Goatriders of the Apocalypse

Cub fan culture

A couple of times now in the past few months, I've spoken with some Cub fans who work in the media (one in radio, the other for ESPN).  They both said something that strikes me as being extremely interesting.  They commented on how hard it will be for them to get excited about the Cubs during the regular season because last October was so disappointing.  They both said that it will be hard to be fully emotionally onboard until the Cubs return to the playoffs.


My response to both of them was that that is how it should be, and I've been beating my drum on this topic sporadically during the off season.  Teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, Giants, and Angels have a very strong fan base of people who get bitterly, miserably upset if their team fails to win.  They aren't satisfied with any season in which their teams fall short of an October playoff appearance, and even then they are upset if their teams fail to reach the World Series.


The Chicago Cubs, meanwhile, have a long history of not making the playoffs.  Sometimes - like in 1998 - it's great just to be along for the ride, but at this point we are finally beginning to reach that place where anything short of the ride is a serious disappointment.  Getting to watch ball games in Beautiful Wrigley Field no longer cuts it for us.  Following an unavailing pack of lovable losers no longer satisfies us.  Our culture is changing.


We're still not at the point where the majority of fans care for the team as much as they do the ballpark, but maybe we're getting there.  However, I do think that Cub fans should be not just disappointed by a season in which the team doesn't reach the playoffs but angry - at least a little.  Based on the way fans have reacted to disappointment in the past few years, I'd say that's finally happening.  And as Rob might point out - once that does happen, then the team will likely feel more obligated to put out a winner every single year - thereby elevating the Cubs into that elite group I mentioned earlier.

anger

I will save my anger for all the injustice in the world. I am a Cub's/baseball fan. So for the last 45 years I have jumped on the bandwagon and enjoyed the ride. I will continue to do so until they play A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request.

Well....

..anger and hatred are strong words that some people instantly blanch away from.

Nobody mentioned hatred, so I won't cover it here.

Anger, though, is a just reaction to someone who you trusted and who deceived you.

Now, granted, your mental health professionals and the like would probably advise us to, as you put it, save anger for things that truly matter, like a cheating spouse, or a kidnapped child, or other such extreme human injustices.

Keep in mind, heimiedog, that nobody is expecting Cubs fans to be as angry about the failure of the Cubs as you might be towards a cheating spouse. Unfortunately, I've had both, and I can judge between the anger I have felt towards both situations.

What myself and Kurt are saying is: do not ACCEPT failure. Many of you, and it appears that you may be included, are perfectly happy to just stand by as the Cubs play their games, year after year, without ever expecting anything more than just opening the gates to Beautiful Wrigley Field; having the games telecasted; and witnessing a few hours of guys running around in the sunshine every day.

Maybe you don't expect a winner. And our point is: if you don't expect a winner, then you will never get one, especially if your team is owned by a soulless corporation, more concerned with the maximum profit curves on their economic models than they are on satisfying an ego-driven need for championships. It is simply human nature.

Hopefully the Ricketts family is more concerned with the NL Standings than they are with their Annual Financial Statements.

I think its hard to

I think its hard to characterize cubs' fans as a whole. The team has fans around the globe of all ages with varying interest in the team and the game, which is what a culture is all about - the blending all of these different views and experiences. Some people are infuriated by losing and can't stand it, while others find other things to focus on besides a history of losing. The team boasts a rich tradition; being one of the first teams in the game, the history of Wrigley Field, the day games, the players they've had over the years, the experience that is Wrigleyville, and the Hall of Fame Broadcasters in the booth calling games. As a fan of the cubs, getting angry is inevitable, but it will do very little in changing the outcome on the field the next day or the next year.

