Friday, October 3, 2008

Hurting the Ones I Love

Believe it or not, it's hard for me to write this post today. I agonized over it for some time. Finally, my friend Andy sent me this article by George Will, and it has forced me to comment publicly. It argues, among other things, that rooting for a losing team causes the fan to enhance his ability to delay gratification and therefore improve reasoning skill. Will takes this interesting premise and uses it to encourage fans of that scrappy (rhymes with crappy) little ball club...the Chicago Cubs.

Seriously and with no sarcasm at all, I want to let this go with out comment. Most of my best friends and some of my family are desperate die hard Cubs fans. One of my very best friends pours hot coals on my head by generously following the Reds as well, causing me to ask myself why my heart is so malevolently cold as to refuse to do him the same courtesy. But, the fact remains that I am a deeply flawed individual, wholly incapable of taking the high road in this case.

George Will's premise may well be true for the fans of a great number of clubs, and was almost certainly true for the Boston faithful until a few years ago. It is not true, however, for 'fans' of the Chicago Cubs. With obvious exceptions, my experience with most Cub fans is that they don’t really care about winning and losing, but rather the ‘fun’ of hanging out at Wrigley and drinking. Now most of those have been priced out by rich people who like the status symbol of…hanging out at Wrigley and drinking. Implying that there is some kind of real psychic scar involved with being a Cubs fan means that you believe the Cubs fans actually understand the action on the field or really care if the team wins or loses. In most cases, I simply don't buy it.

I know there were real tears shed by real fans as the Cubs kicked the ball around the infield last night. I know many a true fan wondered if the basepaths and not just the walls were coated with ivy after watching that futile display of fielding ability. But the simple fact remains, that for the majority of Northside fans, it simply doesn't matter if the Cubs win or lose. They show up, drink, and act obnoxious (home or away!) if the Cubs are in first or last. Their happiness is only slightly connected to actual performance on the field, and even then only to the extent that they get to sing if they win. Most of them still haven't figured out that Fukudome isn't actually a good player and are all primed to punch him into next years All Star Game (along with their yearly write-in vote last generation's most overrated player: Shawn Dunston). Their reasoning skills aren't heightened by rooting for the Cubs...they don't follow the Cubs for wins and losses; they follow them becuase they like to drink (thus expressing their masculinity) and because bear cubs are cute (thus providing an outlet for their more latent tendencies).

So now I've gone and done it. I've ranted on Cubs fans again. I hate myself for it, but there it is. For the true blue among you, I apologize. Hating the Cubs is as much a sickness for me as loving them is for you. Best of luck in game three. At least you'll have a new right fielder!

There is (almost) always hope!

Oh, and if anyone knows where I can score a nice Manny jersey...let me know.

19 comments:

jc said...

I gotcha DZ. You want home whites or the road gray?

Deshawn Zombie said...

Got it with 99 on there?

zac said...

Tinsley got traded to the Nuggets.

Deshawn Zombie said...

did he? Because the Nuggets are denying it

zac said...

Wouldn't you?

Adam said...

I actually almost teared up when I saw that Tinsley was traded.

He's the last part of the Brawl Squad.

Does this mean I can root for the Pacers again? Someone please tell me it's okay! Please?

On a related note, I haven't left my apartment after work for a week. I'm literally one obnoxious Cubs fan talking shit about my Mets hat away from stabbing someone. And there will be stabbings.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Adam, Zac:

LOL. Nice job, both of you.

Shake'n'bake said...

Does this prove I'm an actual Cubs fan? After Zambrano took a walk in his first at bat I immediately texted two friends, "That isn't Big Z pitching for the Cubs right now and I can prove it.... Zambrano doesn't walk. That's his first walk of the season."

It was, the guy batted .337/.337/.544, now that is some pure hack-away goodness.

zac said...

I absolutely love it when Z gets lit up. I also love it when the Cubs choke. Can this really be called anything else? The Cubs were arguably, if not clearly, the best team in the NL all season and don't even resemble that squad. Every infielder making stone handed errors...the offense completely evaporating and the team being outscored 17-5 in two games...just WOW!

Even so, the Cubs have a clear pitching advantage in the next two games. They can get this back to Wrigley.

zac said...

*don't even resemble that squad so far in the postseason. forgot that key phrase.

Shake'n'bake said...

"Can this really be called anything else?"

Small sample size?

Deshawn Zombie said...

I don't know...100 years is a pretty freaking large sample size.

And don't say it doesn't matter. IT DOES. Those guys are carrying that weight and everyone reminds them of it all the time. It shouldn't matter...but somehow it does.

Still, you have to feel good about Harden going on Saturday. If he doesn't get a win, then you just throw your hands up and say, "I love you Manny!"

Shake'n'bake said...

I was refering to the past two seasons. Where a Cubs team that looked good for 162 games then looked bad for 3.

Deshawn Zombie said...

Oh, I know what you meant.

I'm sorry. I'm an ahole when it comes to the Cubs.

Shake'n'bake said...

and yes I'm conceeding the series there. If the Cubs do pull a miracle and win 3 straight it'll only be so they can crush the fanbase even more spectacularly in the next round.

zac said...

Come on, don't hide behind the trite, "small sample size" line. Of course these games don't represent the true skill level of the team, but there is something happening here outside of the simple variation from game to game. These guys all have a ton of pressure on them and their play is reflecting that.

You cannot make the case that the Cubs don't look tight in this series and last year as well. They have.

Adam said...

At this point, my big concern is the potential impact on all curse-related merchandise. Cubs fans have gotten so wound up this season that for them, losing in the opening round of the playoffs to the freakin' Dodgers might just cause them to either burn all curse-related merchandise vendors to the ground, singlehandedly prop up the Wrigleyville economy by buying all Curse-related merchandise (which, in all fairness, Sox fans will do regardless of how they do), or they will all drink themselves retarded. I'm talking the kind of drinking that actually causes long term brain damage. Although, if you're rooting for the Cubs, I can't imagine that you don't already have some.

What I find most hilarious are the Sox fans. There are two kinds of baseball fans in Chicago: Cubs fans, and people that hate the Cubs. The White Sox have actually won a title in my lifetime, and yet they don't seem to have an appreciably larger fanbase. When they were in the Series, Cubs fans rallied around them for Chicago. If the Cubs were in the Series, Sox fans would be trying to figure out how to firebomb Wrigley.

This city is hilarious in it's own way. Chicago sports long ago went full retard. Now they're just fun to watch.

jc said...

The Sox (my sox) are stone cold assassins.

Deshawn Zombie said...

They certainly are. JD Drew may be the one of the 5 most unlikable players in history, but it's hard to deny that he shows up to work in October.