I talked to an old Chicago friend last week and he asked if I was enjoying the sudden surge of the second place Cubs.
Yes, those same Cubs who kept helpless fans like myself on a treadmill of despair for the last half century!
Actually, I was three years old when they last appeared in the World Series. Of course, I didn’t catch them on TV back then, simply because there were no TVs!
I can’t even remember my dad cheering them on while listening to the big radio in the parlor. The same one that I listened to The Lone Ranger on several years later.
However, eventually my unsuspecting mind was captured by crazed Cub fans in my family …and it stuck for more years than I care to remember.
I eventually grew up on weekends in the Wrigley Field bleachers. It must have been the ivy, and the 60-cent admission that attracted me because it sure wasn’t the ballplayers. Of course, there were a few names I remember shouting at from deep right field. Hank Sauer comes to mind, and of course Ernie Banks. Mr. “It’s a great day for a ballgame ...Let’s play two!”
The problem always was the same. Bright sunshine, blue sky, warm breeze. great popcorn …and another loss!
Surprisingly, many disillusioned souls like myself carried that loyalty into manhood, and fortunately somehow managed to find a wife with the same illness, although Jane and I somehow managed to prevent our daughters from following in our fantasy-filled footsteps.
Then, 25 years ago, we moved to Brewer land and began to see Major League baseball as it was meant to be played. Why didn’t the Chicago fans ever have their eyes opened like that?
Oh, there are a few local Cub fans in Vernon County, but we never know whether to laugh with them or be a little more realistic and just cry!
Then, last year, I discovered that most of the Brewer games were televised locally and they actually were worth watching most of the time. Of course, it didn’t take very much to excite a brainwashed Cub fan.
However, the TV availability won me over and I actually bought a nice genuine Brewers baseball cap. I didn’t wear it much outside the house because my reputation as a Cubaholic made it seem like I was just joking with the cap.
But, eventually, I made the switch and tossed my Cubs attire, knowing full well that I wouldn’t even be able to give it away at a garage sale!
This year I was officially a Brewer fan as the season started, but, unfortunately I still took an occasional peek at the Cubs’ web site.
Then the earth suddenly started to shake!
Some impostors wearing Cub uniforms, including new manager Joe Maddon, started actually resembling professional ballplayers. They even won a few games, and eventually more than a few as they climbed to second place.
Of course the Wrigley faithful went bonkers and Tribune Broadcasting began wishing they hadn’t dropped WGN-TV’s Cubs telecasts when they transitioned WGN America from a superstation to a general entertainment cable channel.
And guess what team in the same division is off to about the worst start in their history. I doubt if even the Boston Braves had ever done so badly so soon!
The Brewers hired Craig Counsell, a special assistant to General Manager Doug Melvin since his retirement from playing, to manage the team, something he had never done before. Although he was a good infielder at one time, he was apparently much better at playing front office politics.
So, after suffering through years with the Cubs and months with the Brewers, there is only one place to turn. Do you suppose the Badgers could repeat their last season for me?