Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Putting The Loser Into Lovable Losers

It’s gonna happen. I must confess, my Wrigley experience almost made me forget how it was that the Cubs had come to earn such a pathetic slogan. It was only a month ago, and yet they played with such confidence, seemed so unstoppable. It’s gonna happen? Well, of course it was gonna happen. One only wondered why they were so embarrassingly desperate to convince us.

Now I remember.

Yes, the Cubbies are back to doing what it is that they do best—putting the loser into lovable loser. And I must admit that it’s getting a little bit old. It’s like watching a really, really predictable movie. It’s like that friend who keeps getting back together with her jerk of a boyfriend even though you know it can’t possibly end well. It’s like turning on Nick at Nite to find that they are airing that episode of Taxi where Jim builds Elaine a castle in her living room—again. Well, that’s actually an awesome episode, and I could never really get sick of it. And, come to think if it, they don’t even air Taxi on Nick at Nite anymore. So it’s more like if flipping on Nick at Nite to discover they are rerunning that episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air where Vivian and Philip go on Soul Train. Sure, it was amazing the first time. But it doesn’t really bear re-watching.

I don’t want to sound heartless. I get that it must suck to suck. I mean, hell the Yankees aren’t exactly the envy of the East this year. And, no, just because the Yanks are down on their luck, I would never dream of saying that I can relate to what it must be like to be a Cubs fan. That would be condescending. I know someone who once had the ridiculous notion that he would go sleep on the street for a few nights so that he could “see what it felt like to be homeless.” For me to say that I could truly relate to the pain of what it was like to be a Cubs fan? It would be kind of like that. But, still, I get that it’s no fun. And I get that it’s not your fault.

That said, it’s still a little tiresome. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. You don’t have to be a loser to be lovable. That day that I went to Wrigley? The day DeRosa and Soto hit dingers, John Cusack sang “Take Me Out to The Ballgame,” and all of those Cubs fans won me over with that special brand of adorability that doesn’t exist outside the Midwest? Nobody was a loser that day. Well, nobody except the Nationals.

I am a baseball atheist—a batheist, if you will. I do not believe in fortune, and curses, and predetermined fates for certain teams. If anything, as previously stated, I do believe in collective psychology. And, perhaps, when the players for a certain team start to believe that their team is fated to lose, they may force a particular outcome. But there is no Roberto Clemente in the sky who is willing this to happen to the Cubs. Phil Rizzuto does not declare, “Holy Cow!” and before you know it, despite themselves, the Cubs find that they have lost eight of their last nine games. There is no destiny—only self-determination. Want proof? Take a look at the Chowdas. If after years, and years, and years, and years—well, I’m not going to write it out eighty-six times—they can turn things around and win not one, but two championships, it leaves the Cubs with no excuse.

The Cubs have built an identity around the fact of their loserness. And maybe there is an anxiety there that, if they aren’t the lovable losers, they wont know who they are. Will they even be lovable anymore? But I argue, yes. A thousand times yes. Because, at the rate the Cubs are going, the loser thing, it’s growing less and less lovable by the season. In fact, I’d say the Cubs are about one implosion away from being the loathe-able losers. If the Cubs really want to earn our love, at this point, the best thing they could possibly do is surprise us by winning. The timing is almost too perfect. A hundred years? That's just about as inspirational sports movie as you can get. And everyone knows that everyone loves the winning team in the inspirational sports movie.

So, Soriano, Lee, Soto, Theriot, you march back onto that field, and you show those birds from St. Louis that Cardinals fans take it in the Pujols. I’m sorry. I saw a Cubs fan wearing a shirt that said that one time, and I have been waiting for the opportunity to repeat it. And here I thought I was the only one who liked to make fun of ballplayers who have names that sound like crapelbon. I think someone should make a t-shirt for the Indians that says, “Tigers Fans Give Me Renteria.”

On another note, I have been anxiously awaiting this week’s episode of Project Runway. Now that the Yankees have ruined my September, I have to take solace where I can. I was fantasizing today about how unbelievably amazing it would be to find a way to fuse my love of Project Runway with my love of baseball. Picture this: A close call at the plate. Heidi Klum comes strutting onto the field clad in spiked heels and mini-dress, says smugly in that oh-so-sexy German accent of hers, “In baseball, one play you're safe, the next play you're out. Coco Crisp… You’re out.”

Du Stinkst Coco Crsip. Auf wiedersehen.

1 comment:

Amanda said...

I watched that game on t.v. :-) I love John Cusack

I'm the same way in not believing curses and I'm a Cubs fan! You can see what I've said about it on my blog but it's really nice to hear someone else say it.

and I think Lou Piniella is definitely focusing on it as well. thanks for writing this :)