CHICK DIG SCARS: Who the Hell is Sophie, and why is she making me choose?
Every late winter/early spring, there is a time after the last bit of confetti is cleaned up from the Super Bowl, and the NHL Playoffs and March Madness begin, which is a sports wasteland for me. I really don’t follow the NBA. Oh sure, if you ask me what my favorite NBA team is, I’ll answer the Milwaukee Bucks, but don’t ask me anything about the team…..like who’s on it (a Jennings not named Greg and a really short dude, right?). Or who the coach is. And my knowledge of NASCAR is spotty at best. “Now which is the douchy Busch brother that everyone hates?” and ” I like the Miller Lite car, because that’s what I drink.” Not exactly scientific.
Baseball is starting. Let me share a Facebook Note that I penned a couple years back. It explains my baseball dilemma and why I am still somewhat torn to this day.
I grew up in Burlington, Wisconsin, which was about a 45 minute drive from that lovable ol’ steel monstrosity, Milwaukee County Stadium (may she rest in peace), and 90 minutes from Wrigley Field. I’ve been to both barns to watch both teams. I still see the old Brewer logo (the “m” and “b” fashioned together to look like a cheesy glove) and say “awwwww,” like I just saw a piece of rare nostalgia….or a Labrador puppy. I hate Steve Garvey for 1984. I hate the St. Louis Cardinals for 1982. Well, let’s face it. I hate the Cardinals for BOTH teams.
It was easy. I figured it was safe. I mean I could like both teams, right? They never played each other. The only way they ever would play each other (because inter-league play didn’t exist in those days) was if they met in the World Series. Stop laughing. I figured there was more of a chance of Beelzebub holding an ice fishing tournament on Lake Whatthefuck in Hades before the Milwaukee Brewers and Chicago Cubs ever met for the World Championship. Right?
And thanks to Bud Selig, it really won’t happen, now. My memories of chanting “Reg-gie Sucks” at the top of my lungs after Jackson charged the mound at Mike Caldwell during one of the the many sold out Yankee games, and twi-night doubleheaders against the Tigers and White Sox with their fans driving up I-94 for games? Gone. The Brewers and Cubs now share a division with such “rivals” as Houston, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. Yeah. Whoopie. I’m a fan of geography fueling a rivalry. Of hating the state next door simply because their teams suck. Selig does realize that all three states surrounding Wisconsin have American League teams, right, but that only one also has a National League team?
Oh, and I’m really torn now. The Cubs traded away two of my favorite players last year in team leader Derrek Lee and smoking hot Ryan Theriot, while keeping salary unfriendly underachievers like Alfonso Soriano and the bat shit crazy Carlos Zambrano on the roster (because they’re basically stuck with them. Jim Hendry is a doofus).
And now that I’ve been listening to ESPN Milwaukee the past year, I can name some of the Brewers players again. Is LaTroy Hawkins still on the team? Because, being a Cub fan, I laughed myself silly when I heard his name mentioned by the Brewer announcers last summer. I remember saying to one of my Wisconsin pals, “Holy crap….you guys have him? He SUCKS!”
What to do….what to do…..hence my post from two years back.
June 3, 2009
“The Cubs……are dead to me.”
Headline on a blog that I read regularly along with, “Wow, does it suck to be a Cubs fan.”
I want to rant, too. I am a Cubs fan, and today, the day after a total and complete collapse in extra innings, including the bullpen blowing a no-hitter for a rookie starter (who deserved better) in the 8th, and the supposed “closer/ace” serving up a fastball down the middle which was crushed for a home run to lose the game, I feel like I deserve to rant. Or throw things. I don’t even CARE that the Red Wings also lost last night. I didn’t expect them to sweep Pittsburgh, especially in their barn with the refs swallowing their whistles (Hellloooo, Mc Fly? Six attackers on the ice for 25 seconds and you short bus douchebags in the striped shirts don’t call a penalty? Oh, DO bite me.) Well, okay, maybe I am a little pissed about that, too.
And as I look at the top of the Major League baseball standings and see my childhood favorite sitting there, it’s like even MORE taunting from Beelzebub (who looks a great deal like ferret faced Bud Selig in my dreams).
