After the Red Sox won the World Series in 2004, it became apparent that there was a serious schism in Red Sox Nation, with old timers who were around — or who at least claimed to be around — back in the bad old days and who wore their suffering on their sleeve on the one hand, and newbie, pink-hat-wearing, in-Boston-for-college-only Sox fans on the other. The antagonism between these two groups — which is a separate thing than the acrimony between the entirety of Red Sox Nation and non-Sox fans at large — still brews, though it has died down a bit since the second championship and years of elite play have lowered the stakes as to who can claim what.
The real Cubs fans, the ones who could cite the hometowns of all the players involved in the Lou Brock trade or Charlie Grimm’s 1931 on-base percentage, are some of the best fans on the planet for not only putting up with, but for somehow taking pleasure in, everything thrown their way. The chronic losing. The owners who raked in the cash but refused to spend it on talent because Wrigley Field is a tourist destination that draws no matter the state of the team. Wrigley itself, a place where reality shatters mythology once the discomfort from everything common to a 95-year-old building sets in. Those are the people who aren’t oblivious to such obstacles toward their enjoyment, but accept them as reality because, darn it, the Cubs are their team, always have been and always will be because any day is a beautiful day to play two.
They stand in direct contrast to the phony Cubs fans who tend to spoil it for everyone with their boorish behavior. Those are the ones who could not identify the top two starters in the rotation but are somehow instinctively aware of the beer vendor’s regular path.
I guess the only difference here is that the rest of the country is learning about the sectarian nature of Cubs’ fandom before they win a championship rather than after.
(thanks to Lar, who’s going to see the Brewers-Cubs game today — for the link)