White Sox fans
Discussing the culture surrounding the Cubs is almost pointless in its redundancy: the history of disappointment, the circus of Wrigleyville development, annoying dregs of post-college, entitled children that comprise much of the fanbase. Regardless, when the team does well it’s tough not to get excited and squeeze onto the bandwagon. With the team’s success this fall, fans of the White Sox (statistically one of the least-supported teams in baseball) aggressively took to social media to taunt Cubs fans, giant “L” flags were made, and at least one bar on the South Side offered free drinks when the Cubs performed poorly. You have to hand it to Sox fans, they sure are diehard—as long as their fandom doesn’t require buying tickets or watching games or anything.
Best of Chicago 2015
To say things haven’t worked out for the Cubs under “The Epstein Plan” is an epic understatement. Things have been straight-up f’d up. One more season of the season ending for the Cubs by the end of April will be the end of Theo in Wrigleyville. By this time next year if the Cubs aren’t playing like the KC Royals are now we’ll all be waiting for a press conference, waiting for Ricketts to announce who the next lame-duck GM of the worst team in baseball will be.
Audience Choice: Two more years
Best of Chicago 2014
Along with some fleeting signs of life this season—sweeping the Red Line Rivalry!—the upcoming renovations, and the stewardship of the man who brought the BoSox to the summit, allow us to posit the best reason for Cubs’ fans to dream: the farm. The Cubs have four prospects in MLB.com‘s 2013 Prospect Watch Top 100 (the highest being Javier Baez at ninth), and with a proven architect in place to use them, dreams of Wrigleyville riots seem a little less far-fetched.
Best of Chicago 2013
The lone bright spot in a pathetic 101-loss season was youngster Anthony Rizzo, who the Cubs acquired in early 2012 from the San Diego Padres. The first-baseman put up solid numbers in his rookie season in the bigs—a .285 batting average, fifteen homers, forty-eight RBIs—even though he only played in eighty-seven games. (The league even named him “Rookie of the Month” in July.) Rizzo has the potential to be the Cubs’ long-term solution at first base, and if he continues to produce power numbers he could become the team’s most potent offensive weapon. Unfortunately, Rizzo has the rest of the Cubs around him, so it looks like he’ll have to wait at least five years before he has a legitimate shot at playing in a playoff game. But who are we kidding—if he continues to develop at such a rapid pace, he’ll be on the Yankees by then.
Audience choice: TIE Theo Epstein, Anthony Rizzo
Best audience comment: Are there any old Cubs left?
Best of Chicago 2012
Photo: Kristine Sherred
Jack’s Bar & Grill
Baseball means summer, summer means patios, and if Wrigley ain’t your scene but you still want to eat and drink and root with like-minded North Siders while the weather holds out for you and the Cubbies, the Southport Corridor answers that call. Basic pub food with a homey twist, decent beer list, flatscreens galore, plenty of outdoor seating—Jack’s is far enough from Wrigley that you can actually enjoy yourself but close enough that an influx of fans will stop for a celebratory beer after the game. It’s tough to separate Lakeview’s torrent of upscale pubs with pretty patios from one another (it doesn’t really matter—they’re all owned by the same conglomerates anyways), but, like the divier bars on the list, Jack’s has a loyal following of hoodsters, too. They’re just younger.
Jack’s Bar & Grill
2856 North Southport
Harry Caray’s Tavern
700 East Grand on Navy Pier
Best of Chicago 2011
And the people said “no”
Ricketts Family, thank you for buying the Cubs. We think they have a better chance to succeed owned privately rather than under the control of Darth Vader, or whatever. But now, Ricketts Family, do your job. Your proposal to renovate the collapsing Wrigley Field by basically asking the state for hundreds of millions of dollars—and by state we mean, you know, us—was pretty much a mountainous insult, not to mention a disaster in timing seeing as Illinois has a $13 billion deficit and the country’s still in that whole economic downturn thing. Ricketts Family, you knew what you were getting yourself into—you bought the thing, you pay to fix it. If we bought a fix-it-up house we wouldn’t ask our new neighbors to fund the renovations. In a rare act of political awareness in Illinois, both Governor Quinn and Mayor Daley hands-down rejected the proposal. Side note: If you don’t plan on putting a competitive team on the field any time soon, don’t even bother with the renovations. Let it crumble and let’s forget about this whole “Cubs” thing once and for all. What’s that? Adam Dunn is…what? Don’t get up—let’s ride the Red Line a little further south.
Others that were mentioned a few times, amused us or seemed especially weird:
“There’s a big macaroni noodle in front of the park now”; “Undercover Boss”; “Reasonable ticket prices, winning baseball, respect paid to Ryno, resistance to garish new signs, top-notch general managing, the list goes on…”
Best of Chicago 2010
Never, ever say, “This is the best team they’ve had in my lifetime”
We can’t count how many times we heard this fateful claim during the Cubs 2008 campaign, which, if you need us to remind you, ended in epic, pathetic, despicable failure. At the bar, at work, at family functions, at the Fourth of July BBQ—“this is the best they’ve ever been,” “the whole team is great,” “Fukudome is, like, Miyagi dude.” No no no. All it did was give Cubs fans a false sense of security, a dumb and misguided base of hope, that this year was the year. Problem is, Cubs fans are a weepy bunch who like the storybook. Cubs fans like “Field of Dreams.” Sox fans don’t have time for movies, they’re too busy recalling the ‘05 season. One-hundred years meant something to Cubs supporters, and now that they’re facing a hundred more, hopefully each passing season means less and less and we can avoid the uniquely inevitable disaster and disappointment.
It’s never going to happen
Audience Comments: “be a Sox fan”;
“CUBS = Completely Useless By September”;“Maybe next year…”
Best of Chicago 2008
Carlos Zambrano’s no-hitter
While 100 years wasn’t enough to break a championship drought, it only took thirty-six years for the Cubs to break another record. Three weeks before the team’s dismal first-round shutout in the playoffs, Carlos Zambrano became the first Cubs pitcher in three-plus decades to throw a no-hitter as the North Siders visited the hurricane-displaced Astros in their adopted home of Milwaukee on September 14. Throwing 110 pitches with a season-high ten strikeouts and just one walk, Zambrano’s performance was a short-lived glimmer of hope that blessed the fielders with a rare night off.
Best of Chicago 2008
Because he’s been on the Cubs longer than any other current player. Because he battled back from injury after injury, criticism after criticism, setback after setback. Because he reinvented himself as a player, refined his talents and proved to be a reliable, and sometimes lights-out, closer, a stopper good enough to make it on the 2008 National League All-Star roster. Because it was a fairy-tale story, one that was of personal triumph, no matter how disappointingly the team’s season ended. Because we’ll never forget the day he struck out twenty. And because even now, ten years after that remarkable performance, the guy’s still got that rocket for an arm.
Best of Chicago 2008
You don’t have to be a baseball specialist to read the cubschic.com blog since Jennifer Lyng doesn’t blab on about statistics. This “chic” focuses on the players and spices up her writing with opinions on Big Z’s meltdowns, AAA call-ups and Soriano’s hop. A former boyfriend bought her the domain name so she’d stop venting to him. “Cubschic” is “Chic. Cubs” with the words reversed, get it? Lyng’s baseball upbringing rocked: her mom let her skip school in fifth grade to attend opening day, and her grandmother worked in broadcasting with Jack Brickhouse, so she never wanted for Cubs tickets.
Best of Chicago 2008