It’s not easy to talk baseball with Yankee fans. All one hears about is the hallowed history. So many championships, so many legends, even a Broadway musical. Well, congratulations. Some of my best friends are Yankee fans. Me, I was named after the greatest Red Sox player ever (note: he was my mom’s favorite player), but I grew up four blocks north of Chicago. In other words, I know a thing or two about losing.
Many of my fondest memories of youth involve Wrigley Field. It was there in the bleachers where I first got drunk. I was fourteen going on twelve, but my pal Robby Rob was seventeen and looked mature enough—at least in the eyes of the beer man— to buy big cups of Old Style. In the late 70s-early 80s the Cubbies were positively wretched. My dad, a research librarian for World Book Encyclopedia, used to take the El home to Evanston from the Merchandise Mart. The train passed the “friendly confines” of Wrigley, where after a home game they would hoist a win or loss flag. It was the pre-Internet era, so I would wait at home for my dad’s report about the score. Needless to say, he was forced far more often than not to be the bearer of bad news.
I grew accustomed to rooting for a losing team, but I still loved the Cubbies. As far as I’m concerned, they can (and may) never win the World Series and it’s still ok (pitiful, ain’t it?). Frankly, I have never met a Cubs fan who’s also a Yankees fan—but then again, I’ve never met Hillary Clinton. Such dual loyalties nonetheless strike me as an impossible combination: After all, how can someone be arrogant and humble at the same time? As this October promises more heartbreak for the Cubs and (shudder) another crown for the Damn Yankees, all I can say is this: the American empire would be a lot better off it were guided by genuine Cub fans.