Okay, this is going to come off a little bitter after this past week of baseball watching that ended last night. But, please imagine my horror when I went to one of the NLCS games at Dodger Stadium this week and I found myself staring at this in the seat in front of me.
It all came back to me in one big flood of mental images.
Now, as a baseball fan, there are many opposing teams in my history that I have grown to hate. As a Met fan in New York, you naturally had mucho disdain for the Yankees. For a while there, I totally despised the Atlanta Braves. As a Dodger fan in Los Angeles, the hatred for the uber-annoying San Francisco Giants is now deeply ingrained.
But there is one franchise that I have hated pretty much my entire life as a baseball fan. And that would be the Dodgers' opponents this past week.
The Chicago Cubs. And most notably their obnoxious fan base.
Okay, you say...how can you hate a franchise that has not won a World Series in 108 years? Have I no compassion for a fan base where there are lifelong Cub fans who were born and died without ever seeing their team in the World Series? Oh, that poor Ernie Banks. One of the greatest players ever and he never got a World Series.
Oh, well, I say...it sucks to be them.
The venom started gathering in my body way back when I was a kid. The lowly Mets were finally good and they were, for the first time ever, battling for a pennant. The team ahead of them was the Cubs. And they were led by my very first baseball villain.
Ron "Rat Bastard" Santo. He's not with us any more so I suppose I should not speak ill of the dead.
I make one exception always. This guy was a jerk and any Met fan still curses him to this day.
You see, when the Cubs were sailing to that pennant, Santo liked to rub victory in the face of his opponents by doing this at the end of every game...
Just seeing it again makes my skin boil. His antics were considered bush league by everybody but those assholes in the Wrigley Field bleachers. Met manager Gil Hodges quietly walked over to Santo one day and told him, in a very nice way, that he was being immature. Santo kept doing it.
For years, this moron was a darling of the Cub faithful. He got his uniform retired. He wound up doing their radio color commentary and could be audibly heard on the air moaning and crying when the Cubs would lose a big game.
I've always said that God indeed likes to toy with the Cub fans who keep subscribing to some silly notion that their team is cursed because of some incident with a billy goat. There may be some validity in that. Because, at the end of his life, Santo was a double amputee. And, effectively, God took away his ability to do that heel click ever again. Poetic justice.
I told this was going to be nasty today.
Years later, I wanted to be this bastion of baseball...Wrigley Field...for myself. I had heard it was the best baseball stadium ever with its ivy-covered outfield walls and close proximity to the field. My college roommate and I would follow the Mets there every season for about five years. Yes, the ballpark is nice. But quaint?
I found it cramped, riddled with ads, and, from what I can see now on TV after their renovation, totally corporate. What the hell is Nuveen and why do you see its billboard in every camera shot?
Moreover, when I was going to Wrigley, I noticed something else about the crowd which was shocking for a city in an urban market.
Not only was the crowd lily white, but they were a J Crew catalog on steroids. Hmmm, I said at the time.
The fans there were raucous and not accepting of fans from other teams. As the Old Style flowed and they got drunker and drunker, the obnoxiousness just soared.
But then there was the seventh inning stretch. Everybody up so announcer Harry Caray can sing. And, a one and a two. It looked like some of the fans around me were here just for this. What baseball game?
Meanwhile, here's another rat bastard that the Cub fans took to their bosom. A drunk who slurred his way through most games. A guy that was run out of St. Louis years ago because he was fucking the Cardinal owner's wife.
Oooh, how small town. How heart warming.
The good news is that there are many indications that God himself does join me in this dislike for the Cub fan.
For instance, this happened to knock their team out of the playoffs in 1984.
And then this happened to kill their spirits in 2003...
This last one got Cub fans so nuts in their pastel pullover sweaters that they drove this poor schmuck out of town. Forget the fact that the game was lost by their shortstop and their manager Dusty Baker, who swallowed so many toothpicks as a result that he shit out Pinocchio.
It goes all to the alleged badge of honor that Cub fans proudly wear. They still think they won the pennant against the Mets. They did not. They still think they went to the World Series in 2003. They did not.
Karma is a bitch. You all treated me badly in 1969. Sure, I have friends who are Cub fans. I like Bob Newhart and he's been on Facebook all week waving his W flag.
I don't care.
Dinner last night: Honey walnut shrimp.