There But for the God of Grace

This article is the greatest thing that’s ever happened to me.  Every time someone asks me why I hate Cubs fans so much, I’m just going to send them a link to it.  It’s a perfect encapsulation of their moronic faith in a team that has achieved the status of empire by relying on the fans not giving a shit if they win or lose.  Let’s watch!

When I was a reporter for the Washington Post, I was known as the “guy in the Cubs hat.”

Ha ha, no, that’s not what you were known as.  That’s just what they called you when you were listening.

If he can do for Chicago what he did for Boston, it will be great for him personally.

And here’s where he explains why it wouldn’t be good for the Cubs to win two World Series.  He doesn’t?  Oh, okay, fine.  I’ll just make up my own reasons.  (Also:  note typical Cubs fan use of “Chicago”, as if there were no other team in the city.  Say, one that won a championship in the last decade.  Or century.)

A major part of the headline will be: “Epstein leads Red Sox and Cubs to World Series victories.”

That’s just part of the headline?  Pretty fucking big headline.

But after everything Cubs fans have been through, that’s not good enough for me.

I call upon you to contemplate the kind of mind for whom two World Series in eight years is not good enough, but no World Series in one hundred and three years has been perfectly acceptable.

And what about if the Cubs don’t win it all?

BOY YEAH WHAT IF THAT HAPPENED!  Can you imagine!

When I was covering the inaugural season of the Washington Nationals in 2005, I ran into Mark Grace and asked him what was so special about playing for the Cubs.

Ironclad rule of sportswriting:  anytime you write something about why the Cubbies are “special” instead of “historically awful”, you must include a quote from Mark ‘Slumpbuster‘ Grace, the biggest douchebag to ever wear their uniform.

“I played on some bad teams,” Grace said. “But if you gave the fans an honest effort and busted your butt, they loved you win or lose. And it’s not that way everywhere.”

True! In most places, fans do not love it when you lose.

Sadly, it’s not that way in Chicago anymore either.

Yes, sadly, in Chicago — or, rather, the part of Chicago that does not enjoy winning ballgames — the team has transformed from a good old hardworking team of shitty scrubs who lose at baseball in the same way their incompetent, useless forefathers did into a soulless conglomerate of billionaires who lose at baseball like computers or robots or some other kind of machine that has been programmed to lose.

Several years ago, I was at a game with a few buddies. The Cubs had already started to change. Instead of trying to win through a solid farm system, scouting, and patience (see Texas, Tampa Bay, and Epstein’s Red Sox), they started going after high-priced free agents like Alfonso Soriano and big-name managers like Lou Piniella. The team had one of the top payrolls in the league, but it wasn’t translating into victories.

Our brave hero longs for the day when the Cubs would lose by developing a crackerjack farm system, and then systematically ruining its players through mismanagement, overuse, waste, and incompetence. Not like today, when they lose by spending lots of money on proven talent, and then ruining them in similar, but somehow frustratingly different, ways!

That’s when I heard it. I’ve been to literally hundreds of games at Wrigley Field, but never heard this sound before.

The P.A. announcing a Cubs win? Ha, ha, no, I kid because I love, idiot Cubs fans.

“What is that?” I asked my friend. “Boos,” he answered.

“That can’t be it,” I said. “I’ve heard booze tons of times. The siren song of shitty watered-down domestic beer calls to me every time I force myself to sit through another loss in this urine-reeking graveyard of joy.” But he soon explained to me my mistake.

And that’s the first time I realized the Cubs were changing. Wrigley Field used to be a place to be part of something unique. There was honor to being a Cubs fan.

Is that what you call it.

We might not have been rewarded by World Series victories, but what we got was more valuable. We got optimism. And perseverance.

This is like those contemptible schmucks who defend some lamestain $5 million second baseman with a .502 OPS and hands made of Japanese porcelain by saying he’s got “heart” or “guts” or “intangibles” or some other shitmouth excuse for not benching a guy who’s costing the team ten games a season.

