So, at the risk of alienating
some many even more of you, I have a confession to make.
I’m not rooting for the Cubs. I’m simply not doing it.
I know, I know, the Cubbies are the en vogue underdogs to cheer for, the feel-good saccharine du jour. Well, I say poop on that party. Poop, poop, and poop some more. Poop till you droop. I’m a big Poopenheimer, and I’m not afraid to admit it.
Now, I don’t want you to think that this is some sort of ‘sour grapes’ thing, either. Don’t give me that crap. Yes, I am an Atlanta Braves fan, and yes, the Cubs did eliminate the Braves in the NLDS. They found a way to beat a Braves club that finally showed up in the playoffs with some offensive firepower, who had team speed, and a great closer. Those little upstart Cubs were somehow able to overcome all of that, and outpitch Atlanta, a feat nearly unthinkable for a decade or more. Those… those… fucking bastards sent home a team that’s won a dozen division titles in a row, and that may finally be dismantled in the offseason, plunging them into ‘rebuilding mode’, when this — this — was to be their year, their time in the sun. Those goddamned Cubs — who the hell do they think they are? — have ruined everything! Bastards!! Douchebags!! Those asswipe freaking no-talent, ivy-lovin’, goofy-looking —
Um… ahem. Perhaps I should start that paragraph again. Er, yeah. Let’s try that again. Ahem.
Now, I don’t want you to think that this is some sort of ‘sour grapes’ thing, either.
(Oh, no, never.)
Seriously, though, I just don’t get any kind of vibe from the Cubs. Think about the teams left in the playoffs — the Cubs, the Marlins, the Red Sox, and the Yankees. What do you think of when you think of each team? Let’s take a stroll through them, shall we?
New York Yankees — This is the easiest one. You either love them or hate them.
(Of course, if you live outside the Bronx, then you have to be a sadistic babybeating slutmonkey to love them, but that’s another matter. I, uh, don’t have any ‘sour grapes’ over them, either. Ahem.)
But you can’t deny that the Yankees have a vibe. Brash, cocky, confident — they definitely have an aura surrounding the team and the uniform.
Boston Red Sox — Now, I’m a little biased here, because I live in Boston, and cheer heartily for them. But even outside the area, I have to believe that the BoSox mystique is well-known. Sure, they’re defined more than they should really appreciate by their second-fiddle status viz a viz the Yankees. But they’ve got more than that. This incarnation of the Sox is scrappy — Trot Nixon and Jason Varitek and Todd Walker are dirtmonkeys — baseball versions of the workaholic, dedicated ‘gym rats’ that basketball boasts.
And they’re quirky — which is about the nicest thing you can say about the clip of Kevin Millar getting his groove on that’s played during a late-inning rally at Fenway, or the ‘Cowboy Up’ slogan that’s got ten-gallon hats littering the stands now. But at least they’re trying — they even shaved their heads like some college hoops squad or fraternity pledge class trying to show solidarity. Like ’em or not, they’ve got personality.
Florida Marlins — To me, these guys are the real underdogs this year. Sure, the Cubs — or possibly the Red Sox — hold that distinction historically, but these guys were left for dead at midseason. There were too many good teams in the National League for the Marlins — who didn’t win even half their games last year — to squeak into the playoffs. But squeak they did, and then they roared, as they knocked off the San Francisco Giants. Plus, they’re fun to watch. They have tremendous speed, stealing more bases than any team in baseball this year. There’s always a hit-and-run or a double steal, or a runner scoring all the way from first. It’s exciting, risky, and nerve-wracking. What’s not to like?
Chicago Cubs — Now, certainly, I have to concede the historical aspect. The Cubs are the ‘lovable losers’ that makes them attractive to a lot of people. And Wrigley Field is practically a shrine; I’ve watched a game there, and it truly is spectacular. I’ll even admit that Mark Prior and Kerry Wood are fun to watch, and have electric ‘stuff’.
(Not ‘junk’, ’cause I don’t know about that. ‘Stuff‘ is what we’re talking about here. Keep your mind out of the gutter.)
But what about the days when they’re not pitching? What about the team as a whole? What kind of vibe do they give off?
Well, as far as I can tell — none, really. Sure, there’s Sammy. Everybody loves Sammy, though his halo did get a bit tarnished with that whole corked-bat fiasco earlier this year. But he’s still an icon; no denying that. To me, though, the essence of a team is not the star power of their big player or two — the Braves to me aren’t Greg Maddux and Chipper Jones; those guys are sort of ‘givens’, who’ll produce more often than not and quietly go about their business. The Braves are cannon-armed Rafael Furcal, and scrappy Marcus Giles, and enigmatic Andruw Jones. Similarly, the Mets aren’t all about Mike Piazza. The really interesting players are the fringe guys — Joe McEwing and Ty Wigginton and Jae Weong Seo. The up-and-coming stars, or the guys fighting to stick around another year, or the players who’ve found their niche, and are working day and night to perfect it.
And that’s where I get nothing from the Cubs. Once you get past Wood and Sosa (the superstars) and Prior (one legitimate phenom), what’s left? A bunch of castoffs and spare parts from other teams, as far as I can tell. A bunch of has-beens and barely-wases that nobody else wanted. And maybe that’s enough for a lot of folks — they’re the ‘hodgepodge kids’, scrapping their way into the playoffs. For me, though, it’s just not that interesting. I’ve watched Eric Karros hit .280 for ten years with the Dodgers, and Doug Glanville hit .260 for five with the Phillies. Grudzielanek, Miller, Remlinger, Lofton, Ramirez and Simon — all of these guys, and others, have just been glommed onto the team, stuck to Sammy and Kerry and made to fit.
See, if the Cubs are all about history and tradition, then I’m just not seeing very much of that in their current lineup. I had a whole different opinion of them, back in the day. Mark Grace and Shawon Dunston abd Ryne Sandberg — now those were Cubs! They were steeped in the waters of Cubbiehood, and soaked it all up and asked for more. Those were ‘lovable losers’ I could root for. These Rent-a-Cubs just aren’t the same. Most of them have never even spent one miserable offseason wishing their Cubs could have made the playoffs; what the hell kind of Cubbies are those?
So, I’m sticking with the Red Sox all the way. And if they lose, I’m picking the Marlins. The Yankees can go sit on pointy sticks, and I just can’t get into the Cubs. Everybody else seems to be able to, but not me. I like to think that I take a deeper look at important issues like these, a more cerebral approach. A reasoned approach.
Yeah, you’re right. It’s pretty much just sour grapes. Damn those Cubbies!Permalink | 2 Comments