The Cubs fan’s conundrum
It’s the time of year when the schism appears between baseball fans—those with teams in the playoffs cannot wait for the postseason to come, while the rest of us cry bitter tears and tell ourselves that we will indeed have better luck next year. As a Cubs fan, I recently came to grips with the fact that three generations of Cubs fans in my family have been disappointed yet again. And as I continue to feel drained from a season of bleeding Cubbie blue, I realize I have even bigger problems this postseason. And so I look forward to a possible Yankees-Cards World Series with one thought: “Holy cow.”
The teams that have clinched playoff spots this year include the New York Yankees, both teams from Los Angeles—Californians should be proud, since this is quite a rare occurrence—and, of course, the St. Louis Cardinals. Others in the running include the Phillies, the Boston Red Sox and even the Colorado Rockies, which all have a shot at the Wild Card.
With so many teams, I normally would not even consider entering the postseason. My allegiances will be decided by two things: I really don’t want the Cardinals to win. And the Yankees are only slightly better.
About to enter my second Cardinals’ playoff series in four years, I might feel bad about publicly stating my distaste for the Cardinals had I not lived through four years of their heckling. I can feel people stare as I walk down the street in my Fukudome shirt. I am, in effect, living in enemy territory. It only gets worse if the Cardinals win a Cubs-Cards series. But at the same time, if the Cubs win so much as a game, Cardinals fans are quick to retort, “When was the last time you won the World Series?”
Some might say this is what I get for being a Cubs fan. And in all fairness, it works both ways. When the Cubs make it to the playoffs next year (statistically, it has to happen soon), Cardinals fans in Chicago might know what I’m going through.
Regardless, I really hope the Cardinals crash and burn.
While my feelings towards the Cardinals are complex—I do go to school in St. Louis, and I really admire Albert Pujols—my feelings toward the Yankees are very simple. They win too much. Last time I said this, a very adamant Yankees fan whined that the Yankees have not won since 2000. Cry me a river. When a Yankees fan has to wait over a hundred years for a pennant, then we can talk.
Now, I could not care less about the teams from California. I bear them no ill will and, in fact, feel very little about them one way or the other. Which means that this year, I will be cheering for them only slightly less fervently than I would if the Cubs were in the playoffs. The same goes for the Phillies or the Red Sox if they claim a spot. If the Cubs cannot be in the playoffs, I will be extremely happy for my friends from Detroit—again, assuming they make it. All of this extra energy, exerted for a team I really could not care less about.
When your team does not make the playoffs, you don’t have many options. For now, I will cheer for anyone but the Cardinals or the Yankees. And I pray that it does not come down to a Cards-Yankees playoff. Because then you enter the real conundrum: Which team do you cheer for when you really despise both? The only option is to choose the team you hate less.