I’m still a little in disbelief after the thrashing the Blue Jays took at the hands of Cleveland, and I find myself still contemplating who to cheer for between the Chicago Cubs and Cleveland.
I was in complete awe of how any pitcher Cleveland manager Terry Francona put on the mound could continuously, and seemingly effortlessly, pound the outside of the strike zone leaving the powerful right-handed bats of the Blue Jays impotent. As we all know, Cleveland sailed past the Blue Jays in what looked like an easy five games for them, leaving this baseball fan without his home team to cheer for.
I was not in the mood to cheer for Cleveland, but it might take some of the sting out of loosing by being able to say; ‘My team was knocked out by the champions’. Once my team gets eliminated, I usually try to cheer for teams whose fans seem to deserve to celebrate a championship win. Cleveland doesn’t fit this criterion.
According to attendance records, Cleveland finished this season 28th of 30 MLB teams in attendance. Year-after-year they consistently finish at the bottom in attendance despite having fairly competitive teams over the last few years and this year an American League pennant winner, yet they still struggle to get fans to watch.
One might suggest that they haven’t won since 1948 so they are due. That would make any Cubs fan laugh since they haven’t even won the World Series since 1908. Cleveland sports fans have also suffered from their share of agonizing moments.
There was a “drive” orchestrated by John Elway, and a Jose Mesa blown save, plus a blown 3-1 game lead over the Red Sox which all added to the agony of frustration found within the Cleveland sports fan. This agony and, “The Decision”, were erased last spring with the Cavaliers NBA Championship, and it is also difficult to feel sorry for the Cleveland sports fan that also celebrated NCAA championships won by Ohio State. The fans of Cleveland just don’t seem to deserve a winner.
It seemed like the obvious choice was for me was to cheer for the Chicago Cubs. After the Blue Jays lost, I jumped right on the Cubs bandwagon. There seemed to be no reason to cheer against the Cubs and no denying they have an incredible, loyal fan base.
They continue to sell out their historical and beautiful stadium. These fans are starved for a winner. They haven’t even been to a World Series since 1945 or won since 1908, yet their fans continue to support a team through bad season after bad season.
The Wrigley faithful suffered through the Steve Bartman incident (who must get a Christmas card from Alex Gonzales every year), the curse of the Goat, the Babe Ruth called shot, a walk-off loss in a game 6 by a bloop single, as well as a blown 8-0 lead finishing with Hack Wilson dropping a routine pop up and leading to them loosing the 1929 World Series. Many of these events happened long before most fans were even born, but the events were born into these fans. The Cubs have earned the moniker “Lovable Losers”.
As Kyle Hendricks continued to retire Dodger batters and the Cubs increased their lead to 5-0 in game 6 of the NLCS I found myself more and more excited with anticipation of a Cubs win, or a Cubs collapse. I couldn’t help but think Dan Aykroyd and ghost of John Belushi would be triumphantly shouting out a rendition of ‘Sweet Home Chicago’ outside their home of Wrigley Field. This was truly a Mission From God and Hendricks was acting as the priest and serving communion in what will be a deciding game 6 to finally bring the Cubs and their fans back to the World Series. Then Cubs manager Joe Madden went to the bull pen and out walked Aroldis Chapman…
According Tim and Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Los Angeles Dodgers passed on a trade for Chapman after a domestic abuse incident which led to Chapman being suspended for 30 games by Major League Baseball. While it appears the Dodgers took the high road and decided they didn’t want this guy in their clubhouse, the Cubs decided to look the other way and trade for him after the Yankees acquired him from the Cincinnati Reds. Seeing Chapman, one of the most talented and hardest throwing closers in baseball, on the mound to finish this game left a very sour taste in my mouth. This team could not be the ‘Loveable Winners’. Trading for a player like Chapman has made me completely reconsider the type of team I want to cheer for.
As I write this, Corey Kluber got another called strike on the outside corner. The boisterous fans in Cleveland are ecstatic at the prospect of winning their first World Series since 1948. The thought of Drew Carey dancing in parking lot of Progressive Field celebrating a win while Cleveland Rocks feels like it would be a lot of fun. I’m thinking the fans of the Cleveland Indians do deserve a World Series victory, until I see one waiving a huge flag of Chief Wahoo…
After the Blue Jays lost, I thought it would be easier to be self-righteous in my choice of team.