I served (dinner to) Cubs fans. I know Cubs fans. Cubs fans are friends of mine. I’m no Cubs fan.
I realized this a dozen years ago when I attended my first game at Wrigley Field almost exactly, to the day, 12 years ago.
Why so specific with the date you ask?
Because my first and so far last game at Wrigley turned out to be the infamous Steve Bartman game.
I’m no Cubs fan because the shocking collapse of that team disappointed but did not devastate me. As a Packer fan, I walked out of that deathly silent stadium with a deep sense of empathy. In fact, three months later, I witnessed the famous fourth and 26 collapse of my own beloved team. I knew some of what those Cub fans were feeling.
But, come on! The Cubs have not won the World Series since 1908. They haven’t even played in one since 1945.
Still, Cubs fans remain some of the most loyal sports fans in the world. The Cubs, despite their lack of hardware, are among the top five teams in gross earnings.
Here are five reasons I am no Cubs fan, but I wish I were…
1) Billy Sianis. In 1934 a baby goat fell off a truck in front of Mr. Sianis’ tavern and the rest is cool Cubs history. Billy adopted that baby goat, named his bar after it and took great offense when he was asked to leave a World Series game at Wrigley because his goat’s stench annoyed fans. Reportedly, Mr. Sianis said, “Them Cubs, they aren’t gonna win no more.” And, because they still haven’t, the Curse of the Billy Goat remains. An 81-year old curse based on a smelly kid? That’s impressive.
2) Wrigley Field. Built in 1914 and named after a chewing gum magnate (double your pleasure, double your fun), the stadium is the second oldest active major league park. What fan wouldn’t want a season ticket in a place called the Friendly Confines? I also love the fight for tradition. Wrigley Field held out until 1988 before it allowed lights. Day games feel like vacation (because, mostly, they are.) I love that Cubs management eschewed the monetary lure of lights as long as it did.
3) Eamus Catuli! It’s the closest Latin equivalent of the phrase “Let’s Go Cubs.” The Lakeview Baseball Club came up with the phrase, along with Anno Catuli, which roughly translates to “In the Year of the Cubs”. Along with these two literally lofty phrases, the club keeps a running count of the number of years since the Cubs won a division championship (7), a pennant (70) and a World Series (107).
4) Bleacher seats. There’s something wholesome about a fan base that reveres its planks. Wrigley Field bleacher seats are general admission during the regular season, and range in price from as little as $19. I also like this warning on the Cubs website: The Bleachers aren’t the best seats to take a family with children, as the language and fan behavior can become obnoxious. If you want a quiet atmosphere, the Bleachers are not for you.
5) Mascot. They don’t have one. Until January 23, they didn’t need one. They had Ernie Banks, Mr. Sunshine, the first player to have his jersey retired by the Cubs. When it came time to select a player to sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch of Monday’s pivotal game, the Cubs went with Mr. Cub. They played a video of Ernie Banks who, by the way, had a sweet voice along with a legendary baseball career. Rest in peace, Mr. Banks. I think this may be your Cubbies’ year.
I’m no Cubs fan because I haven’t yet earned the right. But I cheered for them last night and I really hope they win it all. Go Cubs! #FlytheW