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Why You Should Root for the Red Sox (And Not Just Against the Cardinals)


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#1 Diamondrock

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 10:15 AM

I've been thinking about writing something like this for a while, and what with Myles' piece from this morning and the start of the World Series this evening, I decided to go ahead and do so.

 

Like all of you, I'm a Cubs fan. Like some of you, I didn't grow up in and around Chicago. I was born and raised in what may charitably be referred to as “South-Central Illinois.” My hometown of Galesburg isn't very large, but it's known for a number of interesting things: its role in the railroads, the birthplace of Carl Sandburg, and as a site of a Lincoln-Douglas debate. What most people don't know about Galesburg is that it's also a baseball battleground.

 

Galesburg is literally (in the classic sense of the word) halfway between Chicago and St. Louis. Depending on the traffic, it will take you approximately three hours and fifteen minutes to drive to either Wrigley Field or Busch Stadium. Baseball fandom in Galesburg is more or less split right down the middle: fifty percent Cubs fans and fifty percent Cardinals fans.

 

It wasn't easy growing up a Cubs fan in Galesburg. Sure, you had some camaraderie, but you also had friends and family who were Cardinals fans. And as today, they were insufferable. The mockery and disdain never seemed to let up, because Cardinals fans are incapable of understanding the mindset of a Cubs fan. As my best friend (yes, he's a Cardinals fan) once asked me in all seriousness: “why would you be a fan of a team that doesn't win?”

 

Because it is easy to be a Cardinals fan. It's easy to be a fan of any team that competes year in and year out. Teams like that may stumble from time to time, but their fans always know that next year really will be a better year. Sadly, the Cardinals and teams like them never seem to stay down for long. I'd like to see how many of the “Best Fans in Baseball” would actually stick around if the Cardinals experienced a true drought of success.

 

So Cardinals fans don't understand us. I really didn't think anyone could. But a year and a half ago I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts for graduate school. I'd never lived on the east coast, and like many people from the Midwest had grown up annoyed and frustrated with the east coast-focused sports media. So coming in I wasn't well disposed towards the Red Sox, especially after their World Series wins.

 

But I discovered something funny as I went about my daily life wearing my Cubs hat. I would have people stop me—it might be the clerk at the grocery store or the FedEx man or any number of other people—and ask “you a Cubs fan?” I would always respond proudly in the affirmative. And they would invariabley respond the same way: “we're pulling for you” or “I hope you guys get there soon.” And they're not offering pity or disdain: only sincerity.

 

Because yes, there are a lot of annoying Red Sox fans. I can't walk five feet down the street without seeing someone in Sox gear. But a lot of those people are bandwagoners. They came in after things started getting good. Most of the ones I seem to talk to are the lifers, like us. They experienced years of heartbreak before finally making it to the promised land. And so they understand.

 

That's really the key for me when it comes to rooting for the Red Sox. The best of their fans are sympathetic (and not in the condescending way that a lot of teams' fans are). They've been where we are—and they are now right where we want to be. So I root for the Red Sox because these people are my allies. When the Cubs finally make it to the Fall Classic, they'll be in sports bars around Boston rooting for the Cubs. Unless they're playing us, of course. But who could blame them for that?

 

It is right and good to root against the Cardinals. As my mother said today: "that cold wind from the west causing shivers down your spine is not a weather front. The Cardinals are in town!" So I'll cheer for their defeat, as I always do. But I'll also be rooting for the Red Sox. Because despite the elitism and the media and the superiority complexes of so many fans, there are the other fans. The ones who lived through decades—and in some cases a lifetime—of despair. They are the ones who can understand at least something of what it means to be a Cubs fan. So for them, I hope the Red Sox win it all.

 

(Sorry for the long rambling post, but I felt like I needed to get this out there somewhere. I can't stand seeing some Cubs fans even think about rooting for the Cardinals.)



#2 FFP

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 02:00 PM

Thoughtful post, Diamondrock. 

 

I was one of those Red Sox fans (I hope) for many decades before becoming a Cub.

 

In 2004, seconds after the Red Sox completed the sweep of the Red Birds, I stepped out onto my front stoop to whoop, of course. What are you going to do in those first seconds after a lifetime (plus a father's lifetime) of not finishing it? 

 

As my lungs filled with cool, New England air I heard my neighbor. (He had been my grade school classmate, listening to October baseball in school on a badly hidden transistor radio; he had been my teammate when we played on an undefeated high school football team; he had been the annoying  streaker flying past me and my girl while she and I had our first kiss in the darkness of our college campus.) I heard my neighbor already whooping from his own front porch a quarter mile up the road. It was deeper than historic. It felt prehistoric. We were sated beasts--howling victory to the sky from our home territories.

