Many in city are immune to Cubs fever! Finally, someone gets it

Even if this is finally the year, Sox fans still got there first

September 25, 2007
BY RICHARD ROEPER Sun-Times Columnist
“The whole city of Chicago is really pumped up, isn’t it?”

— Cubs catcher Geovany Soto

North Side, South Side
Not the whole city, kid. Maybe three-fifths of the city, but not everyone.

Have you heard about the couple that named their child Wrigley Fields?

No joke. Cubs fans Paul and Teri Fields have named their wee lad Wrigley Alexander Fields. (At least they didn’t name him Strawberry.)

Fast forward to the year 2030, when a 23-year-old man approaches a young woman at Sluggers after a Cubs game and says, “Nice to meet you, my name is Wrigley Fields.”

“And I’m Petco Park,” she’ll respond.

Or maybe not.

What’s in a name?
This is the first I’ve heard of a child named Wrigley. I’m sure there’s nobody out there named “U.S. Cellular Field,” but I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s a Fenway Park(s) or two living in the Boston area, even though I couldn’t find any via a few of those name-search databases.

In the 1990s, a few Bulls fans named their children “Jordan.” That’s not a bad first name, and you can always tell people you named your girl after the Jordan Baker character in The Great Gatsby.

But Wrigley Fields — not much doubt as to the origin of that name. That kid’s gonna be a Cubs fan for life whether he likes it or not. The question is, is the year of little Wrigley’s birth the year the Cubs finally go all the way?

Immune to Cubs fever
As a baseball fan who keeps watching the pennant races even after my team is so far out of it they might as well be playing flag football, I’ve been keeping up with the Cubbies these last few weeks, and I gotta say it:

Pretty good team.

Certainly better than Milwaukee, and probably as talented as any team in the National League. They’ve got some big, veteran bats and some strong arms, and an Old World manager who has this weird thing about him — he actually plays the guys who deserve to play.

Barring a huge collapse, the Cubs will make the playoffs, and there’s no reason to believe they can’t make a serious run, a la last year’s Cardinals. Nobody cares about your regular season record if you win the whole thing. Just ask the Detroit Tigers.

When I see the Budweiser commercial with all those good-looking Cubs fans having the time of their lives; when I see the postgame singalong to Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go”; when I watch the saturation coverage on the local sportscasts — I don’t hate it like some of my fellow Sox fans hate it, but I don’t feel it, either.

It’s like watching the Mets or the Indians enjoying first place. I’m totally immune to it. I could be in the bleachers at Wrigley Field and I could catch the World Series-winning home run ball, and I still wouldn’t catch a whiff of Cubs Fever.

As I’ve mentioned before, the lyrics to “South Side Irish” sum up how many Sox fans feel about their North Side rivals:

We sing the songs our fathers sang

When they were growing up

Rebel songs of Erin’s Isle

In the South Side Irish pubs

And when it comes to baseball

We have two favorite clubs

The Go-Go White Sox

And whoever plays the Cubs!

That’ll be the prevailing sentiment in Sox Country if the Cubs are in the playoffs. You’ll go to certain bars in certain neighborhoods, and they’ll have the game on — but the locals will be rooting for the Mets or the Diamondbacks or the Phillies, or the American League representative if (God forbid) the Cubs are in the World Series.

I used to be that guy, but no more. For one thing, the Sox already got there first, so no matter when the Cubs finally win a World Series, they’ll be second in line. I know it’ll be a bigger deal in the city and certainly nationwide than a Sox championship — but we already have our framed ticket stubs and our 2005 memories. We got there first, and that can never change.

Beyond that, I have too many good friends (and even a family member or two) who are Cubs fans. If they get their moment, God bless ’em. They’ll be going crazy in Wrigleyville and in every house that bleeds Cubbie blue.

But for me it’ll be about as exciting as the Cardinals beating the Tigers last year.

I’d jump off the Sears Tower before I’d jump on the Cubs’ bandwagon.