The Duality of Cubs Fans
Whether five games up in the division or five games down, some Cubs fans are never happy.
Cubs nation is an interesting dichotomy of individuals that encompass the 'doom and gloom' personae while, seated two seats down in the Friendly Confines, resides the ever optimistic 'wait until next year' fan.
While one fan cites Jim Hendry and his moves as solid and beneficial the majority of the time, there remains the brethren that cites Jim Hendry as the worst GM ever to man an MLB front office.
While one fan cheers the ability to win a one run ball game on the road, another fan uses that same game to criticize the team for not scoring more runs off a mediocre pitcher.
I can understand the frustration that elicits the rants and raves of the disgruntled Cubs fan. The ever optimists are not immune from this same frustration as a season of promise erodes into a season of underachievement. The more stark duality that resides within Cubbieland is the prevalence of each fan type during the good stretches of a season.
The 'doom and gloom' fan seems to only emerge from the woodwork when they have a sounding board of failure to hammer their negativity off of. The recent debacle that was an eight game losing streak in May saw the emergence of the inner Cub critic increase ten-fold. Internet message boards, living rooms, and bars across the country erupted with war cries demanding Cubs nation pack up their bags for the 2009 season because this team was so blatantly inept; that even with 120+ games to be played, all was lost.
The ever optimists felt the sting of that eight game losing streak, but the faith remained that this team could turn things around. The Cubs have gone 5-2 since that horrific skid ended and, not too surprisingly, the 'doom and gloom' fan has pretty much returned to their habits of silence during success.
Then came the epic collapse which was the first game of a three game set in Atlanta. With uber young stud Randy Wells carrying a no hitter through 6.2 innings, the Cubs were enjoying a 5-0 lead late into the game. Enter Carlos Marmol and Kevin Gregg and the Cubs found themselves surrendering the lead in the ninth and eventually losing in extra innings. And right on cue, the 'doom and gloom' fan descended on Cubbie land like wolves on an injured deer.
"The season is OVER!" they said.
"Jim Hendry is the worst GM in all of baseball!" they bemoaned.
"My ten year old could get a hit off Kevin Gregg!" they announced.
But just as a closer needs to have a short memory, so do Cubs fans. The next night, the Cubs found themselves in another tight game against the Braves, but this time, the bullpen was able to stop the bleeding and the Cubs emerged victorious. And in the corner of Cubbie land reserved for the 'doom and gloom' fan, the only sound being emitted was that of chirping crickets on a summer's eve.
And so goes the ebb and flow of a baseball season.
I cannot fault the 'doom and gloom' fan completely. 101 years of disappointment can wear on you no matter how many of those years you've actually experienced first hand. Heartbreak is a facet of Cubs fandom. Many of us wear our hearts on our sleeves when it comes to our Cubs.
But I do dare ask: If and when the Cubs finally end their epic World Series drought, what will be the first statement uttered by our resident pessimists?
"The Cubs should have won that series in 4 games!" they shout with a tear in their eye.
And the duality of Cubs fans shall continue.
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