What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
At first, this might seem an odd comparison; more like goldfish and dump trucks rather than apples and oranges. They are teams in different sports, the Eagles last championship came a full 52 years after the Cubs most recent, and the game of professional football has fundamentally changed since 1960; baseball has not had such a metamorphosis.
But this isn’t about the teams or the games themselves…this is about the torment to which those teams have subjected their fans.
JFI on being a fan of the Chicago Cubs:
Why would anyone be a Cubs fan?
This is a team that literally hasn’t won in over a century I hear fans of other teams piss and moan about how bad they are. Sometimes I don’t know whether to be angry or feel sympathy. It’s like someone complaining about a headache while you sit there in a full body cast.
This disease usually starts at an early age, and there is no cure. For me, it started like that. My summer routine when I was young was getting up, eating a bowl of cereal while reading a comic book, and waiting for my neighborhood friends to show up for a morning of playing baseball at the park about half a block from my house. Then it was lunchtime, either a peanut butter sandwich or sometimes my mom would heat up Spaghetti-Os.
But lunch had to be done by 1:20. That’s when the Cubs came on good old WGN, channel 9. Even though my dad was a Reds fan, my grandfather was a Reds fan, my great grandfather was a Reds fan, I quickly became interested in the Cubs. At the time I didn’t know about 1908, 1945, or any of the other miseries I had in store for me. I was naive, and I have always had the desire to be different.
When I was about 6 years old, my grandparents took me to my first ballgame, Cubs vs Reds. But it was at the old Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. These were the days of the Big Red Machine. I remember being nervous and scared about being a Cubs fan in enemy territory. But my grandmother assured me it was fine to root for my team. Even though she and my grandfather were married for over 50 years, which, by default, made her a Reds fan, she encouraged me to do my own thing.
The Reds weren’t on TV much then. They listened to Reds games on the radio mostly. Marty Brenneman on the Big One, 700 WLW. But I could actually WATCH the Cubs. But then I got older, learned about how the Cubs last saw a World Championship in 1908, last participated in the World Series in 1945, and had done an awful lot of losing since. To understand the plight of the Cubs fan, one need only look at their failures. By failures I mean the near misses and the teases, not the 65 win seasons.
For me, first there was 1984. I am a bit too young to remember the collapse of 1969 and the Miracle Mets. That doesn’t mean I don’t know about it, but I just didn’t experience it. No worries. There was plenty more heartache where that came from. In ’84, the Cubs were the talk of the baseball world. I do remember watching the “Sandberg Game” where Ryne Sandberg pretty much won the MVP by going deep not once but twice off of former Cub, then Cardinal closer Bruce Sutter late in the game.
Cut to the Cubs winning the N.L. East (yes it was the East then, there were only 2 divisions) in Pittsburgh. I still remember hearing Harry Caray’s words: “THE CUBS ARE THE CHAMPIONS!” with the words “Chicago Cubs N.L. East Champions” on the screen. That was the first time in my life I had seen and heard these words.
But a week later, I would have my heart ripped out and stomped on by this team for the first time. You know the story. The Cubs clobber the Padres in the first 2 games of the playoffs at home and head to San Diego needing to win 1 out of 3 to get to the Fall Classic. What could go wrong? Leon Durham being Bill Buckner before Bill Buckner and Steve Fucking Garvey, that’s what. Oh well. There would be plenty of getting the rug pulled out from under me to come.
Then there’s 1989. I had just graduated high school. Notre Dame, my college football team, had just won the National Title in January, and the Cubs are good. This was going to be my year. The Cubs held off charges by the Mets and Expos and won the N.L. East again. This time they faced the Giants in the playoffs. If you ever have somebody quote how Greg Maddux had a high post season ERA, you can blame 1 game and 1 man for it, Will Fucking Clark.
