A View From the Cheap Seats

April 23, 2008

Care and Feeding of the Cub Fan

Filed under: Humor,Sports — trzupek @ 7:42 am
Tags: , ,


By Rich Trzupek

It’s that time of year friends: time for the annual Cheap Seats Cub-bash. As always, you Cubs fans are invited to reply in kind. Keep your submissions to no more than 800 words and e-mail them to your humble correspondent at rich@examinerpublications.com. The best of the bunch will be published in the Cheap Seats (yes, this is a scam to get out of having to write a column for a week) and other worthy candidates may be posted on the Cheap Seats official blog.

And, for those of you South Side faithful who enjoy a good Cubs/Tribune bashing on a season-long basis, allow me to suggest Cubune.com. Very entertaining, and insightful, stuff.

Enjoy – and: Go You White Sox!

We all know one. We can’t help but know one; they’re everywhere. We may even call some of them friends, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of, for it’s not their fault. We should always be sympathetic because, much like alcoholism, Cub fandom is simply a disease. Come to think of it, being a Cub fan is probably a stage of alcoholism, if the crowd at Wrigley Field is any evidence.

The Cub fan is a strange, yet strangely lovable, creature. Their childlike belief that this will be the year, every year, despite all of the evidence to the contrary, every year, is both heartwarming and heartbreaking. When Barack Obama talks about “the audacity of hope” is there any doubt that he is courting the votes of the Cub faithful?

We Sox fans, rooting for a team that has won not one, but two, World Series in the last century, must be tolerant of our disadvantaged Cub fan brothers and sisters. They are special, as in the Special Olympics kind of special. The debate whether Cubfanitis is the product of flawed genetics or a troubled upbringing will rage, as medical science continues to search for a cure. Until one is found, let us reflect on some simple rules for dealing with the Cub fan in our life.

• Do not point out the deficiencies of their team in direct terms. Instead, we should nurture their freakish optimism.

For example, it would be unseemly to point out that it’s pretty darn stupid to count on Ted Lily to pitch over his head for two years in a row, or to expect Jason Marquis not to fall apart come August, or to plan on Rich Hill to suddenly stop being a head case, or to hope that some quirk in the schedule allows them to only play the Pirates for the rest of the season. Instead, say things like “the staff seems to be coming around”, and “once Lily gets untracked, you guys will be solid”. Cub fans eat that stuff up.

• Never, ever insult their venerated shrine of a ballpark. This is the equivalent of criticizing someone’s religion. Check that. It’s not the “equivalent of”, it IS insulting their religion. Just as you wouldn’t have a private audience with the Pope and say “hey Benedict, when you gonna level this crappy old basilica and put up something new?” you must be extra careful about what you say about the friendly confines.

Even a seemingly mild, throwaway remark can send the Cub fan into a rage. Should you go to a game with your Cub fan friend and miss three and a half innings waiting in line to use the world’s crappiest, oldest and smelliest bathrooms, do not respond to the question “where have you been?” with an answer like “hoping that my bladder didn’t explode – Good Lord, I’ve seen shorter lines at the DMV!” They just don’t like that.

Watching out for chunks of concrete ready to fall on you is similarly discouraged. The Cub fan isn’t worried about hunks of rock falling on his head, since a thick skull is standard equipment for all who join Cubbie nation. Just wear a batting helmet if you have to go to the park. You’ll be all right.

• If you go to a game at Wrigley, try not to get annoyed when the crowd roars and jumps to its feet whenever one of their heroes hits the ball anywhere in the air. They really can’t tell the difference between a lazy pop-up and a ball headed for Waveland. It’s a lack of depth perception thing, which also explains why female Cub fans almost inevitably choose male Cub fans as partners. Without depth perception, they really can’t appreciate the natural “shortcomings” of the male Cub fan, if you know what I mean. (wink, wink – nudge, nudge…)

• Do not, as my buddy Dan has suggested, point out that even if the impossible should happen this year and the lil’ bears were to win the World Series in October, it will still have been a gap of over 100 years since the last time the Cubbies won it all. This will make the average Cub fan suicidal, and we’ve got enough traffic problems with out Cub fans plummeting into the streets from the roofs of buildings.

• Avoid any mention of the recent world championship won by the mighty South Siders, or, indeed, any mention of the year 2005, or of anything that occurred in this year. The year of 2005 has become a repressed memory for Cub fans. No one but a trained psychiatric professional should attempt to make them relive the horror.

It’s tempting. We all understand that. When your average Cub fan gets especially obnoxious (and they do, they do), the temptation to pull out your 2005 World Series t-shirt, wave it in front of his face and yell “eleven and one in October baby! How’d you guys do last October? Oh, yeah. Sooooooo sorry”, is almost overwhelming.

But if you say something like that, the Cub fan’s eyes will roll into the back of his head and his skull will begin to spin about on his shoulders, a la Linda Blair in The Exorcist. It’s not pretty, and cleaning up the pea soup vomit is fairly disgusting as well. Best to just leave it alone.

It’s a long season and the insufferable Cub fan will undoubtedly make it longer. Yet we must endure Sox fans, in the quiet dignity and serenity that only comes with winning an actual championship once or twice every century.

Go Sox.



  1. As a person who grew up in St. Louis and is an avid Cardinals fan, I feel your column aptly describes a Cubs fan. They are a lovable, gullible, and and downright whimsical this time of year when the Cubs begin their annual ascent into first place in April, only to see their dreams careen on a freak injury from someone throwing out their back by sneezing, pulling calf muscles by a little hop after catching a ball or when their over-used bullpen develops a case of “dead arm syndrome.”

