Dear People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans,
For the last month you have been writing open letters to Cubs fans. Your correspondence consists of criticism targeting our fanbase with warnings as to our recent behavior concerning our ebullient pride in the Cubs historic World Series win. Your backlash against our joy however is nothing short of unfair.
In general, my opinion of any article that begins "An open letter to..." or "Dear So and so" is that it's usually followed by a passive-aggressive rant. I'm not a fan of open letters and this Open Letter to People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans is likely the first and last one I will write. A simple Google Search reveals newly-penned open letters to Cubs fans from a Cardinals Fan, an Indians Fan, and some "friendly advice" from Michael Rosenberg at Sports Illustrated. There are others too. They mostly discourage Cubs fans from acting too arrogant and entitled. Though most of these articles also congratulate Cubs fans on their success, faithfulness, and epic patience, they also hope to restrict and restrain our exuberance at having such a seemingly dominant team core for the next half decade. Well, I've got news for you People Who Write Open Letters To Cubs Fans... it's payback time.
Because we have suffered. Not the suffering of "teenagers with cancer," as Sports Illustrated's Michael Rosenberg strangely points out, which is certainly much worse than what Cubs fans have suffered. Duh... thanks for educating us on the many hyperbolic uses of the word "suffering". But what else would you call it, Michael? We have suffered the "baaaahhhhhing" of goat impersonators and Bartman costumes, black cats, hilarious 1908 World Series Parade memes and choke jokes. For generations, the ancestors of the People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans called us losers and jeered us with talk of curses. And now that the imaginary stupid curse is over, they want to check our behavior just as the celebration has begun?!
I have a message to you People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans. You better get used to us.
For example, Thom Brennaman, a broadcaster for the Cincinnati Reds, made the mistake of attacking Cubs Nation early in the 2016 season. Dismayed by the cheering ratio of Cubs fans to rooters for the doomed Reds, Thom exclaimed "Enough Already!" on a broadcast, during a series in April in which the Cubs outscored the Reds 38-14. Thom's annoyed outburst resulted in Cubs fans, myself included, sneaking down into box seats and chanting "enough already" up at the broadcast booth the very next night. Because it's us Cubs fans who've had more than enough, Thom.
Check out this Cubs fan flash mob I participated in during that series. Our singing of "Go Cubs Go" post win disrupted the Reds Postgame Show.
An open letter to the people of Cincinnati: Cubs fans are spending money in your fair city, staying in your hotels, and buying food and beverages in your stadium. Best not to mess with us. We will be back next summer. With more money.
A Guy Who Writes Open Letters to the People of Cincinnati
But seriously! In 2013 I was booed by a 10-year-old kid in Cincinnati and got into an argument that nearly came to blows on the bridge to Kentucky because of a drunken Reds fan's display of racism. Not to mention the constant barrage of "Cubs Suck!" as I walked around the stadium. I would reply "You're right! We do suck! You should be happy you're beating us at baseball while I spend money in this crappy town!" And you wonder why I get in fights....
But it's not just Cincinnati. During last year's wild-card game I had a full beer can thrown at my head in Pittsburgh, which was also the same night this kid dressed as a goat was harassed by Pirates fans and in my opinion wrongfully and brutally arrested.
I've had Cardinals fans threaten to fight me at Busch Stadium, a situation which I'm not proud to say I escalated. By the way, the entire argument stemmed from these guys getting kicked out because it said "Cubs Suck" on their shirts. You can read about that whole sordid experience here. Joe Maddon successfully got that rule changed, but I stood up for it in 2013.
Busch Stadium is also the place where more than anywhere I hear chatter of "1908", "Bad Centuries", and "Ring Collections." I absolutely despise going to St. Louis and won't go unless it's a big game. Like Opening Day next year. But the abuse happens just about everywhere.
My girlfriend was recently cornered in San Francisco and also given a shiner by an angry Dodgers fan.
