Cubs 101 - What would YOU give up for a title?
or: Wayne Drehs IS Evil
Goatfriend Wayne Drehs of ESPN Chicago wondered aloud what we would give up for a Cubs championship.
Heh. Well, those of you that know me know that I would give up nearly anything, but let's discuss some of you first.
Would you give up any of the recent Chicago championships? The Bulls Six-Peat, the Super Bowl Shuffle? What if the Hawks win the championship of Hockee?
For those of you who are not local, understand that Chicago is foremostly a Bears town. No, I would not put Bears fans up against Cheeseheads, or Skins fans from DC, or the lunatics who root for the Raiders. But there is solid Bear love in the city, and the 1985 Sweetness/Fridge/Ditka team still is beloved here. If you are local, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Short of a Cubs World Series, anything the Bears do on any given day will trump anything the Cubs do on the 10 o'clock news. Many of you reading this would even go as far as to put a Super Bowl over a World Series. I get it.
How about the Bulls? More specifically, how about Michael Jordan? I don't think anyone out there would equate a single NBA championship to a World Series, and there aren't that many true Bulls fans, but during the 90's, it was bizarro Sports Chicago. 6 titles in 8 years? Even non-fans were boggled by the sheer magnitude and opulence of it all. We in Chicago had our very own Dynasty, led by our very own G.O.A.T., which of course is not a smelly animal that eats garbage and gets banned from parks, but the Greatest Of All Time, the closer of all closers. For many locals, that's as good as it gets in Chicago, and I understand that, too.
Hockee, that there soccer crossed up with ice dancing? Well, it was on life support here until quite recently, when ironically it took the demise of former owner Bill Wirtz to revive the sport in Chicago. A small brave lot of holdovers have kept watch over the patient for the past thirty years, and as of this writing, the rebirth is in full bloom. But even Lord Stanley's Cup cannot possibly compare with the Big Flag flying over the North Side, can it?
Then of course you have to discuss what else would you give up, or overlook. Money, body parts, possessions, loved ones, other sacred memories. Would you welcome known felons? Certain cheats? Swollen, puffy, enraged junkmonkeys who smash balls in pieces and can throw balls through bomb shelter walls? Would you permit your organization becoming a laughing stock - a symbol for wrongdoing? Would you care if the Cubs became the world's headquarters of PED's if it meant we won a title? Who would you take in? Bonds? Sosa? Tejada? The Rocket? A-Fraud? Manny B. Manny a/k/a "Biaatch Tiaaats"?
Finally I have to mention Wrigley Field itself - the most famous "player" on the team, and one of the ten most famous sports venues on the planet. Time has marched on and on, teams and cities and stadia have come and gone, and Wrigley endures. Many of you were first introduced to the Cubs through the magic of Wrigley, on WGN and the SuperStation, and I know that there are just as many Wrigley Field fans out there as there are Cub fans. A good 2/3rds of the bleacher crowd on ANY given day would watch howler monkeys run around in silk pajamas down there as long as the ivy was green, the beer was still cold and the Trixies still hot and dumb. I understand if you feel that way; or, at least, that you love the park as least as much as you love the Cubs. Hey, it's a nice park, no doubt. What if the Friendly Confines itself was the Price that had to be paid?
Do you ask yourself that question, at least daily, if not hourly, every day of your life, even when the bitter cold of winter cuts through your new Christmas parka like a rapier? Honestly, for your own sake, I hope not - but I know there's a few of you out there, because I'm out here, and contrary to what a few of you have told me over the years, I don't think I'm THAT much of an outlier. I mean, I am going to be buried in my gray Maddux away jersey, in a Cubs casket, with the Cubs logo carved into my headstone, with Ryne Sandberg's "I did it the right way" quote from his Hall Of Fame acceptance speech as my epitaph. Certainly there are others, right?
Making the assumption that I am batguano crazy, would I give the Super Bowl Shuffle and the 6-Peat back? Damn right! In a heartbeat!
Would I give money? I already give all I possibly can, between tickets, merchandise, and every cockamamie scheme they cook up, like the "forever pavers" and the "Cubs Club". Would I give body parts? Hey, I have two sons, my work is done, you want one of my nutts, go ahead, it's yours. Want a kidney, too? How about some nice fat cells to fill in your worry lines and crows feet?
Would I want to see the Cubs cheat? Now, here's where we turn back to Mr. Drehs. No, I don't want to sully the franchise. But Wayne posed it thusly - "If nobody else in the world knew, but you, would you be able to accept cheating?" If nobody else knew...if there would never be any public shame brought to the franchise? If nobody else knew? Well, how is that any different than Reggie Jackson sticking out his hip and Don Denkinger making an awful call and A.J. Eyechart running on a dropped third strike that wasn't dropped? If only I knew...damn RIGHT I could live with that!
What about Wrigley? Here's where I may surprise a few of you. I have said in the past that I wouldn't give a rat's ass if they played every day at Troy Little League Complex in Shorewood if the Cubs won a pennant. And, if posed the question, "would I choose a World Series or for the Cubs to play in Wrigley for all of perpetuity?" I'd choose the World Series, 100 times out of 100.
BUT...point is, in my wildest fantasies, when they finally do win the big one, and the crowd is going bonkers, and the seventh seal is finally broken open and the Four (now 6?) Goat Riders stampede in from Heaven, and the true Apocalypse finally commences, I always pictured in my mind's eye that THIS party would happen at Wrigley.
So, no, I wouldn't give up Wrigley Field for a Championship. It just wouldn't be one without the other. I think most of us, for once, can agree on that.
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