It was Wednesday, June 17th. Soriano, a $17m/year player has a batting average of .225. We’re not even close to first place. The Brewers swept the White Sox when they played them, and here we are, already having lost a game 4-1 against the miserable South-siders at home none the less, both teams desperately needing wins. I take it with a grain of salt. Last year the Cubs were in first place nearly the entire season, and look what de-railed in the end? (And trust me who wants to go down that memory lane again?) So do I get angry that we haven’t been hitting like we should, or that we’ve been ridden with injuries in May or that perhaps our star player shouldn’t be first in the batting order with a batting average under .300? Should I compare it to Jeter, whose current batting average isn’t that great either and his price tag is even higher than Soriano’s? I don’t know what to think. All I know is that I’m **********. (MLB will block out swear words so insert here).
To make it worse, the usual anti-Cub fans post comments to my facebook page about how I should be used to this madness by now. Whatever. The Cubs are like Chicago weather. You never ever know what you are going to get, and that is an under-statement. So I consult with my friends back in Chicago, what the hell is going on? Is it good that we aren’t so cocky this season and so ahead at this point in the season so we don’t repeat last year? I’ve never been stunted like this with the Cubs. I’m ********** but I have no idea what to think about the road ahead.
Then, when all else fails - it happens. June 18th, last game in the series against the White Sox at home. The Cubs do this once or twice per season, sometimes more if we’re lucky. Any die-hard fan can relate. It’s this beautiful, 9th inning, 2 outs, 2 strikes against your team moment, when an RBI or HR occurs that defines moments in baseball where you truly understand why you love the game, why you love your team. Soriano hits an RBI to center field to get Reed Johnson home in the 9th inning against our biggest rival White Sox to win the game 6-5. And instantly my faith is restored. It’s the magical moments we forget about, the experiences and games where the Cubs bring you unbelievable happiness – when anything is possible.
I know our standings. (Yes Brewers fans back in WIS, I am fully aware of where you stand in the Central Division, you do NOT have to remind me). I know it’s only June…well middle of June. And I know anything, and everything can change in baseball, with one injury, with one series..anything. I’m still taking this season game by game, series by series. And I will continue to take the abuse from the LA natives, and numerous anti-Cubs fans who just don’t understand believing in a team no matter what. They can piss me off, but I will always believe in them. GO CUBS!
We never really think about it until they make us mad by something they say during a game, but as I sit here in my LA apartment, watching my beloved Cubs on WGN, I can’t help but be thankful for Len and Bob. Just hearing their familiar voices makes me feel closer to my team, and everyone who is a die-hard for a team knows their announcers and could probably recognize their voices anywhere. This entry is dedicated to the Cubs WGN broadcasters, who not only have given me a shout out twice on TV, but help me to feel as though I’m not really 1700 miles away from Wrigleyfield.
In June of 2008, I was watching the Cubs during the 7th inning on WGN, and it was a pretty hot day southern Cali, and the Cubs were winning at home. I remember exactly what I was doing when it happened. I got up to make some iced tea and I hear Len say, “we want to give a special shout out to a huge Cubs fan in Marina Del Rey, Jessica Nelson who is watching the Cubs right now out in California.” I literally almost dropped my iced tea and wanted to smack myself in the head for not DVRing the game to play it back. My phone immediately rang..first it was my Dad back in WIS, who said “holy crap did they just give you a shout out?!” My Dad, an attorney who’s law firm has MLB for a client and who used to have Bud Selig as an active partner in the firm, was shocked. My Dad’s dream was to be a broadcaster, and like him I share that dream of just being able to do it once. Unfortunately I tried out for ESPN in 2003 with Stuart Scott (ok I didn’t TRY out but I was in the booth at the NFL Experience at 6am and did a mini-try out) and I was told to either not be so hungover for it or not to quit my day job. Ha. At any rate I di-gress. My Dad was impressed with the shout out..and so was I, not to have bragging rights to my friends, but because it was an effort made by my good friend Brian in the Cubs office to have them give me a shout out because he KNEW I’d be watching, and he knew that I missed the Cubs terribly. He didn’t even make sure I’d be watching that day, he simply knew. Next came a few phone calls from back in Chitown who were watching the game who couldn’t believe it. Then came the call from my friend Brian from the Cubs..and I was so thankful and appreciative, because it showed me that the Cubs do care about their fans. In that very moment I felt close to Len and Bob – now I know they give shout outs all the time, but it made ME feel special.