We believed that even though the Cubs didn’t win this year, maybe they would next year.

Or maybe they would the year after that. Or maybe one of the subsequent 100 fucking years.

And that was enough to keep us going.

And that is why the owners will never, ever bring you a championship. Because they know you don’t care.

The team might wear the same uniform and live in the same house, but its essence is totally different.

It has been sapped and impurified by a Communist plot to introduce fluoride into children’s ice cream.

And so is that of its fans: Look what happened to Bartman.

Like 99% of everything ever said by a Cubs fan about Steve Bartman, this makes no sense whatsoever. I would consider asking the writer to explain the comment, but I don’t believe it would be to anyone’s benefit.

Yes, Epstein led the Red Sox to two world championships, but now the city is totally turning on the team because they didn’t win “this” year. I don’t want that for my team. A championship’s not worth it.

I would much prefer another century of utter futility, as long as it doesn’t result in anyone ever being asked to account for their inability to do their job in a measurable meritocracy with absolute statistical benchmarks of success. Endless failure is a small price to pay for not ever having to learn anything.

The Cubs don’t always need to chase the biggest name. Instead, let’s do what the Red Sox did. They gave a local guy a shot. Epstein was personally invested in the team and delivered. It worked because he was one of them. Same as Nolan Ryan in Texas.

The writer seems to be implying that he would like someone to run the Cubs who is from the Chicago area and has a background with the team, but I can’t imagine who he might be talking about. Gary Gaetti? Jim Sundberg? The revivified corpse of Lou Boudreau? (Not that selecting a Ray Harryhausen animated skeleton to lead the team would be the worst move the Cubs ever made.) He probably means some painted clownfish of an ‘honorary Chicagoan’ like Sammy fucking Sosa.

And you don’t always need a homegrown guy.

Oh, I see. You couldn’t think of anybody either.

Of course my buddies think I’m nuts (and a few other things I can’t print). They say, “I don’t care how we do it, I just want to finally win.”

I think his buddies must be fans of a different team.

But if I’ve waited this long, invested this much, I want more.

More than what, you point-deficient cretin? Gaaah. Wrigley Field is choked with fog-headed dullards like this every day of the season.

So if you want to root for Theo Epstein to make it to the Hall of Fame, go for it. As for me, I’m rooting to get my team back.

This is like those Tea Party dolts who want to “take the country back”. Back from who? The new shitty owners? The old shitty owners? The other fans? Back to what? Losing? Because as far as I can see, you’re still in full possession of that.

So that when the Cubs do eventually win — and I know they will one of these years — the championship will honor all the Cubs fans who have rooted for them throughout the last 100 years, not a GM from Boston.

You just keep waiting for the day when your imaginary championships have cleared the hurdle of not being honor-y enough, pal. The rest of baseball will go about trying to win in more traditional, non-hallucinatory ways.

Gary Karton is a speechwriter in Washington, D.C.

And a chump wherever he goes.

2 SHOTS LICKED so far.

  1. Andy Axel
    10/26/2011 at 9:57 AM

    And some of my Cub-lovin’ brethren have wondered aloud why I’ve switched loyalties to English Premier League football.

  2. Mike Woltz
    10/28/2011 at 7:04 PM

    Pretty tough critique… I understand what Karton is saying as a fan of another essence filled city with a history of losing, The Buffalo Bills. I also get how hard it is to relate to a guy who is bad mouthing the possibility of winning based on principal. However, you gotta respect the purity of Karton’s thought and point which you don’t sseem smart enough to get. Which is that the teams, his teams, style or “essence” is so a part of him and his childhood that it means more to him than a win. The Cubs are defined more than by their record, their defined by their approach, their integrity, their soul. Karton (obviously) grew up valuing those parts of the Cubs more than any other part of the team and seems nostalgic and sad to see it going…

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