Friday, May 20, 2011

In Honor of the Chicago Cubs Visting Boston This Weekend

9 Reasons to Hate the Cubs

(Previously published on SlurveMag.com)

9) The Great Chicago Fire: Might as well start from the beginning. The Cubbies painted themselves as losers and quitters almost immediately when they were the Chicago White Stockings at the birth of baseball in 1871. The Great Chicago Fire spread across the Windy City and what did these sad sacks do? They dropped out of baseball until 1874. It took them three years to recover from a little grease fire. While the Boston Red Stockings and the Baltimore Canaries were destroying the competition, these guys were licking their wounds. In fact, while they were away, the Philadelphia White Stockings came and stole their name right from underneath their charred little fingers.


8) Tinker to Evers to Chance: Some whiny New Yorker wrote a cute little poem about the double play combo that always seemed to beat the Giants back in good ole 1910. Well, guess what? Unless it's "Casey at the Bat," all poems stink. Maybe it's this brief verse that cursed the Cubbies. It happens. I have at least five Emily Dickinson poems haunting me. And, while we're at it, what about the "Go, Cubs, Go" tune? This song has been played at Wrigley after every Cubs win since its writer, Steve Goodman, died of leukemia in 1984. That the song sounds a lot like "Willie and the Hand Jive," and about a thousand other songs, is bad enough. But with lyrics like, "Hey, Chicago, what do you say/The Cubs are gonna win today," and "So stamp your feet and clap your hands/Chicago Cubs got the greatest fans," the idea that we'll likely be bombarded by this song if the Cubs ever actually win the World Series is enough for every citizen to pray that it never, ever happens.


7) Babe Ruth's called shot: This famous home run took place in the 1932 World Series with the Yankees the visitors at Wrigley Field. Only a Cub would have even let this happen. How about Cubs hurler Charlie Root maybe drilling the Sultan of Swat right on the noggin after all his hotshot pointing business? I'll bet that's what Dizzy Dean or Carl Hubbell would have done. But, no. Root lobs one right over the plate and Ruth spanks yet another homer, further cementing the Babe as some kind of god. Way to go, Cubbies!


6) Curse of the Billy Goat: Okay, so the Red Sox supposed curse came via the greatest player of all time. The White Sox curse was due to a really cool betting scandal. The Cubs-a goat? Legend has it that some Greek immigrant entered Wrigley during the 1945 World Series with a goat and was asked to vacate the park because his animal stank to high heaven. On the way out he did a little of the voodoo that you do, and the Cubs haven't even made the Series since. The team has tried everything to break this damned curse, including, of course, bringing more goats into Wrigley. According to Sam Sianis, the nephew-in-law of Billy Sianis, the wizard who placed the hex (or maybe it was the goat - who knows?), to break the curse, the organization needs to bring a goat onto the field not for publicity purposes, but because they have a sincere fondness for goats. Great, so now before signing every player, the Cubs have to ask, "Ever fucked a goat?"


5) They refused to realign: Those bastards. When Major League Baseball wanted to realign the teams so that they might make more sense geographically (Atlanta and Cincinnati - in the West?), the Cubs said no fucking way. The "Lovable Losers" told Fay Vincent to put teams in Boise and Cheyenne, Wyoming for all they care. They ain't moving to the stupid Western Division. So what did the MLB have to do? Create a Central Division in each league and make the Majors look like minor league lacrosse.


4) Harry Caray: Everyone knows this joker had the same name as a form of ritual suicide of the samurai, but he was also a bad, bad boy. St. Louis-born Caray was fired by the Cardinals in 1969, allegedly for not only dipping his pen in company ink, but in ink that belonged to the daughter-in-law of team owner August Busch Jr., of Anheuser-Busch fame. Way to go, stupid. This turncoat then went from the Oakland Athletics to the White Sox to, finally, the Cubs in 1981, where he, for some reason, became a legend to the point that a statue of Caray, complete with giant actual-size glasses, stands outside Wrigley Field.


3) Ronnie Woo Woo: Perhaps the only thing more silly that the goat legend is the local celebrity status of Ronnie "Woo Woo" Wickers, who, since the late 50s, has been standing inside and outside Wrigley shouting and making a complete spectacle of himself. He became famous for his chants of, "Cubs, woo! Cubs, woo!" and, overall, for just causing a ruckus. Wickers, a custodian for most of his life, and homeless for part of it, even had a documentary about his life called "WooLife" premiere at the Chicago Historical Society in 2005. Sure, nothing for Mr. T or Chaka Khan, Chicago Historical Society, but let's document every "Woo!" we can.


2) Steve Bartman: For those who ever compared the Cubs' plight to that of the Red Sox , and if the Ruth vs. Billy Goat juxtaposition isn't enough, take a gander at this. While the Sox's woes were highlighted by actual players, such as Johnny Pesky, Bucky Dent and former Cub Bill Buckner, it was a Cubs fan, Steve Bartman, who, in 2003, rained shit on the Cubs parade when they were five outs away from their first World Series since 1945. Bartman interfered with Moises Alou's attempt to catch a foul ball in the eighth inning of a Cubs-Marlins playoff game. What followed was the Marlins scoring eight runs, then going on to win the World Series over the Yankees, and Bartman being Public Enemy #1 in Chicago.


1) The Perfect Strangers opening theme: What better reason to hate this club than the fact that Wrigley Field, and the Cubs-adorned Balki Bartokomous, are prominently displayed throughout the intro music to the horrible situation comedy "Perfect Strangers?" It was during one of the middle seasons of this inexplicably long running sitcom that, while the cheesy, "Standing taaaaalllll!" theme song played, the adorable Greek sheepherder Balki appeared running across a Chicago street with his cousin Larry, all the while wearing a Cubs jersey with suspenders over them, a stupid hat with a bear face on it, and clutching a tiny li'l bat, no doubt with Ryne Sandberg's or Ernie Banks' li'l signature on it, all of which he'll later show to the two blonde, nitwit neighbors the viewers were supposed to believe he and Larry were banging. Ecch! And people ask where all the good sitcoms have gone?

Thus, dear reader, I, for one, will not be rooting for the Cubs anytime soon. It's fun to still have one team that hasn't won anything since Taft was elected. There are, of course, plenty of other reasons to hate them. They traded Lou Brock, for Pete's sake! So, if we, as a nation, can join together and root, root, root for the Cardinals and the Milwaukee Brewers (both of which have ties to America's favorite pastime - beer!), and maybe spill a little goat's blood at Wrigley here and there, or put "Perfect Strangers" back in primetime, whichever is worse, the Cubs will remain "the Lovable Losers," just like Balki, Larry, and John Wayne Gacy.

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