FanSided 250: Cubs fans still finding their place in a post-World Series life

(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images)
(Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images) /
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Cubs fans ranked as the ninth-best MLB fanbase in this year’s FanSided 250.

Each year, FanSided experts compile a comprehensive list of the 250 best fandoms in the world. This includes followers of everything from sports teams (including the Cubs) to much-loved TV characters like ‘The Child’ and entertainment icon Taylor Swift.

In other words, the FanSided 250 serves as a bit of a ‘who’s-who’ in terms of fandom. Four years ago, Cubs fans reigned supreme – and on the heels of the team’s first World Series title in over a century, it wasn’t hard to see why.

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But, as we all know, those days feel further away than ever, especially after watching the team non-tender Albert Almora and Kyle Schwarber and decide to let Jon Lester test the waters of free agency. That’s reflected in this year’s FanSided 250, which ranks Cubs fans as the 82nd-best fandom out there – and the ninth-best in baseball.

I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know when I say being a Cubs fan is forever changed. For generations, the team was simply known as the ‘Lovable Losers,’ a perfect moniker for a franchise that always fell short of expectations, no matter how attainable or lofty those expectations were.

Being a fan when the team won it all back in 2016 was peak sports fandom, really. Nothing – and I mean nothing will ever come close to what that experience meant to Cubs fans. From the regular season dominance to come-from-behind postseason wins and a storied Game 7 rain delay – it was something from a storybook.

Since then, though, expectations changed. Thanks to Theo Epstein (and, yes, owner Tom Ricketts), being a contender wasn’t enough. We wanted deep October runs and set our sights on a dynasty. Obviously, the club fell short of those expectations – and the window for this group seems to be pretty firmly closed.

Epstein is gone, fan-favorite manager Joe Maddon is back out west and Jon Lester, Kyle Schwarber and Albert Almora are all no longer Cubs. Things have changed. Fans aren’t ready for another rebuild, but that’s exactly what might be in the cards.

So, circling back to the FanSided 250 and knowing the Cubs clocked in at number nine – let’s look at the teams whose fan bases edged out the Wrigleyville faithful.

  • 71 (#8 in MLB) – Minnesota Twins
  • 63 (#7 in MLB) – Chicago White Sox
  • 56 (#6 in MLB) – Oakland Athletics
  • 54 (#5 in MLB) – Atlanta Braves
  • 53 (#4 in MLB) – Tampa Bay Rays
  • 31 (#3 in MLB) – New York Yankees
  • 28 (#2 in MLB) – San Diego Padres
  • 5 (#1 in MLB) – Los Angeles Dodgers

Looking at that list, only a few are somewhat surprising to me. I’ve never met a die-hard Twins fan, at least not one as live-or-die as the Cubs fans I’ve known over the years. The Sox make a ton of sense given the insane amount of hype surrounding our South Side neighbors. If we’re being honest, the city belongs to the White Sox heading into 2021.

Some other highlights: Tampa Bay won the pennant, sure, but are their fans really better than Cubs fans? I’m not too sure about that. Yankees fans are, well, Yankees fans. The team I love seeing here is San Diego. The Friars are young, exciting and ready for a new chapter in history. And, unlike Chicago baseball fans, a great many of whom are fair-weather followers, Padres fans are simply enthralled at the idea of their team taking that next big step – as well they should be.

The Red Sox have not reached out to Lester. dark. Next

Chicago Cubs fans have lost their identity a bit in recent years. We went from perennial bottom feeder to World Series champion and, now, we’re stuck in limbo between being a decent club and a legitimate threat to win it all. A lot of folks need to learn to bleed Cubbie blue in a post-World Series era, even when the team isn’t living up to your hopes and expectations.

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