Much Ado About the Cub Nation

Much Ado About the Cub Nation

What crazed Hell is bubbling on Sports Radio? Why has the creation of a mascot for the Cubs created a surge of apoplexy?  How can grown men light up phone lines to decry this? Why does every sports columnist feel the need to cannibalize the Cubs’ marketing plan?  Does anyone need to micro-dissect the renderings of Clark the Cubby Bear? Does anyone really believe that management had a choice, say between better facilities and a mascot? And they went cheap? Who invests life and death importance to such a trifle?

I like baseball as a diversion- like a concert or a movie.  It is not of  mystical importance. ( Though I DO cry at The Natural, and hung a sock for every game the Sox won in 2005 post season play) That’s why they call it a Game. There are 162 chances per season to have your team let you down. Last year, the Sox managed to do this 99 times before mercifully packing up their bats and heading out of town.

Baseball has a lofty perch among sports:  Congress has declared it Our National Pastime.  My ass.  Exempt from anti trust legislation,(except as to labor negotiations.)  Indeed. The Supreme Court taunts Congress to correct this exemption.  They cannot pass a budget, and will never mess with the pinstriped Boys of Summer. So the business of baseball is carried on by wealthy owners who have unusual bargaining tools.

Don’t get me wrong: this “business”  has given me plenty of diversion and relaxation.  The slow pace allows my thoughts to meander and my tastebuds to welcome ice cream, popcorn, hot dogs, peanuts, cold beverages.

I have visited both the Cubs and the Sox for Spring Training in Arizona.  It was big fun- maybe more fun than the real season.

Where’s the fun in the discussion of Clark? The Cubs Nation seems far too hostile and negative at the moment. These folks are going to wreck the Cubs Convention! I expect all will be forgiven soon, and Clark the Cubby will become beloved and ubiquitous.  The next generation of Cub fans will recoil if one tiny change is made in him.

Baseball at Wrigley Field is a brilliant construct: the Cubs do not have to win, or even field a good team because they are lovable losers.  They are ingrained in the collective consciousness of Chicagoans. They wait so long for their summers; they celebrate the ivy, the troughs, the skimpy seating and being outdoors.  With an abundance of day games and public transportation, there are buckets of memories made in those stands.  An afternoon in the stands, with beer flowing and sun shining is enough for most. Once that memory is embossed, any new tradition or physical change is rejected.  Time should stand still, an echo of that perfect day/moment/season.

Time doesn’t stand still.  The adolescent rebellion I have seen from grown men over this mascot is absurd.

Poor Clark the Cubby Bear seems to be a target for the Everyfan’s displaced rage. Is the real anger about the mini mall and hotel that the new owners are planning to build….with their own money?  Is the rancor more related to the new signs that will obscure some rooftops?  Or is it just general hostility that this rich family gets such a cool playground to tinker with?  It cannot really  be about a mascot. That would be ridiculous.


Last chance I noticed, there was some big furry bear named Staley tripping over the Bears’ end zone.  A terrifying green furry animal haunts the stands at Cellular One. (Southpaw?) There is a skating Hawk flittering in the stands for the Blackhawks. The Bulls field Benny, perhaps the best mascot in pro sports.  What imaginary line did the Cubs cross with Clark?

I don’t get the angst.  I watched kids respond to these team “ambassadors” in the hospital.  What is the harm?  Why do adult men get their jocks in a knot?

The Cubs organization bears the burden of its legacy.  I never thought I’d feel sorry for them, with their big money and conservative politics.  But as the meathead express expounded on the “travesty” of Clark, I did.

Will this new empathy put my butt in Wrigley field ? Probably not.  And they won’t miss me one bit.


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