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Talking Cubs Baseball Since 2003

Wednesday

28

May 2014

42

COMMENTS

Resetting What it Means to be a Cubs Fan

Written by , Posted in General

In the summer of 1984 I was 15 years old.  Summer of ’84 saw Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid and the Chicago Cubs have their best season in almost 40 years.  It was glorious! We had Ryno, Zonk, the Sarge, the Bull, and Rick Sutcliffe went 16-1. The ’84 squad is my favorite inclination of the Chicago National League ball club and will possibly never be topped. In the end…they lost…and I truly cried.

In 1989 I was in college and the Cubs surprised to win the National League East. I didn’t expect the Cubs to beat the Giants in the NLCS, therefore I took the loss healthier than in’ 84. (no tears)

In the 1990’s, Greg Maddux was my favorite player. $500,000 and a horrid front office decision kept him from being a Cub for life. The Cubs let one of the best pitchers in the history of the game walk away in his prime. This one stung for quite a few years.

In 2003 I was 35 years old with a family. The loss to the Marlins caused me a sleepless night…bordering on a nervous breakdown. If you have read my book you also know that this was a catalyst for a more mature life change…and lead me to writing that book.

In the 2000’s, Mark Prior and Kerry Wood were to be the next Koufax and Drysdale, or at least Glavine and Maddux…that didn’t work out quite as expected.

Are you depressed yet?

If I sent some of you scurrying to get a prescription for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, I apologize…that was not my intention. To the contrary, recalling these tragic events will begin to serve my point.

What are your earliest memories of being a Cubs’ fan? I remember getting teased from Sox fans in my neighborhood…or kids who really didn’t declare a team.  If they did root for a non-Chicago team it was the Yankees, or Dodgers…or another perpetual winner.  The kids would torment me about the loser Cubbies, and I didn’t really know how to fight back.  The Cubs have been losers more times than not…what was I supposed to say?  Almost 40 years later I realize that hidden within my Cubs’ love were qualities that would lead to accomplishments in life.  Reflecting back, I have had more success than many of those neighborhood kids. Is the reason the fact that I am a Cubs’ fan? No…but it plays a part.

I don’t give up.  In fact, this is the coping strategy I use to deal with stress in my life.  We all have days where “life kicks our a$$”.  As I am lying in bed at night after one of those days, I say to myself; “You got you’re a$$ kicked today…but tomorrow, you are going to scrape yourself up…and go in and fight again” Many times, I will get my a$$ kicked a second straight day.

Now before you view this as self-serving back-patting, allow me to elaborate in relation to being a Cubs’ fan.  I consider myself to be a Rockyologist. I have seen every Rocky film multiple times. (eh, Rocky V only 3-4 times) I am an absolute sucker for them, never mind the fact that all 6 are essentially the same story re-hashed.  Out of all 6 Rocky films I have one favorite scene that will never change.  You might presume it to be a fight scene or one of the many training montages. Nope…simple dialogue from a scene from Rocky II:

Apollo Creed is meeting with his advisors regarding strategies to lure Rocky to fight him again, after narrowly winning by decision in their first bout. Apollo insists on drawing Rocky out of his “retirement”, Apollo’s trainer and closest confidante Tony Duke suggests they go after “new meat”.

APOLLO: “What are you afraid of Tony?”

DUKE: “….Honest?”

APOLLO: “Yeah, honest.”

Duke looks back at the other advisers and approaches Apollo at his desk and speaks quietly…

DUKE: “He’s all wrong for us baby…I saw you beat that man like I never saw no man beat before…and the man kept COMING AFTER YOU! We don’t need that kind of man in our lives.”

Cubs’ fans…that’s us! How often have we had our hearts ripped out of our chests? We have had our hopes and dreams obliterated and snatched away when they were close enough to feel and touch.  We have ridden emotional roller coasters that constantly crash into a fury of despair.

…but we don’t stop.  We keep coming back…keep coming after it.  Others may scoff at this as naivety or stupidity…and our own insecurities have let that define us.  Resilient, irrepressible, tough…these are words we never hear used to describe Cubs’ fans…but we are.

