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April 2012

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Northside Archives: The Origin Of The Disease

Written by , Posted in General

We’re 6 games in and everything is already full steam ahead downhill. The “bright” spot is that we appear to be a bit more competitive than our roster might have appeared at first glance. But even after 6 games it’s too early to say – all we know is that we we’re lacking in a variety of areas; most obviously we lack talent. It’d be easy to turn the page on 2012, and check back in with the team in 12 months. But that’s not our style…we’re Cubs fans.

The Disease
This thing we have for the Cubs, it’s an affliction. Only truly sick individuals would hope against hope, year after year, with unwarranted optimism for a dysfunctional franchise to rise to the pinnacle of the sport. When, I ask you, was the last time the Cubs were legitimately considered a front-runner AND they delivered even in the regular season? Probably only 2008 would qualify in the last 20 years…perhaps even since WWII. That year notwithstanding, the Cubs habitually underdeliver when they have a “good” team; and they rarely overdeliver with a crappy team.

The Origin
It’s impossible for me to remember a time when I wasn’t devoted to the Cubs. Most of my summers were spent waiting for stupid United Airlines and Budweiser commercials to end so that WGN would get back to the Cubs game. I listened to Harry Caray a lot more than I listened to my parents. I remember being outraged as a little kid when Eric Show beaned Dawson in the face; I remember when Wild Thing got the last out in Montreal to clinch the division. My parents’ first date was at a Cubs game – I was doomed destined to be a Cubs fan before I was born.

The Disappointment
If you’re like me, it’s a LOT easier to recall the string of disappointments. The success is never enough, and the failure is always too much. Trading for Calvin Schiraldi, not locking up Maddux, watching Larry Himes gut the team of all talent, Mark Prior’s career after 2004, every second of Blake DeWitt in LF…I could go on, and there are plenty of you here that are older than me who probably have a list twice as long. It takes time to get jaded. My Dad is always the first in our family to write the Cubs off in a given year – he’s rarely wrong. As I get older I tend to write them off sooner; the real question is how long can they stay relevant. If you have hope at the All-Star Break, that’s a good year. And yet I can turn it off. The Cubs are pseudo-family – I couldn’t turn my back on them if they fielded a 25-man roster of Neifi Perez’s. They’d still be MY Cubs.

Surviving The Season
On their worst day I’d still rather follow the Cubs than any other team. Whether it’s sitting with my family through this game and staying until the bitter end no matter how many thunderstorms threatened to end it early; unmentionable abuse annually at Dodger Stadium – never worse than after NLDS Game 3 in 2008; watching Ryno retire in the middle of a terrible season…it seems like somehow the Cubs always manage to supply enough entertainment even when they’re bad, sometimes ESPECIALLY when they’re bad! It’s been that way my whole life…

What is it that keeps you watching? What is it that keeps you coming back to this repeatedly disappointing franchise?

  • Painhertz

    Just go ahead and jump then. You’ve already forgotten what this season is about.

  • Buddy

    I keep watching for that awesome seventh-inning stretch promotion. Where else will you see superstars like they guy who played Horshack on “Welcome Back Kotter” and the guy who sang the “Real Men of Genius” song during Bud Light commercials?

  • Seymour Butts

    Because they are and were my first team.
    First teams are not like first crushes, that relationship can (and does) end without your consent. With no one screaming in your face “take a picture, it lasts longer, jerk-face”, there is no reason to be desolate enough with your first team to give up hope of ever reaching home plate.

  • Seymour Butts

    Because they are and were my first team.
    First teams are not like first crushes, that relationship can (and does) end without your consent. With no one screaming in your face “take a picture, it lasts longer, jerk-face”, there is no reason to be desolate enough with your first team to give up hope of ever reaching home plate.

  • flyslinger2

    I’m sitting on the patio smoking a fine hand rolled cigar and sipping my Zacapa 23 basking in the glow of today’s crazy win. I had to follow today’s game on my IPAD using ESPN’S app. It wasn’t on any FIOS channels today. Even expecting for them to do badly I can’t ignore the game. I can be pissy and Mrs Fly will say “the cubs lost today, didn’t they?” I can’t speak for everyone else on here but the Cubs are just like fresh ground pressed coffee in the morning, lunch on the patio and a fine smoke and adult beverage in the evening-they are a wonderful habit that I choose not to change, good or bad.

    • Jedi

      This is where jswanson comes in with the slow claps.

