The Chicago I grew up in was a place of distinction. Everyone was boasting. All the time. We had the biggest, deepest, grandest and most storied everything. Tallest tower—Sears. Largest outdoor illuminated fountain—Buckingham. Bloodiest stockyards—Union. One of our baseball teams had thrown the World Series, and the other was the Cubs. At Wrigley Field, I saw a kid, a little kid, the sort that might be damaged by such a thing, wearing a shirt that had big words (Chicago Cubs World Champs) over tiny numbers—1908. Whenever I meet complaining Mets or Yankees fans, I tell them about some of the things that have come and gone since the Cubs last won the World Series: Communism and fascism, disco, moon boots, grunge. Of course, the bleacher bums take pride in it. If you’re going to suck, you might as well suck longer and harder and in a more serious fashion than anyone has ever sucked before—that’s the Chicago way.I hope that fan gets his wish. The article also features a video of Steve Goodman's "A Dying Cub Fan's Last Request."
My father, who grew up in Brooklyn, warned me not to fall in love with the Cubs. He said a Cubs fan will have a bad life, as such a fan will come to regard defeat as the natural end of all human endeavor. It was these words, as much as anything, that paved my way to fanaticism. Who can reject such a challenge? By age 12, I was riding the El to Addison Street dressed in blue. I have screamed myself hoarse in the course of 35 futile seasons. The standout players drift through my memory like trading cards: Fergie Jenkins, Ryne Sandberg, Andre Dawson, Mark Grace. The journeymen, too, those who burned for a few weeks in some otherwise bleak August. Barry Foote, Ivan DeJesus, Keith Moreland. Anyone who ever played for the team was marked by the experience, touched by contagion, which they carried wherever they went. When Bill Buckner, playing first base for the Red Sox, let that grounder go through his legs in the 1986 World Series, we knew he was really doing it as a Cub.
In other words, my father was right.