I’ve been a good Cubs fan all my life. I cried in 1969, I weeped a few times after that when the Cubs let me down, but I stayed with my heroes because I believe. And going into Wednesday night’s game down 3-0 to the Mets, I still have hope that the Cubs can pull out a victory in the NLCS, or at least this game.
I wanted to see the Cubs play in this series really badly. I had a line on tickets to see the in Los Angeles should they take on the Dodgers, but couldn’t snag tickets in New York or Chicago. I registered for every “win a trip to the World Series” contest I could find and signed up for every drawing the Cubs had that might give me the chance to buy tickets. No luck, so I watched every playoff game, even the ones played here in St. Louis, at home, wearing one of the TWO Cubs Postseason shirts I bought from my supplier of all things Cubs and had smuggled into Cardinals Enemy Territory.
So at about 2:15 Wednesday afternoon, I get this e mail fro the Cubs Front Office:
ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? I’m in St. Louis, I get 45 minutes to try to buy tickets to the Cubs/Mets game, and not even Marty McFly‘s hoverboard will get me to the ballpark on time. Yes, that was my obligatory Back To The Future Day reference, thankyouveryuch. The ONE thing I wanted this postseason drops into my lap, and I can’t use it.
I don’t care if the Cubs are down, they certainly are not out. And they probably have the best chance of winning tonight of any of their games at the Friendly Confines because, well, because it just works out that way with the Cubs.
I had originally planned to be around Chicago this week, both to soak in the ambiance of Wrigleyville and to try to get reasonably priced scalper tickets after the third inning of a game. But fears of massive crowds around the Shrine Of Baseball and a wild workload kept me in Enemy Territory, which I’m sure is why I’ve been given the chance to buy tickets to the game.
I hope whoever got my ticket r tickets enjoys the game and leaves wth memories of a Cubs win. As for me, I’ll be sitting at home wondering why I can’t find Old Style beer in St. Louis and wondering if I’ll ever have reason to wear these two shirts ever again.
I spent much of the morning reading and answering e mails and Facebook posts about the Chicago Cubs losing to the New York Mets last night and now being down two games to zero in the National League Championship Series. I politely answered all the comments, and posted a semi-somber article from the Chicago Tribune written after last night’s loss and added the comment that the Cubs may be down, but they’re not out.
Why did I say that? Because I believe.
Real Cubs fans believe. They believe in things that few others do. They believe with an intensity and passion that is unmatched in sports, unmatched in almost every form of human existance except maybe doomed political campaigns. They believe no matter what the rest of the world has to say. They sometimes don’t know why, but they still believe.
I started believing at a very young age. My father believed, my grandfather believed, and they passed believing in the Cubs to me through either DNA or magic, I’m still not sure which. I went to my first Cubs game in 1963, and I already believed. I spent many days at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field watching Cubs teams that ranged from bad to truly awful in my youth, but I believed. I’ve probably been to 200 Cubs games in my lifetime, and every time I’ve passed through the turnstyles at Wrigley Field, I believed.
In 1969, the Cubs were on fire, only to collapse and lose the division to the Mets. But Cubs fans believed, at least until the back cat crossed Ron Santo’s path at Shea Stadium. Then we believed in the evil of black cats.
When the 1984 Cubs played the San Diego Padres, advancing to the potseason for the first time since 1945, Cubs fans believed. Until the Padres beat the Cubs 3 games to 2 to advance to the World Series.
In 1989, “The Boys of Zimmer” took the Cubs back to the postesason, only to lose to the San Fransisco Giants, but Cubs fans still believed.
In 2003, Cubs fans really believed. They believed the Cubs could take the (then) Florida Marlins and go to the World Series. But then the whole Steve Bartman thing happened, and Cubs fans believed it was that poor schumck’s fault that the team lost game 6 of the NLCS and lost the series the next day. Despite what some saw as sabotage, Cubs fans still believed.
That may have been the year that I learned to believe in what I could see with my own two (slightly flawed) eyes. I was in Miami for the Cubs/Marlins games on press credentials, and I stood at the end of the tunnel as the Cubs came off the field after a stunning 4-0 loss to the Marlins in game 5 of that series. Even I could see that the Cubs had been beaten, not just in that game, but in their heads. They had lost their own belief that they could win that series. I could see it in the way they walked, in their eyes, and at that moment, I believed the Cubs were doomed. Real Cubs fans continued to believe, though, and blamed the losses in games 6 and 7 not on the Cubs losing the Eye Of The Tiger, but on a guy from Northbrook who did what any fan would do, reach for a foul ball that was headed right towards them.
