It has been 32 years since the Detroit Tigers won the World Series and the drought has been tough on fans, especially those who want the incredibly generous owner, Mike Ilitch, to get that elusive ring.
If Detroit Tigers fans think it’s been rough for them, imagine what it has been like being a Chicago Cubs fan and suffering since 1945 without even winning a pennant. And, to top it off, the Cubs lost to the Detroit Tigers the last time they won a pennant race.
The Cubs are currently the favorite team to win the World Series because of their strong lineup, win-loss record, and their creative manager. Right now, the Cubs are on their way to the NLCS having beaten the San Francisco Giants in a memorable ninth-inning comeback.
Any Detroit Tigers fan who has been to a game at Wrigley Field has heard the complaints and whines from the Cubs fans who seem to relish in the fact that their team has had such bad luck for over 100 years. And yet, the Cubs fans hold on to their fandom as they hope for some postseason victories. Why do they do this? And, what will it mean for Tigers fans?
Building the Brand
Since the Cubs have lost so many games over the decades, fans have had to hold on to something. And that something seems to be the brand: The Cubs. As a baseball fan who has been to Wrigley Field, I noticed that most attendees were more focused on each other and the social aspect of hanging out. Of course, there were fans watching the game; but, where I was sitting, few people stayed in their seats for long and most people were either looking at their phones or looking away from the field. It was rather distracting for a baseball fan who wanted to watch the team that could change the course of Cubs history.
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As a resident of Michigan, I have met many Michigan residents who are Cubs fans. I’ve always questioned their devotion to a team from a different state, unless they say that they have family in Chicago. (But I still think it’s a weak excuse to diss your home-state team.) What I’m not looking forward to is the gloating that will come from those fans.
Staying Loyal to Your Community
As a resident of Michigan, I proudly wear my Tigers gear as a badge of honor for the boys who have kept Detroit relevant. But even this year as I wear my Tigers gear after Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera have gone to their mansions for the winter, Cubs fans in Michigan have been giving me grief – for being a loyal fan to the team in the state where I was born and raised. Ugh. I can only imagine how horrible they will be if their precious Cubbies win. (Imagine if we Tigers fans called our team the “Tigies” – barf.)
As a Tigers fan, I do not go to other people’s states and criticize their teams. When I visited Miller Park this year, I actually bought a Brewers tee while I was at the park. I did it because the fans were so friendly and the game was actually fun to watch. I haven’t worn the shirt often; but when I see it hanging in my closet, I am reminded of the fun day I had there. I can’t say the same for my experience at Wrigley. In fact, I was disappointed in the experience and left the game early – something I have never done at any other park.
Even though I’m predicting that the Cubs will win it all – the team is just too good, I’m secretly hoping that another team wins as long as it’s not the Cleveland Indians. Being a Cubs fan isn’t really about baseball anymore – it’s about fitting in with a brand. That’s not baseball. Sorry, Cubs fans. I’m just calling it like I see it.