With the Cubs embarking on their first playoff run in over half a decade, I thought it would be prudent to give fans a helpful guide to how to approach the post season. In 2007 and 2008, the Cubs didn't win a single postseason game, and even though fans ostensibly don't play a material role in the success of the team, I will always remember James Loney's grand slam in the fifth inning of Game 1 as being the pivotal moment where Cubs fans, forever waiting for the other shoe to drop, sucked the air out of Wrigley Field even though the Cubs were only down two runs with half the game to play. I remember the camera panning to a woman in the crowd who was crying....Crying!!! I turned to my friends at the bar and said, "That's what's wrong with Cubs fans, she already thinks we lost." Her behavior was unacceptable and we cannot let that attitude prevail in these playoffs, especially with this team having already posted 13 thrilling walkoff wins so far this year. No matter the deficit in any postseason game, we must chin up and help carry the Cubs to victory with a winning spirit. So here's a few helpful tips to keep our collective Cubs fan ship on the right course.
DO start chants of "Let's Go Cubbies" even on the road (where the first three playoff games will likely be played). Sure, you may incur the wrath of opposing team's fans and possibly have beer poured on your head and peanuts thrown in your general direction. It's a small price to pay to let the Cubs know you're behind them.
DON'T let fans of opposing teams at Wrigley Field be heard. Drown them out with the aforementioned "Let's Go Cubbies" chant, or try politely "scream and cheer" over fans who attempt to root on the opposing team.
DO buy new Cubs gear. Let's put it this way, anyone who wears their Aramis Ramirez Cubs jersey to the wild-card game likely to be played in Pittsburgh with Aramis starting as the Pirates third baseman is beyond reproach. Other players jerseys that could use an upgrade: Carlos Zambrano, Ryan Theriot, Mike Fontenot, and the ubiquitous Kosuke Fukudome jerseys I see at Wrigley Field.
DON'T buy a "Postseason" hat or shirt. The only worse shirt would be a "2015 Cubs 2nd Wild-Card Spot Champions" shirt. Save your money for a Cubs World Champions shirt. It'll be worth the wait.
DO stay positive! Joe Maddon, probably the best Cubs manager since Joe McCarthy, is known for taking the positives out of any situation, and rolling with the punches by accentuating what went right in the game, not what went wrong. For example, if Jake Arrieta gives up three runs in the third inning of the Wild Card game and the Cubs are down by two, just remember odds are, he won't give up any more than that because he usually is perfect.
DON'T freak out! With all of collective emotions riding on a one-and-done play-in game, it would be easy to work your nerves into a frenzy and have seven aneurysms by the fifth inning. Whatever works to calm your nerves should be employed throughout the playoffs. Some popular nerve calming tonics include exercise, alcohol, and primal screaming.
DO throw a Cubs party! Whether to celebrate or commiserate, we fans should get together and enjoy this season's final act together. Invite some coworkers over to the house. Arrange a meetup at a local watering hole. The guys at the Ivy Envy podcast are acting as a hub to help people arrange meetups among their listeners all over the world. If you live outside of the Chicago area and want to connect with other Cubs fans to watch the game, I'd suggest contacting them through their site. Let's get together!!! If you live in Denver, I already know of a Cubs Wild Card game meetup party. Contact me or fellow Son Ranto Show podcaster Michael Cotton.
DON'T invite Cardinals, Pirates, Dodgers, Mets fans, or any fans of an American League team to the party.
DO believe the Cubs can win the World Series this year! Belief is a powerful human society building tool that has spawned and spurned the most powerful organizations on the planet. Religions and Governments wouldn't exist without belief and we can help the Cubs believe in themselves by believing in them.
DON'T believe in the "C" word. "C's" only exist if you believe in them. If you are chatting with an opposing teams fan, it's likely they will bring up "B-man". My advice is to frustrate that fan and pretend like you've never heard of him. If the fan insists on explaining it to you, just say you don't remember that happening at all, and leave the opposing fan confused and wondering what the heck just happened. Furthermore, if someone starts talking about "G's", mention the time you had a delicious "G" curry at an African restaurant, but you prefer the taste of lamb.
DO have fun! What an amazing season this has been! From Anthony Rizzo's tarp catch to the bubblegum bucket to helmet rubs, this is one of the most entertaining Cubs teams I've ever had the pleasure of watching. And that's what it's all about isn't it? Entertainment, drama, spectacle. We've been treated to so much of it this year that even when we win the World Series, it'll be kind of sad because there won't be a game tomorrow. Enjoy the bonus baseball!
DON'T plan to do anything else with your life while the Cubs are playing a playoff game. I know we all have other responsibilities. I'm behind on three projects right now, including the crowdsourced Cubs album "Cubs Canon" which is about half-finished, a sound design for "The Fairy Tale Lives of Russian Girls" playing at the fabulous Trap Door Theatre on Cortland Street in Chicago, and my own half finished Bad Teenage Moustache album. Thus, I am preparing to pull some all-nighters in order to hit my artistic and personal goals and watch the Cubs win into November. Don't miss a pitch!
I write this list of "Do's and Don'ts" as a helpful reminder that this season has been really fun and memorable and it should continue that way. A lovable cast of handsome talented rookies and players like Arrieta and Rizzo who have come into their own as dominant forces of baseball prowess, have provided fans with walkoff wins, come-from-behind victories, and a whole lot of laughs. From clapping along to Starlin Castro's walk up song, to the bullpen's "No-Flinch game," to a Cubs rookie class that has surpassed all of our preseason expectations, we have been blessed with a beautiful summer in the sun. As autumn turns the page of the season towards the crisp cold winter, let us Cub fans turn the page on what it means to be a Cubs fan in October, because all signs point to us enjoying Halloween baseball for years to come. This is just the beginning.