Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Cubs

"If this were just any team, then you might chalk up the streak to chance. Bad luck. Curses. Money problems. But the Cubs are not just any team. They are one of the most popular teams in all of baseball. They play at baseball’s most famous corner: Clark and Addison. They are in one of America’s biggest cities, in one of baseball’s most famous ballparks, and they have one of baseball’s most passionate fan bases. The Cubs have had a long series of great players — Hank Sauer, Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Lou Brock, Ron Santo, Fergie Jenkins, Bill Madlock, Bruce Sutter, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Greg Maddux, Sammy Sosa and so on.
And still: Zero pennants in 66 years."
And no World Series championships in 103 years. 
I have been a baseball fan, no, addict, for most of my life. I grew up near St. Louis, where baseball is a religion. My loyalty is still with the Cardinals, but I have lived near Chicago for almost 25 years, and as a baseball fan who must have a fix each day, I follow the Cubs like an anthropologist follows an exotic, distant tribe (I would follow the White Sox, but the designated hitter is a crime against humanity, so I must follow a National League team). 
Like their life long fans, I root for them to win, but really it is like rooting for a team of kids who were chosen last on the playground. You root more out of pity than passion.
This year, like so many years, they weren't just bad, they were epically, embarrassingly bad - not just losing, but losing in spectacular, unique, shameful, half-hearted ways. 103 years and counting, and they still don't have the remotest ability to exhibit baseball fundamentals, or even seem to care about fundamentals. I am at a loss.
A really talented writer has written as good of an analysis as I've ever heard on the shame that is the Cubs.

The Cubs?  Is there any other team in the world involved in professional sports that has a diminutive for a team name? And then they lovingly call them the Cubbies, turning a diminutive into a meta diminutive. The horror.
Read more:     The Cubs     by Joe Posnanski : Sports Illustrated