Dear Cubs Fans,
I had the good fortune of spending two of this past weekend's crosstown games in your part of town (Friday on a rooftop, Sunday behind a pole down the third-base line). The Sox took two, the weather was mostly great, and a good time was had by all. However, there is something that needs to be said, not just for myself but on behalf of Sox fans everywhere:
You disappoint me.
Allow me to elaborate.
First and foremost, this year's team is just plain bad. You know this, I know this, the entire sports world knows this. Meanwhile, across town, the reigning World Champion White Sox are currently sporting the second-best record and nipping at the heels of standing atop what is finally the best division in baseball. And yet, what did I hear all weekend long from the masses in Cubbie blue?
"Dude, this is Wrigley Field, I mean COME ON, how can you not want this for your own?"
Dude, you're already changing the argument. Each person's tastes in venue are their own, but I will admit to liking the following: JumboTron displays, fireworks, pre-game video montages, player introduction music, between-inning crowd amusement, the best food at any sporting stadium in America, not sitting behind a pole, and post-game celebrations. I only know of one place in Chicago that has all that. And yes, it too has ivy in center field.
"Okay, but how many bars are there by U.S. Cellular Field?"
Plenty, and I'm not telling you where they are. If you drunks find out that there actually are great places to hang out in Bridgeport, you might just realize what a stupid argument this is. And besides, I don't what that element polluting the area around my favorite ivy-covered ballpark.
"The Cubs are America's lovable losers."
That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard. America didn't become the last superpower standing by sitting around telling its losers that it's okay to fail at what you do. Nobody likes a loser. I'd rather see my team hoisting that World Series trophy than seen them throwing away yet another chance at glory. In fact, last fall I did just that.
"Will you guys ever shut up about that World Series? That was like a year ago."
No, we won't. Ever. You're telling me you'd downplay something like that? In my mind, the victory parade never ended.
"You know the Cubs parade would be like twenty times as huge."
We'll talk about it when it happens. Which it won't.
"But people at Cubs games are so much more invested in it."
This is arguable. I'll give credit to the hardcore Cub fans. To the ones I saw crying in 2003. To the guy who had his head on the dugout Saturday afternoon. The other 35,000 people are too suspect. Look no further than the crowd chanting over the weekend. "Let's Go White Sox" came on like a rumble, a crowd roaring like a thunderclap. The "Let's Go Cubbies" was soft. Boring. Reeked of "let's go to Starbucks or Cubby Bear after the game, yay! Go Cubbies, yay! I love losers, yay!" Where's the emotional investment in that?
"Real Cubs fans are just as intense as real Sox fans."
After Sunday's game, which the Sox gave away packaged as a 15-11 home run derby, I was ready to find out if this was true. Having spent the better part of twenty years giving all kinds of hell to people wearing the opposition's colors on the way out of Sox park, I figured it was at least fair that I get it in return. They were going to kill me, I thought. The Cubs beat the Sox at Wrigley and there I was sporting my Esteban Loaiza t-shirt. This would be the longest walk of my life.
And do you know what I heard? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I was ready to get attacked to my very core of existence and instead all I got was an invitation to a party at Murphy's Bleachers. Friendly confines, indeed.
"Yeah, well, you'd be nowhere without all these bandwagon fans."
Totally. And I bet those tour buses parked out front are full of nothing but the hard-to-the-core, bleed-Cubbie-blue fanatics. You know who those bandwagon fans are? They're the people who last year were shelling out good money for those Kerry Wood t-shirts. You want casual fans, you have to earn them.
"Yeah dude, people want to hang out with lowlifes."
That's pretty tough talk for a fanbase that prides itself on drinking too much, tossing home run balls back at players, and throwing garbage into the outfield.
"Well, uh, um...where were you last April, huh?"
I'll tell you where I was: section 103. Right field, hoping that I hadn't wasted my money on witnessing yet another year of White Sox shortcomings and all the while laughing at the guy across town who payed $60 to sit behind a pole.
Guy in a Sox Shirt