By Doug Halberstadt
Thanks to a certain form of social media, namely Facebook, I’ve recently been able to rekindle some long-dormant friendships. If for nothing else, Facebook is a remarkable tool for accomplishing that.
The one thing that has been fairly constant among many of these electronic conversations is somehow we almost always get a word in about sports of some kind. Maybe because they are a big part of my professional life, or as I’d like to think, they truly can be a common factor that binds.
In a recent dialogue with a friend of mine, whom I hadn’t spoken to in more than 30 years, I learned she moved from Illinois and now lives in a small town in northeast Texas. One of the things she took with her to the Lone Star state was her love for the Chicago Cubs.
She told me about a game her family went to earlier this season at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington to see the Rangers host the Cubs. Her seats were close enough to the Rangers’ dugout that her loud cheering for the visiting team actually managed to stir the ire of a few of the Rangers players as they made their way on and off the field.
She also described how she wasn’t the only one cheering for the North Siders that game. As a matter of fact, she said the crowd was close to even for both teams. I told her that really isn’t that unusual for the Cubs.
Many people around here know a lot of times when the Cubs are on the road in Milwaukee, there may actually be more Chicago fans in attendance than Brewers fans. Hence, the nickname that Miller Park has earned when the Cubs are in town—Wrigley North.
It seems like every time I watch a Cubs road game, the cameras always catch a large number of fans wearing their Cubs gear at the games. Often, I can even hear the chant “Go Cubs, Go” in the background in those supposedly-hostile environments.
That begs the question, “How can a team that hasn’t won a World Series in more than 100 years have so many devoted fans across the USA?” Surely, there haven’t been that many people relocate from Illinois to every other state in the Union. I don’t have a good answer. All I know is for some strange reason, people all over this country seem to love that team.
So, the next time you are conversing with an out-of-state friend of yours on Facebook, ask them about the Cubs. You may be amazed at the conversation you’ll have started.
From the July 7-13, 2010 issue