Saturday, June 6, 2009

What does it mean to be a Cubs fan?

On yesterday's episode, Lou and Sheps over at Cubscast had an interesting discussion about one listener's criticism of a disgusted, tirade-filled cast that spilled out into the podcast world earlier in the week.

The fan's criticism in a nutshell was this: I'm tired of listening to you guys whine and rant about the Cubs. That's behavior befitting of Yankee and Red Sox fans. Not Cub fans; we love our team no matter what.

Sheps' response, in essence, was as follows: It's stupid to love a team no matter what. If the Cubs stink, it's your duty to complain, not lead cheers while the players and front office stink up the place.

If you've ever peeked at my Cubs bio, you probably know how I feel about this one. I believe love for the Cubs or any team should be pretty much unconditional. If you stop being a fan when your team stinks, you're a fair-weather fan. I've heard countless people argue against that statement, but they all amount to the same steaming pile of Cardinal. Liking a team only when they're good is the very definition of fair-weather fan.

Plain and simple, I have no respect for fair-weather fans.

That being said, there's a difference between staying true to (or loving, if you want to call it that, Cub lovers) a team and not criticizing a team. There's a middle ground between unconditional fandom and happy-go-lucky idiocy.

When the Cub defense and bullpen conspired to blow Randy Wells' stellar performance and potential 1st career win yet again, I was real angry. We're talking cartoon fumes pouring out the sides of my bright-red face. 

But I'm still loyal, even when I'm not happy with the Cubs. I try to keep a short leash on my complaints about the Cubs because I have nothing else to cheer for. I have no control over who plays, who they trade, how they play, or anything. When the team functions well, I'm happy. When they don't, I'm out of luck. 

Call me an idiot for my blind allegiance, but complaining and booing, for the most part, is the stuff of idiots.

The guy who complains at length usually believes his complaints will have some effect on the decisions Lou and Jim Hendry make. The booing fan seems to think she can alter the performance or somehow erase the existence of the player she's deriding. The person who jumps ship to cheer for another team? Good riddance.

All these people are deluded. Maybe I am too, but at least I'm loyal.

So complain away, boo away, or just go away. But don't kid yourself into thinking that anyone's really listening. I know I'm not.

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