Posted: April 30, 2010
I have never liked the phrase "Loveable Losers" when people refer to the Chicago Cubs. I have been a Cubbie fan all my life, even though Dad was a diehard White Sox fan. I guess it was because, when I was young, I raced home from grade school to watch the Cubs play on WGN-TV or listen to the radio broadcast while I tried to emulate my favorite players in the front yard.
For those not familiar, the Chicago Cubs have not won a World Series since 1908. They came close a while back, but lost the opportunity to play for the title when a fluke play partially determined the outcome. It will forever be known as the "Bartman Game". There was also the famed "Curse of the Billy Goat " in 1945. And, there was the time a black cat walked onto the playing field in late August, 1969, as the Cubs eventually gave away the pennant to the New York Mets. Either way, I don't believe in curses. Unless, of course, my curse is that I became a longtime Cubs fan.
I have been to Wrigley Field at least 60 times having grown up only 50 miles from the legendary ball park. My first Cubs' game was when I was 11 years old and my buddy's stepfather took us to Wrigley on a rainy, cool day in June. I was able to witness future hall-of-famer Dave Winfield hit two home runs, but the Cubs lost the game 7-6 in 13 innings. In fact, I have only been there to see the Cubs win a home game about a half-dozen times. Maybe I should have known a long time ago that my favorite baseball team was destined to lose.
The part about being a Cubs fan that is loveable is to have the opportunity to attend a game at Wrigley Field. Similar to Lambeau Field for professional football, the place is a baseball shrine. Unfortunately, over the past 15 years, most of the spectators at Wrigley have no interest in the game and would rather eat, drink and talk on their cell phones to see if they have been seen on WGN-TV. On the other hand, I still keep track of the play-by-play by handwriting the action in that day's program and make sure my cell phone is turned off.
Fortunately, there are numerous Cubs fans throughout Western Wisconsin - especially amongst the older generation, who used to listen to Jack Brickhouse on WGN radio when there was no local team to root for. So, I take solace in the fact that at least some people feel my pain and how it feels to be a fan of a "loveable loser ".
As Cubs fans have said every year for the past century, "Wait 'til next year ". It will be hard to imagine the outcome will be any different in 2010. But at least my team is "loveable", whatever that means.