I bet some of you could tell a story of a relative who has passed…a Cubs’ fan “up to their dying days.” I heard these stories all the time when I was at the Cubs Convention this year.  People who spend their whole lives dreaming, hoping…not giving up. Cubs’ fans should wear this as a badge of honor; instead we get labeled as Lemmings with paper bags over our heads that plunge into season after season.  Change the narrative!

“Yes, I am a Cubs fan…I will never give up!”

Next time a fan of a team that resides approximately 7.1 miles south of Wrigley derides you for rooting for “losers”….simply say:

“Yeah, I am not going to quit now. Quitting is the easy thing to do…that’s why some teams can’t get fans to show up to their games”

I know other fans have suffered greatly (I see you Cleveland!), but no team has endured the history of the Cubs.  Embrace it! Market it! Instead of using “Committed” and showing a guy with a Cubs tattoo on his head…present an older fan who has been through it all…and he or she will never give up.

There are great fans in all of sports, and I find it silly when the title of “best fans” is attempted to be quantified.  Cubs’ fans are not better fans than any other fans…yet our history differs from any other team.  There is no team that has missed as often as the Cubs…but generation after generation keeps coming back.

Some of you may find this corny, cheesy or whatever other food related reference to infer a naïve world view.  That’s fine… call it whatever you want…but I observe people quit in life often, in many avenues of their lives.

Cubs’ fans don’t…and instead of embracing the lovable losers’ moniker…we need to embrace a new image. “Wait ‘til next year” is a punch line used on the Cubs’ quite frequently.  Here are a few alternatives I would prefer:

We’ll be back.

Knock us down, we’ll get back up.

100 Years of Resiliency!

Still fighting!

You think 95 losses will get us down…Hah!

Okay…so that last one is kind of a joke.

I will finish my Cubs’ Psychology lesson with one final thought. Remember that neighborhood kid I mentioned that would root for the Yankees, or any other winner? Well, even an arm-chair psychiatrist like me can figure out why some kids do that…they are afraid…most likely of losing. Say what you want of Cubs’ fans…but we are definitely not afraid of losing!

Neither is Rocky…and that’s what makes him dangerous. Cue the theme music!

Da da da da dada da dada da..da da da da dada da dada da

  • PLCB3

    I’m halfway through your book so far, really good. But how can you consider Moyer one that got away? His ring was 20 years after he left the Cubs. Also, you wrote that Maddux signed with Atlanta in 2002 instead of 1992.

  • AC0000000

    I’m halfway through your book so far, really good. But how can you consider Moyer one that got away? His ring was 20 years after he left the Cubs. Also, you wrote that Maddux signed with Atlanta in 2002 instead of 1992.

  • Dork

    I don’t really mean to be mean, which is what you say before saying something that might be mis-interpreted, but…

    I think this might be what loosers tell themselves. What I think would change or “Reset” being a cubs fan is something called wining.

    Not trying to steal Capn obvious’s thunder here.

    • cap’n obvious

      it’s not just the lack of winning. It’s the complete lack of direction, to the point where as an educated man with 11 cents worth of baseball knowledge, I can see the team headed once again in the WRONG direction. 1 decent pitching prospect in the top 5…and the next 4 all seem to strike out 25%of the time. With a supposed whiz Kid making the decisions. And because we keep supporting, and going to the ballpark, and not quitting…as far as ownership is concerned, everything is just swell. I’m still here, still pulling for them to do a few things right. Still hoping the hire a manager that can teach the game and still hoping to see a tiny fraction of the fundemental game I grew up loving. I’m losing faith..,but frankly, it’s a miracle it’s taken this long for that to happen.

      • At least you identified your threshold. Lets change subjects…have any good Little League stories?

      • Dork

        I guess I don’t have the same level of patients as Jedd and Theo and the Rickets. I understand logically that to an owner or GM winning 61 or winning 81 really does not matter when talking about championships. However, after 3 years of following a 61 win team it does matter to a fan. I hate that we have gone from “wait until next year” to “Wait until the year after next or the year after that”. In the past it at least seemed like the cubs tried to win, but were inept. Somehow that now seems better than not even trying. I am not disappointed with Phase 1 of the process, but did not realized it would take so long to get to Phase 2. I am worn out, I need some sign of progress.