 

I can walk away from Larry Lucchino's Red Sox, but I can't  root against that neighbor's Red Sox. And as a Cubs fan I've learned Dead Bird disdain (thank you, BleacherNation). Tonight's going to be an odd game for me to watch (I can't not watch it, can I?), doubly so because I still have some affection for Lester. I didn't think I was going to say this again, and I may never say it again after this series, but; Go, Red Sox.

 

I won't be joining my neighbor in an atavistic aria if the Boston boys win this. But, when the Cubs win it you'll be able to hear me in Chicago.  

 

What are you going to do in those first seconds after a lifetime (plus a father's lifetime) of not finishing it?

 

Yes, Diamondrock. Red Sox fans get us.

 

Now where's one of those threads where TWC, Spriggs, et al introduced me to Card-hate? I'm going to forward it to my neighbor. 



#3 Internet Random

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:05 PM

Right on, man.

 

Go Cubs.

 

After today, I'm now less interested in Myles's opinion than I am in modern country music... which, let me clarify, is close to zero... it would be absolute zero if some of the ladies weren't so easy to look at. Myles doesn't have that going for him.


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#4 TWC

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 04:30 PM

I have tons of respect for Ace, which is why I don't choose to slander his buddy Miles' articles on the front page, but I really think they're the worst collections of words on this website (*cough* excepting the comments section).  I understand that they are considered, by some, humor.  They are wrong.

 

D-rock, I dig.  I spent some time in Springfield (another strong Cubs/Cards split) in '98, and that was ... divisive.  

 

I was in Lexington, KY's teeny-tiny airport, waiting for a delayed flight in '04 during the BOS/NYY ALCS miracle.  And, man, I was so damn jealous.  Everyone around me was on the edge of their seats, pulling for the Sox.  I know that when the Cubs are there that everyone (well, except the few fans of their opponent) will be in the same place.  Sure, most'll be bandwagoners, but that matters not.  What matters is that those of us who actually, consistently, and passionately give a shit, will get to have the same experience that FFP did on his front porch those nine years ago.  I can't wait.



#5 TWC

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Posted 23 October 2013 - 05:59 PM

And, you know, fuck the fucking Cardinals.



#6 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:39 AM

IR, you just need to give country a chance. It's not all break-ups and dying dogs anymore.


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#7 TWC

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 08:50 AM

IR, you just need to give country a chance. It's not all break-ups and dying dogs anymore.

 

No, it's breakups, dying dogs, and 'Merica.



#8 Internet Random

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:07 AM

IR, you just need to give country a chance. It's not all break-ups and dying dogs anymore.

 
No, it's breakups, dying dogs, and 'Merica.

And asking Jesus to be your designated driver.

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#9 Spriggs

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 09:58 AM

I've been thinking about writing something like this for a while, and what with Myles' piece from this morning and the start of the World Series this evening, I decided to go ahead and do so.

 

Like all of you, I'm a Cubs fan. Like some of you, I didn't grow up in and around Chicago. I was born and raised in what may charitably be referred to as “South-Central Illinois.” My hometown of Galesburg isn't very large, but it's known for a number of interesting things: its role in the railroads, the birthplace of Carl Sandburg, and as a site of a Lincoln-Douglas debate. What most people don't know about Galesburg is that it's also a baseball battleground.

 

Galesburg is literally (in the classic sense of the word) halfway between Chicago and St. Louis. Depending on the traffic, it will take you approximately three hours and fifteen minutes to drive to either Wrigley Field or Busch Stadium. Baseball fandom in Galesburg is more or less split right down the middle: fifty percent Cubs fans and fifty percent Cardinals fans.

 

It wasn't easy growing up a Cubs fan in Galesburg. Sure, you had some camaraderie, but you also had friends and family who were Cardinals fans. And as today, they were insufferable. The mockery and disdain never seemed to let up, because Cardinals fans are incapable of understanding the mindset of a Cubs fan. As my best friend (yes, he's a Cardinals fan) once asked me in all seriousness: “why would you be a fan of a team that doesn't win?”

 

Because it is easy to be a Cardinals fan. It's easy to be a fan of any team that competes year in and year out. Teams like that may stumble from time to time, but their fans always know that next year really will be a better year. Sadly, the Cardinals and teams like them never seem to stay down for long. I'd like to see how many of the “Best Fans in Baseball” would actually stick around if the Cardinals experienced a true drought of success.

