through crap like that.

              Give the Cubs one championship, and their fans will be declaring them "Americas Team".
              they already do.

              I have never seen a sense of entitlement from a bunch of fans rooting for a team that ain't won shit.

              Chicago will burn down again if that team wins.
              Official sponsor of Mike Shannon's Retirement Party

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by ksbluesfan View Post
                It's pretty sad when Joe Posnanski's best work is about the Cardinals. Yeah, I know this was technically about the Cubs, but nobody hates the Cubs like Cardinals fans.
                I think die hard White Sox fans have a similar hatred.
                Last edited by Bleacher Creature; 08-27-2008, 12:37 PM.
                Make America Great For Once.

                Comment


                • #9
                  my hatred for the team really is irrational.
                  Sometimes elections have positive consequences!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Bleacher Creature View Post
                    I think die hard White Sox fans have a similar hatred.
                    I find that hard to believe. If the Cubs and White Sox had a long history of playing critical games against each other, I would agree, but interleague play is fairly recent.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I just don't understand how a person can hate a team that provides so much enjoyment -- a century of losing, Brock-for-Broglio, Bartman.

                      Hate the Cubs?

                      That's like hating Christmas morning.
                      "There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle."
                      --Albert Einstein

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by kennyboyerfan View Post
                        I just don't understand how a person can hate a team that provides so much enjoyment -- a century of losing, Brock-for-Broglio, Bartman.

                        Hate the Cubs?

                        That's like a Jewish kid hating Christmas morning.
                        ftfy

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by ksbluesfan View Post
                          I find that hard to believe. If the Cubs and White Sox had a long history of playing critical games against each other, I would agree, but interleague play is fairly recent.
                          Um, you would be WRONG. The hatred between these two fan bases has been going strong for decades. It's almost comparable to the Hatfields and McCoys in that the Sox fans are mostly south siders who are more blue collar types and the Cubs fans are mostly north siders who are white collar. On top of that, you have the media in Chicago which focuses most of their coverage on the Cubs, even when the Sox are the better team. Make no mistake, these two sets of fans cannot stand each other. If they play in a World Series against each other, there will be multiple homicides as a result. And I'm not exaggerating.
                          *Syria becomes the 7th predominantly Muslim country bombed by 2009 Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama—after Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya and Iraq

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by dhaab View Post
                            Um, you would be WRONG. The hatred between these two fan bases has been going strong for decades. It's almost comparable to the Hatfields and McCoys in that the Sox fans are mostly south siders who are more blue collar types and the Cubs fans are mostly north siders who are white collar. On top of that, you have the media in Chicago which focuses most of their coverage on the Cubs, even when the Sox are the better team. Make no mistake, these two sets of fans cannot stand each other. If they play in a World Series against each other, there will be multiple homicides as a result. And I'm not exaggerating.
                            So, I guess the guy who is a Cubs fan and a White Sox fan would be a rare breed.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by ksbluesfan View Post
                              So, I guess the guy who is a Cubs fan and a White Sox fan would be a rare breed.
                              Anout as rare as a Cards-Cubs fan. Oh wait.....
                              Make America Great For Once.

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