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[ed. - This post was written by BN user Dave on the Message Board. I warned you folks that if you posted quality, interesting stuff on the Board, it might get promoted to the front page (with a minimal number of edits, hopefully). So, here you go.

With the Chicago Cubs' season over, and the St. Louis Cardinals headed - miraculously and insufferably - to the playoffs, starting tomorrow afternoon against the Phillies (*cough, go Phillies, cough*), I thought it appropriate to promote Dave's humorous post from the Message Board. As you'll see, the Cardinals feature prominently. Dave's methods are dark, but effective.]

I think I’m a pretty good parent. I love Alex, my son; I encourage him in everything he does, I allow him to decide what he likes and who he is. Basically, I encourage him to explore and become whatever he wants to be.

Except a Cardinals fan, that is.

I’ve been a Cubs fan all my life, in spite of being born on Chicago’s less than beautiful South Side. Since the age of 14, though, I’ve lived in Cardinals territory and it hasn’t been easy. The Cubs have made the playoffs just 4 times, including the magical (and surprising and ultimately disappointing) 1998 season, my first spent behind enemy lines. The Cards have made it 7 times, winning 2 pennants and a World Series. I’d say that’s advantage Cards fans.

Considering the lopsidedness of the rivalry, I’d say Cards fans and I have co-existed peacefully over the years. I’ll wear my Cubs shirts (or, on a special occasion, my Cubs Jersey) and catch some 1908 or goat-related flak, and I’ll mumble something about steroids or the douchebag manager and players and it’s all over with. Once (on a train headed to a Cubs-Cards game in St. Louis) I did get into a rather loud argument with a Cardinals fan whose only redeeming quality (other than the luscious, flowing mullet) was his disdain for the Yankees. The enemy of my enemy is not, however, my friend.

Alex comes into this because his mother happens to be a local, one of the few who has lived both sides of the rivalry, but somehow picked the wrong one. While she was born in Missouri, she was raised in Chicago and moved back to Missouri for college. She says her time in Chicago only solidified her Cardinals fandom. That seems wrong. Wrigley is a cathedral, a beautiful park in an amazing neighborhood. Busch (both old and new) is a massive toilet, underneath a highway, surrounded by parking lots.

Alas, as all men have needs and she had few other faults, our son was born, immediately into controversy.

His mom argued that baseball is like religion, the kid inherits it from the mother. I countered by reminding her that he would be spending more time at games with me than with her. And back and forth it went. I’d buy him a Cubs shirt, it would mysteriously disappear. We would go to a game in St. Louis and I’d make sure Alex was wearing blue, regardless of her wishes.

This kept on as he got older, though I’m not sure he’s ever really understood what was going on. In order to make sure I won, and that Alex chooses that path of righteousness, I decided to go nuclear by putting the fear of God into my son. Not by shouting or hitting or any of the stuff with short term gains and long term losses; but through little white lies, spread out over time, that will lead to him having the inherent hatred of the St. Louis Cardinals that all little boys should have.

It started by accident a short time before Alex’s 4th birthday. In a store one day we saw a Cardinals shirt, so I pointed at it and said, “Alex, that’s a bad bird.” And he just looked and nodded, as little kids do. I realized that I could be onto something, but that I couldn’t overdo it. So I laid low for a while, mainly praising the “Blue Bear” instead of tearing down the Cardinals.

After a few months, baseball season started up again. Living in the home of the Cardinals’ AA affiliate meant that, in order to see real live baseball, we had to go to a Cards game. Ugh. I sucked it up and went anyways, using the opportunities to make my son hate the Cardinals. Whenever the Cardinals’ mascot came around, I’d tell Alex to hide his hot dog because the bad bird was going to steal it. (He still does this, over a year later.)

I knew I’d have to go deeper than that to get that hatred really stuck in there, so I hit him at a primal level. Around the time the 2011 baseball season began, I told him that the red bird is bad because it punches babies. As a kid himself, Alex has a soft spot for babies and, obviously, disagrees with them being punched. So, this took hold.