      • Yikes, Dork. You’ve opened my eyes. Three different paycheck issuers and two cute little dependents on the virtual stubs since the wheels fell off. Same wife, who still starts every Cubs query with “did they lose?” In hindsight, it got bad.

      • Dork

        Clearly I am talking to the wrong people. I think I should write a letter to Tom. That should fix things. The truth is being a fan of anything is really such a hopeless endever. More so if your team is the cubs, 29 teams are loosers each year. The other 28 teams just don’t know it until sometime after March.

      • cap’n obvious

        Seymour thinks that Jedd, Theo and the Ricketts’ have the same level of patients as Doc Raker.

        just wanted to get my first Lizzie since January.

      • Oh but cap’n you know me well enough to know I avoid most bitching and moaning! Gotta go with the humor slant, especially since I like what Theo is doing, for the most part. Makes for some really boring and sometimes annoying years, but I believe in the long term goals and just find other things to amuse me in the meantime!!

      • Seymour Butts

        Nope! I read it 4 times and I still don’t understand it.

  • Dork

    I don’t really mean to be mean, which is what you say before saying something that might be mis-interpreted, but…

    I think this might be what loosers tell themselves. What I think would change or “Reset” being a cubs fan is something called winning.

    Not trying to steal Capn obvious’s thunder here.

    • cap’n obvious

      it’s not just the lack of winning. It’s the complete lack of direction, to the point where as an educated man with 11 cents worth of baseball knowledge, I can see the team headed once again in the WRONG direction. 1 decent pitching prospect in the top 5…and the next 4 all seem to strike out 25%of the time. With a supposed whiz Kid making the decisions. And because we keep supporting, and going to the ballpark, and not quitting…as far as ownership is concerned, everything is just swell. I’m still here, still pulling for them to do a few things right. Still hoping the hire a manager that can teach the game and still hoping to see a tiny fraction of the fundemental game I grew up loving. I’m losing faith..,but frankly, it’s a miracle it’s taken this long for that to happen.

      • At least you identified your threshold. Lets change subjects…have any good Little League stories?

      • Dork

        I guess I don’t have the same level of patients as Jedd and Theo and the Rickets. I understand logically that to an owner or GM winning 61 or winning 81 really does not matter when talking about championships. However, after 3 years of following a 61 win team it does matter to a fan. I hate that we have gone from “wait until next year” to “Wait until the year after next or the year after that”. In the past it at least seemed like the cubs tried to win, but were inept. Somehow that now seems better than not even trying. I am not disappointed with Phase 1 of the process, but did not realized it would take so long to get to Phase 2. I am not mad and not disgruntled … I am worn out, I need some sign of progress.

      • Yikes, Dork. You’ve opened my eyes. Three different paycheck issuers and two cute little dependents on the virtual stubs since the wheels fell off. Same wife, who still starts every Cubs query with “did they lose?” In hindsight, it got bad.

      • Dork

        Clearly I am talking to the wrong people. I think I should write a letter to Tom. That should fix things. The truth is being a fan of anything is really such a hopeless endever. More so if your team is the cubs, 29 teams are loosers each year. The other 28 teams just don’t know it until sometime after March. Or is that last March, I keep loosing track of when we are supposed to compete.

      • cap’n obvious

        Seymour thinks that Jedd, Theo and the Ricketts’ have the same level of patients as Doc Raker.

        just wanted to get my first Lizzie since January.

      • Oh but cap’n you know me well enough to know I avoid most bitching and moaning! Gotta go with the humor slant, especially since I like what Theo is doing, for the most part. Makes for some really boring and sometimes annoying years, but I believe in the long term goals and just find other things to amuse me in the meantime!!

      • Seymour Butts

        Nope! I read it 4 times and I still don’t understand it.

  • Chuck

    Being a Cubs fan is a lifestyle choice that I gladly make every day.

  • Chuck

    Being a Cubs fan is a lifestyle choice that I gladly make every day.

  • Doc Raker

    Being a Cubs fan is like being in the mafia, you are born into it and you can’t get out.

    I hope the reset goes better than the Obama/Clinton reset with Russia.

  • Doc Raker

    Being a Cubs fan is like being in the mafia, you are born into it and you can’t get out.

