Greetings, and welcome to the newest Chicago Cubs blog on the ChicagoNow blogging network!
Some of you have heard of us. For those of you who haven't...
My name is Kurtis Evans. I'm a 31-year-old baseball fan who - in spite of numerous reasons, including having never lived a day of my life in Chicago - loves the Chicago Cubs tremendously. (Call it the WGN Harry Caray Effect). Way back in 2004 - which is about 100 lifetimes ago in the blogging world - I was writing on a blog called "A Cub Fan Nation" while trying to recover from the crushing, disappointing way that the '04 campaign ended. (For those of you who blacked it out: they choked.)
Strangely enough, I was pretty optimistic about the future. I'd yet to assign blame to Dusty Baker for the epic mishandling of the best young pitching staff any of us would ever see, I believed wholeheartedly that better days were ahead, and one day I published a post on an extremely popular Cubs message board - Northside Baseball - in which I expressed the desire for there to be a Cubs blog with the same kind of catchy name and theme as the Sons of Sam Horn, who are best known for their obsessive love of our former brothers in pain, the Boston Red Sox.
The way I saw it at the time, the Cubs were a young team with tons of talent on the brink of overcoming the so-called curse that had denied them from reaching the World Series. And what better way to mock the curse than to come up with a clever name proclaiming its end, while touching upon the old joke that a Cubs championship would bring about Armageddon? Hence, the Goat Riders of the Apocalypse were born!
Well, pretty much. It never would have happened without the gentle prodding - or should I say shoving - of my co-creator Byron Clarke, who went forth and actually made the website without waiting for me to consent to participating in it!
Since that time, I've been proven to be pretty much flat-out wrong. The end definitely wasn't nigh. Yet GROTA has managed to capture the imagination of certain segments of the blogsphere audience. We've been recognized in many, many venues, winning awards for blogging excellence, being asked to give numerous radio interviews, and we've even been highlighted on ESPN. (And yet, you've probably never heard of us.)
Well, for those of you who don't know anything about the blog, consider this your chance to catch up. Here's what you need to know:
GROTA is currently comprised of myself, along with co-founders Rob Letterly and Byron Clark, as well as co-writers AJ Walsh, Kyle Betts, Chris Yarbough, Mike Wilkinson and a slew of others. We are cautious, caustic Cub fans who have had our hearts broken repeatedly by the Cubs. We're not quite as exuberant about our disgust as the legendary Ron Santo was, with his dramatic "noooooos" and miserable wails, but if we are upset about the course of the team you'll read all about it.
This will lead you to ask why. Why are we fans if the Cubs upset us this much? It comes down to this - you don't choose your family. Maybe you have a drunken uncle, a racist cousin, an embarrassing mom, a truly unhip dad, a belligerent sister and an annoying, know-it-all kid brother. But you still go to the family reunions, and you are still inclined to mix it up with any outsider who besmirches your family name. You can't chose your family, and for us the Cubs are our family. We have invested thousands of hours, tens of thousands of dollars, and we've navigated the rollercoaster of emotions that accompany the following of this baseball team. Sometimes they anger us so much that we can't express our thoughts in pleasant company. Sometimes the Cubs give us so much joy that we can't express that in pleasant company, either.
In any case, we believe in being as honest as possible about how we feel, at all times, no matter how awkward that can be. We don't see the point of sugar-coating our thoughts or feelings. However - and this is key - we recognize that the internet is a pretty big place and it requires a particularly small mind to proclaim that only certain kinds of thoughts or feelings are permissible. You don't have to agree with us - and we rarely will agree with each other - in order to participate on the blog. All we ask is that you demonstrate the same amount of passion as we do, while refraining from attacking people. Ideas, on the other hand, are fair game.
What we aren't is a Julie clone. You will find, pretty quickly, that we are our own blog and have our own voice. As long as you don't mind that we aren't A League of Her Own, then we won't mind if you aren't a caustic, cynical Cub fan whose bitter days outnumber his or her joyful ones.
I hope, then, that you stick around. Bring some friends. Get into some passionate debates with us, and with each other. Write a Fan Post. If you know how to speel, we'll publish it. But remember - no matter how much you disagree with any one opinion we express here (and we'll run the gamut from "Carlos Zambrano is crazy" to "Carlos Zambrano is the greatest, most entertaining Cub EVAR!") we still have more in common than we do with most ordinary people out there: we love the Cubs, and we want them to win. Let's celebrate together our mutual joy and pain.
Now, whether you are new to GROTA, or new to ChicagoNow, please take this time to introduce yourselves. We'd like to get to know you, and we hope you stick around to get to know us.