COMMENTARY | Arguably, the Chicago Cubs are the most-loved franchise in baseball.
Don't get me wrong, there are plenty of fans who pack endless amounts of seething hatred for the franchise. But, overall, the Cubs seem to enjoy more support outside of Chicago than most other teams do outside of their respective markets.
Why is that? For Cubs fans and non-Cubs fans alike, here are five reasons:
The Cubs have a long and storied history -- filled mostly with gut-wrenching heartbreak. For a team that has been in existence since 1870 (Chicago White Stockings -- National Association), history and tradition hold a special place in the halls of Cubs lore.
Apart from the sheer volume of that tradition, Wrigley Field holds a special place within it. Most of the reasons why are widely known -- the cosmetics of the park itself (bricks, ivy, manual scoreboard), the singing of "Take Me Out to the Ball Game," the age of the park.
History and tradition are put on a pedestal in the sport; the Cubs just have more of it than just about anyone else. It's definitely not all good history, but history no less.
'There's Always Next Year'
While all Cubs fans dream of the day when the team wins the World Series, there is something undeniably intoxicating about the prospect of hope.
I don't think any Cubs fan would trade out an actual World Series title for the hope of one, but the team (and the sport) will lose something when the day finally comes and the Cubs are World Series champions. All of the curses, bad luck and heartbreak will disappear the instant that happens. The instant it happens will be euphoric, however, and that's the moment all us Cubs fans are preparing for.
Unless something specific is riding on the favorite, society loves underdogs. When you watch the NCAA tournament, do you really care about watching the No. 1 seed trounce the No. 16 seed? No, of course you don't. You watch it because maybe, just maybe, the unthinkable will happen and the No. 16 seed will prevail.
This is similar to the reason why Cubs fans are often so rabid. It's like rooting for the No. 16 seed 162 times each and every year. The buildup is beyond fever pitch and grows more and more with each year's "What if?" The longer it goes on, the fewer the people willing to jump ship, because this year might be the year it happens and no one wants to be left out of the celebration.
Baseball isn't anything without a little bit of superstition -- though there are many, many people who will go to their graves with the opinion that these curses are very, very real.
The billy goat in 1945, the black cat in 1969, and even Bill Buckner wearing a Cubs batting glove underneath his fielding glove in 1986 are all special -- albeit creepy and heartbreaking -- moments within Cubs lore. Regardless of whether or not there is truth buried in these rumored curses, they make the Cubs' history uniquely intriguing.
It's a Brotherhood
Have you ever been around someone at work or school who says, "Yesterday, I had a migraine, but then I went to school/work?" Anyone that actually has migraines knows that they are completely debilitating and very different from "just a really bad headache." Cubs fans are in a similar boat.
Whatever streak of unfortunate luck your team has had, whatever bad trade your team made, or however long it's been since you were over .500, Cubs fans -- just like the real-migraine sufferer -- don't want to hear about it. It isn't the same and won't ever be.
Because of the endurance, Cubs fans share a special bond with their team and with each other -- a bond that couldn't have been forged any other way but by a century of head-to-wall banging, curses and utter heartbreak.
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Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs follower. Living in Illinois his entire life has given him a chance to closely follow and report Chicago sports as a freelance writer through Yahoo! Contributor Network and Yahoo! Sports. He is also a senior in college majoring in English and Creative Writing.
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