Diary of a Mad
Bulls CUBS FAN!
Being raised in Las Vegas from a Southside Chicago family, I had a natural affection for Chicago Sports. I never really got into sports in general back then but there was a loyalty. I knew Walter Payton and the Bears; I knew Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. I also knew of the Chicago Blackhawks, though I hadn’t been exposed to Hockey for a few more years. Basically I knew who to root for.
I also knew that Chicago had two baseball teams: The White Sox of the Southside and the Chicago Cubs from the Northside. I wasn’t a baseball fan, though. I thought it was boring and it took too much time to watch on TV when there were more important shows for me to watch, like Looney Tunes and classic Hanna Barbara fare.
One day in about 1987, I was home early from school and was excited that I could actually catch the Chicago channel’s (Superstation WGN) cartoon lineup. Usually it was a mash up of the Flintstones and/or Jetsons as well as Bugs Bunny and company along with some other obscure show, like that horrible Ghostbusters show.
You remember that bullshit, don’t you? That Ghostbusters show with the two jackasses and the gorilla? That shit was terrible. I’m so glad that The Real Ghostbusters existed.
Anyway on this fateful day, none of my cartoons were on and it pissed me off. Instead, WGN had on Chicago Cubs baseball. I think I may have just left it on and not paid attention while I went about my toy business for the afternoon.
I remember looking up though and seeing the strangest thing. There was an old man with horrendous glasses on hanging out the announcer’s both with a microphone signing Take Me Out to the Ball Game.
I was intrigued, but didn’t take it seriously. I thought it was a onetime event to have a crazy man singing Take Me Out to the Ball Game. I laughed it off.
I swear to goodness though, the next time I was out of school early I tuned in again to see if he came back. He didn’t. That was when I learned the difference between the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox were often the better team but the Cubs were just FUN to watch. Plus they had an old drunk man as a mascot.
I kept that imagery in my mind for a few years. I never really watched baseball again until middle school; after I got into sports cards. I always went hard for my Chicago Bulls in the NBA, but by this time it was the ‘in’ thing to rock Chicago White Sox gear. So not being ‘into’ baseball, I began supporting the White Sox. Frank Thomas was also the big name in the business and Robin Ventura was also getting down at the time so why not?
I started to watch the ‘Good Guys’ play. What do you mean the pitcher doesn’t hit? That was the beginning of my disdain for the American League. I immediately sought out the more FUN Chicago team.
I knew Greg Maddox was from Las Vegas and was something of a big deal to baseball (He also graduated from my high school, Valley). I also knew Ryne Sandberg from my baseball card collection as well as from following Chicago news from time to time. The guy was a legend. Mark Grace was a badass as well as a cat by the name of Sammy Sosa. What hooked me of course was the fact that the singing old man, who I now knew by proper name, Harry Caray was still with the organization… and he sang Take Me Out to the Ball Game during EVERY HOME GAME.
Though I kept my Chicago White Sox gear and respected the Southsiders because they were Chicago and all of my family was still fans, I became a hardcore Cubs fan and continue to be through this day.
We’ve had our ups and downs through the years but it was always love for my Cubbies. Something happened however sometime between that bullshit in the NLCS in 2003 and 2011. My team was never the same again after nearly reaching the World Series that year.
I’m writing today because I no longer know what to do. 2003 fucked me up a lot. We were so close. Bartman aside, my team still lost game 7. Since then, we’ve had 4 winning seasons; Lou Piniella got us into the playoffs a couple times during his tenure in 07-08… we barely missed them in 2009 and then in 2010 it seemed like management didn’t give a damn anymore. Lou finished up 75-87 that year and ever since we’d been a sub .500 team.
But it’s the Cubs, they say. The Lovable Losers who always sell out, they say. You know what though? Fuck that. I refuse to give my money to a franchise that is apparently comfortable with losing because of their high attendance rates.
Instead of adding pieces and improving from the momentum we had during the first three Piniella years, the management allowed us to falter. I look at how the Yankees have a deep system now; I also see them competitive even in their old age.
Essentially the Miami Heat of baseball, the Los Angeles Dodgers spent a shitload of money to build the best team in the National League this year. Before that though, they were never a consistently horrible team. I mean, they had their bad years, but you can never say that the Dodgers didn’t remain somewhat competitive. Hell, they’ve only had two losing seasons in the new millennium.
These are two big market teams here. If those teams can do good things, why can’t my Cubs stay consistently good?
We haven’t won a damn World Series since 1908. We haven’t even been back to the dance itself since 1945. I’m tired.
I’m tired of representing a team that seems to be content with mediocrity. They can strike a deal to build a new jumbo screen for the park but can’t get a decent SCORING lineup together. That pisses me off. (.238 batting average is horrible for a year, as well.)
I haven’t actively watched baseball in about 2 years. I check stats and watch highlights but that’s about it. All I know is that we aren’t getting any better. It’s just no fun anymore. There’s nothing lovable about losing.
I always wanted to go to Wrigley Field to watch my team. Now I’m not so sure that they have earned my business. So they are Chicago… and? You don’t see me watching the Chicago Fire MLS team, do you? Nothing against the team of course, I just don’t like soccer.
I’m starting to get like that with baseball now. However, it’s not the game of baseball’s fault I’m losing touch with the sport. It’s the team I’m supporting.
Thank you Chicago Cubs for making me flat out dislike the game of baseball.
I want to like baseball. I REALLY do. So to my team, I say this:
My self-imposed baseball strike will end as soon as the World Series does.
You have 2014 to make me believe that you want me as a fan of the game. I WILL NOT CHANGE TEAMS. I’m a Chicago Cubs National League Baseball Franchise Fan, PERIOD. Next season I’m going to follow baseball again, vehemently. I’m going to root for my team relentlessly. This is my concession to the Chicago Cubs National League Baseball Franchise. I will give you my all for ONE MORE SEASON and if I’m not impressed or if I feel that you have not earned by business or love, then I am done as a fan of baseball. Show me that you are trying to win. Prove to me that you aren’t happy with the Lovable Losers moniker. I’m not saying that you have to win the World Series in 2014; I just want to see a team that doesn’t give up in MAY. If you expect me to spend money on your merchandise and come visit you when you play then I expect you to make my investment worthwhile. Lock in a few major players in free agency; make a risky trade for a proven talent. Make a statement to the fans that have supported you over all these years and have also refused to abandon you.
I can’t speak for other fans, but I would like to think we share a sentiment. I fell in love with the Chicago Cubs. Harry Caray brought me out to the ballgame and I stayed faithful. I’m not a fair-weather fan so I cannot just switch teams like other people do. The Cubs made me a baseball fan. It’s the Cubs responsibility to keep me that way.
You have my support, team.
We’ll revisit this situation come all-star break next year.