Baseball Toaster Cub Town
2008-05-28 22:35
by Phil Bencomo

Perspective is a fickle master. It rules supreme, molding every thought and beloved belief. It is the difference between right and wrong, love and hate, and even the subtlest of subtleties in how we see the world. But change one variable, and the perceived world crumbles into a pliable heap that is never quite the same as it was before, be the scale great or small.

Baseball fandom is no different. But when you've spent years reading the same Cub beat writers for the same Chicago papers, and discussing your team with the same Cub fans, perspective loses its malleability.

So my eyes were pulled wide open this week, courtesy of the fine commenters at Dodger Thoughts. A quick skim through the game threads from the Cubs' three games against the Dodgers left me gaping: Do LA fans really see the Cubs that way?

A sampling:

Game One:

Brenly is such an idiot.

Bob Brenly's suck is almost as epic as Joe Morgan.

Brenly certainly isn't the best color commentator in baseball, and he has his irritating quirks (like his tendency to tie everything to his days as manager of the Diamondbacks), but I wouldn't call him awful, and by no means anywhere near the level of badness that is Morgan.

But maybe he is awful. I wish I'd logged somewhere how I initially felt about Brenly in the booth; I fear I've developed a sort of announcer Stockholm syndrome, if outsiders' remarks are so scathing...

is it because the Cubbies are so loveable that their fans seem so clueless

I don't see many ways in which lovability results in cluelessness. If you love something, would you not be more engaged with it, and thus more knowledgeable? I don't deny that many Cub fans are blinded by their love, but just as many see with eyes unclouded.

The Cubs are the best team in the NL. D-Backs are pretty good, but the Cubs will go farther in the playoffs. Barring freakish circumstances, this is their year, finally.
Good timing, too, since Sam Zell wants to sell them.

freakish circumstances. This is the Cubs. They own the all time record for freakish circumstances.

Number one pushes my superstitious line way too far, and will not be receiving comment. I agree wholeheartedly to the second, though.

As painful as the game was, listening to this ridiculous "Go Cubs Go" song is worse.

Steve Goodman fills a special place in the hearts of Cub fans, but to non-fans his Cub songs may indeed sound ridiculous. But that won't change my mind one bit.

Game Two

I hate Derrek Lee. He cant be that good on defense and offense. He and Pujols are ridiculously complete first basemen

It is comments like these that remind why his moniker is The Savior. Lee's play is so consistently superb that we Cub fans have truly become spoiled (what an odd phrase...). When Henry Blanco manned first late in a game over the weekend and couldn't make a difficult scoop, the response was not, "Tough play, nice try," but exasperation: "C'mon! You've got to make those plays!" Particularly on the defensive end, the outstanding has become routine for Lee -- more than enough to draw opposing fans' ire.

Can I ask a question, why is Soto batting behind Edmonds?

This question has no reasonable answer, and only leads to another, far more troubling question: Why is Jim Edmonds in the lineup?

Dude, it's Lou Pinella. I doubt he thinks about much at all.

One word: wrong. See here, for but one example.

Fukudome has only impressed me defensively but maybe it's a lack of knowing the pitchers.

His .406 OBP begs to differ.

What a miserable night spent in miserable weather watching my miserable team surrounded by a bunch of miserable Lincoln Park Trixies whose only interaction with the game was to make fun of my son for crying. God I hate this city and these supposed great fans.

I feel like Cubs fans have embraced their national reputation as drunken louts the same way Boston fans embraced their national reputation as losers with a chip on their shoulder. Both are annoying. sorry about your game experience.

Sigh. This could be an entire post itself. For another day, perhaps...

Game Three

from that camera angle the air in Chicago looks really healthy, I wonder if it's just the camera or what?

The things we take for granted...

Zambrano looks like an anime villain in his Gameday photo.

To which I say, your villain is my hero.

* * * *

There's plenty more for any Cub fan wanting for a shock. A fresh perspective, indeed.

2008-05-28 23:36:05
1.   Bob Timmermann
1. I would have to say that I thought Brenly was a bad color commentator BEFORE he managed the Diamondbacks. And now he mixes in homerism with his poor analysis.

2. Dodger fans can be just as obnoxious as Cub fans in my opinions. It's just a different style. The fans who go to Dodger Stadium, are, in my opinion, some of the worst fans in the world.
But in a different way from Cubs fans. Mainly because it's a lot harder to get as drunk at Dodger Stadium as it is at Wrigley. Mostly because a beer vendor doesn't walk by your seat every three minutes. In fact, a beer vendor will never walk past your seat.

3. Dodger fans were very frustrated by the three game series.

4. I'm a niche hater of fans. I hate Cardinal and Padre fans. And I come from a family of Cardinal fans. With relatives in St. Louis!