When the Cubs got into the Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates this year, Cubs fans believed.
When the Cubs beat the Pirates in that game, Cubs fans believed. And they believed so much that many of us unearthed this clip of the late Harry Caray from the last game of the 1991 season and treated it like it was some kind of Nostradamus prediction.
When the Cubs stunned much of the world and beat the team with the best record in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals, in this year’s NLDS, Cubs fans believed. And others started believing too, people who only knew the Cubs as the Lovable Losers of Major League Baseball. The media started to believe. There were stories about the Cubs going all the way everywhere you looked, and even the most skeptical baseball fan was beginning to believe. And it seemed that everyone who had seen the movie Back To The Future II, which predicted that the Cubs would win the 2015 World Series, believed. The Cubs themselves believed so strongly after the wins against the Cards that they published this picture.
Then the NLCS begun, with the Cubs facing their nemesis from 1969, the New York Mets, in Queens. Cubs fans believed that the Cubs could take the Mets. Much of the media believed the Cubs could take the Mets. Hell, I believed (and still do, I’m a Cubs fan after all) that the Cubs could take the Mets. But in the pregame show on TBS before game 1 of the series, Dusty Baker, the manager who led the Cubs to the brink of making the World Series in 2003, pronounced that he believed. In the New York Mets.
Yes, the Cubs are down two games to the Mets, but right now they’re warming up at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field, with the giant number 14 painted on the grass behind home plate reminding them of someone who never stopped believing, “Mr. Cub” Ernie Banks, and the legend of perhaps the biggest believer ever, Ron Santo, who was tortured by the black cat and the Mets back in ’69 but always believed until the day he died.
Do the Cubs players believe? Of course they do. This article in the Chicago Tribune proves that.
Do real Cubs fans believe? Absolutely. Even though 88% of the teams who were down 2-0 have gone on to lose their League Championship Series over the years, we believe. These Cubs have defied every expectation, prediction, or wildest dreams of their fans this year, why should being down two games in a best of seven series be that big of a deal?
In 16 postseason appearances before this year, the Cubs have a record of 28-55-1. And through every win, every loss, and that tie, Cubs fans believed. They believed during every scene in this video documenting every Cubs postseason series in the history of the club. Cubs fans never stopped believing. And they never will.
Cubs fans still believe and they will no matter what happens over the rest of this week They’re Cubs fans, and, first and foremost, they are built to believe.
And if the Cubs don’t make it to the Promised Land, Cubs fans will have a rough night, maybe a good cry, dust themselves off and start believing again.
In next year.
Today I implore all Cubs fans to join me in taking the Cubs Fans Postseason Pledge. You can take the pledge by watching and liking a YouTube video (which I have NO connection to) and, of course correctly root, root, rooting for the Cubs as they start the NLDS tonight against the Cardinals. Please watch the video, take the pledge, and join REAL Cubs fans in correctly cheering the Cubs on to victory.
In other words, don’t make yourself and your team look bad during the playoffs.
The Cubs are now in the NLDS playoffs and start a best of five game series against the Cardinals Friday. It’s the first time back in the Playoffs since 2008, but you’ve seen all that stuff if you’re reading this. And you probably want a place on the Official Cubs Bandwagon. We Cubs fans who have been on the bandwagon since birth are always happy to get new people to join us, even if it’s just for a week or two. Unfortunately, the REAL bandwagon is pretty full, so we’ve got two sweet “overflow” bandwagons that the Backhawks are letting us borrow, so they’ll be plenty of room for all of you latecomers to jump onboard.
Now, not just anyone can get on the Cubs bandwagon. There is a process to this, and it’s been revised since the bandwagon incident of 2003, which we’d rather forget than discuss here. Just like getting the honor of buying Cubs playoff tickets or grabbing a place with 100,000 of our friends on the Season Ticket Waiting List, there is a process one must go through to get on the bandwagon, or the flatbeds in this case. Thanks to the fine people at Sports Illustrated, the application to get a spot on the Cubs bandwagon has been posted on the Interwebz and is here, courtesy of SI, for you to print and fill in.
Well, it’s finally happened. The Cubs are in the playoffs. And while I still think 2016 will be the Season Of A Dream for the Cubs, one never knows what the boys have up their sleeves. After all, they did win 97 games, have one of the most exciting rookies in years in Kris Bryant, the big bat of Anthony Rizzo, and the lights-out pitching of Jake Arrieta. That’s why ESPN put the Northsiders at the top of their MLB Playoffs Rootability Index this year.