I went a step further and told him that the only thing that can prevent a baby from being punched is to have a “Blue Bear” around. Months later, about a week before his 5th birthday, he spotted a Cardinals stuffed animal in a store and told his mom that it’s a bad bird, it punches babies, and he won’t go near it. She tried to reason with him, but reason doesn’t work on a 5-year-old. That’s why I didn’t explain the Cardinals’ drug culture to him. It’s why I didn’t tell him about Tony La Russa being a big baby, himself. It’s why I didn’t tell him how awful the Best Fans in Sports ® really are, or how crappy the city is.

It’s why I simply convinced him that Cardinals = punched babies unless there is a Cub nearby.

It worked. I won.

  • http://neighborhoods.redeyechicago.com/wrigleyville/author/btarman/ Brian

    This is effing hilarious. Good job, screw the Cardinals

  • Matt

    Franconia’s option not picked up

  • RY

    Pure Genious, Love it!

  • Guancous

    Excellent though some would argue that Cubs fandom is more masochistic than any Skinner Box.

  • Dave

    Must be a slow news day….

     

    But really, its an honor to be on the front page, thanks.

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      Thank you for the enjoyable post. I might have to promote the “Cardinals Fans Are the Worst,” too, unless you don’t want to get a rep as “that guy who really, really hates the Cardinals.”

      • Dave

        But I am the guy who really, really hates the Cardinals.

        Run with it if you’d like, it’ll need a good bit of editing,to be honest I didn’t really re-read it before I put it up in the forums.  I’ve got an idea bouncing around in my head that wont include any Cardinal-hate, I just need to find a bit of time where I can actually get it written.

        • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

          Oh, I’m heavy with the editing pen. No worries there…

  • pfk

    Loved it! Great story Dave – thanks. And, as he ages, you still have the drug issues to bring up to make sure he stays a Cubs fan. Has he been to Wrigley yet? THAT will cinch it.

  • Dave

    We’ll be in Chicago for a few days in November, I’m hoping to at least make it up to that side of town, but we’ve got a lot of other things planned.  Someday we’ll see a game at Wrigley, hopefully from the bleachers.

  • Robbo

    That’s awesome. Well done sir

  • Karen P

    Oh my goodness gracious this is brilliant. Thank you, Dave for posting to the message board and Brett for sharing it with all of us.

  • Madprizamwoo

    Lmfao. Nice post!!

    Cards = punched babies. Lmfao

  • IACub

    Nice work Dave…I have three kids of my own. I too work tirelessly to raise my children as Cubs fans. My oldest daughter, Addison, has long been suspected of me biting my tongue. My wife liked the name and I said nothing. When the next season came around, my wife discovered that Addison and Clark was quite significant! My 2 oldest sing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and of course they “root, root, root for the Cubbies” when they sing. Anything we Cubs fans can do to keep the population growing is in the best interest of baseball in my opinion. Now, if the ball club could just perform a little better they might grow up looking like savvy, smart baseball fans instead of lovable losers.

  • Mike Foster

    Dave, thought I’d offer a tool for the fight. If you subscribe to Vineline for 2 years you can get a pix of your name inlights on the Cubs marque. Have you sons name done, frame it, hang it. That shouldn’t disappear. If it does, tell him the bad bird took it.

  • Steve

    Dave, well played. My in-laws are all Cardinals’ fans, and my fiancée is getting her doctorate in STL. I spend quite a bit of time there. St. Louis, overall, is a fun city, but actual downtown is one of the most boring places on planet earth, let alone “baseball heaven”. The only thing that makes me happier than the Cardinals losing, which given the whiney nature surrounding their club is actually starting to get annoying, is watching those best fans in baseball exit stage left at the end of the seventh because their beloved birds are down by three and El Hombre just popped up to the short stop. My philosophy is this: if my father made me a Cubs’ fan, my son deserves the same punishment.

  • Joy

    That was a great post. Good luck. My sister has turned my little niece into a White Sox fan which she has always been. I keep checking my birth certificate to see if we really are sisters.

     

  • Zbo

    Bravo!

  • Cardfan

    Dave, you have won the battle, but there is a bigger war looming. My money is on the Mrs. for that one.

  • Chris

    Dave, great post. although I haven’t used the trick of identifying mascots with certain behavior (which is a masterful approach), I’m instilling the same love for the Cubs into my 9 year old son and 2 daughters. I agree you have to start as early as possible.