From the standpoint of previous cubs' management, what incentive did they have to change anything on the field if 3 million fans were going to walk through the turnstiles regardless? As a fan, there's really only one way to effectively protest the product that management puts on the field, and that is to stop buying tickets and going to games. We all know that isn't going to happen anytime soon in Chicago, but a fan's anger is a whisper compared to how loud money talks in respect to an ownership group. I don't condone what they did, but I can completely understand how it happened. Also I think that cubs fans can be divided into 2 factions; those that live in Chicago or surrounding areas and attend games regularly or hold season tickets and then there is the rest of us that live elsewhere attend a few games throughout the season but mostly watch on TV from home. Those that are there in person spending thousands of dollars annually on tickets, merch, food, and beer likely have a different take on it than most other fans. All-in-all though, I think that most, if not all, fans have been disappointed by a history of losing. Some just haven't been around as long as others to see as much of it, but generally different people will have different ways of dealing with that anger, hatred, and frustration.

Every word of your comment is true

But understand (and we might be way way way suffering from delusions of grandeur here), we here at GROTA are not just out to entertain, but to try to be a catalyst of change.

My greatest Cub fan wish would be for them to win the World Series.

Barring that, my next greatest wish is for the fans to make their wishes known - by any means possible - so that management is forced to improve their competitiveness. This will only happen if there is some level of unity amongst the fanbase, which will require some sort of leadership, guidance, or purity of message.

Since Wish #1 hasn't happened in any of our lifetimes, then I am striving for Wish #2 - to be the standard-bearer for the infinitely patient Cub fans who hunger for a championship, as well as the millions of fans (like my grandparents) who did not live to see one.

However - everything we've tried has failed up until now. So why not try a new tack - pump up people's hopes, so they expect nothing LESS than a title. This Is The Year. Expect nothing less.

I hear you, and I have

I hear you, and I have nothing but respect for the mission of GROTA, and I think the site has few problems functioning in both arenas; as entertainment and as a catalyst of change. I, as most other fans, share the same wish as you that the team win it all; which is just one of the many things that unites us all without even trying. I was introduced to the cubs by my grandpa when I was a little kid, and he too was one of those fans that never got to see them win it all. As dumb as it may sound to someone else, every time I watch a game I'm reminded of him and I don't feel like I've ever watched a game without him, even after he passed away. Its just one of those things, the fans that came before us are those who influenced you and I and introduced us to the culture of this team. We're all extensions of those that came before us, where the hope that I have keeps the hope my grandpa once had alive right next to mine. I can only hope that in the future it won't be necessary to protest as a fan and boycott going to games. As the team presently has little that a fan could protest; a new owner is in place that's poured nearly his entire net worth into buying the team, they have a quality GM looking to continuously improve, along with quality players up and down the roster.

Grandparents as Cub fans

Both my grandmas were Cub fans. I always cite my father with helping me get my start, but it was my grandmas who encouraged me to stick with it through some damn thin times.

Baseball Fan

I am first and foremost a baseball fan who roots for the Cub's. Whenever the issue has been raised about showing my dis-pleasure with the state (strikes, walkouts, roid's, mis-management) of the sport/team in the form of not watching or going to games, my answer has been why. I am suppose stop doing something that I enjoy so I can walk around in my hair shirt and proclaim my mayterdom to the world as a way of protest. The Cub's have been mis-managed since at least 1945, but it has gotten better in the past few years. To make winning the world series the only thing that will make a season, is a flaw on your part, but to each their own. I prefer to view it from the same mind set as Annie Savoy, Ray Kinsella and Terence Mann.

We're going to agree to disagree here

I think that's the PC way of putting it.

I am first and foremost a Cubs fan who could not give a hoot about the rest of the league.

However, I can admit that I thought like you for a long, long time. Somewhere along the line, I quit being patient. I'm not sure what I have is a "flaw". I have different goals than you.

I suspect, in fact, that MOST of Cubdom would agree with you. My point is, you're all enablers, who have allowed the Tribune to lollygag during its tenure. One after the other, from Stanton Cook on, the lawyers and beancounters put in charge of the club's operation, have stated that the top priority is shareholder equity, which is contradictory to "pulling out all stops to win a pennant".

How is this possible? Because good baseball fans like yourself will come out no matter what, because of the "thrill of the grass". I read W. P. Kinsella, too, and try to incorporate his mindset in all other things.

But, goddammit, I want a winner on the Northside before I die!!!

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