And so as I sit here on Mother’s Day, I am feeling a tad homesick, and the familiar voice of Len and Bob is making me feel at peace and some pure enjoyment on a lazy Sunday afternoon. With out them I would have no connection to the Cubs. There’s something that could be said about watching baseball in the summer on TV, and hearing the announcers make the play by plays and comment on various player stats, injuries and performances. It’s what makes baseball…baseball. There’s a certain ambience and feeling when you are listening to these guys…it really defines what baseball is all about. With out the broadcasters, baseball wouldn’t be baseball.
Look at Haray Caray – he’s a legend, and he always will be. And look at Ron Santo, although he tends to miss some plays on the radio or gets behind (sorry Ron), you still have to love him, and identify with him. He keeps us connected..they all do. I remember Chip and Steve with fondness, and honestly am still sad that they both left several years ago. Steve Stone loved the city of Chicago from what I could tell, and I am a pretty firm believer that Len and Bob truly enjoy the Cubs, Chicago and the fans.
It’s days like these where I’m thankful for you both, Len and Bob who just made me feel like I was able to watch my Cubbies in person, and am supporting them and feeling every play. Oh, and they WON. GO CUBS!
Thank you Len and Bob!
Everytime I make a comment on Twitter, Facebook, Myspace..whatever about the Cubs about ANYTHING I get 90% Cubs haters coming back at me with the “loveable losers,” “you’ll never win,” “you are cursed,” “all the Cubs care about is money” blah blah blah. Well this blog is about the Cubs, win, lose, love em, leave em. So I decided to devote one entry to all of the Cubs haters out there. America is all about freedom of expression and believing in what YOU believe and not being judged, so I here by dedicate this entry to Cubs haters everywhere. I ask you to do only one thing when you reply back: Tell me, WHY do you hate the Cubs so much? I’ve given you a list below of various reasons I’ve heard through out the years, but if you have your own hater story, by all means fill in the blank. I still don’t get why the Cubs are hated so much, we’re not the YANKEES for goodness sakes. Is it our players? Our fans? Our management? Inquiring minds want to know. Please share, and be as mean or nasty as you want – after all, I asked for it.
By the way there is a method to my madness. I will have a response to everyone who replies, and I will post to your own blog and promote you, just make some sense or rationale behind your hatred behind the Cubs when you post.
Here’s a list to get you started, you can add on to each bullet or enter in your own:
Why do so many hate the Cubs? Is it because…
1. They get more media attention than most teams (that’s a fact)
2. They have the 3rd highest paying salary in baseball?
3. They make excuses for not winning and blame it on fans like Bartman, a black cat, a goat or whatever other curse they think they have?
4. They pack in every home game, and most away games season after season, win or lose no matter what?
5. The fans are so die-hard it pisses you off that they just won’t quit?
6. The owners seem to care more about money than a championship or so it appears?
7. You love to kick a team when they’re down so it’s easy to hate on them?
8. You know as a Cubs hater, deep down in that dark heart of yours that if they do win it all that it will be the biggest thing in sports history, probably ever to this point and that pisses you off?
9. You can’t get tickets to the game or you’ve never been to Wrigley so don’t even GET it?
10. You dated a Cubs fan who broke your heart once?
11. You just don’t get the movie Fever Pitch and understand what it’s truly like to love the game of baseball and love your team?
