OK hear me out on this one. The Cubs have been the most exciting team to watch in baseball over the last two years. Last year they showed they were going to be a force for the next decade or so but ran into Daniel Murphy and the Mets magical run, being ousted in the NLCS. This year they look even better, cruising to over 100 wins in the regular season and they didn’t face an elimination game in the first two rounds on their way to claiming their first NL title in over 70 years. Everyone is in love with the Cubs and why not. They have so many young charismatic players that its hard not to fall in love with them, Javy Baez is taking the world by storm this postseason. But their job is not done yet. Tomorrow is game one of the World Series in Cleveland, remember Cleveland the team that no on is talking about who hasn’t won a World Series in almost 50 years?!
I think that part of the allure of the Cubs is, we want to root for the Cubs and be happy for the city of Chicago. At least that is what everyone over the next week will tell you. We almost want to join in with Chicago as it all unfolds but let me tell you what I think people really want, they want the Cubs to lose in traumatic fashion. We want them to get as close to possible to achieving their ultimate goal but then we want it taken away. We want the misery. Do you know why? Because we want to watch it all happen again next year and the next year. It is human nature to slow down and stare at an accident while driving and then tell people about it later. We share these experiences with each other in a unique way and for some reason I think it goes with sports. If you aren’t a Cubs fan, they you want to tell people about the accident you saw on the way over here.
If the Cubs win the world Series it will be a unbelievable moment in sports history, a moment that will literally be talked about for 100 years. But in the present time (lets say next 5 years), it will turn people against the Cubs. Yes it will be great to watch players like Bryant and Rizzo grow into superstars for the MLB but the average fan will start to care less and less about the Cubs, they might even begin to hate the Cubs for winning too much. The average fan is watching to say they saw the Cubs win the World Series but more importantly I think they want to tell people about how the Cubs lost again and the curse is still alive.
If the Cubs win, people will move on to other sports stories and find enjoyment elsewhere. Let me try and use an example from the past to make my point. People hate Lebron James (from Cleveland you know, maybe a theme here?), literally hate him and even more, they loved that he couldn’t win. Every postseason loss with the Cavs was followed by great joy around the league. “Compared to Jordan, haha, he cant even win 1 title!” After everyone was done bashing him for leaving Cleveland like he did, they tuned in to watch him lose in the Finals vs the Mavs. But something happened the next year after LeBron finally won, people changed their tone “well yea of course he finally got a ring, blah blah” The hatred was still there but not as intense anymore and now last year people where happy that he finally got a ring to Cleveland and didn’t mind they he beat the unbeatable Warriors to do so. We wanted LeBron to lose so we can keep talking about him, same with the Cubs, once they win what will happen to them outside of Chicago? Do we want to stop telling the Steve Bartman story? Do we want to stop telling kids that a fucking goat cursed a baseball over 100 years ago?
That comparison is probably a stretch by my point is that watching the Cubs is a event that all fans watch together this year and if they win, people outside Chicago won’t really care about the Cubs anymore. But if the Cubs lose to the Indians, we get to root for the Cubs again next year and experience the excitement of possibly breaking the Curse of the Billy Goat. So you tell me, do you really want them to win??
PS I dont have some coin on the Cubs to win WS from early in the year so that would be nice but i guess based on this article go Cleveland?!
Also published on Medium.