Game Five of the World Series is tonight in Chicago -- and no one will be looking on with greater interest ... and perhaps more mixed feelings ... than Cubs fan Bob Sirott:
The Chicago Cubs finished this season with the best record in all of baseball. MY Cubs! The team with the 108-year championship drought.
And now they’re in the World Series.
But I’m going to let you in on a deep, dark secret, shared only among the most trusted fellow die-hards: For some of us, it’s OK if they lose. Really! It would still be all right.
ESPN said it best:
“Just as the Cubs are built on Wrigley and the ivy and the ‘lovable losing,’ their identity is equally intertwined with bizarre tales of woe: The smelly goat whose eviction cursed the team in 1945; the black cat who crossed their paths in ‘69; that guy in glasses -- we dare not speak his name -- who reached for a foul ball in 2003.”
Without all that losing history, the Cubs wouldn’t be unique. By winning the World Series, they’ll become just like any other team.
If they didn’t hold the record for the longest championship drought in the history of any sport, would they have their enormous national fan base? Would George Will have written so many eloquent columns about the romance of sticking with a team of losers to gain life lessons?
Would longtime broadcaster Jack Brickhouse have ever come up with the slogan he’s famous for around here: “Everyone’s entitled to a bad century.”
Growing up in Chicago in the ‘50s and ‘60s and rooting for the Cubs was something special. They belonged to us. There wasn’t the bandwagon there is now. Wrigley Field was usually so empty they didn’t even bother to open the upper deck. It wasn’t hard to sneak into the box seats.
I feel sorry for kids who don’t have the chance to make that thrilling memory now that the ballpark is practically sold out for every game.
So now it can be told: Some of us miss our losing Cubs. Of course as a true fan I’m rooting for them to win the World Series -- but if they don’t, at least we’ll still get to say, “Wait ‘til next year!”
For more info:
- Follow @BobSirott on Twitter