You do that to us? I'm gonna put W stickers in your stadium
The next night when the Cubs won Game 5 of the NLCS, I was asked to step outside by a Dodgers fan when I intervened after he screamed obscenities at a Cubs fan who was holding a baby. Dodger Stadium is an incredibly unwelcome environment as you can see from the black eye.
I've been booed by raving lunatic Yankees fans during a freezing double header in which the Cubs didn't score all day.
And the thing about it is... this doesn't happen too often at Wrigley Field, save for the escapades of a few drunken bozos. Wrigley welcomes more fans from other places than most teams because of the historic nature of the ballpark. We're used to other fanbases wanting to come appreciate our beautiful old stadium in the middle of a vibrant neighborhood. Chicago welcomes your money! Eat at our restaurants! Drink at our bars! The only time I've ever had words with an opposing fan at Wrigley was a Braves fan who was doing the Tomahawk Chop. I just told him, "We don't do that here."
I never hear Cubs fans yelling "Insert Team Name Here Sucks" at other teams fans in the street. As a well traveled baseball fan, I can assure you that Cubs fans are particularly subjected to more negativity and unwarranted verbal abuse than any other fanbase. The curses and goats and Bartmans follow us around the country on signs and T-shirts, and on the taunting tongues of opposing teams' fans.
Yet, the People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans wish to rain down on our victory parade as it's beginning. No sir! This team is built for the long haul and so is our fanbase! We will continue to show up in droves all over the country. Thanks to WGN showing Cubs games all over the country for decades, there are Cubs fans everywhere in this great land. If you think we showed up big last year, just wait till 2017 when even more Cubs fans will show up to see the World Series Champions!
We're not the lovable losers anymore. The Cubs are poised to at least make the playoffs for the next few years. And we Cubs fans will continue to wrap ourselves in W flags, cheer, and sing our "Go Cubs Go" victory song in your stadiums and on the streets of your city. You People Who Write Open Letters To Cubs Fans may find our zest and spirit obnoxious, but it's how it's gonna be. Just be happy we are tipping your waiters and eating your crummy pizza.
Cubs fans of today aren't only cheering for themselves. But also generations of Cubs fans who lived and died never to see this day. They too were victims of years of injustice being fans of the seemingly eternal basement dwellers. This is decades of pent up angst and frustration that is about to be unleashed on the understandably nervous fan bases of other teams. Thus the need to write Open Letters to Cubs Fans. You should be intimidated. But maybe you should have thought about that before you dressed up as Steve Bartman, made a Goat Curse sign, or randomly yelled "Cubs Suck" in my face as I was simply walking by.
I've supported the Cubs through thin and thick. I've cheered for them all over the country with many positive interactions with fans of all teams. Personally, I'm just going to continue on that path. I will stand up, scream and clap if Anthony Rizzo hits a double. I will high-five Cubs fan strangers after a big strikeout in the eighth inning, and I will continue to sing "root root root for the CUBBIES" to try and drown out the opposing teams fan base during the seventh-inning stretch. I'm going to keep it as positive as possible. The high road. And I know many Cubs fans will join me in that pursuit of positivity.
But People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans aren't going to be thrilled with all the World Series Champions swag, that's currently breaking World Series merchandise sales with every purchase, that will be worn by Cubs fans in their stadiums. They are going to hear about our championship all year long. It's a big deal to us. That's how it is. And oh man! Are we going to flaunt it and they are gonna hate us. In 2016 we "Embraced the Target." In 2017, we may very well have to "Embrace the Hatred." Or better yet "Love Conquers All."
So People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans, your curse signs and "Cubs Suck" chants are no longer viable or accurate. The Cubs' first World Series victory in 108 years is not soon to be forgotten. Chicago is a big-city market with a storied baseball tradition and we deserve and are now getting a world class team for arguably the most loyal fans in baseball. So forgive us if we sing. It's what we do. We're Cubs fans.
A Cubs Fan Who Writes Open Letters to People Who Write Open Letters to Cubs Fans.