      • Horribly late to the party…small daughter has been popping between loony bin cranky and loony bin happy, so very preoccupied. Good call Jedi…that win combined with the rum has warped Fly directly into the conclusion of a John Hughes film.  

      • flyslinger2

         He had some great movies, especially those that were based in Northern INDIANA (Gods stomping grounds).  I have a 9 year old daughter who is perpetually HIGH.  She even goes to bed happy.  I’ve never seen a child like this. 

  • flyslinger2

    I’m sitting on the patio smoking a fine hand rolled cigar and sipping my Zacapa 23 basking in the glow of today’s crazy win. I had to follow today’s game on my IPAD using ESPN’S app. It wasn’t on any FIOS channels today. Even expecting for them to do badly I can’t ignore the game. I can be pissy and Mrs Fly will say “the cubs lost today, didn’t they?” I can’t speak for everyone else on here but the Cubs are just like fresh ground pressed coffee in the morning, lunch on the patio and a fine smoke and adult beverage in the evening-they are a wonderful habit that I choose not to change, good or bad.

    • Jedi

      This is where jswanson comes in with the slow claps.

      • Horribly late to the party…small daughter has been popping between loony bin cranky and loony bin happy, so very preoccupied. Good call Jedi…that win combined with the rum has warped Fly directly into the conclusion of a John Hughes film.  

      • flyslinger2

         He had some great movies, especially those that were based in Northern INDIANA (Gods stomping grounds).  I have a 9 year old daughter who is perpetually HIGH.  She even goes to bed happy.  I’ve never seen a child like this. 

  • RichBeckman

    I became a Cubs fan when I was very young.  It is in my blood.  Even the worst years they win one out of three or better. There is always at least one player doing well even when the team sucks.

    What’s funny to me is that the past eighteen years the Cubs have been wildly successful compared to the previous twenty years I was a fan (though this is largely due to having divisions to win as opposed to the pennant or nothing.)

    Today was paradise.  The Cubs on the radio, winning!, while I worked in beautiful weather.  I cherish these days.

  • RichBeckman

    I became a Cubs fan when I was very young.  It is in my blood.  Even the worst years they win one out of three or better. There is always at least one player doing well even when the team sucks.

    What’s funny to me is that the past eighteen years the Cubs have been wildly successful compared to the previous twenty years I was a fan (though this is largely due to having divisions to win as opposed to the pennant or nothing.)

    Today was paradise.  The Cubs on the radio, winning!, while I worked in beautiful weather.  I cherish these days.

  • Smitty

    The reason I come back to the cubs 162 times every year is easily summed up in a few short words: “they’re there”..no matter how bad they are, no matter how things might be going in my own life, wgn in the afternoon, or wrigley on a hot summer day, is a constant. It’s the only thing I can truly count on. No matter what, I know that during certain times, I can go to clark and addison, or turn on my radio, and the cubs, MY cubbies..they’re there.

  • Smitty

    The reason I come back to the cubs 162 times every year is easily summed up in a few short words: “they’re there”..no matter how bad they are, no matter how things might be going in my own life, wgn in the afternoon, or wrigley on a hot summer day, is a constant. It’s the only thing I can truly count on. No matter what, I know that during certain times, I can go to clark and addison, or turn on my radio, and the cubs, MY cubbies..they’re there.

  • BLPCB

    The hope that this year is the year. I love the Cubs and will never leave them.

  • AC0000000

    The hope that this year is the year. I love the Cubs and will never leave them.

  • Eddie Von White

    Fly – You should write a book.

    I do not consider my Cubs obsession a disease. It’s more like a religion. When I was a kid my Sunday School teacher had a contest and the winner got to go with him to Wrigley Field. I won, went to Wrigley and continued to win his contests every year and thus got an annual pass to the Cubbies. I was there in ’69 – an innocent lad globbing on to Billy, Ernie, and Ronnie. I was there in ’84 following Ryno and Sutcliffe. In ’89 it was Mark Grace. (I saw his first major league game in San Diego in 1988). In ’03 I cried with my children watching game 6. Before we bought an I-pass for the Illinois toll road, if we were running late for a game and the manual lanes were backed up – we blew by, waving at the overhead camera holding up a Cubs logo (and we always got a pass). Its more than simply winning and losing – it’s life – and the Cubs are a reflection of reality – you win some you lose some – the enjoyment comes in the journey.  Go Cubs.

    • Seymour Butts

      I have frequently referred to baseball as the one true religion. Wrigley is Mecca.

