It is the End of Days World Series, matching the Chicago Cubs against the Cleveland Indians. May I suggest buying gold and stocking up on freeze-dried stroganoff because this has to be some kind of apocalyptic warning sign.
It is the ultimate matchup between the long-suffering fan bases – fan bases that take perverse pride in their deprivation, that pin their identity upon disappointment and want.
This isn’t a major league championship as much as it is an old Monty Python bit. The one with the four old guys sitting around, drinking fine wine, trying to one-up each other on how hard they had it when they were coming up.
“We used to live in this tiny tumble-down old house with great big holes in the roof.”
“House? You were lucky to have a house. We used to live in one room, all 126 of us. No furniture. Half the floor was missing.
“You were lucky to have a room. We used to live in a corridor.”
On and on it builds, the absurdity increasing geometrically. Here’s a link. Just try to imagine this as a roundtable of Cubs and Indians fans. It’s not that hard.
It also is the ultimate bandwagon-jumper’s World Series. Everyone wants to be a part of history, even if it is only as a last-minute rider to a franchise’s century’s-long emotional contract with its legitimate followers. Everyone wants to share in the Cubs epic quest to win its first World Series since 1908. Even those who wouldn’t know Anthony Rizzo from “Ratso” Rizzo (Midnight Cowboy, 1969).
It’s not right, really. You shouldn’t celebrate the success if you haven’t labored in the salt mines of losing for at least two generations.
The flocking to the Cubs is far more pronounced than the support swinging Cleveland’s way, seeing how the Indians won it all just yesterday by comparison (1948). I almost feel sorry for the Indians, being so completely short-sheeted in the romanticism department. Almost.
So, join me if you will in fighting the temptation to cuddle up with those cute Cubbies. A darling little team, by the way, whose opening-day payroll of $167 million (according to Spotrac) was almost twice that of the Braves.
Be not afraid to snub the Cubs, and amaze your friends and neighbors with your complete disinterest in reversing the curse in Chicago. Do not succumb to the trend of worshiping the quirky intellect of the Cubs manager, Joe Maddon, or the miracle working of their general manager, Theo Epstein.
Epstein’s already turned water to wine, overseeing the Boston Red Sox’s 2004 title. Any more than that is just showing off.
It will not be easy to swim against such a powerful tide, but being a contrarian never is.