Waiting on the Bus

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Posts Tagged ‘Chicago Cubs’

A look at the psyche of bandwagon Chicago sports fans Part 1

Posted by Steven on May 11, 2010

Bandwagons for Chicago sports teams are rare and when one of the city’s perpetual losers or mediocre franchises actually manages to get into the playoffs, fans that decide to get on the bandwagon do so with a sense of trepidation. They’ve been suckered into hopping on a bandwagon before only to be let down by the team of the moment. They may have a friend sitting with him on the bandwagon who is trying to convince him why this team has that special and often elusive combination that allows them to overcome any adversity they may encounter in the playoffs and win it all.

For every fact the optimistic bandwagoner throws at the skeptic, the skeptic can point out an example of a Chicago team that was supposed to go all the way but came out short: (The ’06 Bears, The ’84 Cubs, The ’89 Cubs, the ’92 Blackhawks etc) Clearly the Cubs have been the most glaring example of this through the years, but no Cubs collapse and bandwagon disaster was as demoralizing as the ’03 team’s near miss. In 2003 I’d been following the Cubs diligently since ’98 when I was 12 years old and up until that season I’d had to hear from White Sox fans and casual sports fans that the Cubs had fans with a weak understanding of the game and only showed up to Wrigley Field to watch Sammy Sosa hit homers during his juicing days. As I found out later, most of those people reside in the bleachers.

Once the Cubs won the division title suddenly those people that were neutral and usually enjoyed mocking the team decided to hop on the Cubs bandwagon. The wagon took off and soon the Cubs were leading the NLCS 3-1 against the Marlins, needing just 1 win against to reach the World series, but then they lost 3 straight just like the ’84 team did against San Diego and people couldn’t believe they’d been naive enough to think a Chicago team could win a championship. Outside of the Bulls 6 championships in the ’90s, no Chicago team has had a period of sustained success where they actually lived up to fan’s expectations. This is why Chicagoans hold on so dearly to one year wonder teams such as the ’05 White Sox and ’85 Bears. They’re desperate for a winner and don’t really care if they’ve been watching for years waiting for the team in question to turn into a contender.

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The Wrigley Field Bleacher Bum Experience

Posted by Steven on September 14, 2004

Over the weekend my friend Josh and I went to the Cubs game. When Josh came to pick me up at my house, he said he had the whole day planned out: we were going to take the train into Chicago and then take a cab to Wrigley. We would pick up our tickets before the game from this one guy he knows. Josh wasn’t exactly sure where our seats were, but he insisted that they were “probably good seats.”

So we took a cab to Wrigley and had to wait awhile for the ticket guy to show up. It was crazy out there and the game hadn’t even started yet. Peanut vendors were coming up with cool rhymes and songs trying to entice people to buy peanuts outside the park. “Buy ’em on the outside, you’ll save money” they kept repeating. Little kids were running around everywhere and it was about eighty-five degrees out, so we were getting a little sick of waiting for the ticket guy to show up. Finally he did. “Hey guys what’s up how ya doing? Listen I could only get bleacher seats for today‚Äôs game. Sorry about that man.”

At first I didn’t understand what I was about to get myself into. I’d watched fans in the bleachers all the time on TV and it looked sort of cool, and I had never sat in the bleachers before, so I was pretty excited. The guy gave us our tickets and we walked into the park each of us getting a hotdog and soda. We walked up two steep ramps before emerging at the bottom of the bleachers.

I thought we would just go up a couple of rows, sit down and wait for the game to begin. Josh’s friend who tagged along with us had other ideas.
“Hey you guys wanna go sit under the scoreboard?” he asked.
“Sure” Josh said and I agreed.
We had to walk up about six or seven steps without the aid of a railing, which for two handicapped guys is no easy task, but we made it up without any problems and sat under the world famous Wrigley Field scoreboard. Everything will be fine, I thought.

That’s when I looked down and it hit me just how far up we were. Now I’m not afraid of heights or anything, but I gotta admit I was more than a little freaked out by how high up we were. There wasn’t a support rail in sight which meant I couldn’t even stand up during the game without risking a fall to my death. I could just imagine the Cubs play by play announcers saying
“There seems to be a dead body out there in the center field shrubbery. Now I’ve seen everything!” Heck I was afraid if I sneezed I was going to fall and die! No handicapped person should EVER attempt to sit in the Wrigley field bleachers, no matter what people say about the “unique bleacher bum atmosphere.”

If you live in Chicago or follow baseball you’ve heard the countless stories about the fans who sit in the bleachers at Wrigley. That the bleacher bums are at the game to get wasted , get a tan, and scope out the women. That they don’t really follow the game. I never wanted to believe those stories, but now after having sat in the bleachers I can tell you those stories are all true.

There was one guy sitting below us wearing a New York Jets floppy hat and after a few beers he kept yelling “Go J-E-T-S Jets Jets Jets!” It’s rather Sesame Street-ish but that’s the Jets cheer.

Why did the NFL have to start this weekend? I thought

The Cubs got hammered 11-1 by Florida so the game was a wash, not that I could see any of it from where I was sitting.

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