12. I can’t think of anymore….I am sure you Cubs haters can.
How many die-hard fans don’t live in the city where our favorite team plays? I know there has to be thousands of us out there….aimlessly logging on to MLB.com to get status of our team, trying to figure out what time they play if we’re in different time zones. It’s like juggling a long distance relationship that you know will never end unless you compromise and move to them.
I lived in Chicago for 10 years and was blessed by the Red Line train to Wrigleyfield after a day’s work, to catch a night game, then go home slightly tipsy and catch another day at work and do it all over again. I was so spoiled living in that city and being able to go see the Cubs anytime at home. I remember when it would be around 3:00 on a Tuesday, the Cubs playing at home at 7:05pm, and I’d say to my other Cubs game soul mate Lissette – “hey…should we go to the game?” And it would be as easy as that. We’d finish up work, catch the El at 6:00pm and have a beer in our hands by the time the national anthem was sung. And the best part about living in the same city your team is – seeing it live, seeing the plays, the memorable wins, losses and inning by inning biting on your nails tied games that would end in celebration..hopefully. The best part – talking about seeing Derek Lee hit a grand slam to the bleachers against the White Sox, when he just stepped off the bench in ’07. Or seeing Aramis hit an HR to sweep the Brewers. There’s nothing like being there to see it, to live it, and to talk about it for days, weeks, even years after.
And now it’s all changed for me. I’m still struggling with my new routine and how to be a die-hard Cubs fan. There is no doubt I’m still a die-hard fan, but it’s just more difficult. I live in LA, 1700 miles away from Wrigleyfield. I’m 2 hours behind Chicago. They usually are playing when I’m at work. And unless they are on WGN I can’t see them on TV because of course they show the Dodgers here. And so I have to get MLB TV, which is fine….it’s just not being able to easily see them. To hear that they played an amazing 9th inning at home and hear about it at 5:00pm while I’m at work from a friend back in Chicago. Knowing I missed a great play, a great win, or just plainly…a great day at Wrigley.
Even worse is living in a city that isn’t sports minded, well except for the NBA really. In Chicago any sports bar would be playing the Cubs, even one on the Southside. Now I have to call ahead to see if they’ll show it on even on TV.
I know I chose to leave the windy city for a better job, better weather and well….a better lifestyle here in Cali by my opinion. But it’s often frustrating, and depressing for me to love them from so far away. Long distance relationships don’t often last, but this one is a bit different.
Coming back for home opener made me realize how much I still love my Cubs. And they won, for me I believe. My only hope is that like Haray Caray, I am forever there in spirit at the game, if not physically able to be there.
This entry is for all of those die-hard fans who share long distance relationships with their own teams like I do. Here’s to hoping that I’ll be back in Chicago in October…maybe, just maybe watching them win a WS.
I’m still waiting on pictures from friends, but thought I’d recap as it’s been over 24 hours since the long-awaited Cubs home opener. Let’s set the scene, shall we?
8:30AM: Breakfast at Nookies in the Gold Coast, fueling up for a cold game, including eggwhite omelette, green tea and watching the streets outside as it slowly starts to drizzle.
9:15AM: Last minute stop to Target because James forgot his cold weather tights under his jeans (and yes, it was THAT cold). We run aimlessly through Target and realize that their winter clothes are no longer out. Um…WHAT? Oh well, James will have to freeze…didn’t he prepare for this day previously? Lesson learned.
10:20AM: Hailing a cab from Lakeview to head to the field. The cab driver doesn’t know where Wrigleyfield is. UM….did he just move to this country?
10:30AM: Hugs given all around to the ever-loyal Cubs ticketing office, a quick catching up conversation and we head back out into the now pouring rain, which inevitably indicated a rain delay.
11:00AM: A cold Bud Lite at the famous Cubby Bear, but the music sucks and we’re not into it. James makes me slam my beer (not a fan of that) and we head back out into the now very pouring rain. Gross.
