They're doing it! The Cubs are playing in the World Series! And they might actually win the damn thing. Smart numbers-knowing people say they’re the favorites.
Pause the unbridled optimism for a second: Cubs fans all know better than to put too much stock in that. Not because of any stupid cosmic curse, but because baseball is a weird sport where strange things happen and being “better” guarantees you shockingly little.
One thing Cubs fans CAN count on? Only Cleveland stands in the way of the Cubs putting all the silly curse talk to rest permanently. And while that should be enough incentive on its own, competition is always more fun with a little healthy, lighthearted animosity for the enemy. So let’s get to it, Chicago. It’s time to hate Cleveland!
Cleveland just took home a championship!
Hating Cleveland isn’t that easy. Imagine if this was the Red Sox or the Yankees? Imagine Ben Affleck’s punchable face sitting there in the stands in his Red Sox hat giving a between-innings interview while also plugging The Accountant and -- oh man I just want to punch him with the force of a thousand Bruckheimer explosions.
But Cleveland is clearly digging into the underdog role in this series. The Cubs’ misery is pretty much confined to the Cubs’ own little universe. The ENTIRE city of Cleveland specializes in misery. They make self-deprecating videos about it. Sports-wise they fail constantly and spectacularly and they haven’t won a damn thing, in any sport, since 1964...
Except they HAVE, because LeBron came back and they shocked the Warriors last season and Cleveland got its big sigh of relief and fancy parade and excuse to purchase cheesy championship shirts that will be given to Goodwill in a few years.
So it feels weird to say but... thanks LeBron? Your NBA title has cleared the way for us to root for terrible things to happen to your baseball team without any residual guilt.
Are we really going to ignore the racism?
A certain Washington DC-based football team draws the most insensitive team name hype, because said name is arguably too hateful to print and because the owner is one of the most hateable men in sports. But just because Daniel Snyder, who may have the only face more punchable than Ben Affleck's, maintains the most egregious franchise name in all of sports, that doesn't give Cleveland a pass here.
Forget for a second that the name “Indians” gives legitimacy to Columbus’s horrific mistreatment of native peoples and geographic idiocy. Well don’t actually forget it, but that’s not the worst of it. Their logo is pretty much the Native American equivalent of blackface. And they know it! And they’ve said they’re going to “move away from it.” But they lie!
And don’t talk to us about the Blackhawks’ logo (the Stanley Cup playoffs aren’t for months!).
Enough about the racism, let’s hate some players!
Cleveland isn’t actually all that deep on name-brand hateable dudes, but familiarity breeds contempt so this can change fast! Let’s get things moving.
Starting pitcher Trevor Bauer horribly mangled his finger in a drone-repair mishap (yep, millennial problems), tried to pitch a few days later, and grossed everyone out as he bled everywhere after like three pitches. That is both irresponsible and rude. And hilarious.
Relief pitcher Andrew Miller is someone who the Cubs REALLY wanted to trade for because he throws magic fire baseballs no one can seem to hit, but the Yankees allegedly wanted Kyle Schwarber which was too much, dammit (Schwarber might be back?! Update: He's back!). So now Cleveland has him. Which isn’t really Andrew Miller’s fault. But still, hate that guy!
Outfielder Coco Crisp inspires kids to reach for sugar-laden breakfast cereals instead of making healthier choices.
Second baseman Jason Kipnis is a Glenbrook North alum who grew up a massive Cubs fan. Also known as a TRAITOR.
DH/first baseman Carlos Santana does not use “Smooth” as his walk-up music, which just seems like a serious missed opportunity?
What about the manager?!
That’d be Terry Francona, aka the guy who guided the Red Sox to their drought-ending title. He’s a pretty good manager... when he's not allegedly sending shirtless photos of himself to other guys’ much younger girlfriends!
Do we really want to ruin Major League?
Charlie Sheen has done enough damage. The movie just won’t be the same if Cleveland has a real-deal title to cherish.
Ohio’s kind of the worst, right?
Ohio seems like it should be an OK state, then you hang out there and realize it’s really the answer to “what would the offspring of an affair between West Virginia and the bad parts of Pennsylvania look like?” No wonder LeBron left, only to return after realizing that Florida is also kind of terrible. Actually it all makes perfect sense -- Ohio’s basically the Florida of the North, complete with the hilarious stories about guys doing weird sex things with furniture.
Their drought is simply not that impressive
Cleveland last won a World Series in 1948. That is 40 years more recent than the Cubs last championship. Forty years is a long time! If Steve Carell went that long without having sex, you would be like “wow, Steve Carell needs to have some sex!”
The media will try to play this as two star-crossed franchises trying to end a horrific losing streak. No. Just no. They are not even close to equal.
Let’s make a deal, Cleveland. Lose this one, and then you get to be the longest running sad story in baseball for a while? Maybe another 40 years or so? Then when you finally break through it’ll feel AMAZING. Like Steve Carell having sex for the first time.
But right now? It’s the Cubs’ turn to enjoy that feeling and you’re in the way.