Growing up in the ’90s during the resurgence of the Packers in the shadow of Lambeau Field (I know…BOO HISS EVIL!), it would have been easy for me to end up as another fair weather (which there never was) Brewers fan. I didn’t, though, because 1) nobody cared about the Brewers when I was growing up, and 2) when I had the chance to watch baseball, the only games on were the Cubs on WGN with Sammy Sosa before he was “Slammin’ Sammy”, Brian McRae, Doug Glanville, Jose Hernandez, Kevin Tapani, and Steve Trachsel among other forgettable players.
That is how I became a Cubs’ fan. I began watching the games because they were on and I enjoyed Harry Caray’s call of the games. I didn’t even hate Steve Stone, until I learned how much of a blow hard he is. Then, I started to follow the Cubs a little bit closer; looking at box scores in the paper, learning who some of the players were, finding WGN radio and listening to a fuzzy broadcast of Pat Hughes and Ron Santo if I put some aluminum foil on the antenna, pointed at just the right angle. Then I started to learn the history. I learned about Ernie Banks, Fergie Jenkins, Billy Williams, that Greg Maddux was a Cub before he was a Brave, and that the Cubs hadn’t won a World Series since 1908.
With the news that the Cubs may be leaving WGN, I find a huge part of my baseball past on the verge of death. Like all good things, though, this probably will end. And I am not opposed to it. I am sure my story is like many others who found the Cubs because of WGN’s national reach. Moving the Cubs to FOX Sports may be better business, though, and that should ultimately win out, even if it does hurt a little bit. Old traditions die hard. As old as the Cubs are, they have a lot of tradition, but like all of the changes the Cubs have made recently, new does not always mean bad. It just means new. I won’t actually judge how good or bad FOX may end up being for the Cubs until they are actually on FOX, and I have seen the product.
Doing things the way they’ve always done them isn’t the best thing for the Cubs. The piece immediately preceding mine does a nice job of pointing that out. Ultimately, all of the changes that have happened during the Ricketts’ ownership have been to make the Cubs healthier from both a baseball and business standpoint, even if the results haven’t been seen on the field, yet. Revenue is the lifeblood of every business. Potentially moving on from WGN TV and WGN Radio, and adding a jumbotron, and advertisements to Wrigley are good for everyone. The owners get more return on their investment, and the front office gets more money to throw on the field, which could, theoretically, add wins for us fans.
We have entered a new era of Cubs baseball. It is an exciting time. While I will fondly look back on watching games during my childhood on WGN, seeing the broadcast, occasionally, on the Armed Forces Network when I was overseas, and becoming an “out of market” fan almost solely because of WGN, it may be time for that tradition to go softly into the night. Things continue to change around the Cubs, and all of those things will hopefully lead to the change to end all changes…