Baseball Toaster Cub Town
Look Back in Anger?
2005-04-29 09:56
by Derek Smart

Every once in a while I'll stroll through the archives of my ancient writing history, just to remind myself of what I was thinking at a particular time, and as luck would have it, I happened across a vitriolic little ditty I scribbled comparing the rivalry with the Cardinals to that with tonight's opponent, the Astros. Here's a bit to chew on:

Falling to the Cardinals is bad, of course, but I can handle it because it's part of the story. The Redbird rivalry is an epic tale, one with victories and setbacks, an ebb and flow over games and seasons that may be painful at times, but feels natural. There is the respect of equals that is part of the combat, a wink shared between old gladiators as if to say, "Good to see you old man. I hate to kill you, but it's my job."

There is none of this in the confrontations with Houston. I noted in my pre-season coverage of the Astros that Craig Biggio strikes me as the quintessential schoolyard bully. This holds for the entire team, but it goes a step further.

The Astros are New Money, but not with the egalitarian sense one sees in movies, a la Trading Places. The Rocket Men do not spend their days breaking down societal barriers, showing the stuffed shirts how empty their lives have been as they sit in their penthouses, trapped in their stratified class system, thinking they're better than the hoi polloi and everyday riff raff.

No, they are New Money as boorish interloper. The Hawaiian shirt at the 21 Club. The loud snore at The Bolshoi. The Ugly American demanding a Diet Coke at the Japanese Tea Ceremony.

I'll admit that in retrospect this might not be entirely fair - perhaps it's even outright inflammatory - but while it may not be an apt description of the team in general, it does accurately reflect my feelings toward the club: I hates 'em.

The emotions are akin to the ones that come up when thinking about the Mets of the mid-eighties to early-nineties. There's a similar swagger and attitude endemic to both teams, and that combined with their success and seeming disdain for those perceived as inferior - a category that invariably included the Cubs - is tailor-made to put my nettle peddle to the metal.

But if things don't change soon for Houston, they may be mirroring those Mets more than they would like. After coming in second in the 1990 NL East with a record that would have earned them a wildcard birth had it existed, they became in successive years a mediocre team, a bad team, and finally, an execrable team, finishing 1993 with their worst record and winning percentage since 1965.

Once this Met decline was in full swing, I found that I no longer felt the ire toward them that I once did. The men who rubbed me the wrong way were no longer there, and even if they had been, the team had become so harmless that the player's demeanors which so enraged me in the past would have been laughable in the present.

Now, as the Astros roster ages, they are in dangerous lockstep with their twins in temperament, and if they don't turn things around - and quickly - I may soon find myself feeling pity for those I used to despise.

But not tonight.

2005-04-29 10:23:58
1.   cubsnerd
I have to admit, I have no idea what you were talking about with your "New Money" rant. But I agree whole heartily with the conclusion.

I'm sure your sentiments would be worse if you, like me, lived in Texas and went to the Astros' games only when the Cubs came to town. I think many of their fans get jealous when they see more Cubs apparel than Astros apparel in the stands, and they take their jealousy out on the Cubs fans by calling us "bandwagon fans" or "cable fans" or some other such canned derogatory label. It usually gets pretty nasty after the games, with a bunch of chest pounding and verbal confrontations. But then I guess some nastiness is expected with a good rivalry.

2005-04-29 11:01:19
2.   Cubdom Byron
I just hate the Astros... I'm with you on that one. When they played the Cards in the NLCS last year, I was actually cheering for the Cards... and that is depressing.

p.s. Derek and Alex, you're doing a great job over here.

2005-04-29 11:16:54
3.   old west
I'm with all of you in your hate for the astros. roy oswalt is the only man who might edge out curt schilling on my most-hated players list. clemens owns a spot near the top as well.

anyone who hasn't seen it should be sure to check out the absurdity that is don't miss the line of bedazzled astros apparel, among other highlights.

2005-04-29 11:34:54
4.   cmat
Oh my. Just went to

This is all a web hoax?



2005-04-29 11:51:46
5.   Derek Smart

I was just glad the butterfly didn't follow my mouse pointer off the site.

2005-04-29 11:55:36
6.   Jason
New Money is a Great Gatsby reference. The book has a theme of old money vs. new money, which applies well to a Cubs/Stros rivalry. Chicago being blue color, built on the blood, sweat and tears of the working class could be seen as old money. Houston full of fat Americans who take advantage of the system and find them selves wealthy overnight and then percieve them selves as the pinnacle of society, could be viewed as new money. That concludes the literature lesson for today.
2005-04-29 12:44:22
7.   old west
the debbie clemens site is totally real. pretty unbelievable.

i think the matchup tonight is the perfect battle of values. old money vs. new money, or red state vs. blue state if you will, although maddux may well be a republican. but he's the stately, quiet "professor," whose intelligence overcomes the decline in his athleticism. enjoys golf
instead of idiotic family mud football photoshoots (as seen in the 'healthy living' section of debbie perfect embodiment of the northern intellectual old school love for baseball.

and he battles clemens, the fat texan hick with an idiot wife who bedazzles hats and poses in the SI swimsuit issue. when fat roger faces those new york liberals (like allegedly gay mike piazza) he throws fastballs at their heads. he would only pitch for houston, so he could attend his son's little league games and get thrown out for
verbally abusing the teenage umpires.

good versus evil. go cubs.

2005-04-29 13:15:04
8.   Bryan
the debbie clemens site...
Three best accomplishments "Koby, Kory, Kacy & Kody" Dude... what kind of a name is Koby?
2005-04-29 14:47:51
9.   ChiJim
Wow, that's some amazing banality on there. If possible I now hate Clemens and the Astros more than before.
2005-04-29 20:06:05
10.   Natascha
The good ones won :)

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