VERO BEACH, FLORIDA – Sob . . . sob . . .
Those would be the sounds emanating from “long-suffering” Chicago Cubs fans (while looking around to see if they are eliciting a much-desired “Awww, poor babies . . .” from anyone close by).
And all their boo-hooing is working like a charm.
The Cubs, it seems, are almost everyone’s sentimental favorite to not only advance to their first World Series in 71 years but also to capture their first MLB title since 1908.
But don’t count MAS among the bleeding heart multitudes.
He is not falling prey to the crocodile tears of Cubs fans.
For a variety of reasons.
For starters, woe-is-us Cubs supporters have replaced Boston Red Sox followers as the most annoying whiners in the sports world.
That alone is enough to root against their “lovable loser Cubbies.”
Cub fans should not be permitted to whoop it up at winning it all until they stop with all their whingeing.
If you ask MAS, your sympathy is misplaced if you feel bad for the unendearing Cub followers.
Better to root for Cleveland and side with the Indians faithful.
Clevelanders have suffered through 68 years without a World Series title and done so with admirable stoicism.
Nary a whimper out of them.
Unlike wimpy Cubs fans, who pathetically wear their suffering like some sort of badge of honor — just as Red Sox Nation did in irritating fashion for soooo many years.
MAS is super-sick of hearing about the Cubs’ “Curse of Billy the Goat.”
For the uninitiated, this nonsensical albatross stems from a fan being asked to remove his smelly pet goat that he had brought into Wrigley Field with him during the Cubs’ last World Series appearance in 1945.
The enraged owner did so but then proceeded to put a title hex on the Cubs.
It’s the Wrigley-goers’ version of the Fenway fanatics’ “Curse of the Bambino,” which bored MAS to tears for the longest time also.
Just something to attract even more attention to their “plight.”
Gag MAS with a spoon.
All the Chicagoan and Bostonian hip-to-be-a-sufferer dramatics is/was just waaaay too much for MAS to stomach.
Please, please, please spare him the “If the Cubs finally win the Series, I can die happy” histrionics that he lived through with the BoSawx.
Every city has its sports title drought burden to bear. Most places learn to deal with it.
But for Cubs fans, wallowing in self-pity is the perverse equivalent of a refreshing dip in the pool on a hot day.
It feels SOOOO good.
The second and maybe most important reason MAS is not on the Cubs-as-sentimental fave bandwagon is the downright abhorrent behavior of their followers following the Steve Bartman fan interference incident in the 2003 National League Championship Series.
They don’t deserve a World Series appearance or title until they’ve paid further penance for ruining a man’s life over a relatively meaningless baseball game.
The actions of many Cubs fans speaks to a gross lack of human decency on their part.
Allow MAS to revisit that abominable scene and its aftermath.
Sitting along the left-field foul line during Game 6, Bartman reached over the fence to snag a crucial and playable late-game ball he thought was reaching the seats.
You would have thought he killed the Lindbergh baby.
On his way out after being ejected, Bartman was cursed and spat upon, had beer and trash thrown at him and was threatened to the point where he needed a police escort to exit the stadium.
When the Cubs then blew the game and the series, Bartman was blamed for the loss — and NOT the Cubs shortstop who later made a crucial error or their pitchers who surrendered a string of late, run-scoring hits to the Florida Marlins, as the Fish rallied to advance to the World Series with the win.
Afterward, Bartman was excoriated by the Chicago media and Cubs fans, even receiving death threats, and driven into hiding.
From which he has yet to emerge.
After 13 years.
Beyond despicable behavior.
And then there’s funny but tiresome comedian Bill Murray, omnipresent and always hamming it up for the TV cameras whenever the Cubs are in the national spotlight.
Murray’s goofball postseason antics are the Cubs equivalent of all the teeth-gritting intensity displayed by Ben Affleck in his role as Red Sox die-hard in playoffs past.
Guys, save your comedic and dramatic takes for the silver screen where they are appreciated.
Spare MAS the overdone “my heart bleeds Cubs/Red Sox blue” shtick.
Next reason to reject all the Cub sentimentality: those renowned rowdies, the Wrigleyville Bleacher Bums.
MAS, too, thought they were kind of kitschy cool at first. Until he actually attended a game at Wrigley Field on a media pass.
Beforehand, he had even considered sitting amongst them for a inning or two to capture their essence for a column.
But, uh, to quote Roseanne Roseannadanna: Never mind.
Not after observing the Bleacher Bums unleash a boorish barrage of garbage in the outfield when they disagreed with an umpire’s decision, delaying the game 45 minutes.
Kitschy cool morphed into clueless classlessness.
Finally, there is the plethora of titles the city of Chicago has enjoyed beyond the Cubs: the Bulls’ six NBA titles, the White Sox Series win in 2005, the ’86 Super Bowl champ Bears and the Blackhawks’ three NHL Stanley Cups in the last six years.
How much could by-now spoiled Chicagoans who double up as Cubs fans be suffering?
MAS rests his case.
Are these enough reasons to cause you, as well, to not buy into all the sentimentality surrounding the Cubs?
Should be. But if you wish to pity the pitiful, be MAS’s guest.
Whatever floats your boat.
His take is this: Every city has their sports cross to bear.
And almost all do it much better than Chicago Cubs fans.
You don’t hear MAS moaning and groaning about his hometown Philadelphia Iggles (our pronunciation) having never won a Super Bowl.
Or the Flyers going over four decades without sipping from Lord Stanley’s vessel.
Call his values skewed if you must, but MAS learned growing up in Philly that whining about title droughts and crying crocodile tears are a no-no, but pelting Santa with snowballs is perfectly OK.
Contact Man About Sports at: firstname.lastname@example.org