What do Cubs fans think about this year?
The long suffering fans of the Chicago Cubs finally got their wish. The Cubs won the World Series last year after a 108-year drought. Now a new season is about to begin. The Cubs will have their home opener at Wrigley Field April 10 against the Dodgers.
I am a big Cub fan. Every year I’d tell my son, Bill, “This is the year. The Cubs are going to win the series this year.” He’s a Cub fan too but he’d just kind of roll his eyes and say, “You could be right.” I could tell he didn’t really think that was going to happen but hope springs eternal.
Bill told me that one of his co-workers, who is a die-hard Cub fan, said he didn’t know if he’d even follow them this year. He feels if they don’t win again this year the disappointment will be even greater. Surprised by that reaction, Bill suggested I ask around and find out what some other die-hard fans are thinking.
We Cub fans have always said “wait ‘til next year”. We accepted the Cubs just as they were, a really bad team. Even when they had a lead most fans expected them to lose. “They’ll find a way to lose,” we‘d say. And when they did we said it was because they played, “Cubbie ball”. Fans liked them anyway, though, fondly calling them the loveable losers.
But then they got an owner who wasn’t happy with that moniker. He brought in great leadership and bought talent for all positions. Now they are winners. No more wait ‘til next year. No more Cubbie ball. Now we expect them to find a way to win. Right? Are we happy now? What do the fans expect? What do Cub fans think?
Bill, said, “I’m looking forward to the start of a new dynasty… even if they have to become the Yankees of the Midwest and buy championships. We’ve suffered long enough.”
One of my friends thought it would be great if the Cubs did start a new dynasty. She’d like to see them win again this year but if they don’t she’ll still like them. “If you’re a Cub fan you’re a fan forever,” she said.
One guy, who doesn’t follow baseball much at all, said he thought if Cub fans had wanted something so badly for so long, when finally got it, he wondered if they might feel there was nothing left to live for. They might think, “May as well die now cause it’s over.” Fortunately, I don’t think that’s the case.
Stephen Paul, who used to cover sports for a local radio station and is a big Cub fan, mentioned how popular the Cubs are and how big their fan base is. I told him it wasn’t always that way.
When my husband and I got married in 1966, he got a job in Chicago and we lived in a nearby suburb. The joke in Chicago at that time was that you could call Wrigley Field and ask, “What time does the game start?” And they would say, “What time can you be here?” It was almost that bad. I went to one of the games. There weren’t more than a couple hundred people there. And that included both teams.
Stephen said he became a fan about 1983. WGN-TV televised every Cub game and he would watch them when he got home from school. That’s about when Harry Caray started announcing for the Cubs and Ryne Sandberg played 2nd base.
“It was a perfect storm of access and personalities,” he said. “I feel good about this year. It’s a little different. I feel like I can enjoy it more. The way it looks now,” Stephen continued, “there’s no reason the Cubs can’t win it again. The last time they won the series it was back to back. They won in 1907 and 1908.”
I don’t know if Stephen feels like my friend does. She said she hopes the Cubs win the World Series again but if they don’t, “there’s always next year”. Spoken like a true Cub fan.
Linda Messmer can be reached at 812-448-8725.