11:15AM: Sluggers baby. A hug to the manager Zack, and traditional season veteran bartenders Allie and David and head back to our saved table with our usual die-hard Cubs friends, to toast to another season. Oooh now we can drink hard liquor. That weird sensation comes over us from drinking during the day…it’s light out and we have a buzz. Always weird.
12:30AM: Slow down on the drinking, we have a long day ahead of us. Game now starts at 2pm. Tabs to close, rain gear to put on, and bathroom stops to make before we leave. It’s still raining.
2:00PM: The song “Jump” by Van Halen fills the packed stadium and rain covered seats as our beloved Cubbies run onto the field. It’s raining slightly and the wind has picked up off of the lake, but we’re prepared. My butt is wet, shoes soaked and any hope of looking good is now diminished with my semi-wet hair. And as you can see from the picture above, it’s a PACKED stadium, wind, snow, rain WHATEVER we are always there.
2nd inning: Cubs get on the scoreboard and the rain turns into a slight drizzle. The wind dies down and it’s not so cold. Wait, is that the liquor talking or did it really warm up?
4th inning: Doh! And the Cubs get 2 runs…ha ha ha. Bathroom break necessary. By the way our seats are 129, 3rd base line, 6 rows up.
6th inning: Lillly nearly has a no-hitter, but then the inevitable happens and some ******* from the Rockies gets a base hit. We cheer Lilly off of the field right before top of 7. I could have sworn Mark Grace sang the 7th inning stretch, but I’m still not sure.
Not sure what inning this was, but the Rockies manager gets ejected from the game. Ha ha ha.
After getting soaked for over 7 innings our clan had to make its way back to Sluggers to watch the game in the warmth and dry seats with some fresh brew. We celebrate by singing “Go Cubs Go” after the top of the 9th, beating CO 4-0 and continue to party.
10:00PM Butch Maguire’s eating dinner. I’m so tired I can’t even see. How did I used to do this for every single Cubs game anyways? I look in the mirror and things aren’t looking too well. It’s time to call it a day. Hail a cab, back to Greektown and pass out with a smile because my Cubbies won home opener, and I flew 1700 miles to see them do it.
Even if you couldn’t watch your team live or had to be at work (my Cubbies played at 4pm my time so had to watch on MLB.com) you could still feel the utter excitement and chills as the MLB season got underway. What happened today?
The Yankees got a little clobbered, the Dodgers won (arrrggh), White Sox get canceled due to the typical Chicago spring-time weather, the Marlins clobber in their first game and hello the Cubbies hit a home run on the first pitch of the game against Houston. Oh what a beautiful start Soriano.
And the Cubs home opener is in 6 days. SIX DAYS. My little Cubby blue a*s will be on a plane on Easter Sunday, and my alarm will go off sharply at 7am on Monday. I’ll be proudly wearing my Cubby blue, flask in hand, breakfast at Nookie’s to get some fuel and a stop by the Wrigley office to get my tickets before heading to Sluggers to say hi to the crew. There is NOTHING like your own home opener..NOTHING.
I will still stick to my ever faithful one game at a time rule this season, and this time. Cubs WIN 4-2. That’s my boys!
Anyone read the article on MLB.com asking fans whether or not they think this is the year for the Cubs?
The most interesting part of the article was reading that Cubs fans, for once, seem to be cautious, yet optimistic. Sure there are still those bitter fans, licking their wounds from seasons passed, but like all good Cubs fans; we forgive. After reading this article it ocurred to me that what was said about Cubs fans is true. No matter how much other MLB fans love to call us the loveable losers; we’re still faithful. It’s that loyalty and die-hard ability to love in the best and worst times that makes us truly great. Sure we get angry when the Cubs let us down, and it hurts, it hurts deep down and seeps into every Cubby blue vein in our bodies. It sounds dramatic, but that’s who we are.
