Tonight begins the ALCS with Joey Bats and the Toronto Blue Jays taking on the returning American League Champ Kansas City Royals. There is a lot of intrigue around this matchup, especially considering the benches-clearing brawl that ensued the last time these two teams shared a field. But sports nation in general seems to be more looking forward to tomorrow night, when the new look New York Mets host the Chicago Cubs, a franchise looking to break out of a century-long slump of championship-less seasons, the longest drought by any North American professional sports team.
This factor has put a lot of people in the Cubbies’ corner, much like how folks from around the country got behind the Boston Red Sox of 2004, as they battled to bury their own impressive 86-year streak of World Series-less seasons. Everybody loves a good underdog, and no team seems to fit that mold better than the “lovable losers” themselves from Wrigley.
But I fucking hate the Cubs. I hate their team, I hate their fans, and I hate everybody that is rooting for them over this last half-month of baseball. Here’s why:
I don’t care how many years it’s been since their last World Series victory or how big of an asshole Steve Bartman is, the Cubs are not an underdog. You cannot be an underdog when you are a team from the third biggest city in the United States in a sport that has no salary cap.
It’s no coincidence that the city of Chicago ranks third on the list of cities with the most pro sports championships. Cities like that always have the advantage. They have more money, more media attention, and more appeal to make players want to play there.
Which makes the ‘woe is me’ Cubs fans all the more annoying—the intolerable pity parties that they throw at the end of every season where they get together and cry and bitch and moan about how sorry and unlucky they are, how they’re cursed, how the decks always stacked against them. You can be sure that if the Cubs follow suit and lose again this year, their pity party will get full coverage from First Take and SportsCenter.
The 2004 Red Sox were the exact same. They viewed themselves as these scrappy, bearded little underdogs trying to take down the evil, hegemonic Yankees.
They were right about the Yankees. I fucking hate the Yankees, too. But at least the Yankees fans know who they are. They are the privileged, they are the elite, and they don’t pretend not to be.
But so is Boston. As a matter of fact, do you know who had the second-highest payroll in baseball in 2004, right behind the New York Yankees? You guessed it, Boston. Moral of the story: you can dress yourself up as a working-class Irish asshole all you want, but you’re still as bought-and-paid-for as every and any clean-shaven Yankees player.
Chicago Cubs fans are no different. They think of themselves as underdogs because they don’t win. “We’re cursed,” they say. “Everyone is out to get us,” they say. Not so. I’ll agree that it is pretty amazing that their team hasn’t won a World Series in 107 years, especially when they play in a city like Chicago. But that is not because they are cursed. It’s because they suck.
And I would know a thing or two about sucking, just like I know a thing or two about losing, pity parties, and curses. That’s because I hail from a city with a real curse, and it’s not a fake curse from a fucking billy-goat. It’s the curse of living in flyover territory.
The Twins have two World Series championships, the last one taking place in 1991. And while 24 years isn’t exactly a drought to write home about, you know how long the drought has been for the rest of our Big Four franchises, the Wolves, the Vikes, and the Wild? Always. Forever. We were born in a drought, we live in a drought, and if everything else remains equal, we will die in a drought. For three of our four franchises, it has never rained and it’s possible that it never will.
And even though the Twins two World Series wins sound pretty epic, my generation is too young to remember them. I know they exist, but I never experienced them. I’ll tell you what I did experience though: the six NBA championships that Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls won in the 90’s, the three NHL Stanley Cups that the Blackhawks have won in the last six seasons, and the 2005 World Series won by none other than the Chicago White Sox. All this happened, may I add, while my clubs were rotating between moderate relevancy and laughing-stock status.
So suck it Cubs fans. Cry all you want about your Cubs if they let you down again this year, but don’t pretend that you’re an underdog. Don’t pretend that you know what it feels like to live in true sports misery. Don’t pretend that you live in Minneapolis, or Cleveland, or Kansas City.
There is a silver lining. If the Cubs win and the streak is over, maybe people will finally shut the fuck up with wondering aloud at the beginning of every season if this is finally the year that the Cubbies will take home the World Series title. Then we can focus on the true underdogs in sports, the ones that really have the decks stacked against them when it comes to being consistent contenders, let alone winning championships. Fuck the Cubs. Go Toronto. Go Royals. And, Go Twins.