To be honest, that Cubs team wasn’t all that great in retrospect. The main thing I remember was they had 3 starters, Maddux, Rick Sutcliffe, and Mike Bielecki all win 18 games. But Will Clark dusted them all, and did the same to closer Mitch Williams just for good measure. You know, the same Mitch Williams the Cubs traded Rafael Palmeiro for. Of course that was the year of the earthquake, and let’s be honest, the Giants got swept by the Oakland A’s in the World Series, and had the Cubs made the series, they probably would have too.
No comes 1998. Now, this season was fun. You had the Sammy Sosa/Mark McGwire home run chase, nobody cared about steroids then. Sosa won the MVP even though Big Mac ended up with 70 homers. I still remember Sosa’s heroics against the Brewers to keep the Cubs’ playoff hopes alive. Then they went to Houston and gagged like dogs. The newly instated Wild Card looked lost.
Until Neifi Perez. It was the fucking San Francisco Giants again. All the Cubs needed to do was win on the last day of the season and they would win the Wild Card. They had a lead in the 9th and their closer Robb Nen on the mound. The Cubs had just lost, and the depression quickly turned to optimism when Perez homered off of Nen and left the Cubs and Giants in a flat footed tie. Game 163 would be needed, and it would be at Wrigley Field.In that game, Steve Trachsel pitched the game of his life and mid-season pickup Gary Gaetti homered to put the Cubs back in the playoffs. After all of this, the luck had finally changed for the Cubs, right?
Nope. In the play-offs, the Braves made quick work of the Cubs. Remember that Maddux guy? He was pitching for the Braves now. There’s a great knife to twist in my back. After that 1989 season, Maddux won 20 games, the Cy Young, and his freedom from Chicago as the Cubs in their infinite wisdom let him walk and sign in Atlanta.
Now for, biggest kick in the dick I ever got from this team.
Welcome to 2003. The Cubs have Kerry Wood. Mark Prior. Matt Clement, Carlos Zambrano, and Greg Maddux was back. They still had Sosa, and they had made a few pretty good moves, signing Moises Alou, and adding Aramis Ramirez and Kenny Lofton during the season. They even acquired old man Eric Karros. It all worked. The Cubs won the N.L. Central for the first time.
Then comes the milestone. They won their first post season series since 1908 by beating Atlanta, and, as luck would have it, they finally didn’t have to contend with the goddamn Giants thanks to the upstart Florida Marlins. Obviously, I underestimated the Marlins.
Miguel Cabrera was 20. Derrek Lee was still young. The had Pudge Rodriguez, and they had replaced manager Jeff Torborg with Jack McKeon. But the Cubs had home field advantage, and they were the favorites.
This is where we have to talk about the turd in the punch bowl. I’m of 2 minds on the Steve Bartman thing. The rational me knows that was just a foul ball, that Mark Prior just flat out lost his mind. I know Alex Gonzalez, who led the league in fielding percentage, booted what was a tailor-made double play ball. I also know that while all this was happening, manager Dusty Baker sat on his toothpick-chewing ass and did nothing.
Still there’s the emotional, irrational fan-boy in me that wants to blame the geeky guy in the Cubs hat and the headphones. The problem is that even that guy in me knows the Cubs still had Game 7 and Kerry Wood on the mound. The dick-kick goes like this…after the Cubs inevitably fell behind, Wood himself tied the game with a home run. But this one ends 5 outs away. Regardless of how you view what happened in game 6, it was 5 outs away. In the immortal words of Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka, “YOU GET NOTHING! YOU LOSE! GOOD DAY SIR!”
You get the point. There’s really no need to go on about the back-to-back division titles in 2007 and 2008 that resulted in 0 playoff wins. There’s no need to mention last year when they were swept in the NLCS by the Mets. The optimist looks at the glass and says it’s half full. The pessimist looks at the glass and says it’s half empty. The Cub fan looks at the glass and asks “When’s it going to spill?”
It’s not just the losing. It’s the WAY they have lost. Yet millions of Cub fans continue to watch, attend games at Wrigley Field, and hope that this is the year.
That takes us back to the original question. Why would someone be a Cubs fan?
If you have to ask, you wouldn’t understand.
