Cheap Seats

Cubs fans abandon bandwagon at first sign of trouble; Cardinals fans watch with glee

Fans of the Chicago Cubs love to mock St. Louis Cardinals rooters, throwing the ill-conceived “Best Fans in Baseball” moniker in our faces every chance they get.

Pardon me if I point out that I find it amazing how quickly Cubs fans have turned on manager Joe Maddon and the rest of their beloved team one year after the former Tampa Bay Rays skipper led them out of the baseball desert of futility after 108 seasons of frustration and disappointment.

Just a year ago, Maddon could have barged into any house in the greater Chicagoland area, sat in the comfy chair, changed the channel on the television and told the head of the household to fetch him a beer and the homeowner would have happily obliged. Anything for our conquering hero, Cubs fans would say.

But now, with the Cubs one game away from elimination from the National league Championship Series, Chicago fans are booing the home team at Wrigley Field, leaving playoff games early and questioning their skipper’s every move like he just rode into town on a turnip truck and never even heard of baseball before.

I didn’t know it was possible to get off the bandwagon even more quickly than Cubs fans hop on it. But that certainly seems to be the case. Chicago fans call Redbirds rooters spoiled by their team’s success. But Chicago fans are abandoning their team in droves — as it plays in its third consecutive NLCS. Talk about spoiled.

According to the Chicago Tribune: “A subdued and apprehensive crowd filed into Wrigley Field for Game 3 on Tuesday uncomfortable with the Cubs’ hitting, uncomfortable with their bullpen options, and uncomfortable with Maddon’s pitching decisions. ... If the Cubs get swept in four games Wednesday, they better hope their irritated fans don’t bring chalk to vent on the bleacher wall.”

The Tribune also reports that, after the Cubs lost Game 1 of the NLCS in Los Angeles, television viewership plummeted by 19 percent in the Windy City, with some 637,000 households tuning out the Cubs because they were down by one game in the series.

Cubs fans are usually kings of the social media trolls. But as Game 3 was coming to a close, even Los Angeles Metro transit got into the ribbing of Cubs (un)faithful. “Happy to see our friends and colleagues at the @cta providing great service to all the @Cubs fans leaving the game early!” read the tweet from the LA Metro Twitter account.

So much for being grateful just to get one championship so they could die happy. A year ago Cubs fans were demanding that even Redbirds fans were morally obligated to root for Chicago. “Just let us enjoy one and you’ll never hear from us again,” they said. Now, suddenly, Maddon is a bum because he might fail to lead the Cubs to two World Series titles in a row? Break up the team and start over.

The fabled “friendly rivalry” between the Cardinals and Cubs went out the window the day of the Steve Bartman game during the 2003 NLCS between the Chicago and the then Florida Marlins. It was at that point Cubs fans boiled over and started to reject their lovable losers reputation. After that, the friendly kidding that took place when the Cardinals visited Wrigley Field or the Cubs came to Busch Stadium was replaced by a much more potent form of venom.

Cubs fans may hate the Cardinals and their supporters for hogging 11 World Series titles in the same time it took the Cubs to get one. But, hey, you’re the ones that forced us to root for the Dodgers. What comes around goes around.