I know every fan of every team thinks they have the best fans around, but considering everything we’ve been through, every trial, every tribulation (curses, Cubs haters, sweeps in the playoffs, injured players, bad trades..ahem DeRosa), we’re still here. We have lyrical souls, to quote Drew Barrymore from the movie “Fever Pitch,” we can “love under the best and worst conditions.”
On opening day, the stands will be filled with the ever faithful Cubby fan, with that butterfly of excitement that can only be experienced by a new season, a new start. And this season, unlike any other season, perhaps we’ve been humbled, thus becoming more realistic about our team. I think I like this new found Cubs fan faith, it’s renewed, re-vived, healthier.
I’m neither a pessimist this season nor an optimist. I choose to feel the ride and enjoy the excitement, whatever may be. I will bask in the knowledge that no one on this earth can ever take away my love for the Cubs or what they’ve brought me over the years, whether it was utter pain or sheer happiness. And win or lose, THAT my friends is what makes a true baseball fan.
12 days to Cubs home opener. GO CUBS GO!
Ok so last year is over. We didn’t have the dream sports story of winning it all in 100 years. After all, worlds would collide, hell would freeze over and goats everywhere would, well get free tickets to attend a Cubs game at Wrigley if that had happened…ok well who knows what would have happened. We’ll never know because it didn’t happen. And as we draw closer to yet another season, another home opener at Wrigley (2 weeks away to be exact), do we even tease ourselves with asking that forever loathed, dreaded, nerve-wracking question – is this THE year? My thoughts are below, but please tell me what you think, even if you are a Cubs-hater, all baseball lovers’ opinions count!
Is this the Cubs year?
I don’t know.
And I’m sticking to it.
My rationale, is simple and to the point. We all need to get over it, get over all of it. The curses, the bad bats, the injuries, the Cubs haters – everything! If the Cubs were meant to win the World Series, it’s going to happen, and it won’t matter if they have the best record in baseball in October (we all know that didn’t help us before) or if a black cat runs around the bases and attacks Milton Bradley in the outfield this season. It doesn’t matter if some crazed obsessed fan tries to catch a foul ball or if we bring in a herd of goats to run freely on the newly manicured Wrigley grass. It doesn’t matter if we bring the Pope onto the field to bless it before the home opener (ok but that coudn’t hurt mind you). It doesn’t matter that it’s been 101 years or how close we’ve gotten before. It simply doesn’t matter. No curse, no Cubs hating fan is going to stop the Cubs from doing anything, whether it’s winning or losing. They are going to do what they are MEANT to do this season. If it’s win it all, then it will be 101 years, and it will still be just as special as if it were 100.
I am going to take this season one game at a time, one series at a time, I will not look at October until, well…October – period. So, the answer to the question – is this THE year for the Cubs? I won’t have that answer until after the season is over. I won’t know even if it’s the 7th game of the World Series and the Cubs are up by 12 runs in the top of the 9th. I still won’t know. Maybe this season for a Cubs fan will mean what it’s supposed to - actually not hoping that this is the year that ends the endless drought of heartbreaks, utter sadness and “in your face” to every single Cubs hater and doubter. This season will mean remembering what it’s like to be a Cubs fan, to be a baseball fan. To go back to why we became Cubs fans in the first place, whether it was the ambience of Wrigleyfield as it whispers to you in the summer breeze or the fans during the 7th inning stretch. Or it was that one player that you became attached to that brought you to truly love the game and the Cubs, or remembering the first time you stepped foot in Wrigley and who you shared it with. That’s what this season is all about.
It’s time for baseball baby, and what a long, glorious season it will be. GO CUBS!
April 13th is the Cubs home opener against the Rockies. Same date for the Dodgers against the Giants. I only know that because a guy I used to date loves the Dodgers. You can see why that didn’t last.