      • Eddie Von White

         Amen, Seymour, Amen.

  • Eddie Von White

    Fly – You should write a book.

    I do not consider my Cubs obsession a disease. It’s more like a religion. When I was a kid my Sunday School teacher had a contest and the winner got to go with him to Wrigley Field. I won, went to Wrigley and continued to win his contests every year and thus got an annual pass to the Cubbies. I was there in ’69 – an innocent lad globbing on to Billy, Ernie, and Ronnie. I was there in ’84 following Ryno and Sutcliffe. In ’89 it was Mark Grace. (I saw his first major league game in San Diego in 1988). In ’03 I cried with my children watching game 6. Before we bought an I-pass for the Illinois toll road, if we were running late for a game and the manual lanes were backed up – we blew by, waving at the overhead camera holding up a Cubs logo (and we always got a pass). Its more than simply winning and losing – it’s life – and the Cubs are a reflection of reality – you win some you lose some – the enjoyment comes in the journey.  Go Cubs.

    • Seymour Butts

      I have frequently referred to baseball as the one true religion. Wrigley is Mecca.

      • Eddie Von White

         Amen, Seymour, Amen.

  • Doc Raker

    The connection is rooted in family. If you turn your back on the Cubs you turn your back on those family members before you that brought you to the Cubs. Your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles- they were Cub fans and so am I. I always say the busiest place the day after the Cubs win the World Series will be the cemetery, everyone will go and tell their loved ones the Cubs finally won it, until then we commiserate with other afflicted souls until we all reach the promise land.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Nailed it, Doc.  Like Jedi said above, we inherited the bug from our parents.  It’s easy to pick a winner and ride their coattails to glory–it’s why there are more and more Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals fans every year.  Suffering with a team like the Cubs year after year has to be part of your DNA.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’m a first generation Cubs fan, my dad likes the Yankees and my mom doesn’t care. Where does that leave me?

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        The prodigal son?

      • Eddie Von White

        Maybe so, but if going home means becoming a Yankee fan, I’ll keep running.

      • BLPCB

        I am too. More than that, I’m a first generation sports fan

      • Doc Raker

        Your teacher got you into this mess Eddie. Fond child hood memories, if you leave the Cubs you leave those memories. You will pass it on so your kids will visit you in the cemetery when the Cubs win.

      • Jedi

        Doc shoving EVW into a six foot hole…

      • Eddie Von White

        Hopefully I’ll go there with a smile on my face because the Cubs will win before I die. Hopefully that gives them about about 30 more years to get it done.

      • Doc Raker

        No, not wishing demise to Eddie, that was just my pessimism on how long it will take the Cubs to get to the promise land. Today is a good day though, anytime we beat the Cardinals is a good day!

  • Doc Raker

    The connection is rooted in family. If you turn your back on the Cubs you turn your back on those family members before you that brought you to the Cubs. Your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles- they were Cub fans and so am I. I always say the busiest place the day after the Cubs win the World Series will be the cemetery, everyone will go and tell their loved ones the Cubs finally won it, until then we commiserate with other afflicted souls until we all reach the promise land.

    • Jeremiah Johnson

      Nailed it, Doc.  Like Jedi said above, we inherited the bug from our parents.  It’s easy to pick a winner and ride their coattails to glory–it’s why there are more and more Yankees, Red Sox, and Cardinals fans every year.  Suffering with a team like the Cubs year after year has to be part of your DNA.

      • Eddie Von White

        I’m a first generation Cubs fan, my dad likes the Yankees and my mom doesn’t care. Where does that leave me?

      • Jeremiah Johnson

        The prodigal son?

      • Eddie Von White

        Maybe so, but if going home means becoming a Yankee fan, I’ll keep running.

      • AC0000000

        I am too. More than that, I’m a first generation sports fan

      • Doc Raker

        Your teacher got you into this mess Eddie. Fond child hood memories, if you leave the Cubs you leave those memories. You will pass it on so your kids will visit you in the cemetery when the Cubs win.

      • Jedi

        Doc shoving EVW into a six foot hole…

      • Eddie Von White

        Hopefully I’ll go there with a smile on my face because the Cubs will win before I die. Hopefully that gives them about about 30 more years to get it done.

      • Doc Raker

        No, not wishing demise to Eddie, that was just my pessimism on how long it will take the Cubs to get to the promise land. Today is a good day though, anytime we beat the Cardinals is a good day!