J-Dub on being a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles:
To his credit, JFI has done a nice job outlining the history of the Cubs’ futility, The only problem is it’s about as relevant as a bucket of cold cat vomit. Here’s why.
Everybody this side of Thom Brennaman knows the Cubs haven’t won a World Series since 1908. But many don’t know that the Cubs have been in seven World Series since then. That’s because the most recent one was in 1945. Assuming you’d need to be at least five years old to remember that; if you are old enough to remember the Cubs losing to the Detroit Tigers a mere two months after the end of World War II, I’m willing to accept you’ve been suffering longer as a Cubs fan than I have as an Eagles fan.
But if you are a Cubs fan who is under the age of 76, I’m sooooooooooooo done listening to your bullshit about suffering, Your team hasn’t even been close to winning in your lifetime.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m not pretending like we Eagles fans can claim the top spot when it comes to fan suffering…we’re far from it. I can’t even imagine what a Boston Red Sox fan felt like after 1986. I’m pretty sure there were legions of Buffalo Bills fans who wanted to chug a quart of jet fuel and fire a flare gun up their own ass after just the 3rd Super Bowl loss. The point here is about being oh-so-close to victory, and the only Cubs fans who are old enough to remember the last time their team was in that position are in a home somewhere pissing through a tube.
Think about it. If you want to get laid, you’ve got to get a date first. Before you can even think about winning a World Series, you have to get to a World Series. Cubs fans under the age of 76 are all crying about not getting any action despite the fact they haven’t even tried to get a date since Eisenhower carried his own golf clubs. Meanwhile, Eagles fans have had their fantasy woman butt naked and “open for business” twice, only to be met with the most horrible disappointment.
Picture Clark Griswold from the movie “Vacation.” If you’re the Cubs, you blow the deal just like Clark does by waking up the entire fucking motel by screaming about how cold the pool is. If you’re the Eagles, this is the Blu-Ray with the alternate ending. Clark romances Christie Brinkley out of the pool, he is in her room seconds away from consummating the deal, and right at the moment of truth, Mrs. Griswold bursts through the door with a 12-Gauge and blows his dick right back into the pool.
Super Bowl 1980, New Orleans. To even get to this moment, Eagles fans get a moment they’ve been waiting years for…the goddamn Dallas Cowboys have to come to Philadelphia for the NFC Championship game. The Eagles hit the Cowboys with a bag of chisels and walked over their collective corpse. The Eagles hit “The Big Easy” to face the Oakland Raiders as a 7-point favorite, and the City of Brotherly Love hadn’t been this stoked for a victory since the Declaration of Independence. But then, Ron Jaworski and his three fucking interceptions played the role of Mrs. Griswold shooting an entire city in it’s collective cock.
Super Bowl 2005, Jacksonville. The Eagles enter the game as double-digit underdogs to the New England Patriots, but somehow Philadelphia finds itself near the end of the 4th quarter with the ball, time-outs, and a legitimate shot to win the ball game. The Eagles need a touchdown, but that’s well within the realm of possibility because Terrell Owens had been running through the Patriot secondary like a Panzer division through the Polish cavalry in 1939. But then, Donovan McNabb does what Donovan McNabb does…he shits in his helmet in front of a billion people, and Mrs. Griswold bursts through the motel room door one more time.
To make a long story short, there’s no Eagles fans who are ever going to feel sorry for Cubs fans. In keeping with the pantheon of sexual metaphors, Cubs fans collectively are the guy who couldn’t get laid in a women’s prison with a fistful of keys. To make up for that, they occasionally settle for a “handy” from the slow girl who works at the Cinnabon in the mall. Sure, she may have pimples and serious arm hair, but a man’s got to do what a man’s got to do. We’re not judging; we’ve all been there. We get how frustrating it can be always having to settle for a tugger from a half-wit who always smells of old coffee and stale cinnamon rolls, but you’re crying about it to a guy who just got “Lorena Bobbitt-ed” with a shotgun.
It’s all in the perspective, Cubs fans.