2008-05-28 23:38:37
2.   Bob Timmermann
And I have no idea where were two 4s in my list.
2008-05-28 23:48:43
3.   Eric Enders
I made the "Go Cubs Go" comment. I had no idea Steve Goodman wrote that song, and I must say that knowledge has caused my esteem of him to take a big hit. I mean, the guy writes "City of New Orleans," one of the great compositions of modern times. He writes the brilliant "Dying Cubs Fan's Last Request." And then he writes... this? Really? It's akin to discovering that the trashy soft-porn flick showing on Cinemax right now was directed by John Ford.
2008-05-28 23:54:58
4.   Eric Enders
As for Brenly, he's not the worst guy out there by a longshot, but he suffers from the same thing most team broadcasters do: He's utterly, positively, even proudly ignorant of the other team. Once a color analyst gets one of these jobs, he usually views it as an excuse to sit on his ass, do no research whatsoever, and spout forth whatever drivel comes into his head. Since Brenly watches the Cubs every day he's clearly well-informed about them, but most of the stuff that was coming out of his mouth about the Dodgers was utter nonsense, and the words of somebody who clearly hadn't watched L.A. play at all this year or bothered to find out anything about them.

But again, Brenly's hardly unique in this regard. He's better than some guys -- Milwaukee's Bill Schroeder and Colorado's George Frazier, for starters.

I think you'll also find that Dodger fans will be harder on announcers than fans of most teams. When you're used to Vin Scully, everything else seems awful by comparison.

2008-05-29 04:57:08
5.   Josh Wilker
Yeah, Brenly's certainly no Scully, but he makes me chuckle every once in a while. And as far as being a homer, he's miles away from Hawk Harrelson. I'm usually happier, as a baseball fan living in Chicago who's fairly neutral about the city's teams, when the baseball game my non-cable TV throws me is a Cubs and not a White Sox game, the latter always scored by a series of grunts and crowing catch-phrases.
2008-05-29 05:18:00
6.   chris in illinois
1 You kind of stole my thunder. In my experience there is no greater fool than a Cardinal fan. This foolishness extends from Jose Oquendo being taken 4th overall in an early 90's roto league to the overt racism you get to experience in the stands.


2008-05-29 05:22:38
7.   chris in illinois
Wrigley is a great place to catch a game...just don't sit in the bleachers. That particular experience has pretty much been ruined by the drunken frenzy. I haven't been out there in 20 years, but I've caught 100+ games in ten years without an issue in the grandstand (I've seen twice as many games in Wrigley as I have St. Louis, even though I'm much closer to St. Louis---such is my 'love' for all things Cardinal).
2008-05-29 07:46:35
8.   Eyeball Kid
Just to keep going with the perspective theme - I've never had any problems with Cardinal fans. I actually know quite a few and they're all very intelligent about the game and their team. Granted I've never been to a game in St. Louis but it's all a matter of who you meet that shapes your opinion of the fans. Sit in one section of Wrigley and you'll get drunk obnoxious morons who don't know and don't care about the team. In another you'll get real fans who know and love the team. Using general assumptions never really works.
2008-05-29 08:52:23
9.   dbt
#1 Cardinals fans suck a lot.

#3 Steve Goodman was a gigantic Cubs fan and wrote that song on spec for WGN in 1984 -- he died in September '84 (and was spared having to watch them face-plant in SD that year). For more on Steve Goodman and the Cubs, see this video.

2008-05-29 08:55:12
10.   dbt

2008-05-29 09:09:04
11.   Bob Timmermann
Remember, Cardinals fan are The Best Fans in Baseball™.
2008-05-29 09:19:49
12.   Bob Timmermann
I have finally heard a recording of "Go Cubs Go."

I don't see why people would dislike it that much except that it meant that if you weren't a Cubs fan, it meant that your team lost.

Singing songs after a baseball game win is a long tradition in the sport.

2008-05-29 10:30:48
13.   Sandus
I make a big distinction between Cub FANS and Cub game ATTENDEES.

Cub fans:
-Know the players on their team
-Do not drink, or drink sparingly at a game
-Know the rules of baseball
-Are aware of the team's record and location in the standings
-Have knowledge of team history
-Respect visiting fans
-Remember Harry Caray from his broadcasts, not from Will Ferrell's mediocre impression

Cub attendees:
-Are smashed by the second inning
-Think Old Style is a good beer
-Can't name more than one bench player
-Don't follow the team outside of the 5 or 6 games they attend per year
-Can name more Wrigleyville bars than players
-Throw garbage on the field
-Heckle opposing players and fans
-Wear shirts like this:
-Have no idea what the rules of baseball are
-Hate Steve Bartman

I think real fans get a bad reputation because the majority of people who go to games are not real fans. There are many times where I have been embarrassed to be a fan of the Cubs, because I don't want to be lumped in with the beer-guzzling jobless bleacher morons.

Also, I too hate "Go Cubs Go," one of the worst written "songs" I've ever heard.

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