    I hope the reset goes better than the Obama/Clinton reset with Russia.

  • Doug S.

    Being a Cubs fan is special. Was in Seattle on the weekend catching a couple of Astros games and the Angels Memorial day game. Natch I’m wearing Cubs stuff. Yeah you get the good natured (usually) digs from fans of other teams. On a couple occasions I chatted with Cubs fans. There’s always a special bond when meeting and speaking with Cubs fans. Love it.

  • Doug S.

    Being a Cubs fan is special. Was in Seattle on the weekend catching a couple of Astros games and the Angels Memorial day game. Natch I’m wearing Cubs stuff. Yeah you get the good natured (usually) digs from fans of other teams. On a couple occasions I chatted with Cubs fans. There’s always a special bond when meeting and speaking with Cubs fans. Love it.

  • PLCB3

    3 suggestions when writing 106 reasons next year:

    1. Add the 2001 season under near misses
    2. Remove Jamie Moyer from one that got away
    3. Add Geovany Soto to 1 year wonders.

    Stumper for all: Soto got 31 of 32 ROY votes in 2008. Who got the other vote?

    • Doc Raker

      Great Blackhawks game!

      • PLCB3

        BED is still 1 game away

      • Doc Raker

        True. Don’t be such a hater.

    • Doc Raker

      Joey Votto, what is strange is Votto had slightly better numbers. Lou Pinella also won the NL manager of the year.

  • AC0000000

    3 suggestions when writing 106 reasons next year:

    1. Add the 2001 season under near misses
    2. Remove Jamie Moyer from one that got away
    3. Add Geovany Soto to 1 year wonders.

    Stumper for all: Soto got 31 of 32 ROY votes in 2008. Who got the other vote?

    • Doc Raker

      Great Blackhawks game!

      • AC0000000

        BED is still 1 game away

      • Doc Raker

        True. Don’t be such a hater.

    • Doc Raker

      Joey Votto, what is strange is Votto had slightly better numbers. Lou Pinella also won the NL manager of the year.

  • grizzlebees

    This has to be one of the craziest things I’ve ever read. Have you lost your damn mind, Chris?

  • grizzlebees

    This has to be one of the craziest things I’ve ever read. Have you lost your damn mind, Chris? That you aren’t totally miserable about the total clusterf**k our Cubbies are and have been for the past century-plus is mind-boggling to me.

  • AKAYE

    100
    YEARS OF WRIGLEY

    MY CHILDHOOD PLAYGROUND

    Saw
    my first game around five years old.

    Don’t think I totally understood the magic until I was about 8.

    I went to Saturday games with my father, usually brought someone with me to
    buffer.

    It was bitter sweet.

    Loved baseball, my father not so much.

    Around the 5th grade my friend Rudstein and I went to every game we could.

    We’d bike, walk, or drop a ten-cent token in a 22 Clark street busthat
    would take us from Belmont to Addison.

    And then walk from Clark and Addison to Wrigley.

    By the time we finished grammar school we’d probably seen 150 games.

    If we could, we’d EL down to old Comisky Park and watch the White Sox.

    Just love the game, it’s ballet, it’s poetry.

    Our summers were spent at the ballpark.

    While the rich kids went to overnight camp we camped at Wrigley.

    Be there at 10 in the morning to meet the players as the got off the buses, get
    their autographs, take pictures, (BROWNIE STARFLASH) and fetch coffeefor
    the sportswriters and the announcers.

    Best of all hang out with the players.

    A few became our friends.

    Met
    Rogers Hornsby and Buck O’Neill.

    Google
    it if you don’t know who they were.

    Be there after games to pick up the rented seat cushions to get a ticket to
    another game.

    We thought every kid had a major league park in their neighborhood and a giant
    lake to play in.

    Wasn’t till we both got to college we understood the magic of our experience.

    Koufax, Clemente, Aaron, Banks, Spahn, Mays, Musial, Robinson’s both
    Frank and Jackie.

    Yes, we saw the boys of summer and the hall of farmers to be.

    100 years of Wrigley,

    I
    had to be there this year.

    Circumstances took me to Cleveland, which put me in position to layover 3
    days in Chicago.

    I could see day games.

    Brewers played those three.

