COMMENTARY | Admit it, at some point you've been talking baseball and someone mentioned that he or she was a Chicago Cubs fan. What followed from a non-Cub fan was one of two things: mockery or pity. The Cubs are nicknamed "The Lovable Losers," after all.
Here are a few reasons why being a Cubs fan is so difficult:
1. 105 years and counting. Yes, of course, that is the number of years since the Cubs last won a World Series, the longest streak of its kind in American professional sports. It gets mentioned often, and so many players, coaches and executives come in thinking they will be the ones to solve the problem -- mostly to little avail.
2. The St. Louis Cardinals' success. That the Cubs' biggest rival seems to have all the fortune on its side certainly doesn't ease the pain of losing. As I've pointed out before, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series since the Cubs last won in 1908. This, despite the fact that the Cubs actually lead the all-time series between the two. Can you imagine anything more frustrating?
3. The "Curse of the Billy Goat," which dates back to an incident in 1945. This curse, of course, directly ties to the postseason struggles mentioned above. Whether you believe in the superstition or not, unlikely events have gotten in the way of some of the Cubs' more successful attempts.
The most recent example was back in 2003, Game 6 of the National League Championship Series. The Cubs led the (then) Florida Marlins 3-2 in the series and 3-1 in the game when poor Steve Bartman, the notorious fan, interfered with a potential Moises Alou catch in left field. Pretty soon, Cubs shortstop Alex Gonzalez was booting a routine ground ball, and the rest was history. The Marlins took the game, the series and, for good measure, the World Series, too.
4. The current lack of faith in "next year." Such a promise has long been what brought Cubs faithful back, knowing that one magical season would make all their misery worth it. Like any professional franchise, the Cubs have had ups and downs with talent and contention. As recent as 2008, the Cubs were among the best teams in baseball, at least until the postseason. But ever since that year, the Cubs have lost more and more games per season in succession. This year's start hasn't exactly been hopeful.
Will the Tom Ricketts and Theo Epstein regime ever right the ship?
5. Wrigley Field. Don't get me wrong, it's one of the best, if not the best, stadiums in baseball. It really is about the baseball, and you can't beat the outfield ivy, the 7th-inning stretch, the aura of Harry Caray and Ron Santo, and the rooftops on Waveland Avenue.
But as I've mentioned before, the park also has its share of problems, including (but not limited to) parts of the roof that need repairs, obnoxious poles that obstruct the view of fans, and a penchant for, shall we say, large rodents. There are worse places to watch a ballgame, but that doesn't mean Wrigley can't get better.
Chris Schumerth is a freelance writer who grew up in Northern Indiana following the Cubs. You can follow him on Twitter @schumes22.
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