What does 27 days to home opener mean? It’s the first round of preparation for me. Of couse it takes a bit more for me because I am flying 1700 miles to see my beloved team open up at home. Every die-hard fan around this country prepares for their team’s home opener. Here’s my first round of preparation, or what I recommend others do. Feel free to add things I’ve missed. Praying, building up a tolerance, watching last year’s season over again (are you kidding me?! Well at least not the playoffs..):
At less than a month before home opener here is what you should be doing:
- if you don’t have your plane ticket booked (if you have to take a plane) you are pretty SOL at this point. Find a friend with a private jet. Or ask the heads of the finance companies to use theirs. They don’t seem to mind using them for whatever reason.
- you should start to plan your home opener day out strategically; best bet is a hearty breakfast if it’s an all day drink-a-thon in semi-winter weather (i.e. Chicago/Boston/Milwaukee/St.Louis). It’s important to get nutrients in. Trust me..we’ve all made that brutal mistake before. Ok at least I have.
- Try to locate your flask if you don’t partake in the beer vendors at the park. I myself just moved and need to find my Playboy bunny flask to sneak my Captain Morgan in.
- Start thinking about who you really want to spend pre-game with and post-game. This is important as you are in an entirely different state of mind for these two time periods.Pre-game = excitement, sobriety, happiness. Post-game can mean excitement, happiness…maybe not sobiety but it can also mean anger, being cold to the bone from sitting in freezing weather, or sad if your team loses…well usually that’s anger or just annoyance this early into the season. Be careful you hang out with those who understand your many changing moods in the pre/post state of a home opener game.
- Already know who you are going to the game with. This is ESSENTIAL. Very important. On home opener it is CRUCIAL that you only bring experienced baseball home openers, and ones who love the game. You can hang out with non-experienced home opener people pre and post game, but AT the game is an entirely different situation. First of all, pick someone who understands that going to the bathroom really isn’t important, either that or they only have to go when you do. Standing in line for some specialty item like pizza or nachos is a waste of time. Buy whatever the vendors are selling. Compromise and get a hotdog, pretzel or a bag of peanut. Someone who knows how to dress, and is as prepared as you are. One time I brought my dear friend Rayne (bless her heart) who wore designer heels to the opener when it was about 25 degrees. She’s a White Sox fan who can’t name one player on her team..go figure.
- Start thinking about wardrobe. I know, it’s still 4 weeks away, but if you are attending in a climate like I am where you don’t know if it will be a warm front of 65 degrees or a blizzard with -2 windchill, you’ve got to start thinking about it. Should I wear my Cubs jersey or Cubs scarf and layered jacket? Do I bring them all? It’s a tough call, best saved for the night before the game. In my case I’ll have to just put everything in my suitcase to be fully prepared. This is the time when you usually order something new from your team website. It’s a new season..to heck with that lucky Cubs shirt you wore last year (yeah a lot of good mine did me).
- Where will we have pre-game at? Do we plant ourselves in one location or are we going bar hopping? Essential to plan this out now because meeting your friends out can be a pain when you aren’t staying in one place for more than one drink. Start mapping out your home opener trail. In my case do we start on Clark and Addison post-game and work our way north to the Gold Coast or towards downtown bars? It’s a tough call.
- Last, but not least, probably the most important. Keep on eye on your team at spring training. What’s the mood? Is there a feeling you get from your team right now? Do they seem excited? Are they winning? Are they getting along? Get to know your new roster, it’s like going to a family reunion on home opener. You haven’t seen them in awhile and you want to catch up a little before you actually see them in action on the field. What are the new ones like? Any history you need to know about before you immediately welcome them in with open arms (i.e. Milton Bradley)?
Once you’ve accomplished these tasks for preparation, you are ready for the 2 week countdown (list #2) which will have a whole other set of preparation guidelines, This is my bible for a perfect home opener day. Learn it love it and most of all, have fun. It’s baseball season baby!
Some day I’ll be able to erase these pictures because we will win it all.
I hate the Dodgers….
2003…2007…2008…anytime we made the playoffs this is us post-season…oh except for 1908.
W T F is a black cat doing in a ballpark?! I still never got this…