    We live in Louisiana, and there are a surprising number of Cubs fans here thanks to having WGN over the years. But there are more Astros and Braves fans here than anything else.

    Since my son was born, I’ve brought him back MLB team hats from places I’ve visited (except Houston & St. Louis, for obvious reasons – dislike and divisional opposition). But cemented his Cub fandom was taking my son to Wrigley for a 3 game series last year (I’m waiting to take the girls later – see below). When he saw the sea of Cubs blue on the train, the marquee out front, the statue of Harry Caray, the ivy, and the bleachers, that was it.

    I also passed a note to Pat & Ron that my son was making his first visit to Wrigley. They mentioned him on air, and through my MLB subscription, I was able to record the audio clip of them mentioning his name. Mission accomplished, although I think I’d really locked that up at an earlier age.

    Now we have child #4 on the way, and conventional wisdom says it’s a boy. So another thing to wave in front of my 9 year old is having to take his Mom, little brother (or sister, doesn’t matter), and his 2 sisters to their first game at Wrigley.

    And for those of you who have daughters, think about this – you can help your grandchildren avoid love of another team by instilling Cubs fandom in your daughters (and also by weeding out suitors who are fans of undesirable teams). Dave’s right – kids get religion from their mothers. Those pink Cubs tshirts & hats for little girls may seem silly, but to me, buying those is money well spent. But I’ll have to wait and see what gear my grandchildren wear.

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  • Sara

    This was wonderful! I am married to an otherwise wonderful man who is, sadly, a Cardinals fan. However, I read this to him and even he had to laugh. Great tactics, and when I get pregnant, I’ll start the indoctrination in utero!

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  • Sparks

    This is a response to Dave’s article about raising his son
    to be a Cub fan:

    I was born in 1932 in a small coal mining town in Southern
    Illinois.  It is much closer to St. Louis
    than it is to Chicago, so there were many more Cardinal fans there than Cub
    fans.  My mother was a Cardinal fan.  I was “brainwashed” about the merits of the
    Cardinals as compared to any other team from the time I was able to talk and
    understand English.

    Mom talked about “The Gashouse Gang” and Pepper Martin.  She told me about Dizzy Dean and his brother
    Paul, and how they won a Double Header.
    (For you young folks, that’s when teams played two games on the same
    day- one right after the other, with only one admission.)  She told me about the GREAT radio announcer
    she listened to.  His name was Harry
    Carey.  I thought the words to “Take Me
    Out to the Ball Game” included “root, root, root for the Cardinals”.

    Then, in 1937, we moved to Chicago.  I thought the Cardinals were the ONLY
    baseball team until about 1943, when the guys in the neighborhood started
    playing baseball instead of softball.
    All the kids were either Cubs fans or Sox fans.  I was usually on the “Cubs” team.

    Then along came 1945.
    That was THE year.  I listened to
    almost every game.  I will never forget
    Bert Wilson, the Cubs radio announcer on station WIND.  One of the things he said almost every game
    was “They say that I am a ‘homer’, but I am not.  I don’t care who wins……as long as it’s the
    Cubs.”  There were some thrilling games
    against the Cardinals that year, and in the key games the Cubs came out on
    top.  1945 was my undoing.  Since then I have been a die-hard Cubs fan,
    much to Mom’s chagrin.

    Unfortunately, I have experienced no re-run of 1945.

    So, Dave, this is simply a tale to show you how “The best
    laid plans of mice and men sometime go astray.”
    I’m afraid that my Mother rolls over in her grave when she thinks about
    me being a Cub fan.

     

    • http://www.bleachernation.com Brett

      That’s actually a pretty heartbreaking story, Sparks. You became a dedicated fan just in time to suffer for 66 straight years. Here’s hoping the winds of change are blowin’…

  • Sparks

    I’m hopin!

  • Katie

    I’m doing the same thing with my 8 year old son. My mom is a Cardinals fan so kids don’t get it from the mother! :). In fact I make it a point to wear my Cuck the Fardinals tee shirt around her whenever possible. She is really insufferable now with her team in the WS.

  • Stan

    you’re a cubs fan….everyone knows you did not win…but like always your delusions make us all laugh…at you…

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