Friday, October 20, 2006

Meditations on Chicago Baseball - Part II

Well, it only took me two months in getting around to doing this stupid fucking post. Here it is; Lucky you.
I grew up a Cubbies fan. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of getting to cut school to go out to Wrigley with the parents for afternoon games in the crisp Chicago springtime. I remember the legendary (read: infamous) '84 run, and the crushing disappointment of defeat (to the fucking Padres, nonetheless). And I'll always remember my grandfather's words to me on that night: "Sometimes baseball is a lot like life; unfair... Fucking Cubs."

As time went on, I lost faith. I became a cubgnostic. I focused all of my attention on bands, beer, and boobies rather than batters, base-running, and box scores.
I remember fucking HATING the Cubs. I'm pretty sure that it came from trying to find parking for a show at the Metro an the same day as a game (this happened often). Priorities had shifted, and I was firmly on the other side of the fence. I'd get into fights with the legions of drunk frat boys stumbling out of the Wrigleyville bars, I'd push through the herds of Cubs fans clogging the Clark street sidewalks, and I'd piss all over the outside of Wrigley Field any chance I got.

As time passed (and teen-angst subsided) I somehow found my way back into the ivy. I started getting back into the Bears when I was in my late teens, but I kept holding a grudge against the Cubs for much longer. It wasn't until I moved away from Chicago that I began to appreciate the team once again. Maybe it was hometown pride, but I really think it's more.
Honestly, I'm not quite sure how it happened. I just remember going with a friend to Wrigley (I'm not sure why) one crisp spring afternoon in 2000 while I was back visiting, and feeling a wave of tranquility pass over me. I was home, and all was forgiven. Wrigley baseball was just too perfect to hate. It didn't even bother me when the Chubbies lost, because that's what they do.

I begun to appreciate Wrigley even more after attending games out here on the East Coast. The stadiums seemed garish and full of unwanted distractions. It seemed like they were trying to sell the idea of baseball rather than the game itself. It was meretricious crap for ADD kids, nothing more. Say what you will about the Cubs, but if you go to Wrigley you'll see baseball in it's purest form. At Wrigley, the game you'll see is pretty-fucking-close to what you would have seen back in 1916, and that's saying something.

Crackpot theory* time:
I've begun to think of being a Cubs fan much like being a modern Catholic. Amongst all of the failures, embarrassment, and a complete lack of evidence on our behalf; we keep the faith. The circle (C), which should be a badge of shame, is worn with pride. It's the scarlet A of baseball (and no, not the Angels logo, you ass). Fuck, the Cubs finished dead-fucking-last in the National League, but lately I've seen more Cubs gear being worn around Washington DC than Tigers, Cardinals, and White Sox items combined. I don't understand it, but I can't help but love it. It's just good to know that there are other totally shameless retards out there.
I still believe. That unquestioning belief has caused many bad days, and got me a busted TV screen during the 2003 NCLS series, but I do believe.

Okay, there are several things that royally piss me off about the team. I really hate how the Cubs have become the new "Red Sox" for every single baseball masochist still out there. All this cheesy hokum surrounding around the team would even make Peter Angelos blush. I watched that recent HBO special on the Cubs and barely escaped without going into diabetic shock.
Granted, most of the fans are unsufferable drunken douches, but that's no different from any other sports team. Cubs fans just have a (much) shorter walk from the bar to the ballpark.
The biggest complaint I have is the Cubbies' penchant for throwing good money after bad. After 98 years of drought, you'd think they'd learn a lesson. I was convinced that Joe Girardi would be the perfect guy to come in and trim the fat. Tabula rasa - salt the earth - burn it down and rebuild. Instead, we got Louie P and rumors of A-Rod. We're fucked.
At this rate, it looks like "next year" wont come until the Fall of '58. I'll be eighty-three years old, and up in the stands when it happens. Mark** my words.

*as opposed to "crackpipe theory" time, which is a registered trademark of the Chicago White Sox Fan Club
** not Prior

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