Baseball: The Linceblog


I can’t real excited about being the fan of one particular team anymore. I used to be a Cub fan, but last year I just called it quits. Why last year? Of all the crocodile pain we’ve experienced over the years about our lovable losers, why pick last year to finally toss in my official Cubs $34.99 New Era MLB Diamond Era 59FIFTY Cap (Made of 100% Woven Polyester)?

What would Steve say today?
What would Steve say today?

Was it their next-to-the-worst record in baseball? (Thank you, Astros. I wish you were still in the NL.)Was it that I feel divorced enough from Chicago after all these years?

None of the above. I just got tired of having to root for the same team year after year. The Cubs don’t know me, I don’t know them. (I am a facebook friend of Ernie Banks, though. I will be inviting him to my son’s Bar Mitzvah.) The players jump from team to team according to market forces, so I feel no more sentimental attachment to them than I do to Texas Instruments or Idexx Laboratories.

This year I am going to follow baseball not through the teams, but through the players.  I love baseball  (and I have a feeling that I’m not alone here) not only because it is a beautiful and fascinating sport, but just as much because of the stories. I love the statistics, of course–statistics are wonderful, I love them as much as any geek, but in the end without the face behind the numbers I could be reading about anything.

In looking at baseball over the last while, it seems that the fixed stars in the firmament (and I don’t mean that as a compliment) are the leagues and the owners. And the owner of the Cubs is the Ricketts family. They are not a particularly likeable bunch. (As a matter of fact, they are rather repulsive, but I say that with all due respect and admiration for their billions.) J. Joe Ricketts, you may remember, is the ____(insert appropriate noun) who spent oodles of money and wanted to spend $10 million dollars on producing and distributing a video about Obama that was so defamatory and racist that even the Romney campaign asked them not to go forward with it for fear of the backlash. This same _____(insert appropriate noun) must have loved it when Obama’s former chief-of-staff became mayor of Chicago, the man he would need to help him to get tax breaks and financial assistance for his desired “improvements” to Wrigley Field and the surrounding area. This former trustee of the American Enterprise Institute actually had the coglioni (cluelessness? gall? stupidity?) to ask the City for help.

How can I cheer for such a team? Because of the players? The players from 2008, our last break-your-heart team, are all gone except for  Jeff Samardzija, Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol, the latter two disappointing shadows of their former selves. (Samardzija, on the other hand, is someone you want to succeed, just based on his determination and grit. That, and you’d like him to earn the millions he made from the get-go.)

Nah, I’m done with thinking that just because I grew up in Chicagoland or that I live in MA that I should be for the Cubs or the Red Sox (who I never really liked anyway). The nice thing about sports is that no matter what happens to those grown men crying on their field, court or pitch–other than the injuries and the occasional death–nothing of lasting importance occurs out there. My kids’ school grades are a lot more important than A-Rod’s attempts to bury evidence or Congress’s stupid pursuit of steroid users.

But why is this part of the Meta-bug called “The Linceblog”?

Stay tuned.

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