Monday, October 1, 2007

Now Boarding: Cubs Bandwagon

Since my last post, the Cubbies became the Central Division champions, I bought my 20th Cubs hat and the Arizona Diamondbacks await us on Wednesday. With the Cubs in the playoffs for only the 15th time in history, you can bet that the Cubs bandwagon is getting a little crowded.

I was still an undergrad the last time this happened, and I vividly remember the sudden influx in Cubs memorabilia and clothing that started appearing all over campus. It should come as no surprise to anyone that this gets on my nerves to no end. I don't mind if you want to join the celebration or if you're curious about the outcome of the Cubs' playoff run. But don't pretend that you're a Cubs fan. You're not. You're just a lemming who bought a hat.

Achieving the rank of Cubs fan is nearly impossible when the Cubs are doing well. I won't believe that it's for real until you've been a Cubs fan during a prolonged dry spell. My dry spell was the 1990s. I attended many home losses at Wrigley. I collected baseball cards of mediocre players like Rey Sanchez and the unfortunately named Paul Assenmacher. I scoured team statistics in the sports section each day. And I generally followed the team with the same voracity that I did during the years when they actually succeeded. This is the commitment that is required of every Cubs fan--to remain true to the team during a troubling last-place season in 2006, so that you may revel in the glory of a pennant race in 2007. It's the same team, no matter what the standings say.

If you really are committed to becoming a true Cubs fan, you need to start your Cubs education immediately. Although unconditional love for the Cubs could be considered unintelligent by outsiders, Cubs fans are actually among the smartest in baseball. We know the history of our team, we have a very long memory and we're eager to share our knowledge with you. The Chicago Tribune ran a fun piece on the 99 Things Every Real Cubs Fan Should Know. I pride myself on the fact that I already knew the answer to the majority of these well-researched questions. Even if you're not a Cubs fan, you should read it for a taste of the colorful and bizarre history this team has endured over the years. Maybe it will help you understand why there is such devotion from the team's real fans. Being a Cubs fan is a way of life and a full-time job. Start studying or take off the Cubs hat.

P.S. Along with the majority of Cubs Fan Nation, my prediction is that the Cubbies will take the National League Pennant in four games against the D-Backs. I'd prefer that they do it in three games, since I'll be at Game 3, but let's not get greedy.

P.P.S. Check out the 2007 remix of "Go Cubs Go." I'm a sucker for any Cub-related novelty song. Even a remix.


Kelly Mahoney said...

I love the bandwagon, I get on in August sometimes.

Martin said...

As you can imagine, I didn't know the answer to most of those questions, but I do know Steve Goodman was a Maine East grad...