I grew up in Wisconsin. I rooted for the Milwaukee Brewers in the AL and the Chicago Cubs in the NL. Everything was nice. It was almost perfect. Well, with the exception of the number of championships I actually saw, which was just ONE. The 1982 AL pennant. I actually went to see a World Series game! I don’t remember a lot of it, but I know that I was there (enjoying a great deal of Old Style). I think I have a stub somewhere to prove it. Back in 1982, it didn’t cost half a year’s salary to get a ticket and the Wisconsin drinking age was 18. SCORE!
Then, in 1984, I moved to the “other side” of Lake Michigan to continue school. Without the internet, Brewers news was scarce. It’s so much easier to follow your out-of-town favorites, now. Anyway, I had cable (and thus WGN), so I got to see my NL team. Driving to Chicago for a game wasn’t so bad. I could glance at the standings and see that the Brewers were in the midst of years of basement dwelling suckitude, so they NEVER appeared on national television broadcasts. Once Paul Molitor (my all time favorite player) and Robin Yount left town, I could barely name anyone on the roster.
When Bud Selig got the bright-assed idea to move the Brewers to the National League and into the Cubs’ division, I was faced with a Sophie’s Choice. Pick one, dummy. Bud says you have to. I think lots of southern Wisconsin baseball fans were faced with the same dilemma. It wasn’t difficult to hate the White Sox when the Brewers were in the AL. They’re the WHITE SOX, for chrissakes. They wore ugly uniforms, played in a crappy stadium, and their fans came to Milwaukee and threw beer and peanuts at the locals. My first live baseball game was a Brewers/Sox doubleheader with a two hour rain delay tossed in. I was in junior high. I’ve never seen so many drunks in one place in my life. There was even a fight on the field. The Sox wore those hideous, untucked, beer league softball uniforms. I came home after nine hours at the ballpark, reeking of beer (other people’s, of course) and repeating many new colorful phrases that I had learned, thanks to the Sox and Brewers fans screaming at each other. My parents were so pleased.
I didn’t buy into this whole “we wanted to establish a rivalry with the Cubs” bullshit that Bud Selig was dishing out when he moved the Brewers, either. What makes more sense? Putting Milwaukee in the AL Central with the Sox, Detroit, Minnesota and Cleveland, or sticking them with the Cubs, St. Louis, Houston, Cincy and Pittsburgh? The AL Central actually resembles the NFC North (then Central) where there are long time, established, bitter football rivalries between folks in the SAME STATES, Bud. Also, how about those Big Ten rivalries in the geographic area? What a doorknob you are, dude.
So, anyway….I didn’t make an immediate choice, but logistic came into play. I moved away from Wisconsin (a move I still question to this day). Which team does my local sports guy talk about now? Cubs. Which team can I see on TV? Cubs. Which team did my little boy (who was born in South Bend) like and ask to see? Cubs. Which team have I seen in person the past 20 years? Cubs. A natural progression. I had chosen the Cubs without consciously doing so. However, I can never root against the Brewers. When the Cubs play them, I root FOR the Cubs, but never really against the Brewers. I can’t yell at the TV and call them colorful names. I just sit there, watch the game and cheer when the Cubs do something right. It’s weird. I LIKE to hate the opposing team. I like to call their star players “pansy asses,” and the like.
Now, the Brewers are sitting in first place and the Cubs are blowing no hitters and five run leads. I’m in HELL. The Brewers are waving at me, taunting me, saying, “You never stopped being a Packers fan after you left, did you?” Football is different. They play once a week and you can see just about any team you want at any time. There was never a lack of coverage. It was easier to stick with them, even in the Lindy Infante era. Plus, being around Chicago Bears fans in 1985 was OBNOXIOUS, especially to someone who had just left Wisconsin. It kind of cemented my Bear hate for eternity. Plus, my ex was a Bears fan. ‘Nuff said, there.
The way I see it. I made a SACRIFICE for these guys! I CHOSE THEM over my other baseball love, and what have I gotten since? Heartache. Steve Garvey and Bartman balls. Sammy Sosa, corked bats and steroid accusations. LaTroy Hawkins, Corey Patterson, Bob Howry and Kevin Gregg. Dusty Flippin’ Baker. White Sox fans…yeah, they’re still around, but they’re even more full of themselves then they were back in their fugly uniform days. At least back then, they were long suffering losers like the Cubs and Brewers (except that they were never “lovable”). What did I do to deserve this?
Oh, and did I mention my spurned team is in FIRST FREAKING PLACE?
Sigh. It’s only June, right?