Being a Cubs Fan: Taming the Beast Within


While the 2012 is essentially a write off from a “win the World Series” perspective, there is still lots of exciting baseball action left for the North Siders as the new Cubs brass rebuild from an inherited shattered foundation of a baseball team. No doubt in my mind that I’ll be watching as many games as I can before the season runs out, as the offseason is horribly torturous and there’s nothing on TV to watch other than Curling or English Cricket ( and I’m still trying to figure out the rules….)

However sometimes its nice to take a break from sabermetrics and pitching analytics to look at the cultural side of baseball.

Baseball itself is a beautiful game – I don’t have to argue that with anyone reading this column. You’ve already gone out of your way to visit this site read up on your favorite team and their current undertakings, which proves to me right away that you love the team, the game, or you’re an editor from ESPN who is going to hire me to watch every single Cubs game from now until the day I die (call me).

You and millions of other people around you love the game and they might even love the Cubs too. There’s something about being at the ball game that we all feel and understand, but can’t quite put words too. It’s just too special.

Regardless, anywhere you have a mass of people all congregating in one area for one reason, a culture grows and develops. It happens in coffee shops, it happens in museums and it certainly happens at baseball parks. Wrigley Field, Wrigleyville and Cubs fandom in itself has its own culture that revolves around the team. For example, throwing an opposition homerun back into the outfield is  something that is strictly Chicago Cubs flavored, while getting a big ol’ quarter pound hotdog with all the fixings is universally relatable to Baseball on any level as a whole.

Its hard for non baseball fans to relate to people who love the game. In theory, it should be called “stick whackball” – and on that front, I understand why some people don’t get into the game quite as much. Its a bit of a goofy game that can be analysed until were all blue in the face and tired of looking at our calculators.

Most normal people would look at us and say: “Were you dropped on your head as a child?”

Some of us may have been…. hence why were Cubs fans.

Don’t be angry at me now, I bleed blue with the truest of fans. I don’t think I would devote so much of my time to watching and analyzing the Cubs if they weren’t my first love. But you have to think that being a Cubs fan is a bit of a grind. Frankly, if I wanted to write about a winning team, I’d cheer for someone else but this is not the case. I would sooner set myself ablaze than wear a rival squad’s colors.

Being as fanatical as Cubs fans are, it gives way to a lot of preconceived notions – most of which are somewhat true. I say this in almost every column I write: you all scare the living hell out of me.

That aside, its easy to think that we belong in cages outside Wrigley, shaking the bars praying for freedom and harassing passers-by for morsels of food and sustenance. Some of us probably do.

However some of you upset me a lot because you give Cubs fans a bad name.

For example, the boo-ing of Alfonso Soriano on a regular basis. Even this Friday past, after that liner to third. There were tons of folks who wanted his head to roll because of his “lack of hustle” and “refusal to run the hit out”. That’s fine, you pay your ticket, you can boo all you want, but don’t go all psycho when informed fans turn on you and tell you that you were wrong to boo. If you have EVER boo’d a member of your own team, you are not a true fan. Its ok to criticize and make observations, but come on. Booing your own team essentially makes you fans of the other team.

I start to question why Cubs fans are so cut throat. Yes, obviously the lack of winning tends to fuel that fire an awful lot, but I think some Cubs fans are just impulsive and out to lunch.

Take the Anthony Rizzo saga for example. There has been outrage at the fact that Rizzo has not been called up despite the struggles of the Cubs. I think twitter explodes daily with a “Free Rizzo” hashtag that makes me want to bury my head in the sand.

Rizzo is still in the minors because of contract control, not because of play. I’ll simplify this for some of the more casual fans. He’s major league ready no doubt, but if you wait until late June to call him up, you get an extra year of control on his contract, as are the rules with rule 4 picks. A guy who is arguably the future first baseman of this franchise. Keeping control of him for an extra year at a reasonable price is essential to the team’s future (I cant emphasize that enough) and fans are loosing their minds over the fact that he’s not called up. I’m sorry, but that’s just stupid. Plain and simple.

Here’s another observation. Starlin Castro has proven himself worthy at the major league level hitting over .300 for 3 straight years. He is so gifted at getting the barrel of the bat on any pitch and making reasonable contact. The kid is massively talented and should essentially have the entire rebuild based around him playing shortstop for this team.

Remember, he’s only 22.

Cubs fans are quick to tear him apart for the fact that he doesn’t draw a ton of walks and commits a few too many errors in the field. People were even discussing trading him! Trading Starlin Castro! Are you out of your freakin’ minds?!

The same group of fans are largely responsible for the “Free Rizzo” cries. Ever considered this though?

Castro is younger than both Rizzo and Jackson. Castro has proven himself a viable shortstop and a solid hitter at the major league level when he arguably belongs in AA ball with a better franchise.

Why on earth would you believe that Rizzo or Jackson are going to save the Cubs? They have yet to prove themselves in the majors. Yes, I know they’re destroying AAA ball, but there’s a large gap between AAA and the Majors. They are simply not on the same playing level.

I’m not asking for much, I just want you to do your research before you start flying off the handle about things, Cubs fans. Look into whats going on within your team, not just a W-L record. You’re embarrassing the rest of us and I can’t stand it.

It’s not hard to tame the beast within. All it takes it a little bit of logic, rational, an objective perspective and a little bit of baseball IQ. But seriously Cubs’ fans: you’re bringing me down. Cut that shit out.

A bad fan may nothing but garbage this season…

A true fan sees nothing but opportunity.