Lincicome: For some Cubs fans, suffering seems to be a birthright
I understand that Tom Ricketts, the chief steward and primary purse holder of the Cubs, has assured Cub fans that he is on their side and will work hard to restore the Cubs to their rightful place.
Since I am not on the club's email list, nor am I season ticket holder, I was not notified directly of the good chairman's intentions. I must take his message on faith, though it has been reported widely enough that I could read it if I made the effort.
Rather, I assume that Ricketts is sincere, that he understands the Cub fan and, though he and his family have been around for only a blink of Cub history, he recognizes the truth and is now among the faithful fold.
Surely, Ricketts did not make some kind of grand promise to spend whatever is necessary to replace the players he could have paid to stay. He could not have used jargon like near-term challenges and long term advantages, as if he is restocking a soup shelf.
And most certainly he would not have pretended to know the Cub fan's soul or talk about the pain of losing and the emptiness of missing the postseason when all any Cub fan has to do is watch the postseason and see their Cub favorites playing for someone else.
He would not have congratulated David Ross for doing an amazing job of managing the Cub debris since everyone knows that a vote of confidence always precedes a removal of the manager. Nor could he have thanked Cub fans for being the best fans in baseball because that would mean an inevitable ticket raise.
I imagine instead an honest message something like this:
Dear Cubs fans,
We are ready to contribute a new chapter to the book that was written before our arrival 12 years ago. We now understand it is no challenge to keep faith with winners. The test comes when things are hopeless.
We trust we have added to the Cub fan's capacity for abuse. Cub fans love pain. It makes us distinctive. We will do our part to keep it that way.
We regret that this season did not provide a handy torment to blame like a Gatorade glove, or a black cat on the field, a goat without a seat, a fan in the stands botching a foul ball, all part of the great Cub folklore.
We hope that our gutting the club during the season will be enough sweet torture for the time being, at least until something worse happens, as it always does.
We apologize to generations who have adored the Cubs for their flaws, who had dared to be suspicious that maybe things were changing. Yes, we have actually won a World Series, allowing hope to peek out from under the dread. For that, we apologize.
We realize now that when the Cubs are winning, our fans must search for agony, and it is not a happy thing to see. Cub fans will invite strangers in off the street to buy, not just a vacuum cleaner, but all the attachments. And they may insist that their names be passed along to anyone who has a trunk full of Trump steaks they can't move.
We had not realized that suffering is not an annoyance. It is a birthright.
While we have not witnessed this personally, we understand our Cub fans will offer a seat to a lady on the bus and get poked in the eye by her umbrella when she sits down. Our fans will miss their stop while apologizing for getting in her way.
We now understand. Our Cubs are the Canada of baseball.
A Cub fan will tip the headwaiter $20 and still get stuck near the kitchen. We know it is true because we heard a busboy humming "Go Cubs Go," each time he banged the service door against our table.
You, our wonderful Cub fans, are good and decent people, all, and you must be. There is no more tortured group in the world than you, nor one that is more delighted to be so. We understand our obligation to the legacy.
Yours in misery, Tom.