Saturday, January 20, 2007

Why I don't hate Cubs fans.

Most Wisconsin sports blogs are full of hatred towards the Cubs and their fans. You're not going to see that from me. Of course, I'd rather see the Cubs franchise lose than win, but the same goes for the Pirates and the Reds and every other team in the NL Central that the Brewers compete with. But the Cubs as a franchise are really irrelevant at this point, and will remain irrelevant until they stop spending tens of millions of dollars on hacks like Jason Marquis, Jacque Jones, Ted Lilly etc.

However, it seems like Brewers fans hate the Cubs' fans even more than the team on the field. There are a number of reasons for this - they fill up Miller Park every year when the Cubs are in town and they're typified by the boorish drunk frat boy who feels the need to annoy everyone within a three section radius, they're always a national story even though (or because?) they haven't won it all since 1908, etc. But all in all, Cubs fans are like any other fans, they just want to see their team win - I have some very good friends who are Cubs fans. Chicago is not a bad town. Rather than hate Cubs fans, I actually pity them. Here's a couple of reasons why:

1. Their team has been generally terrible for their entire lives. Like the Brewers, the Cubs have done absolutely nothing during my lifetime outside of a couple of near miss playoff runs. The horrible seasons far outnumber the good ones. But unlike the Brewers...

2. They have no owner to get pissed at for all of their general misery. When the Brewers sucked, didn't it make you feel better if you could direct your hatred at the Seligs? The Cubs are owned by a corporation. There isn't a Peter Angelos or Jeffrey Loria to spew venom at whenever the team makes a bad personnel move or raises ticket prices. And worse yet, the owner of the Cubs is the Tribune Company - the same company that owns the television station that broadcasts Cubs games (WGN), the newspaper (Chicago Tribune) that writes about Cubs games, and the radio station (WGN) that broadcasts Cubs games. So every time a Cubs fan buys a newspaper, listens to a game on the radio or flips on the TV to support the local nine, he or she is actually contributing to the bottom line of the Cubs. This would be fine if the Cubs knew how to spend that money appropriately - but they don't. It's like giving extra money to the federal government - you just know that they'll find a good way to piss that money away on something stupid (paying Alfonso Soriano $17 million a year when he's 37 and 38?) Or paying a manager too much...

3. Managing the Cubs is the job that managers take when they go to die. Remember all of the hoopla surrounding the Cubs signing of Dusty Baker? Cubs just needed a proven manager to get over the top, all that good stuff?

Grimace - Cubs

Grimace - McDonald's

Yeah, that didn't work out so well. Neither did Jim Frey, Don Zimmer, Jim Lefebvre, Tom Trebelhorn, Jim Riggelman, Don Baylor. None managed again after leading the Cubs. So Wrigley Field is actually a managers' graveyard. Speaking of Wrigley Field...

4. They're stuck with Wrigley Field. If you haven't been to Wrigley, you should go, just to decide for yourself. But in my opinion, it's not that great. Despite all of its press as a sacred ground for baseball, is actually a cramped, dingy, difficult place to watch a game. If a Cubs fan is really honest with you, he'll tell you the same thing. Some of us were up in arms when we lost County Stadium. But you know what? Miller Park is 100% better than County was. At Wrigley, there are no wide concourses. If you're sitting in one of the decks on a base line, your seat points at the outfield. If you want to get something to eat or go to the bathroom - good luck to you. So you're stuck craning your neck to see the generally poor play on the field. There's nothing to do but get drunk, because the game sucks and your neck hurts. So that's what you do. But, since it's a "classic" stadium, they'll never tear it down. They can't even expand it to add fan comforts (like they did at Lambeau), because it's squished in the middle of a city block with no place to expand. Yeah, it's unique. But unique isn't necessarily good.

So those are my reasons for not hating Cubs fans. They're actually more alike to us Brewers fans than we'd like to admit. There are plenty of us who are drunk, obnoxious fans who have a far greater opinion of our team than is reasonable. We've had more than our share of bad years, so have they. They just have more money. Which must make it that much harder to take, year after year.

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