Cubs Fans and Rivals Need to Learn How to Co-Exist

Cubs Fans and Rivals Need to Learn How to Co-Exist
This is me in Israel in the summer of 1985.

Social Media has changed the landscape of sports. It has connected fans directly to their favorite players, coaches and media. The proliferation of social media has also connected fans globally. This has increased the amount debates and arguments. The amount of trolls and personal attacks on social media is troublesome at times.

A small percentage of Cub fans have taken exception to anyone rooting against their team this postseason. Some are saying that this makes someone not a real Chicagoan or Real Illinoisan. Do these same fans root for the Sky, Bandits and Wolves? Should Cardinals fans on the Illinois side of the Mississippi have to root the Cubs, what about Chicago's many transplants? Things far bigger than sports bring someone to Chicago.

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I have never seen such nastiness outside of the Alabama tree poisoning incident at Auburn and Kentucky fans suggesting that Rick Pitino that he should be shot to death by a firing squad after being named Head Coach at Louisville.

Rivalries make sports healthy. It’s OK to root against a rival as long as it doesn't get personal. Legendary Chicago columnist Mike Royko had a great column on the rivalry in 1991 titled  "Subway Could Find the White Sox in the Cellar."

Sometimes fans don't even protect their own. The way Steve Bartman was treated compared to Alex Gonzalez and Mark Prior in 2003 was misguided. Karma is not why the Cubs lost to the Marlins. They had five more outs and game seven with a chance to win the pennant.

Cubs fan Keque Escobedo raised $3750 out of his goal of $5000 to get Bartman to the Wild Card game. He said if Bartman didn’t accept the offer the money would be donated to Alzheimer’s research.

I’ll admit i'd be rooting against the Cubs regardless, but it’s assumed that this year it’s the only reason. I have been a Mets fan since 1985.

Not even clergy are exempt from taking sides. One of the Rabbis from my temple growing up was a White Sox fan. He had a t-shirt that said "My two favorite teams are the White Sox and whoever plays the Cubs." Royko cited a priest with similar feelings.

I realized how intense their feelings were when I recently read an interview with a priest who was a lifelong Sox fan. He said: ``A perfect day is when the Sox win and the Cubs lose.``

A priest, mind you. A man of God. A man whose mission it is to spread peace, understanding, kindness, goodness. And there he was actually relishing the thought of millions of mostly decent folk (Cub fans) being filled with gloom and sorrow.

In 1984 I came home from overnight camp in Colorado planning on rooting for the Cubs. When I returned home it became as much about the Sox losing in the 1983 playoffs as the Cubs’ first playoff appearance in 39 years. The attitude of the majority of Cubs fans I knew cemented not pulling for the Cubs for the foreseeable future.  It seemed like an omen when Ryne Sandberg and Gary Matthews went back to back when was I was at a game in 1984.

I became a Mets fan because I loved watching Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry play. I went to Israel in the summer of 1985 and the MLB scores came two Days late in USA Today about ten years before the internet.

My experiences involving both the Cubs and Mets have been memorable. I went to high school and college with Dallas Green’s son Doug, celebrated the Mets 1986 World Championship with other Mets fans as a freshman in college and attended  game one of the 1988 NLCS between the Mets and Dodgers in L.A.

Sox fans are not exempt. I've seen a lot of nastiness in social media from White Sox this post season and I call them out on it just as I would with Cubs fans.

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When the Sox won the World Series in 2005 many Cubs fans were even worse than 1984. I was working at the Chicago Board of Trade then.

The CBOT has been a jewel of Chicago that is fading. It’s the best cross section of Chicago people I've ever been associated with.

Many Cubs fans belittled the Sox first title in 88 years. It’s been suggested that only 50,000 people cared or that 2,000,000 people lined the parade route because they wanted out of work. The vast majority of those people were wearing silver and black.

I was fortunate that our offices at Shatkin Arbor were on the third floor looking straight down LaSalle Street. It was like having a seat in a suite at U.S. Cellular Field. The trading floor was almost empty and our entire office including the traders were packed close to the bay windows to watch the parade.

Even Cubs fans and non-baseball fans observed the celebration of Chicago’s first World Series title in 88 years and the first LaSalle street championship parade since the Bears won Super Bowl XX in January 1986.

Fans line the corner of  Jackson and Lasalle to view the White Sox Championship parade in 2005.

Fans line the corner of Jackson and Lasalle to view the White Sox Championship parade in 2005.

People can root for who they want as long as they keep it from being nasty. I’ve changed in that regard. Seeing fans of the White Sox, Cardinals and Cubs be nasty truly goes against the spirit of sports.

I hope to see more maturity and for everyone to enjoy watching the games for the rest of the postseason regardless of their rooting interests.

I've always appreciated the fact that Chicago has only one sport with two major league teams. New York is probably never truly united over sports. Is Chicago though?

We are the hub of the Midwest. People move here from all over the region, the country and the world looking for better job opportunities, greater recreation, night life and/or the culinary scene and more.

Those are the things (Intersting Chicago's Peter Bella nailed it when describing the ten ways Chicago beats NY)  that should truly unite us as a city. We should root for our own teams and if we want root to against our rivals to do it respectfully.

There are far more important things in Chicago and Illinois to worry about. The state is in a budget crisis causing services to be cut, violence is out of control and corruption in state and local politics continue to proliferate.

In the last 15 years Illinois has sent two Governors, a prominent congressman and his wife and soon the former CEO of the Chicago Public Schools plus many others to prison,

Spike Lee, the most famous New Yorker chose Chicago as his location for his newest film Chiraq, about inner city violence. Eighty to 90 years after the heyday of Al Capone, the Chicago mob and the St. Valentine ’s Day massacre we are once again known worldwide as the city of violence.

We have far more important issues both positive and negative to be united about then worrying who your family, friends or neighbors are rooting for in a baseball game.

Although I'm not rooting for the Cubs,  I would be happy for my friends and family that are Cubs fans and respectful if the Cubs do what many believe is the impossible.

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Filed under: baseball, cubs, white sox

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