 

So Cardinals fans don't understand us. I really didn't think anyone could. But a year and a half ago I moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts for graduate school. I'd never lived on the east coast, and like many people from the Midwest had grown up annoyed and frustrated with the east coast-focused sports media. So coming in I wasn't well disposed towards the Red Sox, especially after their World Series wins.

 

But I discovered something funny as I went about my daily life wearing my Cubs hat. I would have people stop me—it might be the clerk at the grocery store or the FedEx man or any number of other people—and ask “you a Cubs fan?” I would always respond proudly in the affirmative. And they would invariabley respond the same way: “we're pulling for you” or “I hope you guys get there soon.” And they're not offering pity or disdain: only sincerity.

 

Because yes, there are a lot of annoying Red Sox fans. I can't walk five feet down the street without seeing someone in Sox gear. But a lot of those people are bandwagoners. They came in after things started getting good. Most of the ones I seem to talk to are the lifers, like us. They experienced years of heartbreak before finally making it to the promised land. And so they understand.

 

That's really the key for me when it comes to rooting for the Red Sox. The best of their fans are sympathetic (and not in the condescending way that a lot of teams' fans are). They've been where we are—and they are now right where we want to be. So I root for the Red Sox because these people are my allies. When the Cubs finally make it to the Fall Classic, they'll be in sports bars around Boston rooting for the Cubs. Unless they're playing us, of course. But who could blame them for that?

 

It is right and good to root against the Cardinals. As my mother said today: "that cold wind from the west causing shivers down your spine is not a weather front. The Cardinals are in town!" So I'll cheer for their defeat, as I always do. But I'll also be rooting for the Red Sox. Because despite the elitism and the media and the superiority complexes of so many fans, there are the other fans. The ones who lived through decades—and in some cases a lifetime—of despair. They are the ones who can understand at least something of what it means to be a Cubs fan. So for them, I hope the Red Sox win it all.

 

(Sorry for the long rambling post, but I felt like I needed to get this out there somewhere. I can't stand seeing some Cubs fans even think about rooting for the Cardinals.)

Having lived in Macomb (WIU), Springfield, and f'n little Egypt (I refuse to even mention the town) - I understand what it's like to live in cardinal areas among their so called fans.  I grew up in the 60s in a south Chicago suburb as a die hard Cubs fan - among mostly Sox fans.  Though the Sox fans were hard to take - they were human.  All through the 60's and 70s, despite the Lou Brock thing -- I was unaware of any special Cubs - cardinal rivalry until our family moved to a town in little Egypt.  Hell.  It was then that I found cardinal fans cared more about the Cubs losing than the cardinals winning. I could go on and on about why I hate them... but I never want to be that kind of fan.  It's getting harder all the time though (that's what she said - I wish).

 

Though I live for baseball, I just cannot watch the WS.  Didn't see a single pitch in any of the cardinal WS appearances including the sweep in 2004.  I get no joy out of listening to joe buck and tim mccarver talk about st louis and I get no joy out of watching them lose. Watching them win would probably kill me. It elevates my blood pressure to even type this.  @$%*, I hate st louis.



#10 Spriggs

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:00 AM

And, you know, fuck the fucking Cardinals.

That's really what I meant to say... forget all that rambling above. 



#11 Cubbie Blues

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 10:47 AM

This is what I normally think of when talking about Cardinal fans:

 

article-0-0D19506F00000578-186_306x389.j


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#12 Diamondrock

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 01:00 PM

Thanks for the feedback, all. Let me just say that watching the Cardinals make fools of themselves in a sports bar full of Red Sox fans was sublime. The only way it could have been better is if they'd been Cubs fans. That look on Mike Matheny's face after the final out was priceless.



#13 scorecardpaul

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:45 PM

Thanks guys, I was starting to believe that maybe I had lost my mind.   I have lived for 48 years never farther away from St. Louis than my current location of Springfield, Il.  I apologize to you guys for losing my temper on the front page the other day, but I am living right dead in the middle of all of the cardinal crap.  I simply couldn't believe that on this site, my sanctuary of peace, that I had to listen to an article about just how great the cards are. I then can't believe that I was ganged up on by what I thought were great Chicago Cub fans.



#14 cubmig

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 05:53 PM

And, you know, fuck the fucking Cardinals.

 

.........if that's the same as: "fuck the fucking" deadbirds......I'm in !!



#15 cubmig

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Posted 24 October 2013 - 06:07 PM

Game on.






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