Tuesday, April 25, 2006

It's Never Been Harder To Be A Cubs Fan

I'm only 24 years old. I can't imagine the torment felt by Cubs fans who have followed this team for 50+ years. I became a fan when I was kid, in the Leon Durham and eventually Andre Dawson years. So I've been a Cubs fan for nearly 20 years. Nothing to shake a stick at.

And I believe that it's never been harder to be a Cubs fan than it is right now. Let me explain.

Boston in 2004
The Boston Red Sox, the American League's answer to the Cubs, ended their 'curse' in 2004, completing a historic run to their first World Series title in 86 years. Red Sox and Cubs fans understood each other. There was a shared pain due to years of heartbreak. Well, Red Sox fans can't relate to us anymore. They can only hope we join them in Mexico.

White Sox in 2005
The White Sox ended 88 years of futility last year with a dominant 11-1 postseason record en route to their first title since 1917. I don't know a ton of Cubs fans who hate the Sox the way most Sox fans hate the Cubs, but their success has obviously left die-hard Cubs fans craving a World Series. Whether Sox fans want to admit it or not, Chicago is still a Cubs town. So you can imagine our frustration when the second team in the Second City manages to bring home a trophy first. Not to mention, they're on fire right now.

Shoulda been us
The 2003 Cubs had the starting pitching to shut down any team in baseball. They made a fantastic run from September to October, and put themselves in position for their first World Series trip since 1945. We all know what happened in Game 6. And then in Game 7. Absolute heartbreak.

But the 2004 team was stacked. 2004 was supposed to be the year. The team that came SO close to the World Series had only improved...adding Greg Maddux, Derrek Lee, Todd Walker, Michael Barret, Todd Hollandsworth, and sharp relievers LaTroy Hawkins and Kent Mercker. On paper, this was arguably the most talented team in baseball top to bottom.

They didn't make the playoffs.

Wood and Prior
The two starting pitchers who were largely responsible for the success in 2003 have not been able to stay healthy, thus preventing the team from reaching it's full potential. These are two special pitchers that can dominate when healthy, but they never seem to be 100%. Unless they can stay on the mound, the Cubs may not see the playoffs again for a long time.

Tickets
Since 2003, the Cubs have never been more popular, and tickets have been harder to come by. Just this year, the Cubs set a single day record in ticket sales with more than 600,000 seats sold. Ticket brokers, aka scalpers, are making a killing off normal people who want to see a game. It's a sucky situation.

It's been 98 years
Think about this fact...No professional team in any major league, in any team sport, on any of the six populated continents has gone longer without winning a league championship than the Chicago Cubs.

We've experienced heartbreak, disappointment, spent nights wondering 'what if'...all the meanwhile seeing other 'cursed' teams win the World Series in consecutive years. And it's nearly impossible to find tickets for face value.

Oh yeah, did I mention we just lost Derrek Lee, arguably the best all around player in the NL, to a freak wrist injury?

If there's ever been a harder time to be a Cubs fan, please tell me when it was.

5 Comments:

Blogger Barb K said...

So Mr. Glass-half-empty, they won last night. It was a great game. Where's the hope, Drew?
98 years? It will just make the victory that much sweeter. You know the verse: Suffering produces, perserverance; perserverance builds character and character brings hope...and hope never fails. Go Cubs...

April 25, 2006 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

I was at the game last night and witnessed something I can't recall ever happening in the stands - A group of about 6 White Sox fans started chanted for the White Sox which caused a stir of course. One thing led to another and people got thrown out (after a series of innings and ever increasing taunts). It's not that White Sox fans never chant in Wrigely - but usually they do it when the two teams are playing each other. You're left wondering why go to a game if you hate both teams playing and you can't just enjoy the baseball being played that night?

But yes we did win last night in a come back victory. Zambrano gave us a scare with the broken bat; the infield continued to find ways to throw poorly and catch just as poorly; but we won. Oh and how exactly does a team with a payroll equivalent to just what we'll be paying D Lee give us such a run anyway?? It must be that they have a better qualified manager - who hopefully we can steal away after this season.

April 25, 2006 8:31 AM  
Blogger ginag said...

Being born into a Sox family, dad growing up on the South Side, I have gone through many years of Sox struggle. You push through, still cheer, and support them despite the misery. I say you do the same for the Cubs! Hey they have won their last 2 games when many thought their season was over.

And let me clarify myself, I do not hate the Cubs, I cheer them on (when they are not playing the Sox) but what I do hate is that some Cubs fans think that the Cubs are the end all be all and won't give the Sox the time of day. Give credit where credit it due.

And to respond to Mark's comment, being at the Sox games on Sat. and Sun. there were Cubs fans there and we weren't even playing the Cubs. They were dressed in their Cubs gear and I am trying to figure out what kind of statement they were trying to make.

April 25, 2006 9:31 AM  
Blogger dbrown said...

Barb
I have hope! And I get extremely annoyed with Cubs fans who surrender the season in April or May. I'm just saying that recently they've come so close and choked, while other teams have ended their droughts.

Gina
For the most part, I don't hate the Sox players, I hate the fans. No offense. And I can't stand Hawk Harrelson.

April 25, 2006 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Mark said...

You shouldn't feel bad for saying that you hate Hawk Harrelson!

And with regard to the Cubs fans at the Sox game -- I've grown used to the random people who show up wearing baseball gear for neither team who is playing. I don't get it, but i've gotten past wondering about it. And I would've been fine with the Sox fans just wearing logo'd clothing - they just happened to take it ten steps further by chanting (unprovoked I might add) Lets Go White Sox which is where my gut said they'd gone over the line.

April 25, 2006 1:31 PM  

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