The Chicago Tribune marveled this week that research showed the Chicago Cubs are the second-most hated sports franchise in the United States behind the New York Yankees.
Could it be true, the Tribune wondered, that fans could turn against the lovable losers so quickly after their recent streak of success that included the club’s first World Series title in more than a century of trying?
In a word: No.
Folks in Chicago seem to be the only people in the world who don’t realize having a drunken guy in a “wait til’ this year” T-shirt explaining to you that the Cubs are really a much better team than the St. Louis Cardinals and that the Cardinals just got lucky the last 11 times they won the World Series isn’t charming. It’s irritating. It may shock people in Chicago to know that fans in St. Louis, Milwaukee and Pittsburgh hoped that finally winning a World Series would somehow make Cubs fans less obnoxious. You’ve always been a pain in posterior. It’s not because you finally won one.
For years before they finally won something, the Cubs bring with them a band of belligerent jerks who can’t wait to tell you how much your town sucks and start fights. And that’s not just in St. Louis. They do it in Milwaukee, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati. They even did it in their own home town, brawling just before the All-Star Game break with Chicago White Sox fans. Never in the course of human endeavor have more people trashed talked about less accomplishment than the fans of the Chicago Cubs.
So, it’s ironic that Chicago fans so love to mock the “Best Fans in Baseball” tag the Cardinals put on their fans or the “Cardinals Way” motto. They don’t make fun of those things because they think they’re corny. They mock them because they’re sure THEY are the best fans in baseball — and, no matter how many games the Cubs lose, that the Cubs way is the right way.
It’s not all Cubs fans, mind you. I feel bad for the real, die hard fans who used to go to Wrigley Field with their dad when they were kids to watch Ron Santo play. Those 10 percent are saddled with a bad reputation by the 90 percent who go to games to swill beer, throw baseballs on the field and chant obscenities. I remember when I was a kid, my dad took me to Chicago to watch the Cubs play the Philadelphia Phillies. Andre Dawson hit a home run to tie the game — and almost no one saw it because almost everyone in the stands was more interested in watching the brawl that was taking place in the left field bleachers at the time.
As I write this, I know I am going to be swamped with hate email from Cubs fans who are just sure I am the only person on the planet who thinks the Cubs and their supporters are a mob of jerks, win or lose. But that just proves the point that they’re in denial. Watch this video from a decade ago in which Cincinnati Reds announcers Marty Brennaman takes the North Siders and their fans to task.
Predictably, Cubs fans filled the comments with remarks about how they hope Brennaman enjoyed their World Series victory. Exactly. One World Series win in 111 years and they’re still taking a victory lap three years later.
Doesn’t sound very lovable to me.