I hate to admit this, but the Chicago Cubs are the crowned princes of failure. I know that. The city of Chicago knows that. And, the entire country saw them crumble. There’s no denying the truth any longer, the Cubs know how to choke and they do it every season. It’s like clockwork.
What irks me about the Cubs’ ability to choke isn’t the fact that they do it, but the responses the Cubs get from newspapers. And, more specifically, The Chicago Tribune.
Now, I know that journalists need to remain independent of association to anything as to not portray any bias, but come on. The Tribune Company owns the Cubs. If anything, I expect a little bit of sympathy for the Cubs fans that read the paper. I don’t want to pick it up if it’s just going to depress me.
Mike Downey, a columnist for the Tribune’s sports section, forced steam out of my ears this fall with almost every article he wrote. His October 9th piece titled “A look back on a Chicago baseball season gone bad” got on my last nerve.
He opened the piece with: “I know thousands of you must have had a World Series with the Cubs on your bucket list—things to see before you croak. Sorry, my friends. It doesn't matter how much lipstick you put on this goat. Your Cubs are still baaaaad.”
For starters, I thought we were done with all of the goat references. Why harp on something that clearly has no affect on the team’s standings? It’s not a curse. We’re just bad. No need to bring out the goat. It will only make sensitive Chicagoans angry.
Ryan Jaster, a blogger for ChicagoSports.com – which is a partner of the Tribune, posted his commentary on this year’s embarrassing sweep of the Cubs by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the National League Division Series. The blog, written on October 16th, didn’t relish the highlights of the Cubs’ 97 win season this year. It didn’t harp on the fact that the Cubs won the most games out of any team in the National League. There wasn’t one drop of inspiration left for Cubs fans reading Jaster’s work.
Part of being a Cubs fan is having faith. It’s a trait that comes along with the territory. Jaster doesn’t get that. He wrote: “…we should all know now that in the end, suffering a third straight 3-0 sweep is just as likely as erasing a 100-year World Series championship drought. If not moreso.” After reading that, if I wasn’t a Cubs fan already, the one thought on my mind would be that the Cubs are losers and so are their fans.
I’m sick of the social sport that teasing Cubs fans has become. Pat Sullivan, a Cubs beat writer for the Tribune touched on this in his October 17th article “Cubs become national punch lines again”. The ending of the piece takes the mockery one step further, “Time marches on, but poking fun at the Cubs never seems to go out of style.”
Well I’m going to throw it out there now – poking fun at the Cubs does go out of style. Their fans are fed up and sick of the jokes. We’re proud of who we root for and where we’re from. Just let us have it.
I’m reminded by a quote from the children’s baseball movie The Sandlot. “Hero’s get remembered, but legends never die.” That’s how I like to see the Cubs and that’s how I think everyone else should too.
Maybe we’re not Derek Jeter who’s racked up countless of memorable October pressure plays. Or, maybe we’re not Reggie Jackson who got his nickname “Mr. October” for a reason. And no, we’re not any team that has won a World Series in the last 100 years. But, people are still talking about us. And that’s what makes the Chicago Cubs a baseball legend.