For the past week or so, I have been getting grief from a rival fan about my (and my follow Chicago Cub fans) confidence heading into the Wild Card game against Pittsburgh. I would understand this if the fan were a St. Louis Cardinals fan or even a Chicago White Sox fan (even though their team is terrible); but no, this is a Los Angeles Dodgers fan.
He and I usually have fairly decent dialog (at least as good as you can on Twitter) but once the Cubs were a lock to make the playoffs he changed his game. He did not like the idea of Cubs fans being “arrogant” about this year’s team, because of the decades of failure in this team’s past. He kept on saying such things like “after 107 years I wouldn’t be so arrogant”.
What he fails to realize is that Cub fans are not being arrogant at all. They are being excited about their team, something they have not been able to be for about seven years. They have watched this team all year, they have seen them play hard all year and have watched them grow up before our eyes.
This team is good, and they have nothing to do with the decades of failure that came before them.
Will the Cubs win the Wild Card game against the Pittsburgh Pirates? I believe so, but perhaps not.
If they lose, they will not have lost because of being “arrogant” or because 107 years of Cubs failures that came before them.
What’s funny though, is he is only complaining about is Cubs fans being “arrogant” and not fans from other teams.
Yesterday his latest hissy fit came after we retweeted a Jake Arrieta Twitter response to a Pirate Fan (parody parrot) about a “black out” at PNC. This Dodger fan says “what else is he gonna say? The Cubs arrogance is gonna be golden if they lose”.
Sure, I fully expect to be overrun by trolls if the Cubs lose at any point this offseason. They will even come out with fury if they lose in extras in game seven of the World Series. But there is nothing wrong with being confident or excited about this team. Sure, they are young and inexperienced, but so what? The game is the same, even if this is a one and done game. These kids have been exceeding expectations all year and have made history.
No other team has ever made the playoffs starting four rookies practically every day. Addison Russell, Jorge Soler, Kyle Schwarber and likely National League Rookie of the Year Kris Bryant are young and dangerous. Add in Anthony Rizzo and a resurgent Starlin Castro and you have a very dangers lineup. Not to mention the Cubs will have a Cy Young contender (winner?) pitching for them Wednesday night in Jake Arrieta.
Sure, Gerrit Cole is a tough pitcher, but the Cubs have beaten him and have scored runs off of him. He is not unbeatable.
His mistake is confusing confidence and excitement with arrogance.
I want ball players being confident in their abilities and chances. I do not want players think about or worrying about past playoff failures when they had absolutely NOTHING to do with them.
I want fans excited at the ballpark believing their team is going to win or at very least has a great chance to win. Fans sitting on their hands or biting their fingernails with every pitch kills the atmosphere and does have an adverse affect on the home team.
So tell me, what are fans and players supposed to say?
“Previous teams sucked and failed when it mattered so I probably will too”?
“The past is the past, that means nothing to us, we are good enough to win and we are going to win”?
If a player says the first one, get off my team.
If a fan says the first one, root for another team.
I will take over confidence and excitement (not arrogance, learn the difference) over pessimism.
No one on this team has anything to atone for as far as playoff failures. There is no reason to let those team’s mistakes hang over their heads. Not to mention having the likely Manager of the Year in the National League Joe Maddon guiding them. Be will not allow them o worry about stupid crap like that.
To quote Forrest Gump, “That’s all I have to say about that”.