The Cubs play the Pittsburgh Pirates Wednesday night in the NL Wild Card Game to see who will go on to face the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. As a rule, Cardinals fans aren’t very fond of the Cubs or anything having to do with the Cubs. And that means many of them will automatically root for the Cubs to lose in any game, especially one that could advance them to face the Cards. But the smart Cardinals fan should rethink that notion, because Baseball’s Best Fans would benefit in a big way from a Cubs/Cards NLDS.
- Cardinals fans LOVE stats, so look at these 2015 season matchups:
- Cardinals vs. Pirates 10-9
- Cardinals vs. Cubs 11-8
- Sure, it’s a one game swing, but any advantage should be good for the Redbirds, and since it’s a game of inches, that one extra win from the Cubs may make all the difference in the world.
- It’s only a five game series, so Cardinals fans only have to drive to Chicago, which is a lot closer than Pittsburgh, to try and buy tickets to the two games in the Windy City and end up watching the action in a Wrigeyville bar. (For what it’s worth, I highly recommend The Cubby Bear, home of many of my brain cells over the years and right across the street from Wrigley Field)
- More Cubs fans than Pirates fans will make the trip to Busch Stadium for the same reason. Sure, some might get into the game, but most of them will be crammed into Ballpark Village drinking beer that’s just as expensive as inside the ballpark and maybe even listening to Joe Buck provide between inning commentary, which is punishment for any Cubs fan.
- And let’s be real here, St. Louis needs all the tourist money it can get these days. Think of the dough those giddy Cubs fans will drop while they celebrate having their team in the playoffs for the first time since 2008? Tony’s and Mike Shannon’s are gonna be packed, PACKED I tell ya!
- Heck, its only a FIVE GAME SERIES. Win 2 at home, knock off the Cubs on the road, and then rest up for whatever suckers the Cardinals face next. Bang, zoom. You get to beat your biggest rivals and then sit at home and watch Frank Cusumano carry on about how easy it’ll be to slaughter whoever dares to face the Mighty Cardinals.
- If anyone is going to ruin the Cubs’ chances of getting to the World Series, shouldn’t it be the Cardinals? Beating Pittsburgh would be nice and all that, but what satisfaction do you get from that? Mocking bottles of Heinz Ketchup? Cardinals fans deserve better than that.
So you see, Cardinals fans, there are plenty of reasons for you to toss aside your long standing hatred of the Cubs, at least for one night. Think of it as short-term pain for long-term gain. Don’t you want to see the Cubs humiliated by The Cardinal Way? Wouldn’t you like to take a nice four hour ride to follow your heroes and see them advance to the NLCS by winning game 3 or 4 at what the late Steve Goodman called an “ivy-covered burial ground“? Well, that can’t happen if the Pirates prevail Wednesday night. Face it, Cardinal Nation, if the Cubs win Wednesday night, so do you. If they lose, it’s just another Red October without all the juicy hatred and rivalry the Cubs stir up in you. I bet Fredbird would even be celebrating a Cards/Cubs NLDS series.
The first thing I have to do in this post is gloat about the Cubs winning the last two games from the Hapless Cardinals. Did you see the game-ending catch from Addison Russell?
Some pretty impressive stuff as the Cubs seem to be peaking at just the right time. But carrying on about how well the Cubs are doing in mid-September isn’t the reason for this post, we all know what happens when Cubs fans count all their chickens before they hatch, as it were. So let’s move on, shall we?
One of my favorite podcasts is NPR’s “Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me“, a weekly game show produced in Chicago. Clearly the producers of the show have Cub Fever, as they had Cubs Chairman Or Whatever They Call Him Tom Ricketts this week on the “Not My Job” segment of the show.
You know I’m not a big Tom Ricketts fan, but I have to say I was impressed by the way he handled himself on the show and the actual glint of humanity and sense of humor he showed during his segment. In the event you missed the show, or you don’t believe that this guy has a humorous cell in his entire body, here’s the segment, courtesy of NPR.
OK, he’s no Harry Caray, but he was pretty good natured, as he should be since he’s selling tickets in September, historically not the most crowded time of the year at the Friendly Confines of Wrigley Field.
I just thought I’d share this with you, it’s almost a great moment in Cubs management history. Also, let me remind you that earlier this season I said this was NOT going to be the Cubs’ year. I still stick with my prediction that 2016 will be the Season Of A Dream. But the end of 2015 certainly is going to be fun.
