Hello, my name is Tim, and I am a cubs fan. Whew, glad I got that off my chest (they say that is the first step to recovery). I have been a cubs fan for a little more than half my life. That equates to roughly a decade and a half. I look back at why I’m a cubs fan and I can’t exactly pinpoint it. Perhaps it’s the coolness that is Wrigley. Perhaps it is Harry Cary. Perhaps it is the shots of all those hotties during the broadcasts, who knows.
I will tell you one thing though, I am a real cubs fan. Not a diehard baseball fan, I can’t tell you who hit the winning run of the ’97 World Series or list off a bunch of stats from the past, but I do enjoy baseball. This is important to mention because Cubs fans get a bad rap. I understand why though. But one has to realize that going to Wrigley is like going to the top of the Sears Tower. It’s a Chicago thing, like seeing liberty bell or the stars on Hollywood Boulevard. So when the Cubs can’t even finish a season in which they win half their games, in my lifetime this has happened 15 of 22 years, and they still manage to average 2.5 million in attendance during that time, it makes people wonder. Why are we so supportive of our “loveable losers”, who knows but at least it pumps the money in.
This great attendance, the power of their parent company, the national appeal of the Cubs, all of this contributes to their ability to spend like high rollers. And they have recently; their 2008 roster massed a bill of $118,000,000. That’s a lot of cash. In fact it’s the 8th highest in the Majors with only four teams spending significantly more (that would be NY, NY, Boston, & Detroit, at over 133 million). This highly paid and highly talented roster garnered the best record in the National League this year. In fact, 2008 was an incredibly exciting season from the start; from the roars over Fukadome at the beginning of the season, to the four game sweep of the Brewers mid-season--securing Central Division domination, to a no hitter and a near promise of a World Series appearance at the end. Yet, in true Cubs fashion, this was all a lie of sorts. The Cubs didn’t win a single game in the post season, in fact. This was the second year in a row this happened. With Chicago’s ability to get swept so often, it’s a real wonder why there is so much garbage in the streets of the Windy City. We are sweep experts…
I heard the other day that a rooftop owner is losing out on a couple million dollars in revenue because the cubs won’t be putting on a show across the street this post season. Too bad for him, but I’m out of October entertainment. Or am I? I think, I might have found a new team to root for. And before you go off and accuse me of being a fair weather fan, I need to remind you that a lifetime of failure, a century of failure in fact, makes each and every cubs fan eligible to pick a new team. In fact, I think Bud Selig should give Cubs fans vouchers to go purchase gear from their new team (I spent $20 on a fitted Cubs hat at a game this year thinking maybe that would be bought during the World Series season of 2008…wrong!).
What team is perfect for the Cubs fan? I think it’s the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Yes, they are perfect. They are, in fact, the anti-Cub. Everything about them is different.
Let’s start with their fans. You ever watch a Devil Ray’s game? No one is there. Tampa Bay is as consistent with their NOT showing up as Chicago is with showing up. I use to make fun of this, but I think I embrace it now. Where Cubs fans will show up regardless of the fact that they are not winning games, Tampa Bay fans have demonstrated this year that they won’t show up when their team has the best record in baseball.
Yeah, the best record in baseball, in the American League. They did this while spending a mere $44,000,000. That’s the second cheapest roster in baseball, ahead only of the lowly Marlin’s. Carlos Zambrano will make near that much in two seasons. That roster also happens to be the 2nd youngest in baseball (according to Sports Illustrated) which means that they are making smart decisions with that money.
Smart decisions, let’s take a moment and examine some of the decisions the Cubs have made in recent years:
Letting "Bartman in"
Blaming Bartman for a loss
...ok, those two are on us...
Mark Prior (ok...maybe a free pass on this one)
Zambrano pitching in game 2…Fukadome batting 2nd in game 1
The Ray’s have no fan base and yet they manage their team correctly. I kind of doubt they’ll repeat next year but in the event that they fail, us Cubs fans will be more than prepared. But at least you know that at $44,000,000 a year you can afford to go to a game and get pretty good seats which is more than you can say about going to Wrigley. And hell, the weather is much warmer…and they beat the Sox. Now if only they can go beat "Da SOX" we'll have something here. So, GO RAYS!