Around the All Star Break, when the Red Sox were looking like they might just make something of themselves this season and the Cubs were tearing up the National League, I called a friend of mine who’s a Cubs fan.
“If the Red Sox and Cubs meet in the World Series,” I told him, “I might actually consider rooting for the Cubs.”
Of course I was lying to that weaselly bastard (whom I honestly never really liked anyway), but it became a moot point once it was apparent that the Sox were going nowhere in October. Suddenly I was all up in Chicago’s grill, cheering on old pals Jon Lester and John Lackey and David Ross and even learning to appreciate Joe Maddon’s hipster ways.
Denton wrote an impassioned post about rooting on Cleveland. I see his point and appreciate his perspective. But I have a different take. I say, as a long-suffering Red Sox fan, the only right thing to do is support the team that is essentially our National League brother. The one that plays in the second oldest functioning baseball field in America (built in 1914), right behind Fenway Park (built in 1911). The one with the fan base that has endured almost as many indignities as Red Sox fans. The one that has weaned generation after generation on bitter, abject failure.
I look at the faces of Cubs fans and I see my pre-2004 self. Proud, ecstatic, confused, wondering when the roof is going to come crashing in. After all, that was the way it always was for Red Sox fans before 2004. As August melted into September, you could start placing bets on when they’d shatter our hearts. Every happy event — Dave Henderson going deep against Donnie Moore in ’86, the Sox scoring 5 runs over the last two innings of game 6 of the 2003 ALCS — was inevitably followed by a gut punch of epic proportions, To the point that we simply resigned ourselves that they’d never win it all in our lifetime. That’s what our fathers told us. That’s what their fathers told them. It was the circle of life on Yawkey Way.
But then 2004 happened. And nothing made sense anymore. Suddenly it was sunshine and cotton candy and free bikes for all. It was an event so otherwordly, so foreign to my eyes, that I still have to sit back and remind myself that it actually happened. That is wasn’t a dream.
That’s the feeling — that indescribable feeling — that I want Cubs fans to experience.
Of course as I type this, the Cubs are shitting the bed in game one. And Teets Francona’s Indians are looking pretty unstoppable. But if you’re gonna believe in miracles (and after 2004, we have to), if you’re gonna root for the underdog, if you’re gonna ask the Gods of Baseball to spread around a little of the good fortune we’ve had over the past several years, why wouldn’t you want to spread it to the team that’s waited longer than us to reach the promised land?
Fly the W, I say. Fly that motherfucker all day long.