    Cubs were like the Cubs of my youth.

    They stink.

    I saw three different seasons in three days.

    Friday May 16, 41 and rain.

    Saturday May 17, mid 50’s, like early spring.

    Sunday May 18, summer came, upper 70’s blue sky, white clouds.

    Baseball weather!

    I got there early and stayed late.

    I was home.

    It smelled like baseball.

    The park although being modernized to suit the millennials and maximize revenuewas still the field of my childhood.

    The photos you’ll see are just from those 3 days.

    The old man you see with me in the Cubs jacket is my friend of 62 years, Dave
    Rudstein.

    Dave’s a law professor, has been for 40 years.

    We
    both still have our tickets from the ’62 ALL-STAR game.

    He’s got season tickets too

    Find him section 303

    Me, I’m still chasing dreams.

    I’ve been shooting in Wrigley field as a kid, adolescent, adult, professional,
    and fan.

    I loved it then

    I love it now.

    Not sure when or if I’ll get back to Wrigley Field.

    But, I had those three days and a lifetime of visual memories.

    100 YEARS OF WRIGLEY use as hyperlink to view images

    • I haven’t been that confused since I read Ulysses.

  • AKAYE

    100
    YEARS OF WRIGLEY

    MY CHILDHOOD PLAYGROUND

    Saw
    my first game around five years old.

    Don’t think I totally understood the magic until I was about 8.

    I went to Saturday games with my father, usually brought someone with me to
    buffer.

    It was bitter sweet.

    Loved baseball, my father not so much.

    Around the 5th grade my friend Rudstein and I went to every game we could.

    We’d bike, walk, or drop a ten-cent token in a 22 Clark street busthat
    would take us from Belmont to Addison.

    And then walk from Clark and Addison to Wrigley.

    By the time we finished grammar school we’d probably seen 150 games.

    If we could, we’d EL down to old Comisky Park and watch the White Sox.

    Just love the game, it’s ballet, it’s poetry.

    Our summers were spent at the ballpark.

    While the rich kids went to overnight camp we camped at Wrigley.

    Be there at 10 in the morning to meet the players as the got off the buses, get
    their autographs, take pictures, (BROWNIE STARFLASH) and fetch coffeefor
    the sportswriters and the announcers.

    Best of all hang out with the players.

    A few became our friends.

    Met
    Rogers Hornsby and Buck O’Neill.

    Google
    it if you don’t know who they were.

    Be there after games to pick up the rented seat cushions to get a ticket to
    another game.

    We thought every kid had a major league park in their neighborhood and a giant
    lake to play in.

    Wasn’t till we both got to college we understood the magic of our experience.

    Koufax, Clemente, Aaron, Banks, Spahn, Mays, Musial, Robinson’s both
    Frank and Jackie.

    Yes, we saw the boys of summer and the hall of farmers to be.

    100 years of Wrigley,

    I
    had to be there this year.

    Circumstances took me to Cleveland, which put me in position to layover 3
    days in Chicago.

    I could see day games.

    Brewers played those three.

    Cubs were like the Cubs of my youth.

    They stink.

    I saw three different seasons in three days.

    Friday May 16, 41 and rain.

    Saturday May 17, mid 50’s, like early spring.

    Sunday May 18, summer came, upper 70’s blue sky, white clouds.

    Baseball weather!

    I got there early and stayed late.

    I was home.

    It smelled like baseball.

    The park although being modernized to suit the millennials and maximize revenuewas still the field of my childhood.

    The photos you’ll see are just from those 3 days.

    The old man you see with me in the Cubs jacket is my friend of 62 years, Dave
    Rudstein.

    Dave’s a law professor, has been for 40 years.

    We
    both still have our tickets from the ’62 ALL-STAR game.

    He’s got season tickets too

    Find him section 303

    Me, I’m still chasing dreams.

    I’ve been shooting in Wrigley field as a kid, adolescent, adult, professional,
    and fan.

    I loved it then

    I love it now.

    Not sure when or if I’ll get back to Wrigley Field.

    But, I had those three days and a lifetime of visual memories.

    100 YEARS OF WRIGLEY use as hyperlink to view images

    • I haven’t been that confused since I read Ulysses.