Now that the 2003 baseball season is officially over (it was unofficially over on October 16), I need to indulge myself and vent a little.
And I’m going to speak in broad, unfair generalities, because that’s what venting is. So a lot of innocent and semi-innocent folks will be hit by shrapnel. Most of my family and many of my friends are White Sox fans, and I hate to paint them all with the same brush, but nobody is forcing them to be White Sox fans. So, tough noogies. End of disclaimer.
I’m a Cub fan.
And as a Cub fan, I have all the emotional baggage that is part and parcel of being a Cub fan.
What that means, among other things, is that this was an extremely difficult baseball season for me.
Despite the fact that the Cubs made it well into the post season, and had what was arguably their best season since 1945, we Cub fans couldn’t enjoy a minute of it.
I was on vacation with my wife in Puerto Vallarta the week of October 12. We watched the Cubs-Marlins Game 6 in the hotel bar, broadcast in Spanish.
The Spanish word for “choke” is estrangulación.
We didn’t watch Game 7. We went on a cruise. I knew it was over. Blame the poor schmuck who interfered with the foul ball if you like. He was just one character in a drawn-out dramatic production that absolutely had to play out this way.
We Cub fans all knew that we had to hold our breath from September 1 on. The minute we relaxed, everything would fall apart. The players may be different, Dusty Baker may be the best manager we’ve ever had, but these are still the Cubs. What happens when the Coyote is certain he’s got the Road Runner dead to rights?
Fortunately, through it all, we knew we could always rely on the love and support of our fellow baseball fans on the South Side.
White Sox fans helped make a stressful post season absolutely miserable for us. The local media fanned the flames, quoting White Sox fans endlessly taunting us, confidently predicting the Cubs eventual downfall. The evening news showed footage of Sox fans celebrating Braves and Marlins home runs with free rounds in South Side bars, so deliriously happy that for a moment you might have thought the Sox were still in the race.
What it all comes down to is that White Sox fans are really just Cub haters. They would rather see the Cubs lose than the Sox win.
I was at my sister’s house and we were discussing the Cubs-Braves division series. I said that I was surprised it went all five games, that the Cubs should have wrapped it up sooner.
“It’s fixed,” she said. “The TV networks want the series to last as long as possible so they can sell more commercials.”
White Sox fans are big conspiracy theorists. Listening to Rush Limbaugh will do that to you.
If the fix was really in, we would have seen a Cubs-Red Sox series. Fox Sports would have made a fortune. Instead, we get a World Series in which the only good outcome would have been for both teams to lose. The Marlins don’t have any fans outside of their home town and the Yankees shouldn’t.
I would love to have seen White Sox fans trying to cope with a Cubs-Yankees World Series. Trying to decide which team they hated more. Their heads would have exploded.
Cub fans and White Sox fans both tend to have inferiority complexes. For Cub fans, it’s a result of having our hearts broken so many times. After years of this, you start to doubt your own sanity. “Why do I keep doing this to myself?”
White Sox fans have an inferiority complex because…well, because they are genuinely inferior people. Geographically, intellectually, economically, and genetically. Okay. There. I said it. The ugly truth.
Let me expand on “economically” because it’s not a hundred percent accurate. The general stereotype is that Cub fans tend to be the yuppie/preppie/North Shore types and the Sox are the team of the “working man.” There are exceptions to this. The Cubs were known for their “bleacher bums” before the ticket brokers drove them all off. With Cubs tickets going for hundreds of dollars a game, the bleacher bums are all at the bars or watching on TV at home these days. And not all Sox fans are poor (I understand construction jobs can pay quite well). You can spot the affluent Sox fans easily – they stay on the South Side and build ghastly oversized ugly houses. That’s why Sox fans love the new U.S. Cellular Field – it’s the sort of overstated, tacky structure they’d all build if they could afford to.
And before the Sox were in serious contention this season, the Cell sat mostly empty. White Sox management had to conjure up promotion after promotion to sell tickets. So we all got to enjoy such festivities as:
• Bring Your Pet Snake to the Ballpark Day
• Two for Tooth Tuesday (admission is $2 for each tooth in your skull)
• Human Bobblehead Day (free admission if you have Parkinson’s disease)
And let’s not forget their most successful promotion last season, the Father-Son Coach Assault, won by William Ligue, Jr. and the ejaculation he’d had 15 years earlier. It was the most touching example of father-son bonding I’d seen since “The Courtship of Eddie’s Father” went off the air. Look for footage of the incident to turn up soon in one of those annoying Mormon TV commercials about the importance of family.
Ah, much better. I really needed to get that off my chest. Now, if you’re a Sox fan and you want to come after me because of this column, please stop and think about something.
You won. You got everything you wanted this year.
Your two most hated teams, the Cubs and the Yankees, came close but lost it all.
You can afford to be magnanimous.
You can borrow a dictionary if you need to look that word up.