The Rundown: Cubs Fans We All Love (and Hate), Rays on Verge of World Series Berth, Braves Go Up 2-0 on Dodgers

“Accept who you are; and revel in it.” – Mitch Albom

In 2003, Albom wrote a book titled “The Five People You Meet in Heaven”  which was a New York Times bestseller for 95 weeks. I thought I’d offer my own take on that magnificent novel by looking at Cubs fans you meet (and hate love) on social media. I’m certainly not looking to offend anybody, since, in a weird and crazy way, we’re all just part of the same gigantic-but-dysfunctional family.

Satire is not my forte, however, so if you feel singled out, please don’t. It’s all in fun.

  1. The Stan Fan – If you watch any movie that portrays its antagonist as a premeditated and obsessed stalker, ultimately a scene will show a bedroom or office filled with pictures, trinkets, and other types of paraphernalia dedicated to the object of that person’s affections. Social media takes a little edge off that type of singularly dedicated fandom, rounding the corners with a seemingly wholesome tribute to one’s favorite player. But does it really?
  2. Mudville Marty – This is the type of fan who is completely rah-rah while the Cubs are playing, believing the team can win any game, even if said team is trailing by a dozen runs in the 7th inning. He’ll confidently hold out hope until the game’s final out, and then will need to be talked down from the ledge after every loss.
  3. Glum – This fan is the polar opposite of Mudville Marty, a doomsayer that believes no lead is safe, even if the Cubs are up by a dozen runs in the 7th inning. Every pitching change and player substitution is overly scrutinized and something as simple as the opposing team stringing together a hit, walk, and HBP will send Glum into an unfettered panic.
  4. The Facebook Fan – If you do a Facebook search, you will probably find thousands of groups dedicated to the Cubs, most of whose members communicate through bad memes and horrible takes. The “trade Bryant” faction resides in these festering communes, as they actually believe David Bote possesses more upward trajectory than a guy whose only sins so far have been questioning the manipulation of his service time while trying to play through injuries.
  5. The Lifer – This fan once sat in the bleachers when a ticket could be bought for a buck-and-a-half. No matter how good or bad the current team is, he or she will one-up you with tales of the ’69-’71 Cubs and knows the name of every coach from the team’s rotational manager phase during the 1961 and ’62 seasons. The Lifer truly believes Ryne Sandberg or Ernie Banks are the greatest baseball players of all-time and can be spotted in the bleachers wearing a vintage Kenny Holtzman jersey while keeping score. If this fan starts a sentence with “Back in my day,” you should run. Oh, in an argument, the Lifer believes he is never wrong and will be done with you if you continue to argue.
  6. The Transplant – Thanks to a few decades of WGN cable broadcasts, Chicago’s fanbase shows no geographical limits. Eventually, some fans will move from the outer reaches of the country, or even worse, the suburbs, and settle down in Lake View, where they immediately become the most knowledgeable of all fans regarding the team, the ballpark, and its neighborhood. Often pretentious, these neo-fans make fun of the Lifers, alternately embrace and reject change, and have all kinds of preconceived (and incorrect) notions of the team’s history and the city of Chicago. Ironically, this fan also prefers radio broadcasts of the game over the television ones.
  7. The Know-it-All Blogger – Also known as the BABIP/ISO/FIP/OPS fan, this individual has a veritable degree in analytics thanks to Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs, and will gleefully point out to you that the player you think is a human trash bag is unequivocally one of the better players in baseball. If you can get through a conversation that includes the phrase “If we have data, let’s look at data,” you’re a better person than me. Ultimately, a following of a few thousand active social media fans gives this person an immutable right to wax politically, too. That’s always a joy.
  8. The Prospector – No matter which Cubs prospect is traded, and no matter how great the return, the Cubs lost the deal. Enough said.
  9. The Cubs Dad – This fan is obsessed with ensuring his fanaticism remains a familial birthright. It doesn’t matter if his children hate baseball, they’re going to the game and they’re going to have fun, just as he and his father did. Family portraits and Christmas cards will often feature this family dressed up in Cubs hats and jerseys. If you’re lucky, Dad will have his tucked into his jeans.
  10. The Regular Joe – This faction of Cubs fandom, which on the surface makes up 95% of the team’s entire fanbase, are just here because they love their boys in blue. That’s a lie, because the Regular Joe doesn’t really exist. Instead, this fan is one of the above-mentioned types with a slight tick or two. You’ll run into them at the annual Cubs Convention, and a few usually come to the Q&A sessions with a  prepared statement. I’m a Regular Joe, but I’m really not, because I’m a hybrid of almost every type of fan listed above, which makes me, I believe, the worst of all Cubs fans.

Cubs News & Notes

Rounding Third

Odds & Sods

At 35, Mark Melancon is not quite old enough to be a father to Ozzie Albies (23). Nonetheless, they’ve developed quite the kinship and have given a whole new meaning to “having a catch.”

Postseason Potables

Good pitching, great defense, and timely hitting is driving the Rays to a pennant, and after last night’s 5-2 win, Tampa Bay leads the Astros 3-0 in the ALCS and can clinch a World Series berth tonight.

The strength of the Dodgers all season has been their pitching staff and they’re hurting right now. It doesn’t help that their battling a team with similarly good pitching, and despite a late rally last night, Los Angeles fell 8-7 to Atlanta and is now down 2-0 in the NLCS.

How About That!

Dodgers’ manager Dave Roberts is confident Clayton Kershaw will pitch this series, but it won’t happen in Game 3 (video). Kershaw’s fastball velocity dimmed late in his last outing against the Padres in the NLDS.

After being eliminated by the Rays in the ALDS, Yankees owner Hal Steinbrenner apologized to the team’s fans.

Steinbrenner also indicated that Aaron Boone will return to manage the team, praised GM Brian Cashman, and indicated that he’d like to find a way to keep free-agent second baseman DJ Lemahieu.

Astros starter Zack Greinke said he doesn’t miss playing in front of fans.

As he embarks on a new venture, no stats can quantify how much A’s GM Billy Beane has changed the game of baseball.

On Deck

We haven’t even reached the offseason yet, but some analysts are already projecting where this winter’s top free agents may land, and initial reports might not make you happy:

  1. J.T. Realmuto to the Braves
  2. George Springer to the Cardinals
  3. Trevor Bauer staying with the Reds

Extra Innings

The Rays and Braves exude the kind of postseason magic that would make for one of the better World Series matchups in recent history. Atlanta is undefeated in seven tilts during this year’s playoffs, and Tampa Bay is 8-2.

They Said It

  • “You’ve got guys in this clubhouse you’ll never be teammates with again. It’s a bad feeling.” – Anthony Rizzo
  • “Baseball is so cyclical. Everybody knows how baseball works, it’s ups and downs, and there are cycles and various periods of having certain players at certain times in their career.” – Laura Ricketts

Wednesday Walk Up Song

Hard Livin’ by Railroad Earth – COVID-19 robbed me of Bonnaroo this year, so I’m simply compensating. Music doesn’t get more “Dad working in the garage on a fall Saturday afternoon” than this.

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