One More Thing: It would be wrong for me not to note the passing of Chicago Air Personality and Sportscaster Milo Hamilton this week. Hamilton spent some time in the Cubs broadcast booth and many years with the Houston Astros. He was a fine broadcaster, had to endure a lot while working for the Cubs, and will be missed. May his memory be a blessing.
Back in the late 1990’s, I put my name on the Cubs Season Ticket Waiting List. A couple of years ago, during a period of, um, underemployment, my name came to the top of the list. And of course, I couldn’t plunk down the cash the Ricketts Family wanted for me to buy the upper deck season tickets that were available to me at the time.
But my luck has changed! Today, I got an e mail from the Cubs inviting me to the Season Ticket Waiting List. Woo Hoo! So I signed up. And look at the great news I got from my favorite sports franchise:
Yessiree, only 57,648 people are holding me back from getting my very own Cubs Season Tickets. An amount of people roughly equal to the population of Kokomo, Indiana stands between me and the chance to attend every game at the Friendly Confines, or attend a few games and scalp the rest of the tickets. But scalping is wrong and I’d NEVER do that.
Here’s a message to the 57,648 blocking me from basking in the warm glow of the Jumbotrons and using the soon to be remodeled restrooms at 1060 West Addison. MOVE ASIDE, BITCHES and let me get my tickets before the Cubs go to the World Series or I die, whichever comes first.
And since I’m predicting 2016 as The Year Of The Cubs®, you people better get out of the way soon.
I know it’s been a while since I’ve graced these pages, and I will be back with more soon. For now, though, sharing one of the very few good things I’ve seen about the renovation of Wrigley Field.
This season, the Cubs will debut a new twist on an old tradition. After each Cubs win at Wrigley Field, the team will keep the Wintrust “W” lit above the new video board once the ballpark lights turn off.
Though the left-field video board is definitely new, the concept of keeping a blue light shining after Cubs wins is not. During the major renovation of 1937, when the team constructed the modern-style bleachers and scoreboard and planted the ivy, the idea came about to install two lights atop the scoreboard along with the W and L flags. That way, commuters on the El would still be able to tell if the Cubs won or lost even after it got dark and it was no longer possible to see the flags.
The Cubs installed a blue light on the third-base side of the scoreboard to be lit following wins and a…
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I worry about the Cubs. I worry that they stink, despite the last few weeks of decent play. I worry that their attendance is going to probably be down a million people from three years ago. I worry that the Ricketts family will ruin my beloved Wrigleyville neighborhood. This is the kind of stuff that keeps me up at night.
The Cubs need many things, including better Public Relations. Recently, I saw an ad for a PR Coordinator to help in their quest to not be disliked (hated is such an awful word). But today I got this e mail from the team:
On behalf of the Chicago Cubs, we appreciate the interest you have shown regarding our recent employment opportunity. However, after careful review and consideration, the candidate we feel best meets our needs for the PR Coordinator position has been selected.
We will retain your resume in our database. Please feel free, however, to visit our website atwww.cubs.com to keep abreast of future job opportunities.
Again, thank you for your interest and best of luck in your employment search.
Human Resources Department
SLAP MY HEAD! Who on the planet would work harder to make the Cubs beloved? Who would try to distract people from the PR messes the team is facing? This guy! Heck, I’d even say I liked Clark The Cubs Mascot if they had me working for the team.
If anyone needed more proof that the Cubs Front Office is operating with less than a full load of brainpower, this should prove it once and for all.
Meet Clark, the new Chicago Cubs mascot. Yes, after all these years and in the season when the 100th Anniversary of Wrigley Field should be enough to keep fans pacified, the Ricketts family is introducing a mascot. Here’s what the team said about this allegedly cute yet disturbing addition via Red Eye.
“The Cubs are thrilled to welcome Clark as the team’s official mascot,” Alison Miller, senior director of marketing, said in a news release. “Clark is a young, friendly Cub who can’t wait to interact with our other young Cubs fans. He’ll be a welcoming presence for families at Wrigley Field and an excellent ambassador for the team in the community.”
I do have to give the Cubs credit. They’ve already got me slapping my forehead and it’s only January 13. That may be the earliest in any year for that to happen.
UPDATE JANUARY 14, 2014 “Clark The Cub” (yes, that’s what they are calling him) visited kids at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center along with Cubs Rookie Prospects (Understandably, the REAL players didn’t want to be seen with him) and here he is in person in a well staged photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune. I guess they couldn’t spring for a fitted cap for him so his hair has to poke out of the knock off adjustable cap.