The Cubs Are One Percenters

It was a grueling weekend at Busch Stadium for the St. Louis Cardinals.  Three games against the Pittsburgh Pirates all ended in wins, but they were hard fought, exhausting wins.  Not since 1987 have the Cardinals won 3 consecutive games in extra innings, by only one run, and in walk off fashion.  It was as if the Gods of Baseball decided after the Phillies series that the Cardinals needed to earn it the hard way.

They earned it.  Boy, did they earn it.

I must confess I was a little disturbed (no, I was a lot disturbed) by the recent roster moves that resulted in stuffing the bullpen with extra arms, more extra arms than seemed necessary to me.  Given what transpired, either someone in the Cardinals organization had a Nostradamus moment, or the Universe was sending me a message that I needed to keep my trap shut.  If it was the latter, the Universe doesn’t know me very well.  I have never once cared about being wrong about anything, especially if I was wrong in a good way.

It has to be excruciating for the Pirates and their fans to lose 3 games in a row in that fashion.  All of that hard work and determination and nothing to show for it.  You have to admire the Pirates, they fought every bit as hard as the Cardinals did.  Despite all the hype and hoopla the media has been giving the Cubs, it is the Pirates, in my view, that deserve it more.  The Cubs are just the entitled rich kid flaunting his wealth and getting all the attention while the middle class kid works his keester off to get a slice of the pie.  I want to have a beer with the Pirates;  the Cubs can take their cognac and their cigars and stick them where the sun don’t shine.

Yes, I know the Cubs have this Curse thing going on and the over a century long drought of having not won a championship.    I get that there is a lot of sympathy for the Cubs and this sense of entitlement comes from finally having a realistic chance of achieving the dream.  The Pirates have had a long drought as well, not Cubsian (sic), but a drought nevertheless.  The Cubs just don’t do it for me in the Have to Root for the Underdog category. I can’t work up the enthusiasm for them that I can for the Pirates.  The Pirates have likable players like Andrew McCutchen; the Cubs have overly hyped prodigies who, even if they are nice kids, make you want them to fail just so the media would shut the hell up about them.

This is not a popular opinion in many quarters of the Baseball Universe.   In addition to not caring about being wrong, I also don’t care about conforming either.

The Cardinals play the Cubs in a 4 game series at Busch, starting tonight.  I do not want any extra inning nail biters against the Cubs.  I want complete and utter domination.  Please give me that, Cardinals.

The Cubs are the 1%.  They must be crushed and demoralized.

Thank you for reading.

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1 Comment

  1. Let me tell you what it was like growing up in the Quad Cities as a Cardinals fan in the 1980s, because if ever there was the 1% vs. the 99%, that was it.

    I’m not talking about the success of the two teams, as the Cardinals won it all in 1982, the Cubs had a brief and unlikely burst of fortune in 1984, as the Cardinals would win it all again in 1985 if not for the temporary blindness of Denkinger at first. No, this is about entitlement and Cubs Fan Privilege.

    See, if one would have taken a survey in the 1980s, Quad Cities baseball fans might have been divided 60/40 in favor of the Cubs, with a microscopic number of White Sox fans about. So it’s not like there weren’t Cardinals fans — there were lots of us.

    But you wouldn’t know it.

    If you were a Cardinals fan, you had to WORK to follow your team. If you wanted to listen to them on the radio, there was a low-wattage station way out in farm country that if you carefully placed your Walkman on your pillow you could get some static-filled Mike Shannon. If you wanted to watch them on TV, you’d have to hope, and HOPE that NBC would feature them on the Game of the Week. There was no happier kid than me when the promos in the middle of a stupid Cubs-Braves game would say “Next week, the Cardinals visit the Expos …” It took me a couple of months to say, “oh, so THAT is what Andy Van Slyke looks like.” And the local newspapers? Yeah, maybe an Associated Press recap of a couple of paragraphs or something. The local news? A quick 20-second clip, or maybe just a fast mention during the scoreboard section, right along with the Texas Rangers and Milwaukee Brewers.

    But for the 1%? They not only had WGN on cable every single afternoon, but the ABC affiliate in the Quad Cities ALSO would air as many Cubs games as they could without pissing off the old ladies who watched their stories between visits to Bishop’s Cafeteria at Duck Creek Plaza. Anticipate the Cubs on NBC’s Game of the Week? Why, what’s the big deal, we shall watch them on a Saturday regardless! The radio? Only the most powerful AM station in town — never mind that you can pick up WGN-AM pretty easily all the way to the Quad Cities, no, the biggest AM station in town ALSO had to air the Cubs. Does it stop there? Just as the big newspapers today trumpet the goings-on of the 1% while ignoring the 99%, it was front-page often and certainly large photos and budget-busting color pictures of the latest in the Cubs adventures. And local columnists belching forth drivel on how WONDERFUL their Cubbies are, and aren’t they so great and isn’t it just perfect?

    And the local TV news stations? The sportscasters adoring the 1% might as well have been Effie Trinket from the Hunger Games describing how delightful the Tributes from Wrigley Field are this season for all they paid attention to the 99%. And why not? Those sportscasters freely admitted to rooting for their Cubbies. Journalism? Not found here. But extended highlights and postgame Cubbies interviews? Every damn night.

    Here’s the worst part: Cubbies fans had no idea how privileged they were. “Well, why don’t you just follow the Cubs, then?” whenever I’d mention how tough it was to get to watcha Cardinals game. Spoiled brats.

    So the great thing about baseball? Just because you’re a member of the 1% doesn’t mean you’re going to win on the field.

    If only we could make that apply to real life.



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