I didn’t grow up in the Chicago area, so I have no rooting allegiance to either local baseball team. But as someone who prefers the National League, I’ve spent more time watching the Cubs in the 20 years I’ve lived here and I was a season ticket-holder at one point.
Still, one of my favorite pastimes is making fun of Cubs fans, specifically, how blindly loyal they are and how they have unquestioned faith in every rebuilding plan put in place to get the team to the World Series.
They’re also incredibly irrational and hypocritical at times. The same folks who paraded around Wrigley Field carrying signs that read, “In Dusty We Trusty” shortly after Dusty Baker was hired called him an idiot a couple of years later -- even though in 2003 he came closer to getting the Cubs to the World Series than any manager since 1945.
A few weeks ago, I wrote about the Cubs’ latest grand rebuilding plan under president Theo Epstein and wondered if the fans are being sold snake oil once again. Specifically, I questioned the lack of pitchers among the organization’s top prospects and pointed out that the name of the game is pitching -- just like it has always been in Major League Baseball.
I heard from a number of Cubs fans and was surprised at how nearly all of them dismissed my concerns. They talked about how good the prospects were -- as if they’ve ever seen them play -- and basically said the team could find pitching elsewhere, as if it’s easy to land front-of-the-rotation pitchers.
Frustrated, I made the comment that they all had "drank the Kool-Aid" and blindly accept everything Epstein and his staff tell them. The reality is more than 99.9 percent of them have no clue how good any of the prospects will be, but they’ll cheer them on enthusiastically -- just like they did with Felix Pie, Bobby Hill and one-time Wrigley folk hero Hee Seop Choi.
I bring this up now because there’s a great video done by the Chicago Tribune’s Redeye where Cubs fans are interviewed outside the ballpark and given a fake name of a Cubs prospect and asked to comment. It’s hilarious how many talk about the player -- who doesn’t exist -- with an air of authority as if they’ve followed his progression through the minor leagues.
Besides being a gut-buster, the clip demonstrates the blind loyalty of Cubs fans, because all of the comments are positive.
I guess they want to believe that Epstein and general manager Jed Hoyer know exactly what they’re doing because they don’t want to consider what the next decade would be like if the latest plan goes bust.
Here’s what it would be like -- exactly how it’s been for the last seven decades.
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Here's the video clip.
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