    When all the above does take place, I’m happy to lend Cub fans a 2005 White Sox or 2006 Cardinal World Series DVD for their entertainment. Heck, you can fantasize it being the Cubs winning back to back World Series if need to be.

    Comment by Wild Bill — April 23, 2008 @ 11:04 am | Reply

    The radio was invented.
    Four states have been admitted to the Union.
    The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
    The television was invented.
    The U.S. went through the Great Depression.
    The U.S. has participated in two World Wars and three major armed conflicts.
    The National Football League was founded.
    Man landed on the moon.
    Halley’s comet has passed the Earth twice.
    17 different Presidents have been elected, one has been appointed, one has resigned, and one has been impeached, but not removed.
    Harry Carey was born, fired by the Cardinals, and passed away.
    Wrigley Field was built, became the oldest baseball park in the National League, and was repaired due to falling concrete.
    *Wrigley Field hosted the NFL games for 50 seasons, more than any other stadium in history.
    Wrigley Field hosted the 1963 NFL Championship and three MLB all-star games.
    *The State of Illinois financed a new park for the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Bears.
    *Chicago has been home to eight NFL champions, one Super Bowl champion, one Arena Bowl champion, three Stanley Cup champions, two IHL champions, one AHL champion, six NBA champions, and one MLS Cup champion.
    Lights have been added to 30 major league baseball stadiums, even Wrigley.
    *Fourteen teams have been added to the major leagues.
    *Baseball and softball have become Olympic sports.
    *The World Series has been won by 21 different franchises, including 6 expansion teams and 1from Canada.
    Hundreds of boys were born, raised, played inept baseball for the Cubs, retired, and died of old age.
    *The Chicago White Sox have won 2 World Series.

    Comment by Wild Bill — April 23, 2008 @ 1:01 pm | Reply

  3. Growing up in Chicago is not easy with our sports teams. I do like the White Sox anf their achievements over the years. But there is something special abut being a DIE HARD Cubs Fan. A Cubs fan is loyal to the team no matter what place they are in. Very few teams have the following the Cubs have around the country. Cubs attendance figures are pretty unique over the years. History of the Cubs has been special with the many idols and baseball legends like: Cap Ansonm Joe Tinker, Frank Chance,Hack Wilson, Rogers Hornsby, Chrlie Grim, Billy Herman, Gabby Hartnett, Andy Pafko, Stan Hack, Phil Caveratta, Bill Nicholson, Ernie Banks, Ron Santo, Glen Beckert,Billy Williams, Don Kessinger, Fergie Jenkins, Kenny Holtzman, Bert Hooten, Leo Durocher, Bill Madlock, Milt Pappas, Bill Buckner, Dave Kingman, Bruce Sutter, Mark Grace, Ryne Sandberg, Jody Davis, Andre Dawson, Shawn Dunston, Greg Maddux, Lee Smith, Sammy Sosa, Kerry Wood, Derrick Lee, Aramis Rameriz, Carlos Zambrano to name a few. Our families grew up with these players as our idols and we have alwaus been loyal to the team. Is been century now…but wait til this year. GO CUBS GO!!

    Comment by Howard — April 24, 2008 @ 5:18 pm | Reply

  4. Cubs History: (Scandal Free)

    National League Pennants: (16( – 1876, 1880, 1881, 1882, 1185, 1886, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1910, 1918, 1929, 1923, 1935, 1938, 1945

    Division Winners: 1984, 1989, 2003, 2007

    World Series: 1907, 1908 World Series Appearances: 10

    Wins: 10,000

    Biggest Heartbreaks 1906, 1929, 1935, 1945, 1969, 2003

    Hall of Fame Players: 38

    Hall of Fame Managers: 14

    Wrigley Field – one fine piece of history that everyone should get a chance to see a game.

    Cost of Being a Cubs Fan: Pricesless and Heartbreaking at times

    Comment by Howard — April 24, 2008 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  5. Mr. Cub: It doesnt get better than the Cubs:

    Lets play 2 today
    Cubs will shine in 69
    Cubs will be great in 2008
    Smokie Link Hot Dogs
    HEY HEY Jack Brickhouse
    3 million devote fans
    Harry Carey
    What an infield Santo, Kessinger, Beckert, Banks, Battery Hundley, Jenkins, OF Williams, Hickman, Spangler
    1908-2008 its gonna be worth the wait in 08
    Shot in the dark
    Jody Jody Davis
    Holy Cow
    Bill Goat
    Leo the Lip
    Lee Elia’s crazy comments
    The black cat
    King Kong
    Woods 20 K’s
    8-8-88 1st night game
    Steve Bartman
    Bleacher Bums
    Ivy walls
    No nose bleed seats
    $30 parking in someones garage
    Wrigley Field
    Clicking of the heels
    King Kong

    Comment by Ernie Banks — April 24, 2008 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

  6. 1984 was quite the heartbreak. I lost $250.00 betting on those dang Cubs.

    Comment by Wild Bill — April 25, 2008 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

  7. A young boy from a family of Cubs fans celebrated his birthday with a trip to the sporting goods store, and his dad let him pick out anything he wanted.

    The little boy chose an Albert Pujols jersey, and proceeded to tell his sister that he had decided to become a Cardinals fan.

    His sister smacked him upside the head and said, “Go talk to mom!”

    The little boy then told his mom the same thing, and she smacked him upside the head and said, “Go talk to your dad!”

    He told his dad the same thing, and his dad smacked him upside the head and said, “I hope you’ve learned something from this stunt of yours!”

    “I sure have,” the boy replied. “I’ve only been a Cardinal fan for ten minutes and I already hate you Cub bastards.”

    Comment by Wild Bill — May 2, 2008 @ 2:53 pm | Reply

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