OK, I admit I once rented an apartment because of its proximity to Wrigley Field. And I used to smirk at those “Cuck the Fardinals” T-shirts they sell at the corner of Clark and Waveland. And when I first started interviewing for my job here at RFT, my first words were, “Just so you know, I’m not going to become a Cardinals fan. Ever.” (Fortunately, this paper does not practice discrimination on grounds of baseball fandom.) As a sign of my allegiance, I keep a Cubs Curse Breaker on my desk here. It takes the form of a plush goat and is very small and tasteful because I know I'm in enemy territory. I’ve seen those signs around town. And I must admit that most of the time, I take pride in being part of a vicious minority.1984. And because I associated the Mets with pure evil. But then I realized: To root for the Cardinals is to root for the Midwest, our shared homeland, ridiculed by East Coasters and West Coasters alike as “flyover country.” Chicago and St. Louis are red-brick sisters! (It’s true Chicago is by far the larger and more people actually know where it is, but so what?) If I could put aside my North Sider prejudices to cheer for the White Sox in 2005 (and really cheer, like jumping up and down and screaming in my Wrigleyville apartment; I would have frightened my downstairs neighbor had he not been cheering, too), I could surely do the same for the Cardinals two years later.
This noble resolution kind of hit a snag when the World Series rolled around, but all due to complicated family loyalties, namely that my parents are natives of Detroit and I spent the summer of 1984 getting quizzed on the Tigers’ starting lineup every night at dinner, and some old habits, like inbred Tiger love, are harder to break than others, like institutionalized Cardinal hatred. Nonetheless, I have to admit it's a novel experience to be living in the same city as the World Series champs.
So, my fellow St. Louis residents, when you sit down in front of the tube for this interminable playoff month, remember regional loyalty. If you must turn over the National League crown over to anyone, let it be your fellow Midwesterners, just a few hours up I-55, not those snakes slithering around out in the Arizona desert! We won’t lord it over you. (Too much.) It’s probably not going to last long anyway. To be a Cubs fan is to know only fleeting happiness, not to bask in entire years of glory, as I imagine you Cards fans must do. It won’t take too long, just a few weeks at most before the inevitable occurs, and then you can go back to feeling superior.
This is what it is to be a Cubs fan: