Cub Fans: Used and Abused

by Ross Friedman

Let's get this straight. The Red Sox haven't won a World Series since 1918. Why? Because they're cursed. Or, if you don't believe in curses, unbelievable bad luck, and some bad decisions by Dan Duquette and Jimy Williams.

The White Sox haven't won a World Series since 1917. Why? Because of less-than-intelligent management, and not being able to drive revenues to constantly field a winner. They're on the side of Chicago that doesn't get fans into the ballpark, and have a ballpark built in the 1990s but made for the 1970s.

The Cubs haven't won a World Series since 1908. Why? Because management, and smart management at that, doesn't want to. That is correct, MANAGEMENT DOESN'T WANT TO WIN! It's just not profitable for them, and they know it.

There are a few reasons for this. There is the lovable loser factor as well as the profitability factor.

Let's start with the lovable loser. The Mets are a good example of the lovable loser. The Mets came into the league and had a 40-120 record. They were terrible. They didn't have the players to win, and found new and intriguing ways to lose, enough so to call them the Amazin' Mets. And the fans loved it. Then you had the 1969 Mets. This was the lovable loser going for it all. And they got it, a team still revered and referred to as the Miracle Mets.

However, after they won the World Series, the Mets weren't so lovable anymore. Losing was no longer an option. The fans weren't going back to a loser anymore. It was win or don't go to the ballpark.

Nobody has been a more successful loser than the Cubs. The Cubs fans are "too good" and management knows it. The Cubs fans show up win or lose. So they're management has the option to put $25 million more into payroll, add money to scouting and player development, and field a team with a chance to win. What will they get out of that? The possibility of losing the lovable loser image. They won't have increased attendance as they get huge crowds every day anyway. So they'll be spending a lot more money without increasing revenues. That's a horrible business decision.

This brings me back to the Cubs fans being "too good" for their own good. I'm a firm believer that you should show up to the ballpark to support your team, win or lose. However, not if you're being used and abused like Cub fans are.

So what the Cub fans need to start doing is STOP GOING TO THE BALLPARK! I never once thought I'd suggest those words. I believe if Royal fans started going, they could field a winning team, and the same goes for the Twins, Expos and others as well.

However, if the Cub fans make it a bad business decision to keep losing, and they can do that by not showing up as they consistently do, then management would be forced to field a winning team to get the fans back.

The reason the entire Sammy Sosa debacle happened was because management knows that they will get fans if Sammy Sosa is on their team or not. So why pay Sosa $18 million per season when you can just bring that money to the bottom line instead?

Now let me go over this a little more. I don't think Sammy Sosa is worth $18 million a year. And if the Cubs were an organization that was trying to win, they would have traded Sosa in a deal with the Yankees, gotten a lot of good prospects, and then spent the $18 million they saved with Sosa on other players to improve their team.

That was never their intention. They never wanted to spend that money. Getting rid of Sosa would be a salary dump, but to not have too bad of public relations they needed a bunch of top prospects back, more than the Yankees were willing to offer. They wouldn't have any bad public relations if they made the deal with the Yankees AND spent the $18 million in the off-season, but they had no intention of doing that.

The fact is, the White Sox, who haven't won a World Series since 1917, try to field a winner and did a great job in 2000. The Red Sox, who haven't won a World Series since 1918, try to field a winner and have, but always, sometimes due to the weirdest circumstances, come up short.

The Cubs, who haven't won a World Series since 1908, do not try to field a winner. They haven't tried for many years because they do not need to try, and they will continue not to try until their fans make them.

And while all three teams fans have been tormented for the past 80+ years, only the Cubs fans have been used in the process.

Send Ross your opinions, comments or verbal abuse at ross@JBaseball.

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"How can you not be romantic about baseball?" - Moneyball.