Warning: irrational, one-sided, low-maturity-level rant to follow:
I have had it with Cubs fans. If anyone ever again says a word to me about Yankees/Red Sox/Cardinals/Giants [fill in team here] fans and their arrogance, ignorance, or obnoxiousness, I am going to silently point them in the direction of Wrigleyville and watch their mouths drop when they get there. I have lived in Cincinnati, New York (they have two teams there), San Francisco, Seattle, and have visited stadiums in others too, and until I moved to Chicago (they have two teams here too, and one of them is even good, not that you'd ever know it), I had never, ever encountered anything like this. It is not the fact that they love a team that happens to be a rival of one of mine. I really have no serious problems with any other team in the division, nor any team in the division of my Yankees except for Boston. Quite the contrary, I have been researching the a year and a half now for a project, and I have great respect for the team and its fascinating, almost endearing history. But the fans have almost taken away anything I might have felt for the team itself, because of the way so many of them seem to view their own team, other teams, other fans, and even the sport.
Look, Cubs fans. You love a baseball team. I think that's wonderful. Your team has a history of heartbreak. I think you play that up a little bit, but there's no denying a lot of it, and you know God bless you for playing it up, because baseball heartbreak is one of the toughest kinds. I feel for you. Do you know why these things are? Because I love a baseball team too, and I have had baseball heartbreak too. What's that you say? That's impossible? The Cubs are the only team and and also the only team that has ever lost? And you're not going to listen to my infinite facts disputing these two claims because you're too busy vomiting your Jager shots on that Harry Caray statue over there? Fine then. That give me time to put all of the reasons why you drive me to insanity in convenient list form, and maybe my fellow Reds fans will be interested in hearing them.
1. Cubs fans believe their team is special and that everyone else thinks it is special too. I love the Reds; they are a special team. They started baseball, they fielded the greatest team in the history of the sport, and they boast a higher percentage of pretty uniforms than any other team in baseball historically speaking (present uniforms excepted). I love the Yankees; they are a special team. They are the greatest team in history and they play in the most extraordinary city in the world. My friend loves the Orioles; they are a special team...I have another friend who loves the Royals; they are a special team...do you see how this works, Cubs fans? Yes, you are unique, and so is your team. So is every other team. That's why there are different ones. I've had Cubs fans seem genuinely baffled when I tell them that I am not a Cubs fan. And then it gets better:
Exemplary actual quote: "You're a Reds fan? [pause] Why?" And not why in the way of, "Gosh, I'm really interested, why don't you tell me about your team and how you came by your fandom" but why in the way of "HUH?!?! People like OTHER TEAMS?!?" I am quite used to explaining my Yankees fandom and I have a stock speech prepared for inquisitors. But the Yankees are a HATED team. Cubs just cannot fathom a love of ANY other team, even a non-hated one.
2. Cubs fans believe that their fandom is special. (extension of point 1) If, by chance, a Cubs fan can get beyond point 1 and accept the fact that there are other teams that have fans, they still hit a standstill here. Another fan may love his team, but there is no way he can love it AS MUCH as the Cubs fans love the Cubs. It's a mystical thing with them. Because they have not won a World Series in eighty gajillion years, this somehow makes their fandom stronger. Now, I'm not arguing the devotion and loyalty of Cubs fans. Many baseball fans would have fallen off the bandwagon long ago (although I now believe that many fans have since jumped on the LOSER VICTIM bandwagon, but I'm not even going to get into that today). So kudos to them for sticking around. But the jump from "loyal fans" to "more loyal fans than any other team" is baffling to me. Talk to a Royals fan, will you. I never hear them complaining about their horrible horrible team or the curse of the call, and you know why? Probably because they're sitting at the ballpark watching the game instead of making love to that Harry Caray statue over there.
Exemplary actual quote: "I didn't choose the Cubs. They chose me. It's that kind of connection." Ahhhh I get it! No one else can possibly know what you feel for your team, because we all sat down with Bill James's books and chose our favorite teams based on who was most likely to not disappoint us statistically!! Whereas you were just shot in the heart by Cupid's Arrow of Love and Loserdom!!! The great -- the GREAT -- irony in this is that this quote came from, I kid you not, someone who has been following the Cubs since the fall of 2003. If that's not choosing a baseball team, I don't know what is. And the thing is, I hate myself for even thinking this way. I don't begrudge anybody any their fandom if it's genuine. I don't care if your parents played radio baseball games for you in the womb or if you became a fan at 40 years old because Sammy Sosa knocked you unconscious with a foul ball and paid your hospital bills. Heck, I came around to the Yankees later in my life and I think about them morning noon and night. But the "it's that kind of connection" part...this, to me, is critical in Cubsland. When you are a Cubs fan, you have a connection to a team unlike any other. aaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. And this drives me to think this way.
Cubs fans are fans of the current Cubs team. They are not baseball fans. Ask a Cubs fan about Ichiro. Ask a Cubs fan about David Wright. Ask a Cubs fan about Joe Crede, even. They'll mumble a few words, then go back to talking about how Kerry Wood is due to be back any day now. Heck, ask one about Hack Wilson. You're likely to get a look of confusion, a furrowed brow, and a response of, "I dunno...hey, you wanna make out?" Some of them know what's going on, but they don't care to talk about it. They only want to talk about the Cubs. And since the Cubs are the only team and their fans are the most specialist ever in the history of the whole wide world, they assume that you feel the same way.
Exemplary direct quote: (Wrigley Field, Reds at Cubs, April 11, 2006. Bronson Arroyo pitching for the Reds against the Cubs for the second time this season) (5th or 6th inning, ie. well through the lineups already) "Hey, where's that Wily Mo dude?"
NOW. The thing is, I have known some wonderful Cubs fans in my life. There are a lot, a lot, of wonderful Cubs fans in fact; knowledgable, gracious, warm-hearted people who enjoy watching any baseball game, even if it's the Cubs against the Cardinals. I know two Cubs fans who are two of my loveliest friends and fellow baseball fans, though it's worth noting that neither of them lives in Chicago anymore. But the reason that I've reached my breaking point is that I used to think that those fans were the majority, and the ones sobbing and throwing up on Harry Caray over there were just a few burnt cookies who didn't spoil the batch. I'm starting to think that I was wrong. I'm starting to think, at the very least, that the good Cubs fans are dying out, and are being replaced by all the ones crawling on Harry Caray over there, who these days comprise the majority of my neighborhood and, more to the point, the crowd at Wrigley Field. What do you guys think?
There are at least three more points on this. I will continue at another time.