Why it is so Hard to be a Fan of the Chicago Cubs

Admit it: in conversation, when someone mentions they’re a Cubs’ fan, you laugh at them. Internally if not out-loud. You feel pity for them. The Cubs are the “Lovable Losers” after all. Getting shut out at home last night against the hated Cardinals was a good reminder that the Cubs have been doing the rest of Major League Baseball (MLB) favors for more than 100 years. Here are three reasons why it’s so difficult to be a Cubs’ fan:

3. The “Curse of the Billy Goat.” First of all, let’s be real: any professional sports organization out there who talks about any kind of curse is in the habit of making excuses for not being able to put a winning team on the field. This particular curse dates back to an incident in 1945, long before I was born. Whether you believe in superstition or not, I automatically think back to 2003. Remember when the Cubs were beating the Florida Marlins, three games to two, in the National League Championship Series? They also led 3-1 late in the game and with their ace, Mark Prior, on the mound. What could go wrong? How about everything. Fan Steve Bartman, poor guy, cemented his way into baseball history by interfering with Moises Alou who was trying to catch a foul ball down the left field line. Then, Cubs’ shortstop Alex Gonzalez booted a routine ground ball, and the rest was history. The Marlins took the game, the series, and for good measure, the World Series, too. What could have been. Since getting swept in the first round of the 2008 MLB Playoffs, the Cubs have been oh-so-painful to watch, lose-100-games-a-year bad. Recent talk, though, has glowed about progress among the minor leagues prospects, and a spring training glimpse of Kris Bryant did nothing to quell that. Can the Theo Epstein regime really right this ship and beat the curse?

2. The success of the St. Louis Cardinals. I wrote about this some yesterday. But seriously, could it be any more torturous watching the Cardinals’ churn out winning teams every year while the Cubs try to stay out of the cellar? The Cubs actually lead the all-time head-to-head series between the two clubs, despite the fact that the Cardinals have won 11 World Series Championships since the Cubs last won one in 1908. Which brings me to…

1. 107 years and counting. The international community has fought two World Wars since the Cubs last won a World Series. The United States has gone through 17 presidents since the Cubs have won a World Series. The Boston Red Sox broke their own curse in 2004 and have won two more World Series Championships since. I should note that the Cubs’ drought is the longest of its kind in American professional sports. Players and managers come and go, but the same fans sit in the seats, agonizing. Will this be the year? Probably not. But optimism is higher than it’s been in a while, so I guess I’ll take that. And keep crossing my fingers…

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