Barack Obama: The Audacity!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Barack Obama: The Audacity!

. Tuesday, August 26, 2008


Is he trying to send a "Vote McCain" message?

In my alternate life as a football fan, I love presidential candidate Barack Obama's vocal support of my beloved Chicago Bears. In my current (and frankly, more obsessive) life as a Cubs fan, I wish upon him not grave misfortune (Patriot Act and all, this being a blog), but perhaps some truly vicious papercuts or that thing where you turn your living room lights off to go to bed because you think you know your way in the dark but you smack a toenail right into furniture and go "fuck fuck shit, fuck you, table" and it turns all purple and starts coming off and it's too painful to pull off but eventually you just have to rip it off and it hurts so bad but you don't have to deal with it anymore. Something minor like that. Why do I feel this way about a man that a good portion of America is ready to declare not just President, but also Saint? The following quote justifying his fandom for Our Fair City's second-tier ballclub from an interview with ESPN's Stuart Scott (I know, I'm surprised too). Via yesterday's Sun-Times:

Stuart Scott: “If the Cubs and the White Sox both make it to the World Series?

Obama: “I would be going.”

Scott: “Who would you root for?

Obama: “Oh, that's easy. White Sox. I'm not one of these fair weather fans. You go to Wrigley Field, you have a beer, beautiful people up there. People aren't watching.

One of the "real" baseball fans with whom Obama shares the park

Fair-weather fans? Are you kidding me, dragging out that tired-ass old rant popularized by bitter Sox fans since the beginning of their existence? If he's this wrong about something as relatively minor as baseball, I'm not sure how I feel about him dictating foreign and economic policy for our great nation. I can imagine it now: "Sure, we could work out this trade deal with the French, but I hear that those Frenchies are complete pussies and their women are hairy. Who wants a high five?" It's a troubling look at the world to be.


Newly minted Cubs fans, pre-cynicism

But hey, we're nothing at WAIW if not thorough. As such, I have prepared this table refuting Sen. Obama's claim that it's the Cubs fans that are fair-weather bandwagon jumpers. If anything, that Southside Stepchild is the team with the jackass frontrunners. Observe, if you will, this chart.


Cubs Avg. Attendance

MLB Rank

Sox Avg. Attendance

MLB Rank

2004

39,138

6th

24,437

21st

2005

38,753

6th

28,923

17th

2006

39,040

6th

36,511

9th

2007

40,153

6th

33,140

15th

2008

40,728

7th

30,802

15th










So take a look at what we have here. Even following a very, very disappointing 2004, and debacles in 2005 (79-83, 4th place) and 2006 (66-96, last), our Cubs have consistently been at the top of the league in average attendance. If you're just going to look at percentages of tickets sold, then it's the Cubs and the Boston Red Sox at the top of the league every year.


A lifetime of baseball despair, and this guy can smile. And he doesn't need to be yelling "your team sucks, asshole" to do it.

Now juxtapose our consistently packed stadium with the strip mall they have over in Bridgeport. Apparently, they couldn't pay people to come to the stadium prior to the 2005 World Series team. They'd been in the bottom third of the league in average attendance pretty consistently before '05. Even when they were spending a year winning it all as the best team in baseball (credit where credit is due - we're not Sox fans here), they couldn't even manage 29K a game in a stadium that seats over 40K (used to seat 47K, but I suppose the club figured they were just going empty anyway). Then they won the World Series - a dark day for me.

You know how hard it was to find a picture of a Sox fan in handcuffs? Not very.

Whoa, suddenly, everyone's a Sox fan. Attendance jumps to over 36,000 the next year, good for 9th in average attendance in the league (still below the Cubs, even in a terrible year for the North siders). They proceeded to finish 3rd below the Tigers and Twins, and suddenly they're down to 33,000 a game and back to 15th in the league for '07. This year, they're averaging even fewer fans (30,802, 15th in the league), despite being in a battle for first. I guess they'd better hope to either win it all or rip some more seats out of that concrete masoleum. Maybe they just need some publicity - like beating up another senior citizen first base coach.

Frankly, I think that supporters of both teams should back the shit off of the "fairweather fan" tag about the other. Clearly the fact that the Cubs are one of the most widely-supported team in the majors even in bad years shows that it's not true for us. Those 80-year old ushers aren't still pointing people to their green seats because they're looking to latch on to a proven winner. Hell, we've taken the term "Lovable Losers" and made it both our motto and our rallying cry. This is our team, and they'll still be ours whether we've got 53 wins at the All-Star break or 53 wins at the end of September.


Nike Dri-Fit bib wicks away drool, mushed bananas

And I'm going to go ahead and say that true Sox fans go through hard times themselves. For awhile, they had the "chokers" tag as much as we did - let's not forget they had quite a championship slump of their own. And it can't be easy to haul ass to Bridgeport day in and day out and see your team play the KC Royals nine times a year - even if the old Stabtown projects are gone from the parking lot area. I'll respect any fan who shows true support without being a jackass about another fan's. So Cubs fans, let's stop being so touchy about criticism and for fuck's sake, save your bragging for when we're hosting the victory parade. And Sox fans, enough already with the inferiority complex. Either accept being second fiddle or just shut your mouth around people who didn't ask for your opinion. Hopefully, we can all get along then.

Stock image used because the phrase "Cubs/Sox unity" turns up jack shit on Google Images

And back to Senator Obama. As a man who has done so much to smash preconceived notions, does he really want to step into this minefield? Hell, if he's still using the whole "Hope" thing as his campaign theme, what better team and fanbase to embody that message than the Cubs? Hope isn't something that springs from glory and easy times (2005, for instance), it's something that makes you perservere through hard times and suffering. Who embodies this better than Cubs Nation?


America on a stick

1 comments:

Jen said...

This jab hit home for me as I spent my Saturday afternoon sweating my metaphorical balls off at Barack's rally in Springfield while old people were dropping left and right from the late August heat and lack of water available/water bottle prohibition. But what were most of those Obama-supportin' old people wearing as they lay semi-unconscious on the grass? Cubs hats.