Things keep going from bad to worse for the spiraling Chicago Cubs. Not even a decade removed from a World Series championship and multiple postseason runs, the Cubs are back at the bottom of the barrel and the ship continues to sink lower. Fans are exhausted to the point that they do not seem to care much anymore. We have reached a level of apathy this fanbase has not seen in a very long time.
Cubs fans are checked out – and we haven’t even hit the All-Star Break
Regardless of how fans feel about the team’s future, it is really hard to be emotionally invested in a team that is now 23-39 and getting absolutely blown out night after night. While one would think this should feel normal to long-suffering Cubs fans who lived well before 2016, the expectations of the fans were “reprogrammed” after they won. Fans no longer wish to accept losing to this level and not using enough resources to at least be somewhat competitive.
2022 was never going to be a World Series year, something that would be more acceptable if the club was at least semi-competitive and the brass were more transparent about their plans. Being a big-market team with a historic stadium and TV network, the Cubs faithful pay a premium price to be fans but the quality of the on-field product is anything but. The offseason talks of being competitive in 2022 clearly did not translate, regardless of what fans have been told.
Now fans are tuning out. Emotional investment is down, and attendance reflects that. Will the bleachers still fill up? Yes. Will this ever be to the point where they are Oakland A’s level apathetic? Of course not. But every night one can easily see the thousands of empty seats in the grandstands. Not the worst attendance, but very low for Cubs standards. A few years ago the park was always packed to the brim.
Listening to many others either on sports talk radio or social media, Cubs fans will tell you they are not tuning in nearly as much as before. This topic was recently discussed on ESPN 1000’s Waddle and Silvy show. From a personal perspective, I can say I know several families who dropped their season tickets going into 2022 after having them for many years.
It’s a sad feeling to see a fanbase that is typically known for unwavering loyalty reach such low levels of emotional investment. This is nothing personal toward the players, but the results on the field are just brutal right now. Until things get drastically better on the field, fans will have a tough time being invested. Fans want better and desperately seek some sort of answers from the front office.
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One could only imagine how much worse fans would feel if the Cubs did not have the farm system they have with some optimism for the future. Though, not everyone buys the farm development will save them. In the end, we all want this team to compete and be fun to watch. Take what we can get from the likes of Christopher Morel and Willson Contreras because they are the few sources of fun at the moment. Long summer ahead, and hopefully better days in 2023 and beyond.