Tim Lacy is one of several scholars responsible for the resurgence of the field of intellectual history and the establishment of the Society for United States Intellectual History. Lacy is also a Chicago Cubs fan.
I was not cheering for the Cubs in the World Series. I have a hard time rooting for National League teams other than the New York Mets (unless those teams are playing the Yankees). But as a baseball fan who has written more than a few posts about the Mets at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, I have great respect for the kind of fan loyalty Lacy shows in this post at the blog of SUIH.
Here is a taste of Tim’s post:
The loveliness of the Cubs was wrapped in its futility. That record included no World Series championships since 1908, no World Series appearance since 1945, and major regular season and post-season disappointments in 1969, 1984, 1989, 1998, 2003, 2007, 2008, and even 2015. I include 2015 despite winning the wildcard and division-series games because of the heartbreaking nature of being swept by the New York Mets, who had been instrumental in dashing the Cubs hopes and playoff aspirations in 1969. History had, heretofore, offered empirical evidence of disappointment. Agony and heartbreak were real. The baggage was as much of a reality as the loveliness of Cubs culture.
What is most interesting to me, about that baggage, is how it had been embraced, historically, by the team’s fans. Per “The Lovable Losers,” a sizable segment of Cubs fans almost wanted failure. They relished in having a cultural touchstone for life’s curve balls. Being a loser was a kind of badge of honor. You could be a Cubs fan with pride, even if you didn’t appreciate being known as a loser in your personal or professional life.
What will those fans do, now that the Cubs on-the-field team has shed one of its core identity markers? Will a softer form of “The Lovable Losers” persist? It could, given that this is only one championship over the past 108 years. And next year’s team, and future teams, could slip back into their historically futile ways. That seems improbable, however, given this team’s youth, competency, and the overall management of the franchise. Indeed, the franchise seems poised for kind 1920s Yankees run. Contingency is specter in sports and athletics, but especially in baseball. Injuries are the great unknown, and have ruined many good baseball teams over the years. My own Kansas City Royals, who won last year’s World Series and played in the same in 2014, barely reached .500 this season as a result of injuries. The same fate might await the Cubs.
For now, however—for today—the Cubs are losers no more. The reigning world champions for Major League Baseball reside at 1060 West Addison, the home of “The Lovely Confines” (my term). This team and its youthful players overcame their history of “Cubbie occurrences” (Lou Piniella’s term), mishaps, curses, and general baggage. They put behind them the franchise’s tradition of losing, and have become, in reality, winners. Today’s reality is different for older Cubs fans. For my part, I will relish this new frontier until Opening Day for the 2017 season. – TL
Read the entire post here.