Why I Love The Chicago Cubs
There's always more than one way to ask a question.Unfortunately, that doesn't necessarily change the answer. For example .....
Which current MLB franchise hasn't won the World Series since 1908 ??
Which somehow sounds slightly better than
Which current MLB franchise hasn't won a World Series since Theodore Roosevelt, who died in 1919, was President ??
The answer to both questions is of course, the Chicago Cubs, the only one of the Windy City's five major professional sports teams, to have not won a championship within the last tweanty seven years. So what could inspire a nominal Baltimore Oriole fan in a neighboring time zone to own no less than four Chicago Cub T-Shirts. The answer probably says much more about me than anyone who's ever graced a dugout at Wrigley Field.
I'm old enough to remember when you could watch a Major League Baseball game and know that not one of the players on either team was a millionaire. Which means, as a child, at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia I actually saw such working class Cubs as Ron Santo, Ferguson Jenkins. Don Kessinger, Glenn Beckert, and of course Mr.Cub himself, Billy Williams.
Perhaps it was the the cute little bear, Perhaps it was the sight of the bright blue pin stripes against Wrigley's iconic lush green ivy. Perhaps it was the entertaining aggressions of cantankerous old managers like Leo Durocher and Don Zimmer. For whatever reason, I don't know why; I've always had a soft spot for the Chicago Cubs.
As a kid, my affections were exclusive with Earl Weaver's Baltimore Orioles. But my feelings for the Cubs were deeper than that of a fan. It somehow transcended the must-win mentality of American sports. Even before I knew what metaphors were.I'd always considered the fortunes of the Cubs as a unique metaphor for the roller-coaster of life.
Those feelings for the Cubs have only intensified now that I find myself irretrievably ensconced in middle age. Had I not this philosophical fascination with the Cubs, and was actually a die-hard Cubs fan, I might be tempted to follow the guidance of the late Cubs fan, John Belushi, who as Blutto in Animal House, suggested "my advice to you.is to drink heavily".
Hence, with nothing but respect and hopes for a victorious future for Cubs fans everywhere, I offer in no particular order, 16 unique reasons to love the Chicago Cubs.
1) During the 1970's many MLB teams experimented with stretch-fit, horrifically colored, uniforms. The Cubs did not.They kept it rather traditional. Frankly, you can never go wrong with pin stripes, even those weird red ones that the Phillies occasionally wear.
2) As frustrated or even as angry as they could be, Cubs fans know that they are the most loyal fans in the entire country. It's no contest. And, at least Cub games are a good excuse to gorge on deep-dish pizza.
3) Even here on the East Coast, I've never met a Cubs fan who hadn't developed a tremendously creative sense of humor about their Cubs.They always seem to be well grounded people, Of course, none of them were Bleacher Bums.
4) As I was watching the Cubs fall apart in Game 6 of the 2003 National League Championship Series, I learned then and there that when bad things happen, keep your cool and never overreact to bad circumstances. And please, never blame anyone else for things you can't control. What I mean is... As soon as Moises Alou started overreacting and blaming Bartman you could feel that every Cub fan at Wrigley Field that night, suddenly expected to lose. At that moment, Cubs fans everywhere began having doubts even about Game 7.The players felt it to. That game served to remind me that many people beat themselves.
5) The Cubs hand a microphone to people who can't sing, and let them attempt "Take Me Out To The Ballgame".during the Seventh Inning Stretch. Now that's entertainment.
6) Hmm . Okay I'll say it .....I also love the Cubs because they're not the Yankees, or Red Sox,
7) I'm a sucker for city-scapes. So I love the view of downtown Chicago from Wrigley Field. It's no accident that many of the newer MLB parks have copied that look.
8) Wearing Cubs apparel enables me to meet new and interesting people. My favorite example of this occurred while I was walking into a popular Minor League AAA ballpark when a very attractive young lady with two male companions remarked favorably on my Cubs T-Shirt, I'll share that exchange a little later.
9) If you're a Cub Fan you really haven't had the chance to develop an entitlement mentality when it comes to wins, So your not nearly as devastated by a loss as fans of other teams might be. Hence, you can sit back, crack open an "Old Style" and enjoy the simple serenity of America's most historic game. Unless of course your a Bleacher Bum (old or new), Then, all that really matters is the "Old Style". ....
10) I love the fact that the banner on chicagocubs.com simply states, ""It's a way of life". Which is a statement you'd never get away with in New York, or Boston. Rooting for the home team in those cities is personal. There, baseball is a matter of life and death. It's not right ? Right ?
11) The Story of the Cubs fortunes being tied to the "Curse of the Billy-Goat" is one of the most interesting anecdotes in sports history.Ever since officially adopting the name Chicago Cubs in 1902, (not because someone loved baby bears but because most of the players on that team were awfully young) the Cubs have had one of the most storied histories in all of baseball,
12) Perhaps I should leave politics out of this. But I can't help it Yes, it's true Ronald Reagan was a Cubs broadcaster in the 1930's. Although I'm still a Reagan fan, that alone cannot make me love the Cubs .... but it's a nice bonus.
13) When you wear Cubs apparel, you can never be accused of being a trendy, shallow johnny-come-lately, jump- on-the- band-wagon fan.
14) Though they never stated it directly, I just know the Blues Brothers, Jake and Elwood, were Cubs fans. I saw Elwood's apartment, Like he pulled for the White Sox .....Puulease !!!
15) Even though they won the World Series in 2005, the Chicago White Sox sell less merchandise than the boys at 1060 Addison (Wrigley Field).
16) The Cubs DO NOT have yet another stupid, baseball mascot. It's a fact that every baseball mascot is nothing more than a cheap imitation of the San Diego Chicken, who is still the absolute best sports mascot. Besides, I'm sure the Chicago Bears mascot is already rather popular in town, The Cubs have not succumbed to any pressure to set loose some nut in a non-Cub /non,- baseball related costume. Like that walking green-shag- carpet they call the Phillie-Phanatic. For that, Chicago Cubs, I thank you !!!
But mostly, I love the Cubs basically because of what I suddenly found myself saying to that gorgeous 30-something lady I mentioned above in Reason #8. She broke away from her two friends, ran up to me beaming and said "Thanks for the shirt buddy". "You're obviously a man who gets it".
Without thinking I found myself saying .... "Thank You, but I'm really not a fan. I just admire these guys cause they have the guts to keep showing up every year". Her friends began laughing hysterically. She rolled her eyes and walked away. I could have made a friend that day. But I blew it. I think she'll be okay.though. After all, she's a Cub fan, She's the one that gets it. She's grasped a valuable life lesson that every Cub fan learns early on. Sometimes the greatest victory, is to endure defeat. Who couldn't be a fan of that ???