Although one could argue that losing this year is all part of Theo Epstein’s big divine plan, 2012 for all we know could just be one more year. If there were any value in Epstein’s theory –that is, if losing was necessary to build good teams–, the Cubs would have had some of the best teams in baseball since 1945. I don’t think that the problem really is the General Managers. Yes, they can make some mistakes, but they too are human. The real problem lies with the fans and our inability to accept our individuality. There is an air of truth in former Cub manager Lee Elia’s rant, but neither he nor the fans can’t accept the fact that we have a losing team: we are drawn to them because they are losers. It is plain and simple; fans that think otherwise are in denial and need to take the first step toward recovery, baseball recovery, because up to this point, we have shown up rain or shine, through thick or thin, no matter what kind of season they’re having. What is worse is that we pray for a win and have the nerve to be disappointed if they lose.
I have moved through the steps and have come to realize that losing is encoded in our DNA. It is God’s way of compensating us for having satisfying lives, that is, in every aspect but baseball. If the Cubs were to win, the rest of our world would fall apart. We have it good! How else could we stand to go out and watch them lose year after year, after year, after year. When I think of the New York Yankees fans, I feel sorry for them. Those poor slobs’ lives are so empty that a winning the World Series is the difference between life and death. For us, losing is no big deal. No matter how bad it gets we can always come back for more. Maybe it’s our Roman Catholicism, but this is what makes us what we are. We should only embrace it. Year after year we keep professing out faith, the hope in our lifetime that the Cubbies will play in the World Series, if not for us, for Ernie Banks, Billy Williams and the memory of Ron Santo.
We Cub fans carry our fan-hood like a cross, a burden that is passed from father to son. My father was no exception. As a life-long Cub fan, he instilled me with the idea that by just wanting to see the team win, I as a fan could help them win. I felt guilty for my disbelief, for turning the game off when they sucked, for not wearing a rally-cap, for thinking that they could never beat the Cardinals. Their losses were my fault. Losing was a test and we had to make ourselves worthy of winning, which meant suffering, a lot of suffering.
To be continued…
Crossposted at My Ongoing Struggle with Misanthropy: http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=838
Nice. Amusing. I became a baseball fan (a Braves fan) because I watched Maddux pitch. Even now, he’s really the only baseball player who has ever captured my imagination–an artist in a brutish culture, Mad Dog or Professor (these monickers suggest an intellectual with determination) almost never disappointed me with his ability to change speeds and location on every pitch and his ability to out-think the opposition. He once called Brad Penny’s game from the dugout; check out this incredible article (http://sports.espn.go.com/espnmag/story?id=3336514).
The Maddux article is great. He was probably one of the best pitchers of all time. I think that there have been others who did similar things. For example, players in the negro leagues referred to using trickeration to win games rather than power. But strength and skill weren’t opposites. I am thinking of Ted Williams’ book on the science of hitting, Ozzie Smith’s fielding at short, and a host of center fielders. What has changed in the game, which has made it brutish, is the addiction to the homerun. There was a time when 27-35 homers a year was considered exceptional. Now, after the Sosa-McGuire steroid scandal, people still want the long ball.