Thursday, June 18, 2009

The Loss

“Bill Mazeroski, I hate him,” says Calogero. “He made Mickey Mantle cry. The papers said the Mick cried.”

“Mickey Mantle,” says Sonny. “That’s what you’re upset about? Mantle makes $100,000 a year. How much does your father make? . . . If your dad needs money, go ask Mickey Mantle. See what happens. Mickey Mantle don’t care about you. Why care about him”

“From that day on, I never felt the same about the Yankees.” Calogero
~ from A Bronx Tale
Spurred on by a conversation I had en route to a Kane County Cougars game a discussion came about concerning sports fandom. I informed the interested parties I (am/was) a Cubs fan. However, as the years have passed my emotional investment into Chicago sports teams has all but vanished. I never had A Bronx Tale epiphany it's merely been the acquired loss of interest over the slow years of reaching adulthood and the desire to not board the emotional roller coaster of sports teams fortunes and failures.

A large amount of this has to do with being a lamentable Cubs fan. For me the most crushing defeats were 1989 and 2003. 1984 was my initiation into Cubs woedom but I was still to young to be cognizant of the pitiful Cubs history and wary of the despairing Cubs future. By High School and the 1989 Cubbies I had full on Cubs Fever and was stoked to watch the World Series with Ryno, The Hawk, Mad Dog (1), The Shawn-o-meter, Gracie, Red Beard, ROY Walton and the rest! Sadly, the Cubs encountered the Will Clark playoff ban saw and then the 90's would be wasteland of steroid abusing cheaters, bad teams and mostly forgetable players.

My un-journey became complete in 2003 as I left the US for Afghanistan with the Cubs leading the Marlins 3-2 and arrived at my assignment having learned the Cubs lost after being 5 outs away.

Last year when the 2008 Cubs were winning 97 games I didn't even make it out to beautiful Wrigley Field. And predictably the 2008 Cubs lost 3 straight and Cubs fans said oh well wait until next year, just like they said in 2007, when they choked in the playoffs as well. However, Post-Playoff failure there was a fan backlash as Cubs fans decided to auction off their loyalty and 670 The Score received a number of calls in which the callers declared they were done watching the Cubs. Most of the Score hosts decried these statements as hyperbole and chastised the callers telling them they would be back watching the Cubs in 2009.

So now the 2009 Cubs are a miserable team having made several questionable player moves to deflect criticism over the 2 playoff collapses. Yet I have the cold comfort of having divested myself of the emotional trauma of worrying about millionaires I shall never be friends with, let alone even speak to...

1 comment:

ran said...

Nice post. I stopped paying attention to my childhood hero Cubs around 1987-88. When they traded Lee Smith and then the next year traded Palmeiro to try to get a closer, it seemed too surreal to me. I also remember some long protracted thing about Andre Dawson's contract negotiations around then between him and the Tribune Corporation. There was some moment when listening to a radio report about the negotiations when it dawned on me that professional sports was nothing but a business.

I can still enjoy a well played game. The game in itself lends itself to exciting drama, but when watching the pros, the cynic in me is always in the background saying that taking sides is about as stupid as rooting for ExxonMobil's stock price to tick up and Royal Dutch Shell's to tick down.