Dear Casual Baseball Fan,
I don't like you. Casual is for slacks.
It is time for you to pick a postseason team, throw your love behind that team, and live and die with its every pitch … to the point that you get sharp, clenching chest pains when Scott Williamson walks the first two batters in the ninth inning of a one-run game, and you yell, "Damn it!" at a decibel level much higher than you'd intended, and your girlfriend starts getting scared, and now she's looking at you like she's an 8-year-old whose parents are fighting.
Yeah, that's where you want to be.
So, you're ready to go there. You've climbed off the casual fence. Now, assuming my Boston Red Sox make the World Series (reverse double unjinx rejinx unjinx mojo activated), and face the Chicago Cubs, which team does the unaffiliated fan decide to root for? The lovable losers? Or the heart-ripping, operatic, bitter-bile-of-history losers?
Allow me to make the case for my Sox.
The media cliché holds that Cubs fans show up at Wrigley for a nice day at the park and a few beers and don't really care if the Cubs win or lose. (Thus, management rakes in cash without any pressure to improve the team.) I don't buy this. I'm sure true Cubs fans detest this image, and like any real fans care desperately about wins and losses.
Meanwhile, the media cliché holds that Red Sox fans are a crew of quivering Calvinists; believe that we are under the spell of a powerful curse; and emit so much negative energy that we somehow infect our team with incurable choking fits. I cannot stand this image. It makes me want to punch Tim McCarver in the kidneys, which I had already wanted to do, but when I hear the words "the Curse of the Bambino" suddenly want to do it even more. There is no curse. None. Sox fans are just a little gun-shy because we've been … hurt. I'm part of the growing Sox fan movement that asserts no belief in the curse and is sick of hearing about it. We're like a campus group reclaiming its victimhood. You can't define our victimhood! It's ours!
So I say neither is a "better" group of fans and thus more deserving. But let's look at who would get more joy out of winning it all.
Cubs fans, I feel your pain. But if you win, it will be an unexpected delight. A little slice of wonderfulness dropped onto your plate from out of the blue. I admit this is by no means a fair comparison, but I would equate it with my feelings after the Patriots won the Super Bowl. (I know, when you heard "Patriots" you started singing "The Super Bowl Shuffle." Great defense you had, the Danimal or whatever. That was 1985. You're living in the past. Pay attention to my point.) The Pats were another team of lovable losers, incompetent and uncrowned over their 42-year history (I mean, at least you've won before—granted, 95 years ago). And then suddenly we were champs.