5 levels of Cubs involvement

Hi. I'm AC, AndCounting for long, and I am a Cubs blogger. It's been two months since my last post. I stayed clean for as long as I could, but I decided that it was time to get off the wagon. Or on the wagon. Or on the bandwagon. Or onto the main wagon where they let the real fans ride. Honestly, I don't understand the rules about wagons (band or standard), so I'll go ahead and steer clear of wagonisms from this point forward.

If this were a confessional, it would include details like, oh, I don't know, that I have no clue who the Cubs have traded for or signed or not signed, that I don't know who Rant Sports is, and that I have neither confidence nor a clue why that might be funny. But this is not a confessional. It's not about me, per se, or my lack of involvement on this blog or Cubdom in general.

This is about what it is like to be involved on any level with the Cubs. And it’s about how there are five of them.

1. Cub level

If you are on the Chicago Cubs, you’re on this list. Now, there are probably sublevels to this and all the levels. There are starting players, bench players, guys on the 40-man roster, front office staff, scouts, varying levels of Ricketts. But, you get it. If you’re part of the team, you’re part of the team. And that’s pretty involved.

2. Season ticket holder level

This is not just season ticket holders. Actually, there are season ticket holders who I really wouldn’t include in this list. The gist behind this list is the type of passion that compels someone to buy tickets to and/or attend as many Cubs games as possible. That passion is shared by many people who never attend Cubs games. It is lacking in many season ticket holders (I’m speaking specifically about those corporate/commercial entrants in the STH market; I’m not calling into question the loyalty of fans who attend the games).

I don’t give a flying bison burger how much money you spend on the Cubs. This STH-level of involvement is what some people consider die-hard and what others consider idiotic. If you spend eight hours on a Cubs blog every day, you’re in this category. If you call in to every post-game show, you’re in this category. If you spend more time on a typical day discussing or thinking about the Cubs than an actual Cub spends doing his job, you’re probably in this category.

The bottom line: if you’re involved with the Cubs on a level-2 basis, you spend way too much time and/or money worrying about this crap team. And that’s okay. I’ve been there. That’s who I am. Or who I was. Who I intend to be again.

Again, there are sublevels. If your blood is actually blue in color, great. If you live, breathe, eat, sleep, and shit Cubs baseball, fine. If you just talk about them a lot, that’s cool, too. We can all share a category. The thing we all hold in common is that the plight of the Cubs has stricken us with some skewed emotional connection that causes to actually try to devote our resources to seeing them do well and actually figuring out ways that they could improve. We’ve somehow associated an inordinate part of our well-being with the results of their games and seasons. It’s disgusting and awesome.

3.  Viewer level

These people watch the games and care. They do. But when the game is over, the grieving process (or rare period of jubilation) ends relatively soon after. A category-3 fan doesn’t know what time the game is, but he or she will ask someone occasionally. Seeing games is a distraction from life, not the other way around.

For beginning of this year, this was about where I was at, a bummer of a stretch for a Cubs blogger. I know, I know, it’s not about me, but I use myself as in illustration (and maybe not for the last time). I tried to watch the games, and I was glad when I could. Cubs baseball was a nice little getaway, but it was not the Disneyland of my escapism. More like a Six Flags or maybe just the merry-go-round at the mall.

These people still get pissed when the Cubs lose and happy when the Cubs win, but the game is just a game. Except when it’s a really awesome come-from-behind game or the Cardinals and umpires and the ghost of Mike Quade conspire to screw us in the ninth.

4. Nominal Cubs fan level

This is when you have to have an answer for “who’s your team?” and “the Cubs” is your answer. You didn’t see the game. You don’t know who won. You don’t know how to spell Samardzija. Samardzijia? Samardziajia? Is he even still on the team? Was he ever? Who’s coaching these days?

This is where I am right now. There’s just too much. Baseball isn’t even a distraction. It’s a big fat pile of wanton neglect. I’m too lazy regarding baseball to even bother to look up wanton to see if I used it properly. Stuff like changing your faith, leaving your job, going through a divorce, and recommitting yourself to everything you believe is true in this world will do that to a person.

I imagine James Earl Jones has a speech for these people. For me. There must be some earth-shaking words to conjure up the spirit of baseball past or to instill some passion for the game the way Ryne Sandberg tells us it is meant to be played, or . . . or . . . I don’t know, lend me a shit, so I can pretend to give it. But for class-4 fans, the fire just ain’t there, not even a candle. On our hearts, there’s a picture of a dim light bulb with a Cubs logo on it. Woo. Hoo.

5. Not Cubs fans

I mean, seriously. Just plain not liking them at all is actually an option. It works for some people.

But. It’s not me. It’s not you. It’s not us. We’re attached to this team like soft on Tony Campana. And just like the Cubs, we’re not going anywhere.

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